Chamber Opposes Split Tax Rate

Dear Selectmen,

On behalf of the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Directors, we oppose a split tax rate in Reading. A split tax rate does not increase the net tax base for Reading and will not increase revenues or mitigate the need for an override. A split tax rate, of any size, can be detrimental to many of our local businesses. Most of our businesses are small, truly family owned operations and they operate with lean profit margins. They are the same businesses that are paying for local ads in the books printed for the RMHS Drama club, or sponsor calendars for the High School sports teams. These local businesses support our community by participating in the annual tree lighting in town. Our businesses give and give, regularly, which in turn makes Reading such a desirable place to live. Increasing our overall commercial tax base with improved properties is a top priority which will provide long term funding for our town, schools and services.

Even a small tax increase onto the business community, can drastically impact a business’s working cash flow. Any tax increase will be passed along directly to the consumer, in the cost of increased goods or services. The business effect may cause pay reductions, which in turn can lead to layoffs, lack of quality services, and eventually a “closed permanently” sign. 

A split in the tax rate will put the town of Reading at a disadvantage when trying to attract new businesses. Our single tax rate is one of our distinguishing factors and a competitive advantage when trying to attract new development in town. We just expanded the commercial SMART growth district and hosted an Economic Development Summit to draw new development to town. We need to find ways to entice new businesses to open their doors in town, and a single tax rate is an advantage to draw development here.

As a member of the business community, and as President of the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce, I wish to see business thrive in this Town. Reading has a lot of curb appeal, and is a very desirable town to live. As our needs for public services increase, and the expectations of the residents evolve, the town needs to be able to fund these services to meet expectations. Splitting the tax rate is not the solution. Incentivizing property owners to invest in their buildings and new businesses will increase our tax paying base, which in turn will increase the revenue the town needs. Splitting the tax rate is not just a monetary increase on business, it’s an increase on everyone in the community. Keep the tax rate at 1, incentivize new businesses and property investment, and your tax base will grow. A larger tax base equates to more money.

Very truly yours,

Michael Doyon, President
Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

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