Thursday, November 18, 2021

Citizen Comment - Maxwell Morrongiello

"I’m here today, because at the next meeting the Council will have an opportunity…an opportunity to lower the property tax burden faced by middle- and low-income families. According to the Massachusetts Budget Policy Center, property taxes are a regressive tax. They explain on their website that households with the highest 1 percent of incomes pay less than 3 percent of their income in property taxes on average, while those with the lowest incomes tend to pay over 5 percent. This simply isn’t fair and is a burden on those who can least afford it. 

Towns like Brookline, however, have found a solution! They have a blanket residential exemption, that exempts a fixed amount of the property values of all single-family homes. If Franklin were to do the same thing, say, exempt the first $100,000 dollars of property value, and then raise the total tax rate, they can make the tax code more progressive while keeping a balanced budget. Under such a plan, modest homeowners will see a tax cut, while wealthier households will contribute a more equitable share. 

My understanding is that this is allowed by Prop 2 ½ which affects the only amount of total revenue a town can raise, not the tax rate itself. In addition, Franklin already does this with the community preservation act, and more narrow exemptions.

I ask not that the council adopt such a tax rate at the tax hearing next month. It is simply too soon and needs buy-in from the community. In addition, it would need to be assessed how this would affect people in apartment buildings who rent, as well as businesses who would be ineligible for an exemption. 

I ask instead that the council adds a motion to the agenda of the tax hearing to assign a committee to study this proposal, with the intention of it being implemented the following year. I urge the council to act to foster a community discussion around this issue, promote equity and fairness, and most importantly support a tax cut to Franklin Residents who need it."

Maxwell Morrongiello
Franklin Resident

Spoken at the Town Council meeting of Nov 17, 2021. Copy of text received via email


  1. I support Mr. Morrongiello's request. The idea is a sound one that deserves further study.

  2. This is similar to how the CPA tax works in most communities -- the first $100K of residential value is exempt from the tax.