[LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

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[LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Dennis Liu

All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.

 

I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).

 

Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:

 

  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.

 

Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 


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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

samattes
Dennis,
You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.
Sara

On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.
 
I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).
 
Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:
 
  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.
 
Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis
 
From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief
 
Dear fellow Lincolnites:
 
When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.
 
So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?
 
Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.
 
The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.
 
But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?
 
Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).
 
This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).
 
One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.
 
Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.
 
Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.
 
Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)
 
The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?
 
Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  
 
Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  
 
Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis 
 
 
From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...
 
Property Tax Study Committee 
Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm
Donaldson Room, Town Offices
 
Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:
  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.
The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:
  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program
Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)
 
Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!
 
Jennifer Glass, for the Committee
 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:
  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.
 
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Dennis Liu

Sara:

 

I’ve pointed out in many places in my emails on this topic that the burden would be carried by 40% of the town.  I trust that the readers of these emails can do the simple math of subtracting 40% from 100%.

 

But your response reveals exactly why my overall point creates such outrage.  You seem to feel that because a majority of homeowners will be paying less taxes, therefore everyone should be relieved?  Because, hey, screw the rich(er) 40%?

 

I would be equally outraged if 80% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 20%.

 

I would be equally outraged if 95% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 5%.

 

This process is outrageous.  The Committee is contemplating raising taxes on some people in town, without a town vote, and redistributing their money to other people in town.  That’s the bottom line.

 

(BTW, for those that are no doubt curious, per the property tax bill I received today, I am indeed in that 40% -- but just barely.)

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 10:55 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dennis,

You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.

Sara



On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.

 

I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).

 

Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:

 

  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.

 

Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis 

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

samattes
Dennis,

First, taxation in this country has historically been relatively progressive-those with more, pay more.
The amount has varied over the decades, ever since we enacted an income tax, but the basic concept has remained in place.
You may call it “soak the rich” but that has been public policy for a long, long time.
Other may call it “investment in a civil society."

Second, perhaps you have not read the BoS newsletter or any of the info that has been put out there.
The BoS are seeking participation in this discussion in a public forum, a forum  beyond LT.
There is a public forum on Oc.t 15, and, again,  this will  be a subject for discussion at the Nov. SoTT.
Then there will another opportunity to weigh in at our Annual Town Meeting and perhaps, again , at the ballot box.

This is a democracy and it belongs to those who show up, debate and vote.

Sara
PS-Btw, I, too, am in the 40%.



On Oct 2, 2019, at 11:04 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Sara:
 
I’ve pointed out in many places in my emails on this topic that the burden would be carried by 40% of the town.  I trust that the readers of these emails can do the simple math of subtracting 40% from 100%.
 
But your response reveals exactly why my overall point creates such outrage.  You seem to feel that because a majority of homeowners will be paying less taxes, therefore everyone should be relieved?  Because, hey, screw the rich(er) 40%?
 
I would be equally outraged if 80% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 20%.
 
I would be equally outraged if 95% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 5%.
 
This process is outrageous.  The Committee is contemplating raising taxes on some people in town, without a town vote, and redistributing their money to other people in town.  That’s the bottom line.
 
(BTW, for those that are no doubt curious, per the property tax bill I received today, I am indeed in that 40% -- but just barely.)
 
--Dennis
 
 
 
From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 10:55 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief
 
Dennis,
You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.
Sara


On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.
 
I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).
 
Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:
 
  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.
 
Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis
 
From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief
 
Dear fellow Lincolnites:
 
When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.
 
So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?
 
Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.
 
The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.
 
But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?
 
Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).
 
This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).
 
One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.
 
Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.
 
Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.
 
Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)
 
The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?
 
Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  
 
Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  
 
Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis 
 
 
From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...
 
Property Tax Study Committee 
Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm
Donaldson Room, Town Offices
 
Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:
  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.
The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:
  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program
Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)
 
Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!
 
Jennifer Glass, for the Committee
 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:
  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.
 
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To post, send mail to [hidden email].
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Dennis Liu

Sara, are you really arguing that the current property tax system we have is NOT already progressive?  Yes, it’s a flat tax, in the sense that there is only one flat rate of tax ($15.36/$1,000 for 2020), but BY DEFINITION, since this tax is applied to the wealth that we hold, it is progressive by nature.  The contemplated tax increase would just take a progressive tax and make it . . . somewhat more progressive.

 

Please don’t try to color this proposal by making arguments in favor of “fairness”.  What would have been fair is to have had this discussion *before* the school building vote.  Trying to enact a tax hike now, even if it applies “only” to 40% of the town and “benefits” 60% of the town is . . . outrageous.

 

To your point about whether I have read the “info that has been put out there” . . . I have literally quoted from the Committee on which you serve, Sara.  I have referenced your Committee’s material.  All of us understand that there is an upcoming public forum.  None of which detracts from my . . . outrage that the Committee is contemplating putting a proposal/recommendation to the BoS to ex-post-facto raise taxes, without a town-wide vote. 

 

You write, “Then there will another opportunity to weigh in at our Annual Town Meeting and perhaps, again , at the ballot box.”  Really?  At the ballot box?  In what sense?  Sara, your committee itself highlighted, “This is a tool that is already available and can be implemented by a vote of the Board of

Selectmen. It does not need Town Meeting approval or special legislation.”  Sara, which is it?  Do we get to vote again at Town Meeting, or can the BoS just enact it, per the words from your Committee?

 

Sara, you wrote, “The BoS are seeking participation in this discussion in a public forum, a forum  beyond LT.”  No doubt that the BoS would like to have that public forum discussion.  Acknowledged.  But, Sara, per your missives on this topic tonight, you seem to be . . . discouraging discussion on LincolnTalk and encouraging people to instead save their questions and comments until the public forum.  WHY?   Surely you’d agree that LincolnTalk is a convenient way for a large portion of the town to share opinions and learn facts and new viewpoints ahead of the public forum, right?  Or . . . are you afraid of something?

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 11:21 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dennis,

 

First, taxation in this country has historically been relatively progressive-those with more, pay more.

The amount has varied over the decades, ever since we enacted an income tax, but the basic concept has remained in place.

You may call it “soak the rich” but that has been public policy for a long, long time.

Other may call it “investment in a civil society."

 

Second, perhaps you have not read the BoS newsletter or any of the info that has been put out there.

The BoS are seeking participation in this discussion in a public forum, a forum  beyond LT.

There is a public forum on Oc.t 15, and, again,  this will  be a subject for discussion at the Nov. SoTT.

Then there will another opportunity to weigh in at our Annual Town Meeting and perhaps, again , at the ballot box.

 

This is a democracy and it belongs to those who show up, debate and vote.

 

Sara

PS-Btw, I, too, am in the 40%.

 

 



On Oct 2, 2019, at 11:04 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Sara:

 

I’ve pointed out in many places in my emails on this topic that the burden would be carried by 40% of the town.  I trust that the readers of these emails can do the simple math of subtracting 40% from 100%.

 

But your response reveals exactly why my overall point creates such outrage.  You seem to feel that because a majority of homeowners will be paying less taxes, therefore everyone should be relieved?  Because, hey, screw the rich(er) 40%?

 

I would be equally outraged if 80% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 20%.

 

I would be equally outraged if 95% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 5%.

 

This process is outrageous.  The Committee is contemplating raising taxes on some people in town, without a town vote, and redistributing their money to other people in town.  That’s the bottom line.

 

(BTW, for those that are no doubt curious, per the property tax bill I received today, I am indeed in that 40% -- but just barely.)

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 10:55 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dennis,

You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.

Sara




On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.

 

I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).

 

Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:

 

  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.

 

Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis 

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

samattes
Again, you do not seem to acknowledge that there will be an advisory vote.
As the BoS are legally charge to establish the rate, there can be no legal binding vote by the electorate.
But, we have multiple opportunities to “advise.” 
And that is all we can legally do.

You seemed to have missed that I noted that tax rates (income) have been progressive, some times more than others.
Right now, we are in a period of a reduced rate of progressively.

I am simply stating the facts.

And where did I argue “fairness?”
Those are your words, not mine.

Again, I am just trying to remind the reader of the history of forms of taxation, and how it has been thought of by some … perhaps the majority in that has remained progressive, to varying degrees, since its inception.

