The Globe is reporting that the state’s Appellate Tax Board has ruled that:
Verizon must pay taxes on poles and wires over public ways – a decision that could bring an estimated $78 million tax boost to cities and towns.
“In terms of when cities and towns will be able to realize this money, we would be gathering information literally over the next week or two from Verizon and other companies,” said Navjeet Bal, the commissioner of the Department of Revenue. The department issues its central assessments in May, and changes would be reflected in tax bills for fiscal year 2009.
Additionally, cities and towns that have filed appeals could also be paid back taxes.
Verizon will most likely appeal this decision.
Or else, what the heck is the point of having a special panel of tax experts hear these cases in the first place?
Chapter 59, 18, First, says:
I didn’t see a link to a list in the article. I’m curious to see just how much this decision will ease the woes of my town… either in terms of a cash infusion for back-taxes, a revenue raiser [if this counts as new taxes over the 2.5 limit] or just a way to ease the burden of other residential and commercial property owners [if this additional revenue doesn’t get added over the 2.5 line].
p>In any case, it seems fair. I wonder if this will alter the cost structure of above ground vs. below ground wires enough to encourage the telcos to bury more poles… t’would be nice!
Estimates Developed by the City of Boston
This is a good example of Governor Patrick’s win changing the terms of the debate. While different offices and branches of government are independent, they do take cues from one another. As the SJC’s decision on Goodrich helped the Lege push down that Amendment to discriminate against gay people, and George W. Bush’s 2004 win gave cover for Federal courts to eviscerate civil liberties, Patrick’s win poked a hole in the widely held belief that governments should read every law in corporations’ favor. Really, does it make sense that telephone lines underground get taxed but telephone lines above ground don’t?
I’d really like to believe that the election had nothing to do with a Court decision, and in this case, I think I’m right. It was just a decision based on the plain words of the statute.