The City Council is holding a hearing at noon on Friday, March 12, on a tax break Mayor Tom Menino and the Boston Redevelopment Authority have cooked up for insurance giant Liberty Mutual, to subsidize its construction of a tower in the Back Bay. Since we have 20 years of office vacancy to absorb, and Liberty Mutual is only promising to hire an average of 30 people a year, this tower will either stand largely vacant or cannibalize others. Either way, the result will be an overall drop in occupancy, a further slump in rents, and a further fall in commercial taxes, which will shift more of the ever-rising levy onto residents. This is the classic race to the bottom: subsidize wealthy corporations, and starve public services – so that neither residents nor businesses want to be here.
The development team (which includes the Mayor and BRA) have declared the area “blighted and decadent” to qualify LM for a gift of $16 million in property tax waivers from the City and $20 million from the state. Hundreds of millions of tax dollars have been thus foregone in recent years, while the biggest corporations escape their fair tax obligation.
Now, we’re seeing services slashed and taxes raised — but not for the chosen few who have the right lawyers and the right political friends. LM is a member of the new vault, formed to give voice to the business community. Evidently, the voice of the business community is already being heard behind closed doors.
If you want sensible taxation, come and testify, or send your message to the City Council via e-mail.