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.