And, it would be shear hypocrisy for me to suggest LT is not a valuable forum for discussion and debate, but, at the end of the day, the decisions will be made from feedback gathered at the Oct.Oct.. 15 forum, SoTT, Town Meeting, and, perhaps, the ballot box.

Sara
PS-and, you are the first to suggest I might be “afraid of something,”  esp. a yeasty debate!

On Oct 2, 2019, at 11:38 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Sara, are you really arguing that the current property tax system we have is NOT already progressive?  Yes, it’s a flat tax, in the sense that there is only one flat rate of tax ($15.36/$1,000 for 2020), but BY DEFINITION, since this tax is applied to the wealth that we hold, it is progressive by nature.  The contemplated tax increase would just take a progressive tax and make it . . . somewhat more progressive.
 
Please don’t try to color this proposal by making arguments in favor of “fairness”.  What would have been fair is to have had this discussion *before* the school building vote.  Trying to enact a tax hike now, even if it applies “only” to 40% of the town and “benefits” 60% of the town is . . . outrageous.
 
To your point about whether I have read the “info that has been put out there” . . . I have literally quoted from the Committee on which you serve, Sara.  I have referenced your Committee’s material.  All of us understand that there is an upcoming public forum.  None of which detracts from my . . . outrage that the Committee is contemplating putting a proposal/recommendation to the BoS to ex-post-facto raise taxes, without a town-wide vote.  
 
You write, “Then there will another opportunity to weigh in at our Annual Town Meeting and perhaps, again , at the ballot box.”  Really?  At the ballot box?  In what sense?  Sara, your committee itself highlighted, “This is a tool that is already available and can be implemented by a vote of the Board of
Selectmen. It does not need Town Meeting approval or special legislation.”  Sara, which is it?  Do we get to vote again at Town Meeting, or can the BoS just enact it, per the words from your Committee?
 
Sara, you wrote, “The BoS are seeking participation in this discussion in a public forum, a forum  beyond LT.”  No doubt that the BoS would like to have that public forum discussion.  Acknowledged.  But, Sara, per your missives on this topic tonight, you seem to be . . . discouraging discussion on LincolnTalk and encouraging people to instead save their questions and comments until the public forum.  WHY?   Surely you’d agree that LincolnTalk is a convenient way for a large portion of the town to share opinions and learn facts and new viewpoints ahead of the public forum, right?  Or . . . are you afraid of something?
 
--Dennis
 
 
 
 
From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 11:21 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief
 
Dennis,
 
First, taxation in this country has historically been relatively progressive-those with more, pay more.
The amount has varied over the decades, ever since we enacted an income tax, but the basic concept has remained in place.
You may call it “soak the rich” but that has been public policy for a long, long time.
Other may call it “investment in a civil society."
 
Second, perhaps you have not read the BoS newsletter or any of the info that has been put out there.
The BoS are seeking participation in this discussion in a public forum, a forum  beyond LT.
There is a public forum on Oc.t 15, and, again,  this will  be a subject for discussion at the Nov. SoTT.
Then there will another opportunity to weigh in at our Annual Town Meeting and perhaps, again , at the ballot box.
 
This is a democracy and it belongs to those who show up, debate and vote.
 
Sara
PS-Btw, I, too, am in the 40%.
 
 


On Oct 2, 2019, at 11:04 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
Sara:
 
I’ve pointed out in many places in my emails on this topic that the burden would be carried by 40% of the town.  I trust that the readers of these emails can do the simple math of subtracting 40% from 100%.
 
But your response reveals exactly why my overall point creates such outrage.  You seem to feel that because a majority of homeowners will be paying less taxes, therefore everyone should be relieved?  Because, hey, screw the rich(er) 40%?
 
I would be equally outraged if 80% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 20%.
 
I would be equally outraged if 95% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 5%.
 
This process is outrageous.  The Committee is contemplating raising taxes on some people in town, without a town vote, and redistributing their money to other people in town.  That’s the bottom line.
 
(BTW, for those that are no doubt curious, per the property tax bill I received today, I am indeed in that 40% -- but just barely.)
 
--Dennis
 
 
 
From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 10:55 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief
 
Dennis,
You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.
Sara



On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.
 
I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).
 
Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:
 
  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.
 
Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis
 
From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief
 
Dear fellow Lincolnites:
 
When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.
 
So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?
 
Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.
 
The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.
 
But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?
 
Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).
 
This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).
 
One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.
 
Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.
 
Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.
 
Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)
 
The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?
 
Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  
 
Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  
 
Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis 
 
 
From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...
 
Property Tax Study Committee 
Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm
Donaldson Room, Town Offices
 
Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:
  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.
The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:
  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program
Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)
 
Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!
 
Jennifer Glass, for the Committee
 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:
  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.
 
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Dennis Liu

Sara wrote:  “Again, you do not seem to acknowledge that there will be an advisory vote.”

 

Really?  There will be an advisory vote?  How would I or anyone know? 

  1. The email from Jennifer Glass on behalf of the Committee made no mention of an “advisory vote”.
  2. The latest newsletter from the Board of Selectman, which covers this topic, made no mention of an “advisory vote”. (https://www.lincolntown.org/DocumentCenter/View/47873/September-2019-BOS-Newsletter-Revised-Color)
  3. The PDF generated by the Committee (which I attached to my earlier email this evening) made no mention of an “advisory vote".
    1. The PDF did add on Slide 22, “Any decisions about adopting a new program would be on the agenda at the March 2020 Town Meeting.”  It does not make clear that there would be an “advisory vote”, only that it would be on the agenda, leading to . . . a discussion?

Note again that all of the three items above explicitly call out, “This is a tool that is already available and can be implemented by a vote of the Board of Selectmen. It does not need Town Meeting approval or special legislation.”  Yes, that is an attribute of the state-wide enabling legislation.  But why highlight it in each instance but not mention that the Committee intends to recommend no action until an advisory vote happens, if that is indeed the case?

 

So, Sara, are you saying, on behalf of the Committee and the BoS, that the BoS will not enact the Residential Exemption until and unless there is a town-wide “advisory” vote in favor of it?

 

P.S.  Yes, *I* am the one arguing about “fairness”!  Apparently, I am the only one that believes that “fairness” would mean that we don’t have a further tax increase, caused by the new school building, unless we have a town-wide vote in favor of it!

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 11:51 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Again, you do not seem to acknowledge that there will be an advisory vote.

As the BoS are legally charge to establish the rate, there can be no legal binding vote by the electorate.

But, we have multiple opportunities to “advise.” 

And that is all we can legally do.

 

You seemed to have missed that I noted that tax rates (income) have been progressive, some times more than others.

Right now, we are in a period of a reduced rate of progressively.

 

I am simply stating the facts.

 

And where did I argue “fairness?”

Those are your words, not mine.

 

Again, I am just trying to remind the reader of the history of forms of taxation, and how it has been thought of by some … perhaps the majority in that has remained progressive, to varying degrees, since its inception.

 

And, it would be shear hypocrisy for me to suggest LT is not a valuable forum for discussion and debate, but, at the end of the day, the decisions will be made from feedback gathered at the Oct.Oct.. 15 forum, SoTT, Town Meeting, and, perhaps, the ballot box.

 

Sara

PS-and, you are the first to suggest I might be “afraid of something,”  esp. a yeasty debate!



On Oct 2, 2019, at 11:38 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Sara, are you really arguing that the current property tax system we have is NOT already progressive?  Yes, it’s a flat tax, in the sense that there is only one flat rate of tax ($15.36/$1,000 for 2020), but BY DEFINITION, since this tax is applied to the wealth that we hold, it is progressive by nature.  The contemplated tax increase would just take a progressive tax and make it . . . somewhat more progressive.

 

Please don’t try to color this proposal by making arguments in favor of “fairness”.  What would have been fair is to have had this discussion *before* the school building vote.  Trying to enact a tax hike now, even if it applies “only” to 40% of the town and “benefits” 60% of the town is . . . outrageous.

 

To your point about whether I have read the “info that has been put out there” . . . I have literally quoted from the Committee on which you serve, Sara.  I have referenced your Committee’s material.  All of us understand that there is an upcoming public forum.  None of which detracts from my . . . outrage that the Committee is contemplating putting a proposal/recommendation to the BoS to ex-post-facto raise taxes, without a town-wide vote.  

