Letter: One tax rate
The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce strongly urges you to maintain a factor of one in determining tax classification. Business drives the local economy by providing jobs for residents. Businesses generate more in tax revenue than they demand in municipal services. The residential sector drives the demand for more tax revenue to pay for schools, trash collection, and other services. Shifting the cost of these services to businesses is not fair, and it is not in the interest of the community as a whole.
The challenge today is encouraging existing businesses to stay and grow Greenfield, and attracting new businesses to town. The fact that our commercial tax base is relatively small underscores the need to support local businesses. These are difficult times. Businesses are already burdened by the costs of energy, transportation, health insurance and other expenses. Expanding the commercial tax base is a better strategy for revenue growth than shifting the tax burden onto local enterprises.
Classification is revenue neutral for the municipality. It merely shifts the taxes paid by one group of taxpayers to another group and does not solve any budget shortfalls. Small business owners and renters in the downtown would be hit with significant tax increases that far exceed the benefit gained by residents. Shifting higher taxes to commercial property owners means that small business owners must increase prices, decrease hiring, reduce charitable contributions, forgo growth or make other business decisions that would hurt the Town of Greenfield and its residents. It also comes at a time when the courthouse activities are removed from downtown for three years, creating a loss of hundreds of people working and doing business there.
It is the opinion of the chamber board that splitting the rate will discourage economic expansion and job growth potential. Please maintain a factor of one.
FCCC Board chair