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Reading Split Tax Rate Vote Imminent – Your Action Needed

store closing

The upcoming vote for a proposed split tax rate in Reading will have a major impact on our business community. 

The Reading tax classification vote takes place Tuesday, October 16th at 7 pm in the Town Hall. 

Because of the low density of businesses in Reading, the proposed split tax rate will dramatically impact the town’s businesses (thousands of dollars annually per business) and offer only a nominal decrease for residential households ($60 to $150 per year for an average household).

While the shift is positioned to be consumer-friendly, businesses faced with this tax burden will likely pass along at least some portion of the increase through higher prices for goods and services.

Existing local businesses can be expected to leave Reading for neighboring communities with a more business-friendly tax climate, and new businesses exploring the area will elect to set up shop elsewhere. Empty storefronts will stay dormant — and there will be more of them.

We need your help. The Reading tax classification vote takes place Tuesday, October 16th at 7 pm in the Town Hall. 

Please attend this very important meeting and let your voices be heard. If you can’t attend the meeting, please email the Select Board selectmen@ci.reading.ma.us to share your opposition to a split tax rate in the Town of Reading.  

Thank you to Chamber Board Member Kevin Barile for detailing this issue for our membership, below. 

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Letter from Kevin Barile

Dear Fellow Business and Property Owners,
 
My name is Kevin Barile and my family and I own and operate the Doherty Barile Family Funeral Home on Linden St. in Reading.  I am also a board member on the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce.  I am writing to you on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce to make you all aware that the Select Board will be voting whether or not to shift the town’s real estate tax rate from a single rate to a split tax rate next week. This proposal of a split tax rate will have a major impact on the business community in Reading. The Board of Directors on the Reading North Reading Chamber of Commerce strongly believe that the implementation of a tax split will change the way people in our community shop and support local businesses in the town. We need your help.
 
A split tax rate will:

  1. Drastically increase taxes to the business community while only giving a minimal decrease to the residential community. The town’s net profit will not increase from this shift; they are simply shifting it so the business community will take the vast majority of the tax paid. They are hoping to decrease the amount owed by the residents in the town. Business owners could expect their taxes to increase into the thousands of dollars per year while the residents will see a decrease of about $65.00 to $150.00 per year.
  2. Force businesses to increase their prices on the goods and services they provide to the community
  3. Have the potential to have long time local sustaining businesses close their doors and find another location that is much more affordable. This will also deter new potential businesses from locating to Reading to follow their dream of owning their own company. 

In the last few years, the business community has been faced with higher sales tax from the state of Massachusetts. In the next years to come the state of Massachusetts will be increasing the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour as part of the Grand Bargain Legislation. How much more can our local businesses take? How much longer can they keep absorbing these increases until they are either passed on to the consumer or forced to close their doors?
 
This is where we need your help. The Reading tax classification vote will be on Tuesday, October 16th at 7 pm in the Town Hall.  We are asking that you attend this very important meeting and let your voices be heard. If you can’t attend the meeting please consider writing a letter to the Select Board with your opposition to a split tax rate in the Town of Reading to this email: selectmen@ci.reading.ma.us

Note your message will be entered into the public record on the matter will be sent to the town manager and all five members of the select board. Please tell as many of your local business colleagues about this meeting and encourage them to attend.