 

You write, “Then there will another opportunity to weigh in at our Annual Town Meeting and perhaps, again , at the ballot box.”  Really?  At the ballot box?  In what sense?  Sara, your committee itself highlighted, “This is a tool that is already available and can be implemented by a vote of the Board of

Selectmen. It does not need Town Meeting approval or special legislation.”  Sara, which is it?  Do we get to vote again at Town Meeting, or can the BoS just enact it, per the words from your Committee?

 

Sara, you wrote, “The BoS are seeking participation in this discussion in a public forum, a forum  beyond LT.”  No doubt that the BoS would like to have that public forum discussion.  Acknowledged.  But, Sara, per your missives on this topic tonight, you seem to be . . . discouraging discussion on LincolnTalk and encouraging people to instead save their questions and comments until the public forum.  WHY?   Surely you’d agree that LincolnTalk is a convenient way for a large portion of the town to share opinions and learn facts and new viewpoints ahead of the public forum, right?  Or . . . are you afraid of something?

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 11:21 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dennis,

 

First, taxation in this country has historically been relatively progressive-those with more, pay more.

The amount has varied over the decades, ever since we enacted an income tax, but the basic concept has remained in place.

You may call it “soak the rich” but that has been public policy for a long, long time.

Other may call it “investment in a civil society."

 

Second, perhaps you have not read the BoS newsletter or any of the info that has been put out there.

The BoS are seeking participation in this discussion in a public forum, a forum  beyond LT.

There is a public forum on Oc.t 15, and, again,  this will  be a subject for discussion at the Nov. SoTT.

Then there will another opportunity to weigh in at our Annual Town Meeting and perhaps, again , at the ballot box.

 

This is a democracy and it belongs to those who show up, debate and vote.

 

Sara

PS-Btw, I, too, am in the 40%.

 

 




On Oct 2, 2019, at 11:04 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Sara:

 

I’ve pointed out in many places in my emails on this topic that the burden would be carried by 40% of the town.  I trust that the readers of these emails can do the simple math of subtracting 40% from 100%.

 

But your response reveals exactly why my overall point creates such outrage.  You seem to feel that because a majority of homeowners will be paying less taxes, therefore everyone should be relieved?  Because, hey, screw the rich(er) 40%?

 

I would be equally outraged if 80% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 20%.

 

I would be equally outraged if 95% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 5%.

 

This process is outrageous.  The Committee is contemplating raising taxes on some people in town, without a town vote, and redistributing their money to other people in town.  That’s the bottom line.

 

(BTW, for those that are no doubt curious, per the property tax bill I received today, I am indeed in that 40% -- but just barely.)

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 10:55 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dennis,

You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.

Sara





On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.

 

I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).

 

Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:

 

  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.

 

Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis 

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

samattes
I am NOT speaking on behalf of the PTSC or the BoS or anyone other than myself!
Please stop  trying to put words into “my mouth.”
The committee has taken no position, it is currently collecting information and has been presenting/publishing that.

Please come to the forum and ask your questions of the committee and/or the BoS.
The BoS have a time for public comments built into every meeting.
Perhaps that is the place to get some of your questions answered.
Those meetings are held on camera and have minutes that are then voted for approval and posted.


On Oct 3, 2019, at 12:10 AM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Sara wrote:  “Again, you do not seem to acknowledge that there will be an advisory vote.”
 
Really?  There will be an advisory vote?  How would I or anyone know?  
  1. The email from Jennifer Glass on behalf of the Committee made no mention of an “advisory vote”.
  2. The latest newsletter from the Board of Selectman, which covers this topic, made no mention of an “advisory vote”. (https://www.lincolntown.org/DocumentCenter/View/47873/September-2019-BOS-Newsletter-Revised-Color)
  3. The PDF generated by the Committee (which I attached to my earlier email this evening) made no mention of an “advisory vote".
    1. The PDF did add on Slide 22, “Any decisions about adopting a new program would be on the agenda at the March 2020 Town Meeting.”  It does not make clear that there would be an “advisory vote”, only that it would be on the agenda, leading to . . . a discussion?
Note again that all of the three items above explicitly call out, “This is a tool that is already available and can be implemented by a vote of the Board of Selectmen. It does not need Town Meeting approval or special legislation.”  Yes, that is an attribute of the state-wide enabling legislation.  But why highlight it in each instance but not mention that the Committee intends to recommend no action until an advisory vote happens, if that is indeed the case?
 
So, Sara, are you saying, on behalf of the Committee and the BoS, that the BoS will not enact the Residential Exemption until and unless there is a town-wide “advisory” vote in favor of it?
 
P.S.  Yes, *I* am the one arguing about “fairness”!  Apparently, I am the only one that believes that “fairness” would mean that we don’t have a further tax increase, caused by the new school building, unless we have a town-wide vote in favor of it!
 
--Dennis
 
 
 
 
From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 11:51 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief
 
Again, you do not seem to acknowledge that there will be an advisory vote.
As the BoS are legally charge to establish the rate, there can be no legal binding vote by the electorate.
But, we have multiple opportunities to “advise.” 
And that is all we can legally do.
 
You seemed to have missed that I noted that tax rates (income) have been progressive, some times more than others.
Right now, we are in a period of a reduced rate of progressively.
 
I am simply stating the facts.
 
And where did I argue “fairness?”
Those are your words, not mine.
 
Again, I am just trying to remind the reader of the history of forms of taxation, and how it has been thought of by some … perhaps the majority in that has remained progressive, to varying degrees, since its inception.
 
And, it would be shear hypocrisy for me to suggest LT is not a valuable forum for discussion and debate, but, at the end of the day, the decisions will be made from feedback gathered at the Oct.Oct.. 15 forum, SoTT, Town Meeting, and, perhaps, the ballot box.
 
Sara
PS-and, you are the first to suggest I might be “afraid of something,”  esp. a yeasty debate!


On Oct 2, 2019, at 11:38 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
Sara, are you really arguing that the current property tax system we have is NOT already progressive?  Yes, it’s a flat tax, in the sense that there is only one flat rate of tax ($15.36/$1,000 for 2020), but BY DEFINITION, since this tax is applied to the wealth that we hold, it is progressive by nature.  The contemplated tax increase would just take a progressive tax and make it . . . somewhat more progressive.
 
Please don’t try to color this proposal by making arguments in favor of “fairness”.  What would have been fair is to have had this discussion *before* the school building vote.  Trying to enact a tax hike now, even if it applies “only” to 40% of the town and “benefits” 60% of the town is . . . outrageous.
 
To your point about whether I have read the “info that has been put out there” . . . I have literally quoted from the Committee on which you serve, Sara.  I have referenced your Committee’s material.  All of us understand that there is an upcoming public forum.  None of which detracts from my . . . outrage that the Committee is contemplating putting a proposal/recommendation to the BoS to ex-post-facto raise taxes, without a town-wide vote.  
 
You write, “Then there will another opportunity to weigh in at our Annual Town Meeting and perhaps, again , at the ballot box.”  Really?  At the ballot box?  In what sense?  Sara, your committee itself highlighted, “This is a tool that is already available and can be implemented by a vote of the Board of
Selectmen. It does not need Town Meeting approval or special legislation.”  Sara, which is it?  Do we get to vote again at Town Meeting, or can the BoS just enact it, per the words from your Committee?
 
Sara, you wrote, “The BoS are seeking participation in this discussion in a public forum, a forum  beyond LT.”  No doubt that the BoS would like to have that public forum discussion.  Acknowledged.  But, Sara, per your missives on this topic tonight, you seem to be . . . discouraging discussion on LincolnTalk and encouraging people to instead save their questions and comments until the public forum.  WHY?   Surely you’d agree that LincolnTalk is a convenient way for a large portion of the town to share opinions and learn facts and new viewpoints ahead of the public forum, right?  Or . . . are you afraid of something?
 
--Dennis
 
 
 
 
From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 11:21 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief
 
Dennis,
 
First, taxation in this country has historically been relatively progressive-those with more, pay more.
The amount has varied over the decades, ever since we enacted an income tax, but the basic concept has remained in place.
You may call it “soak the rich” but that has been public policy for a long, long time.
Other may call it “investment in a civil society."
 
