Sunday, May 30, 2010

Frequently asked questions: "some people suggest we should adopt a split tax rate"

I have heard some people suggest we should adopt a split tax rate that makes businesses in Franklin pay more property taxes. Wouldn’t that solve the problem?

A split tax rate will not generate any additional funding. Think of the amount of money a town can raise from property taxes as a pizza. You can cut that pizza into four slices, eight slices or even more, but it is still the same pizza.

Proposition 2½, by law, prevents the amount that a community can raise from property taxes from increasing by more than 2.5% per year. A split tax rate would redistribute how much each class of property will pay in taxes, but it wouldn’t change the total amount of money the town could raise. If the town decided that commercial property owners should pay more, the tax rate for residential property would decrease but the total amount of the tax levy would stay exactly the same. Franklin would still have to pass a Prop 2 1/2 override for the town's total tax revenue to increase. The Franklin Board of Assessors and Town Council have opposed a split tax rate, arguing that a single rate creates an incentive for businesses to locate in Franklin.

One of a series to address frequently asked questions


The special election on June 8th gives Franklin voters the choice:

Increase taxes to continue to provide the services we have this year (and that does not restore any of the services already cut)


Continue to cut municipal services for all and cut educational opportunities for our children

I'll help to provide the information. You need to do two things:
  1. Make your choice
  2. Vote on June 8th

You get bonus points if you talk with your neighbors about this and get them to vote!

Additional information on the override can be found here:

Franklin, MA


  1. I am not necessarily advocating for this, it is just something I thought has not been brought up before...

    I definitely understand the split tax rate argument, however what if the split tax rate was implemented as well as an override at the same time to offset the increase.

    It could be perceived as anti-business, but would make it much easier to gain support for an override from the voters.


  2. Geoff, this has been discussed. The Council decides on a yearly basis to go with a single or split tax rate. The discussion on 12/2/2009 can be viewed here:

    Putting the two together (split rate and an override) may make it more likely for some voters to vote yes, however, the longer view is that it would still be more of an deterrent to attract business.

    In communities where there is a split rate, the mix of commercial/industrial and residential is greater than the 20/80 split we have here in Franklin. (Commercial/Industrial = 20% and residential = 80%)