|Back in 2013, the last time the City of Newton asked voters to raise property taxes, the chamber’s board of directors carefully reviewed the proposal and endorsed all three override questions.
On March 14, the city is again looking to raise property taxes by approximately $15 million in the form of three new Proposition 2 1/2 override questions.
But economic pressures on our businesses, particularly on our smallest businesses and small commercial building owners, are different now.
Rampant inflation, labor shortages, rising wages, soaring utility costs, supply chain shortages, high borrowing costs, depleted savings, some of the nation’s highest childcare costs, soft demand for office space, and the possibility of a recession are all contributing to an uncertain economic future.
In 2023, businesses need tax breaks, not tax hikes. Without relief, we fear Newton could see more vacant storefronts, empty office buildings, and layoffs in the days to come
So this time -- again after careful deliberation -- our board has determined that we can’t do the same thing we did one decade ago.
Instead, the chamber is asking City Hall to hold a line on spending -- just as so many of our employers have these past three years -- and recommending voting “no” on Question 1, which would raise property taxes annually by $9.2 million.
We are, however, recommending voting “yes” on Questions 2 and 3, the two debt exclusion overrides earmarked for two specific school building projects beginning in 2030 because we view capital improvements as a necessary investment and responsibility.