Second, perhaps you have not read the BoS newsletter or any of the info that has been put out there.
The BoS are seeking participation in this discussion in a public forum, a forum  beyond LT.
There is a public forum on Oc.t 15, and, again,  this will  be a subject for discussion at the Nov. SoTT.
Then there will another opportunity to weigh in at our Annual Town Meeting and perhaps, again , at the ballot box.
 
This is a democracy and it belongs to those who show up, debate and vote.
 
Sara
PS-Btw, I, too, am in the 40%.
 
 



On Oct 2, 2019, at 11:04 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
Sara:
 
I’ve pointed out in many places in my emails on this topic that the burden would be carried by 40% of the town.  I trust that the readers of these emails can do the simple math of subtracting 40% from 100%.
 
But your response reveals exactly why my overall point creates such outrage.  You seem to feel that because a majority of homeowners will be paying less taxes, therefore everyone should be relieved?  Because, hey, screw the rich(er) 40%?
 
I would be equally outraged if 80% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 20%.
 
I would be equally outraged if 95% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 5%.
 
This process is outrageous.  The Committee is contemplating raising taxes on some people in town, without a town vote, and redistributing their money to other people in town.  That’s the bottom line.
 
(BTW, for those that are no doubt curious, per the property tax bill I received today, I am indeed in that 40% -- but just barely.)
 
--Dennis
 
 
 
From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 10:55 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief
 
Dennis,
You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.
Sara




On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.
 
I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).
 
Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:
 
  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.
 
Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis
 
From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief
 
Dear fellow Lincolnites:
 
When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.
 
So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?
 
Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.
 
The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.
 
But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?
 
Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).
 
This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).
 
One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.
 
Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.
 
Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.
 
Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)
 
The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?
 
Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  
 
Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  
 
Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis 
 
 
From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...
 
Property Tax Study Committee 
Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm
Donaldson Room, Town Offices
 
Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:
  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.
The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:
  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program
Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)
 
Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!
 
Jennifer Glass, for the Committee
 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:
  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.
 
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Dennis Liu

I’m not putting words into your mouth, Sara – you are.  Because you wrote to me, “Again, you do not seem to acknowledge that there will be an advisory vote.”

 

I did not find anything in the three cited sources talking about an advisory vote.

 

Sara, you sit on the Committee.  Ergo, my question to you – since you’re insisting that there will be an advisory vote (indeed, berating me for failing to acknowledge such), what is the SOURCE of your statement?

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Thursday, October 3, 2019 12:18 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

I am NOT speaking on behalf of the PTSC or the BoS or anyone other than myself!

Please stop  trying to put words into “my mouth.”

The committee has taken no position, it is currently collecting information and has been presenting/publishing that.

 

Please come to the forum and ask your questions of the committee and/or the BoS.

The BoS have a time for public comments built into every meeting.

Perhaps that is the place to get some of your questions answered.

Those meetings are held on camera and have minutes that are then voted for approval and posted.

 



On Oct 3, 2019, at 12:10 AM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Sara wrote:  “Again, you do not seem to acknowledge that there will be an advisory vote.”

 

Really?  There will be an advisory vote?  How would I or anyone know?  

  1. The email from Jennifer Glass on behalf of the Committee made no mention of an “advisory vote”.
  2. The latest newsletter from the Board of Selectman, which covers this topic, made no mention of an “advisory vote”. (https://www.lincolntown.org/DocumentCenter/View/47873/September-2019-BOS-Newsletter-Revised-Color)
  3. The PDF generated by the Committee (which I attached to my earlier email this evening) made no mention of an “advisory vote".
    1. The PDF did add on Slide 22, “Any decisions about adopting a new program would be on the agenda at the March 2020 Town Meeting.”  It does not make clear that there would be an “advisory vote”, only that it would be on the agenda, leading to . . . a discussion?

Note again that all of the three items above explicitly call out, “This is a tool that is already available and can be implemented by a vote of the Board of Selectmen. It does not need Town Meeting approval or special legislation.”  Yes, that is an attribute of the state-wide enabling legislation.  But why highlight it in each instance but not mention that the Committee intends to recommend no action until an advisory vote happens, if that is indeed the case?

 

So, Sara, are you saying, on behalf of the Committee and the BoS, that the BoS will not enact the Residential Exemption until and unless there is a town-wide “advisory” vote in favor of it?

 

P.S.  Yes, *I* am the one arguing about “fairness”!  Apparently, I am the only one that believes that “fairness” would mean that we don’t have a further tax increase, caused by the new school building, unless we have a town-wide vote in favor of it!

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 11:51 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Again, you do not seem to acknowledge that there will be an advisory vote.

As the BoS are legally charge to establish the rate, there can be no legal binding vote by the electorate.

But, we have multiple opportunities to “advise.” 

And that is all we can legally do.

 

You seemed to have missed that I noted that tax rates (income) have been progressive, some times more than others.

Right now, we are in a period of a reduced rate of progressively.

 

I am simply stating the facts.

 

And where did I argue “fairness?”

Those are your words, not mine.

 

Again, I am just trying to remind the reader of the history of forms of taxation, and how it has been thought of by some … perhaps the majority in that has remained progressive, to varying degrees, since its inception.

 

And, it would be shear hypocrisy for me to suggest LT is not a valuable forum for discussion and debate, but, at the end of the day, the decisions will be made from feedback gathered at the Oct.Oct.. 15 forum, SoTT, Town Meeting, and, perhaps, the ballot box.

 

Sara

PS-and, you are the first to suggest I might be “afraid of something,”  esp. a yeasty debate!




On Oct 2, 2019, at 11:38 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Sara, are you really arguing that the current property tax system we have is NOT already progressive?  Yes, it’s a flat tax, in the sense that there is only one flat rate of tax ($15.36/$1,000 for 2020), but BY DEFINITION, since this tax is applied to the wealth that we hold, it is progressive by nature.  The contemplated tax increase would just take a progressive tax and make it . . . somewhat more progressive.

 

Please don’t try to color this proposal by making arguments in favor of “fairness”.  What would have been fair is to have had this discussion *before* the school building vote.  Trying to enact a tax hike now, even if it applies “only” to 40% of the town and “benefits” 60% of the town is . . . outrageous.

 

To your point about whether I have read the “info that has been put out there” . . . I have literally quoted from the Committee on which you serve, Sara.  I have referenced your Committee’s material.  All of us understand that there is an upcoming public forum.  None of which detracts from my . . . outrage that the Committee is contemplating putting a proposal/recommendation to the BoS to ex-post-facto raise taxes, without a town-wide vote.  

 

You write, “Then there will another opportunity to weigh in at our Annual Town Meeting and perhaps, again , at the ballot box.”  Really?  At the ballot box?  In what sense?  Sara, your committee itself highlighted, “This is a tool that is already available and can be implemented by a vote of the Board of

Selectmen. It does not need Town Meeting approval or special legislation.”  Sara, which is it?  Do we get to vote again at Town Meeting, or can the BoS just enact it, per the words from your Committee?

 

Sara, you wrote, “The BoS are seeking participation in this discussion in a public forum, a forum  beyond LT.”  No doubt that the BoS would like to have that public forum discussion.  Acknowledged.  But, Sara, per your missives on this topic tonight, you seem to be . . . discouraging discussion on LincolnTalk and encouraging people to instead save their questions and comments until the public forum.  WHY?   Surely you’d agree that LincolnTalk is a convenient way for a large portion of the town to share opinions and learn facts and new viewpoints ahead of the public forum, right?  Or . . . are you afraid of something?

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 11:21 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dennis,

 

First, taxation in this country has historically been relatively progressive-those with more, pay more.

The amount has varied over the decades, ever since we enacted an income tax, but the basic concept has remained in place.

You may call it “soak the rich” but that has been public policy for a long, long time.

Other may call it “investment in a civil society."

 

Second, perhaps you have not read the BoS newsletter or any of the info that has been put out there.

The BoS are seeking participation in this discussion in a public forum, a forum  beyond LT.

There is a public forum on Oc.t 15, and, again,  this will  be a subject for discussion at the Nov. SoTT.

Then there will another opportunity to weigh in at our Annual Town Meeting and perhaps, again , at the ballot box.

 

This is a democracy and it belongs to those who show up, debate and vote.

 

Sara

PS-Btw, I, too, am in the 40%.

