Municipal Government Committee OKs Baldelli Hunt Tax Rate Bill

Full House expected to vote on measure May 22.


The House Municipal Government Committee has approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Lisa Baldelli Hunt to change the tax classification of apartment buildings with four to ten units from residential to commercial, according to a release from the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau.

The legislation will allow tax relief for Woonsocket’s small businesses as well as residential taxpayers, Baldelli Hunt said.

“At a time when our city is being squeezed from every direction to raise revenue, this is a way to ease some of the burden on most taxpayers, from the single-family and triple-decker owners to those who own and operate small businesses throughout our city,” she said.

The legislation (2013-H 6102) would move four- to 10-unit rental properties from the residential tax rate, currently $32.26 per $1,000 of value, to the commercial tax rate, $38.27 per $1,000. Thebill has one exception: Four-unit properties that are owner-occupied would be allowed to pay the residential rate, provided the owners fill out a form created by the city Tax Assessor’s office.

By increasing the number of properties paying the higher commercial rate, the city will be able to reduce both the commercial and the residential rates and still raise the same amount of revenue, said Representative Baldelli Hunt (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket).

“This is, by no means, a panacea, but it will give some measure of relief to most Woonsockettaxpayers,” she said.

The bill, which is cosponsored by Rep. Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland) and Rep. Stephen M. Casey (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket), is expected to come to the House floor for a vote on Wednesday.

“With this change, we can ease the burden on the small businesses that are carrying a big load. We have to do something to stop the ones we have from leaving our city,” said Representative Casey.

Representative Phillips also testified in favor of the bill.


Nelson Aldrich May 18, 2013 at 12:24 PM
The precedent will be set...supplemental number two approximately 3 or 4 years out. This supplemental stuff is old news now and it's a knee-jerk reaction to poor planning at the State level too. More to come...wait and see.
Russell Archambault May 18, 2013 at 01:23 PM
????????????????????????????? Well looks like owning apt. buildings just got more costly. So now the new classification of what used to be called "tenant" will now become better know as " commodity" .??????????????????????????????
Russell Archambault May 18, 2013 at 01:35 PM
Changing buildings from residential to commercial, means charging different rates for water and sewer. Higher cost for same usage. Opens up another large problem.The whole water and sewer cost structure will have to be changed.
give me a break May 18, 2013 at 02:54 PM
have no fear the renters will foot the bill
Still Hope May 18, 2013 at 09:31 PM
I'm not so sure this is true. Even so, this bill only relates to the taxation of property...not the utility rate. Likewise, it doesn't mean a 4-family will need to subscribe to a Cox business bundle for cable.
Still Hope May 18, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Even though I think these reps are knuckleheads, I honestly don't see a problem with this bill. It'll apply more burden to out-of-town landlords who own neighborhoods of multi-family units and ease the burden to small business. Last I checked, decent small businesses are an endangered species in our city.
michael May 18, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Just think this woman is trying to be woonsockets mayor!!!!!!!!! Now that is pretty scary.
Russell Archambault May 18, 2013 at 11:39 PM
HOPE; it opens up the door for future ???? rates. Even if out of town landlords, its about people trying to live in woonsocket. russ
Chris12 May 19, 2013 at 11:08 AM
Can we have some numbers please? Approx how many properties will be changed from residential to commercial?
Matthew Desilets May 19, 2013 at 12:25 PM
I think that people need to sit back and think about this.. if its owner occupied 4 units you can have it not effect you.. how many of the non owner occupied 4 unit buildings and all the 5-10 unit buildings in this city are poorly maintained poorly managed and simply cash machines for some out of town "slum lord". These are the buildings that should be classified as commercial as thats exactly what they are at this point. What's the average rent at a place like this? Lets use a nice low number of $700 x 4 units that's $2800 a month of rental income and if you factor in how many non owner occupied buildings do pretty much no work on the property until things completely break or fall off the building that money adds up very quick. There are several 4-10 unit building owners that own more than one of these buildings in our city. This is by pure definition a commercial business why should they not be helping foot the commercial tax bills in the city.
Matthew Guay May 19, 2013 at 02:57 PM
What a great idea! It is this type of outside the box thinking that the city needs in order to get things on the right track. This is a sound business decision and should be supported by residents. In addition, you need to understand that it will ultimately allow some of the tax liability to be spread out through the city by subsequently being passed down to renters who had previously not been a viable tax resource.
Still Hope May 19, 2013 at 04:55 PM
This isn't outside of any box. Most of the rest of the country classifies anything more than 4 units as commercial. Many towns around us use 3 units as the cut off. This is just another case of legislators going back into the books and updating laws that they've sat on for too long(similar to the elderly exemption change). The only issue I have it that they are going at these old laws trying to find ways to squeeze the taxpayer.
Chris12 May 19, 2013 at 08:36 PM
“This is, by no means, a panacea, but it will give some measure of relief to most Woonsocket taxpayers,” she said. The state law for affordable low-income housing is 10%. Woonsocket is now at 17%. Yet when the mayor tried to reduce this number to 12% his request was denied by RI Housing. A RELIEF to the taxpayer would be to get our city to what the law requires. 10% would a panacea for Woonsocket.
Jerry May 20, 2013 at 12:10 AM
Where was Lisa and all other reps one year ago when the school department announced that they were 10 million short? Did they fight for more state aid that the State has been slowly taken from us for the past 6 years back then???? It's great when reps actually fight for taxpayers in crucial times, when it really counts, but doing it because you are in the election year doesn't cut it.. Just my opinion....
David T May 20, 2013 at 03:39 AM
Well said Jerry. I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees through her politicizing of last year problems and now again, trying to gain the upper hand at the city's expense while completely ignoring the underlying problem for the last 6 years since being a Rep. And before this her biggest issue was a park. If people think she's our savior, we're in bigger trouble.
bob b. May 20, 2013 at 11:37 AM
It does not matter who the reps are,the state is not about to give more money to the city,if we had a mayor with guts he would ignore all these mandates required by the state,new water plants,are you kidding me,the city is BROKE!!!!!!!
Jerry May 21, 2013 at 11:07 PM
Nothing will happen by anyone because no one has the fortitude to fight for us taxpayers. Remember our reps and politicians want votes, not to do the right thing and be disliked. That goes against their grain. No one likes a person who speaks their mind and tells the truth, otherwise our General Assembly and Senate and Governor would be liked, and that will never happen with this group.
Novan for Life May 26, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Hey jerry baldelli-hunt for mayor. Why is it the taxpayer has to rely on someone to fight its battles for them, there are more in need peoople getting nothing but misery. Taxpayers up until recently had it easy in the tax department, care about the warning signs that the state and the city were heading towards a fianacial cliff in which we where told to cutback and take responsibility for our fianacial house. PS NO SYMPATHY!!!


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