As December turns to January, the mail turns decidedly less friendly. The joy of holiday cards is replaced by tax forms and bills. If you own property in Boston, it’s been an unpleasant experience with the receipt of property tax bills showing consistently higher tax rates. The North End / Waterfront and Boston’s downtown neighborhoods have been especially hard hit since assessed values have held up relatively well and increased in many cases.
For Fiscal Year 2011, the rate is $12.79 per $1,000 of assessed value, up 7.1% or 91 cents from last year. Once again, the city increased the rate by the maximum amount allowed under Proposition 2 1/2. Commercial rates also went up from $29.38 to $31.04.
Patch Columnist John Keith attempts to explain the situation, noting that a $500,000 Boston condo now pays $6,395 in annual property taxes.
“Unlike many US cities, Boston relies heavily on the property tax to fund its budget — something like 70 percent of its revenue comes from residents and business owners. …. If not for the downtown Boston neighborhoods, Boston’s finances would be a complete mess. To put it simply, we’re paying the majority of the city’s bills. While home values in the outer neighborhoods have continued to fall, downtown prices remain high. So, our taxes stay the same and/or go up while other residents’ taxes drop. We’re subsidizing everyone else. You’re welcome.”