 

 





On Oct 2, 2019, at 11:04 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Sara:

 

I’ve pointed out in many places in my emails on this topic that the burden would be carried by 40% of the town.  I trust that the readers of these emails can do the simple math of subtracting 40% from 100%.

 

But your response reveals exactly why my overall point creates such outrage.  You seem to feel that because a majority of homeowners will be paying less taxes, therefore everyone should be relieved?  Because, hey, screw the rich(er) 40%?

 

I would be equally outraged if 80% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 20%.

 

I would be equally outraged if 95% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 5%.

 

This process is outrageous.  The Committee is contemplating raising taxes on some people in town, without a town vote, and redistributing their money to other people in town.  That’s the bottom line.

 

(BTW, for those that are no doubt curious, per the property tax bill I received today, I am indeed in that 40% -- but just barely.)

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 10:55 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dennis,

You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.

Sara






On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.

 

I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).

 

Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:

 

  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.

 

Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis 

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Richard Panetta
In reply to this post by samattes
I would be in the 60% and do not like forcing others to pay more because they can.

 I agree with Dennis, right now the rate is flat so everyone pays the same %. This would put the burden on the people who can pay more, but just because they can does not mean we should force them too. I know this is a very popular idea lately with the State trying to force millionaires to pay more in income taxes but if we are to treat everyone as equals it should be done economically as well as socially in my opinion. 

Like any tax, if someone wants to volunteer to pay more than they always can. 



On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:55 PM Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dennis,
You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.
Sara

On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.
 
I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).
 
Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:
 
  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.
 
Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis
 
From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief
 
Dear fellow Lincolnites:
 
When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.
 
So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?
 
Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.
 
The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.
 
But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?
 
Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).
 
This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).
 
One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.
 
Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.
 
Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.
 
Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)
 
The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?
 
Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  
 
Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  
 
Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis 
 
 
From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...
 
Property Tax Study Committee 
Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm
Donaldson Room, Town Offices
 
Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:
  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.
The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:
  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program
Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)
 
Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!
 
Jennifer Glass, for the Committee
 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:
  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.
 
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Sasha Golden
This does, however, ignore the reason for progressive taxation -- that an equal tax rate does not affect all families equally because it does not reflect tax as a percentage of family income. Someone making $100k who pays an extra $1k in tax effectively pays an additional 1% of their income. Someone making $1M effectively pays 0.1% more -- a far lower impact on household cash flow.

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 7:38 AM Richard Panetta <[hidden email]> wrote:
I would be in the 60% and do not like forcing others to pay more because they can.

 I agree with Dennis, right now the rate is flat so everyone pays the same %. This would put the burden on the people who can pay more, but just because they can does not mean we should force them too. I know this is a very popular idea lately with the State trying to force millionaires to pay more in income taxes but if we are to treat everyone as equals it should be done economically as well as socially in my opinion. 

Like any tax, if someone wants to volunteer to pay more than they always can. 



On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:55 PM Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dennis,
You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.
Sara

On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.
 
I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).
 
Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:
 
  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.
 
Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis
 
From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief
 
Dear fellow Lincolnites:
 
When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.
 
So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?
 
Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.
 
The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.
 
But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?
 
Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).
 
This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).
 
One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.
 
Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.
 
Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.
 
Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)
 
The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?
 
Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  
 
Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  
 
Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis 
 
 
From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...
 
Property Tax Study Committee 
Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm
Donaldson Room, Town Offices
 
Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:
  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.
The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:
  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program
Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)
 
Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!
 
Jennifer Glass, for the Committee
 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:
  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.
 
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Seth Rosen
Hi Sasha, it's important to remember that unlike all of the other mechanisms currently in place, a "residential exemption" is not means tested.  Your family income is not a factor in determining whether or not you benefit.  

You could have a $30M net worth, a $1M annual income, live in a house that's assessed below the line of demarcation, and still get a tax break at the expense of your neighbor.

Seth


On Oct 3, 2019, at 8:16 AM, Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:

This does, however, ignore the reason for progressive taxation -- that an equal tax rate does not affect all families equally because it does not reflect tax as a percentage of family income. Someone making $100k who pays an extra $1k in tax effectively pays an additional 1% of their income. Someone making $1M effectively pays 0.1% more -- a far lower impact on household cash flow.

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 7:38 AM Richard Panetta <[hidden email]> wrote:
I would be in the 60% and do not like forcing others to pay more because they can.

 I agree with Dennis, right now the rate is flat so everyone pays the same %. This would put the burden on the people who can pay more, but just because they can does not mean we should force them too. I know this is a very popular idea lately with the State trying to force millionaires to pay more in income taxes but if we are to treat everyone as equals it should be done economically as well as socially in my opinion. 

Like any tax, if someone wants to volunteer to pay more than they always can. 



On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:55 PM Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dennis,
You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.
Sara

On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.
 
I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).
 
Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:
 
  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.
 
Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis
 
From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief
 
Dear fellow Lincolnites:
 
When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.
 
So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?
 
Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.
 
The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.
 
But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?
 
Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).
 
This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).
 
One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.
 
Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.
 
Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.
 
Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)
 
The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.
 
When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?
 
Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  
 
Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  
 
Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?
 
Vty,
 
--Dennis 
 
 
From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...
 
Property Tax Study Committee 
Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm
Donaldson Room, Town Offices
 
Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:
  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.
The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:
  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program
Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)
 
Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!
 
Jennifer Glass, for the Committee
 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:
  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.
 
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Dennis Liu

Sasha Golden wrote:

 

>This does, however, ignore the reason for progressive taxation -- that an equal tax rate does not affect all families equally because it does not reflect tax as a percentage of family income. Someone making $100k who pays an extra $1k in tax effectively pays an additional 1% of their income. Someone making $1M effectively pays 0.1% more -- a far lower impact on household cash flow.

 

Sasha, not quite sure of how you’re doing your math?

 

Property taxes, which are arguably “flat taxes”, are indeed progressive.  AND *income tax*, to which your statement seems to be referring, is even more progressive.

 

Of course, your statement is true, as basic arithmetic – someone who has an income of $100k and pays an extra $1k in tax does pay more as a percentage of their income than someone paying $1k on $1mm of income.  But that’s *not* what we’re discussing, right?

 

Property tax is an ad valorem (wealth) tax on the value of, well, one’s property.  So, to paraphrase your example, someone who pays the Lincoln property tax rate of $15.36/$1,000 on a home worth $100,000 would pay $1,536 in property tax.  While someone with a home worth $1,000,000 would pay $15,360.  The “wealthier” person pays, literally, 10x the amount of property tax.  Is that not “progressive”?

 

BTW, the same would be true if we were discussing income tax; to simplify, someone paying income tax (federal or state) on $100,000 worth of income is paying far less in taxes than someone paying it on $1mm worth of income.  It’s definitely progressive.  As to whether it is progressive *enough* is another subject altogether, but one cannot fairly say that income taxes are not progressive in nature.

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Seth Rosen
Sent: Thursday, October 3, 2019 9:04 AM
To: Sasha Golden <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Hi Sasha, it's important to remember that unlike all of the other mechanisms currently in place, a "residential exemption" is not means tested.  Your family income is not a factor in determining whether or not you benefit.  

 

You could have a $30M net worth, a $1M annual income, live in a house that's assessed below the line of demarcation, and still get a tax break at the expense of your neighbor.

 

Seth

 

 

On Oct 3, 2019, at 8:16 AM, Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:

This does, however, ignore the reason for progressive taxation -- that an equal tax rate does not affect all families equally because it does not reflect tax as a percentage of family income. Someone making $100k who pays an extra $1k in tax effectively pays an additional 1% of their income. Someone making $1M effectively pays 0.1% more -- a far lower impact on household cash flow.

 

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 7:38 AM Richard Panetta <[hidden email]> wrote:

I would be in the 60% and do not like forcing others to pay more because they can.

 

 I agree with Dennis, right now the rate is flat so everyone pays the same %. This would put the burden on the people who can pay more, but just because they can does not mean we should force them too. I know this is a very popular idea lately with the State trying to force millionaires to pay more in income taxes but if we are to treat everyone as equals it should be done economically as well as socially in my opinion. 

 

Like any tax, if someone wants to volunteer to pay more than they always can. 

 

 

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:55 PM Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dennis,

You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.

Sara



On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.

 

I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).

 

Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:

 

  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.

 

Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis 

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Kathryn Anagnostakis
To Dennis' point - who decides at which point someone is rich enough or lives in a property worth enough to be considered wealthy enough to pay the extra tax?  Some would argue that there are many people living in Lincoln, in houses worth $1M who do not have the income to pay the extra tax.  In fact, I think that was argued often in the fight leading up to the school vote.  

So someone has to arbitrarily decide who's rich enough.  I think we can all agree that Bezos and Buffet are rich enough but why do the Liu's get lumped in there with them? 

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Sasha Golden wrote:

 

>This does, however, ignore the reason for progressive taxation -- that an equal tax rate does not affect all families equally because it does not reflect tax as a percentage of family income. Someone making $100k who pays an extra $1k in tax effectively pays an additional 1% of their income. Someone making $1M effectively pays 0.1% more -- a far lower impact on household cash flow.

 

Sasha, not quite sure of how you’re doing your math?

 

Property taxes, which are arguably “flat taxes”, are indeed progressive.  AND *income tax*, to which your statement seems to be referring, is even more progressive.

 

Of course, your statement is true, as basic arithmetic – someone who has an income of $100k and pays an extra $1k in tax does pay more as a percentage of their income than someone paying $1k on $1mm of income.  But that’s *not* what we’re discussing, right?

 

Property tax is an ad valorem (wealth) tax on the value of, well, one’s property.  So, to paraphrase your example, someone who pays the Lincoln property tax rate of $15.36/$1,000 on a home worth $100,000 would pay $1,536 in property tax.  While someone with a home worth $1,000,000 would pay $15,360.  The “wealthier” person pays, literally, 10x the amount of property tax.  Is that not “progressive”?

 

BTW, the same would be true if we were discussing income tax; to simplify, someone paying income tax (federal or state) on $100,000 worth of income is paying far less in taxes than someone paying it on $1mm worth of income.  It’s definitely progressive.  As to whether it is progressive *enough* is another subject altogether, but one cannot fairly say that income taxes are not progressive in nature.

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Seth Rosen
Sent: Thursday, October 3, 2019 9:04 AM
To: Sasha Golden <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Hi Sasha, it's important to remember that unlike all of the other mechanisms currently in place, a "residential exemption" is not means tested.  Your family income is not a factor in determining whether or not you benefit.  

 

You could have a $30M net worth, a $1M annual income, live in a house that's assessed below the line of demarcation, and still get a tax break at the expense of your neighbor.

 

Seth

 

 

On Oct 3, 2019, at 8:16 AM, Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:

This does, however, ignore the reason for progressive taxation -- that an equal tax rate does not affect all families equally because it does not reflect tax as a percentage of family income. Someone making $100k who pays an extra $1k in tax effectively pays an additional 1% of their income. Someone making $1M effectively pays 0.1% more -- a far lower impact on household cash flow.

 

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 7:38 AM Richard Panetta <[hidden email]> wrote:

I would be in the 60% and do not like forcing others to pay more because they can.

 

 I agree with Dennis, right now the rate is flat so everyone pays the same %. This would put the burden on the people who can pay more, but just because they can does not mean we should force them too. I know this is a very popular idea lately with the State trying to force millionaires to pay more in income taxes but if we are to treat everyone as equals it should be done economically as well as socially in my opinion. 

 

Like any tax, if someone wants to volunteer to pay more than they always can. 

 

 

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:55 PM Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dennis,

You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.

Sara



On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.

 

I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).

 

Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:

 

  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.

 

Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis 

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Sincerely,
Kathryn Anagnostakis
617.794.0410



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Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Debra Daugherty
The question of whether or not to move is not really a function of how much your property taxes have increased. It's a function of the tax rate itself and how it compares with those of similar towns that people might want to move to. Using Dennis' three examples (with the hypothetical max exemption of 35%), the tax rates are: (1) 1.6% ($1.2 million home), (2) 1.8% ($2 million home), and (3) 2% ($3 million home).





On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 10:49 AM Kathryn Anagnostakis <[hidden email]> wrote:
To Dennis' point - who decides at which point someone is rich enough or lives in a property worth enough to be considered wealthy enough to pay the extra tax?  Some would argue that there are many people living in Lincoln, in houses worth $1M who do not have the income to pay the extra tax.  In fact, I think that was argued often in the fight leading up to the school vote.  

So someone has to arbitrarily decide who's rich enough.  I think we can all agree that Bezos and Buffet are rich enough but why do the Liu's get lumped in there with them? 

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Sasha Golden wrote:

 

>This does, however, ignore the reason for progressive taxation -- that an equal tax rate does not affect all families equally because it does not reflect tax as a percentage of family income. Someone making $100k who pays an extra $1k in tax effectively pays an additional 1% of their income. Someone making $1M effectively pays 0.1% more -- a far lower impact on household cash flow.

 

Sasha, not quite sure of how you’re doing your math?

 

Property taxes, which are arguably “flat taxes”, are indeed progressive.  AND *income tax*, to which your statement seems to be referring, is even more progressive.

 

Of course, your statement is true, as basic arithmetic – someone who has an income of $100k and pays an extra $1k in tax does pay more as a percentage of their income than someone paying $1k on $1mm of income.  But that’s *not* what we’re discussing, right?

 

Property tax is an ad valorem (wealth) tax on the value of, well, one’s property.  So, to paraphrase your example, someone who pays the Lincoln property tax rate of $15.36/$1,000 on a home worth $100,000 would pay $1,536 in property tax.  While someone with a home worth $1,000,000 would pay $15,360.  The “wealthier” person pays, literally, 10x the amount of property tax.  Is that not “progressive”?

 

BTW, the same would be true if we were discussing income tax; to simplify, someone paying income tax (federal or state) on $100,000 worth of income is paying far less in taxes than someone paying it on $1mm worth of income.  It’s definitely progressive.  As to whether it is progressive *enough* is another subject altogether, but one cannot fairly say that income taxes are not progressive in nature.

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Seth Rosen
Sent: Thursday, October 3, 2019 9:04 AM
To: Sasha Golden <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Hi Sasha, it's important to remember that unlike all of the other mechanisms currently in place, a "residential exemption" is not means tested.  Your family income is not a factor in determining whether or not you benefit.  

 

You could have a $30M net worth, a $1M annual income, live in a house that's assessed below the line of demarcation, and still get a tax break at the expense of your neighbor.

 

Seth

 

 

On Oct 3, 2019, at 8:16 AM, Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:

This does, however, ignore the reason for progressive taxation -- that an equal tax rate does not affect all families equally because it does not reflect tax as a percentage of family income. Someone making $100k who pays an extra $1k in tax effectively pays an additional 1% of their income. Someone making $1M effectively pays 0.1% more -- a far lower impact on household cash flow.

 

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 7:38 AM Richard Panetta <[hidden email]> wrote:

I would be in the 60% and do not like forcing others to pay more because they can.

 

 I agree with Dennis, right now the rate is flat so everyone pays the same %. This would put the burden on the people who can pay more, but just because they can does not mean we should force them too. I know this is a very popular idea lately with the State trying to force millionaires to pay more in income taxes but if we are to treat everyone as equals it should be done economically as well as socially in my opinion. 

 

Like any tax, if someone wants to volunteer to pay more than they always can. 

 

 

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:55 PM Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dennis,

You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.

Sara



On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.

 

I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).

 

Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:

 

  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.

 

Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis 

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Sincerely,
Kathryn Anagnostakis
617.794.0410


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[LincolnTalk] Shifting the real estate tax burden to the expensive homes in Lincoln

Seth Rosen
In reply to this post by Dennis Liu
@Dennis. I personally am grateful for your spirited commentary on this very important issue.  I recognize some folks may find your tone objectionable, but I feel that you have made good faith efforts to advance fact-based, cogent arguments on the merits.  I thank you for your spirited participation, and I hope others feel empowered to follow your example.

@Neighbors.  I share many of Dennis' concerns.  While I recognize this statement may be controversial, I personally don't understand the need for a "Property Tax Study Committee" since the nature and character of the issue is already very well understood.   It appears to me that the sole credible purpose of the committee is to investigate if and how Lincoln should further shift the real estate tax burden onto residents with more expensive homes by enacting the so-called "residential exemption" (which no other comparable community has adopted, for many of the excellent reasons already pointed out in previous threads).  

So to be clear... my neighbor whose house is worth 3 times what mine is currently pays 3 times as much as I do.  Since I cannot imagine that he consumes three times as many town services as my family does, he already objectively pays more than his fair share (thank you, by the way).   Now we want to consider having that guy pay even more so someone who lives in an $800,000 house in Lincoln Massachusetts can pay even less?   I personally don't think my neighbors should be asked to provide a further subsidy for someone choosing to live in a house worth more than double the median home price in Massachusetts.  They certainly shouldn't be asked to do so in the absence of any means testing.  And don't forget the additional hidden tax - that my neighbor's expensive home is now substantially reduced in value by virtue of his increased tax burden.

Clearly it is expensive to live here, as it is in many wealthy suburban communities.  Proffering these ideas in the name of maintaining "economic diversity" in the town is, in my opinion disingenuous.  

I hope others will make themselves heard on this very important issue.

Seth

Seth I Rosen
Cell: 617-771-5602
Email: [hidden email]


On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 12:30 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

I’m not putting words into your mouth, Sara – you are.  Because you wrote to me, “Again, you do not seem to acknowledge that there will be an advisory vote.”

 

I did not find anything in the three cited sources talking about an advisory vote.

 

Sara, you sit on the Committee.  Ergo, my question to you – since you’re insisting that there will be an advisory vote (indeed, berating me for failing to acknowledge such), what is the SOURCE of your statement?

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Thursday, October 3, 2019 12:18 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

I am NOT speaking on behalf of the PTSC or the BoS or anyone other than myself!

Please stop  trying to put words into “my mouth.”

The committee has taken no position, it is currently collecting information and has been presenting/publishing that.

 

Please come to the forum and ask your questions of the committee and/or the BoS.

The BoS have a time for public comments built into every meeting.

Perhaps that is the place to get some of your questions answered.

Those meetings are held on camera and have minutes that are then voted for approval and posted.

 



On Oct 3, 2019, at 12:10 AM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Sara wrote:  “Again, you do not seem to acknowledge that there will be an advisory vote.”

 

Really?  There will be an advisory vote?  How would I or anyone know?  

  1. The email from Jennifer Glass on behalf of the Committee made no mention of an “advisory vote”.
  2. The latest newsletter from the Board of Selectman, which covers this topic, made no mention of an “advisory vote”. (https://www.lincolntown.org/DocumentCenter/View/47873/September-2019-BOS-Newsletter-Revised-Color)
  3. The PDF generated by the Committee (which I attached to my earlier email this evening) made no mention of an “advisory vote".
    1. The PDF did add on Slide 22, “Any decisions about adopting a new program would be on the agenda at the March 2020 Town Meeting.”  It does not make clear that there would be an “advisory vote”, only that it would be on the agenda, leading to . . . a discussion?

Note again that all of the three items above explicitly call out, “This is a tool that is already available and can be implemented by a vote of the Board of Selectmen. It does not need Town Meeting approval or special legislation.”  Yes, that is an attribute of the state-wide enabling legislation.  But why highlight it in each instance but not mention that the Committee intends to recommend no action until an advisory vote happens, if that is indeed the case?

 

So, Sara, are you saying, on behalf of the Committee and the BoS, that the BoS will not enact the Residential Exemption until and unless there is a town-wide “advisory” vote in favor of it?

 

P.S.  Yes, *I* am the one arguing about “fairness”!  Apparently, I am the only one that believes that “fairness” would mean that we don’t have a further tax increase, caused by the new school building, unless we have a town-wide vote in favor of it!

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 11:51 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Again, you do not seem to acknowledge that there will be an advisory vote.

As the BoS are legally charge to establish the rate, there can be no legal binding vote by the electorate.

But, we have multiple opportunities to “advise.” 

And that is all we can legally do.

 

You seemed to have missed that I noted that tax rates (income) have been progressive, some times more than others.

Right now, we are in a period of a reduced rate of progressively.

 

I am simply stating the facts.

 

And where did I argue “fairness?”

Those are your words, not mine.

 

Again, I am just trying to remind the reader of the history of forms of taxation, and how it has been thought of by some … perhaps the majority in that has remained progressive, to varying degrees, since its inception.

 

And, it would be shear hypocrisy for me to suggest LT is not a valuable forum for discussion and debate, but, at the end of the day, the decisions will be made from feedback gathered at the Oct.Oct.. 15 forum, SoTT, Town Meeting, and, perhaps, the ballot box.

 

Sara

PS-and, you are the first to suggest I might be “afraid of something,”  esp. a yeasty debate!




On Oct 2, 2019, at 11:38 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Sara, are you really arguing that the current property tax system we have is NOT already progressive?  Yes, it’s a flat tax, in the sense that there is only one flat rate of tax ($15.36/$1,000 for 2020), but BY DEFINITION, since this tax is applied to the wealth that we hold, it is progressive by nature.  The contemplated tax increase would just take a progressive tax and make it . . . somewhat more progressive.

 

Please don’t try to color this proposal by making arguments in favor of “fairness”.  What would have been fair is to have had this discussion *before* the school building vote.  Trying to enact a tax hike now, even if it applies “only” to 40% of the town and “benefits” 60% of the town is . . . outrageous.

 

To your point about whether I have read the “info that has been put out there” . . . I have literally quoted from the Committee on which you serve, Sara.  I have referenced your Committee’s material.  All of us understand that there is an upcoming public forum.  None of which detracts from my . . . outrage that the Committee is contemplating putting a proposal/recommendation to the BoS to ex-post-facto raise taxes, without a town-wide vote.  

 

You write, “Then there will another opportunity to weigh in at our Annual Town Meeting and perhaps, again , at the ballot box.”  Really?  At the ballot box?  In what sense?  Sara, your committee itself highlighted, “This is a tool that is already available and can be implemented by a vote of the Board of

Selectmen. It does not need Town Meeting approval or special legislation.”  Sara, which is it?  Do we get to vote again at Town Meeting, or can the BoS just enact it, per the words from your Committee?

 

Sara, you wrote, “The BoS are seeking participation in this discussion in a public forum, a forum  beyond LT.”  No doubt that the BoS would like to have that public forum discussion.  Acknowledged.  But, Sara, per your missives on this topic tonight, you seem to be . . . discouraging discussion on LincolnTalk and encouraging people to instead save their questions and comments until the public forum.  WHY?   Surely you’d agree that LincolnTalk is a convenient way for a large portion of the town to share opinions and learn facts and new viewpoints ahead of the public forum, right?  Or . . . are you afraid of something?

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 11:21 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dennis,

 

First, taxation in this country has historically been relatively progressive-those with more, pay more.

The amount has varied over the decades, ever since we enacted an income tax, but the basic concept has remained in place.

You may call it “soak the rich” but that has been public policy for a long, long time.

Other may call it “investment in a civil society."

 

Second, perhaps you have not read the BoS newsletter or any of the info that has been put out there.

The BoS are seeking participation in this discussion in a public forum, a forum  beyond LT.

There is a public forum on Oc.t 15, and, again,  this will  be a subject for discussion at the Nov. SoTT.

Then there will another opportunity to weigh in at our Annual Town Meeting and perhaps, again , at the ballot box.

 

This is a democracy and it belongs to those who show up, debate and vote.

 

Sara

PS-Btw, I, too, am in the 40%.

 

 





On Oct 2, 2019, at 11:04 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Sara:

 

I’ve pointed out in many places in my emails on this topic that the burden would be carried by 40% of the town.  I trust that the readers of these emails can do the simple math of subtracting 40% from 100%.

 

But your response reveals exactly why my overall point creates such outrage.  You seem to feel that because a majority of homeowners will be paying less taxes, therefore everyone should be relieved?  Because, hey, screw the rich(er) 40%?

 

I would be equally outraged if 80% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 20%.

 

I would be equally outraged if 95% of the town would pay less, and we just soaked the richest 5%.

 

This process is outrageous.  The Committee is contemplating raising taxes on some people in town, without a town vote, and redistributing their money to other people in town.  That’s the bottom line.

 

(BTW, for those that are no doubt curious, per the property tax bill I received today, I am indeed in that 40% -- but just barely.)

 

--Dennis

 

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 10:55 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Correction -- RE: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dennis,

You seem to bury the fact that 60% of the town, in your analysis, would have a TAX DECREASE under this scenario.

Sara






On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

All, thanks to a private note from a fellow resident that pointed out an error in my original math (for which I am immensely grateful), here’s a small correction.  My original point remains, I believe, in that enacting the proposed Residential Exemption would be an ex-post-facto tax increase on a large percentage of the homeowners in town, without a town-wide vote on the matter.

 

I wrote below:  >The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

While the math is technically true in that statement, it’s misleading/incorrect in that at the highest level, it is a 58.2% increase in the *marginal* rate, without taking into account the exemption itself.  That makes the increase in the *effective* rate somewhat less painful.  At the 35% exemption level as illustrated by the Committee, the adjusted tax rate becomes $22.20 / $1,000, increased from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019.  But that needs to take into account the exempted value of $335,400 (at the highest level in the Committee’s plan).

 

Since the exempt amount is selected by the Selectman and becomes a fixed dollar amount, one cannot calculate an increase in the *effective* rate that would apply across the board, since individual homes have different values.  But here are three examples, keeping in mind that the current increase from 2019 to 2020, without the Residential Exemption, is already at 9.5%:

 

  1. Someone with a home valued at $1.2mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $864,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s  $19,194.12 in property tax, versus  $16,836.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 14%.
  2. Someone with a home valued at $2.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $1,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $36,954.12 in property tax, versus $28,060.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 32%.
  3. Someone with a home valued at $3.0mm would, after applying the $335,300 exemption, be taxed for $2,664,600 in value, at $22.20/$1,000.  That’s $59,154.12 in property tax, versus $42,090.00 in 2019, for an effective increase of “only” 41%.

 

Thus, for 40% of the town, how much higher your property tax will increase depends on the value of your home, 9.5%, 14%, 32%, 41%, or more, at the highest exemption level (of course, the Selectmen could chose a lower exemption level if they chose to enact this ex-post-facto tax increase, so your property taxes could go up by something less…. But still go up.)

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

From: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:40 PM
To: 'Listserv Listserv' <[hidden email]>
Subject: Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote?  

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote?  

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis 

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Shifting the real estate tax burden to the expensive homes in Lincoln

Bob Kupperstein
Seth, 

I don't see why supporting these ideas are 'disingenuous'.    Economic diversity is not *only* about lower-income families - it is about maintaining meaningful representation at all economic strata.   This is a proposal with the potential to help maintain a middle-class for Lincoln, not to mention an upper-middle-class - those who bought homes they could fully afford, yet are now threatened by rising tax rates.

I hear a lot of discussion on this topic centered around a very individualistic ideology - i..e., why should I subsidize my neighbor, why should he/she subsidize me?   That is one ideology, but it is far from the only one and one that is generally not supported in this region of the country and in this community.    Typically towns in this area support a philosophy that is more 'collective' (or community-based) than the purely individualistic.

Certainly everyone can advocate for whatever they like, but I don't think the idea of a property tax exemption to help maintain economic diversity in town is disingenuous.

-Bob

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 12:33 PM Seth Rosen <[hidden email]> wrote:
...
Clearly it is expensive to live here, as it is in many wealthy suburban communities.  Proffering these ideas in the name of maintaining "economic diversity" in the town is, in my opinion disingenuous.  

I hope others will make themselves heard on this very important issue.

Seth

Seth I Rosen
Cell: 617-771-5602
Email: [hidden email]


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Re: [LincolnTalk] Shifting the real estate tax burden to the expensive homes in Lincoln

Richard Panetta
Bob,

 I would not call it disingenuous, however, this topic was brought up several times before the final vote. We had years to come up with something and then the topic was finally broached after the approval vote was taken. 

Similarly, the community center was not seriously brought up until after the failed school vote. Then put on the back burner towards the final stages of the school voting process. 

Again if others feel the need to contribute more monetarily to the community they are free to do it without the town forcing them. 

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 12:53 PM Bob Kupperstein <[hidden email]> wrote:
Seth, 

I don't see why supporting these ideas are 'disingenuous'.    Economic diversity is not *only* about lower-income families - it is about maintaining meaningful representation at all economic strata.   This is a proposal with the potential to help maintain a middle-class for Lincoln, not to mention an upper-middle-class - those who bought homes they could fully afford, yet are now threatened by rising tax rates.

I hear a lot of discussion on this topic centered around a very individualistic ideology - i..e., why should I subsidize my neighbor, why should he/she subsidize me?   That is one ideology, but it is far from the only one and one that is generally not supported in this region of the country and in this community.    Typically towns in this area support a philosophy that is more 'collective' (or community-based) than the purely individualistic.

Certainly everyone can advocate for whatever they like, but I don't think the idea of a property tax exemption to help maintain economic diversity in town is disingenuous.

-Bob

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 12:33 PM Seth Rosen <[hidden email]> wrote:
...
Clearly it is expensive to live here, as it is in many wealthy suburban communities.  Proffering these ideas in the name of maintaining "economic diversity" in the town is, in my opinion disingenuous.  

I hope others will make themselves heard on this very important issue.

Seth

Seth I Rosen
Cell: 617-771-5602
Email: [hidden email]

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Shifting the real estate tax burden to the expensive homes in Lincoln

Lincoln mailing list
In reply to this post by Bob Kupperstein
I took it as it seems disingenuous to look at this issue at this point in time. The time for collective thinking and genuine concern was over five years ago - before we gave a precious few folks in town a blank check book and a grand vision.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 12:54 PM -0400, "Bob Kupperstein" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Seth, 

I don't see why supporting these ideas are 'disingenuous'.    Economic diversity is not *only* about lower-income families - it is about maintaining meaningful representation at all economic strata.   This is a proposal with the potential to help maintain a middle-class for Lincoln, not to mention an upper-middle-class - those who bought homes they could fully afford, yet are now threatened by rising tax rates.

I hear a lot of discussion on this topic centered around a very individualistic ideology - i..e., why should I subsidize my neighbor, why should he/she subsidize me?   That is one ideology, but it is far from the only one and one that is generally not supported in this region of the country and in this community.    Typically towns in this area support a philosophy that is more 'collective' (or community-based) than the purely individualistic.

Certainly everyone can advocate for whatever they like, but I don't think the idea of a property tax exemption to help maintain economic diversity in town is disingenuous.

-Bob

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 12:33 PM Seth Rosen <[hidden email]> wrote:
...
Clearly it is expensive to live here, as it is in many wealthy suburban communities.  Proffering these ideas in the name of maintaining "economic diversity" in the town is, in my opinion disingenuous.  

I hope others will make themselves heard on this very important issue.

Seth

Seth I Rosen
Cell: 617-771-5602
Email: [hidden email]


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Re: [LincolnTalk] Shifting the real estate tax burden to the expensive homes in Lincoln

Richard Panetta
In reply to this post by Bob Kupperstein
Sorry I would also like to recognize the ones who already did pony up more money just before the special town meeting to help others who this would be hurt by this. 

You are not forgotten and your generosity should not go unnoticed in this discussion. 

 



On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 12:53 PM Bob Kupperstein <[hidden email]> wrote:
Seth, 

I don't see why supporting these ideas are 'disingenuous'.    Economic diversity is not *only* about lower-income families - it is about maintaining meaningful representation at all economic strata.   This is a proposal with the potential to help maintain a middle-class for Lincoln, not to mention an upper-middle-class - those who bought homes they could fully afford, yet are now threatened by rising tax rates.

I hear a lot of discussion on this topic centered around a very individualistic ideology - i..e., why should I subsidize my neighbor, why should he/she subsidize me?   That is one ideology, but it is far from the only one and one that is generally not supported in this region of the country and in this community.    Typically towns in this area support a philosophy that is more 'collective' (or community-based) than the purely individualistic.

Certainly everyone can advocate for whatever they like, but I don't think the idea of a property tax exemption to help maintain economic diversity in town is disingenuous.

-Bob

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 12:33 PM Seth Rosen <[hidden email]> wrote:
...
Clearly it is expensive to live here, as it is in many wealthy suburban communities.  Proffering these ideas in the name of maintaining "economic diversity" in the town is, in my opinion disingenuous.  

I hope others will make themselves heard on this very important issue.

Seth

Seth I Rosen
Cell: 617-771-5602
Email: [hidden email]

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