Officials set to discuss ‘tangible’ way to cut taxes

Officials set to discuss ‘tangible’ way to cut taxes

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Discussions on cutting the taxes local business owners pay on such items as equipment and furnishings are gaining steam among local officials.

The Town Council’s finance subcommittee is set to take up a proposal to slash tangible taxes at its meeting tonight, Feb. 26, starting at 5:30 p.m. in the assembly room at Town Hall.

Chairman Ken Amoriggi said he was pleasantly surprised at two developments related to these deliberations – Mayor Charles Lombardi indicating some support for such a move, and state lawmakers indicating they want to see cities and towns cut tangible taxes.

“It looks like there may actually be state support for communities that want to reduce their tangible burden, where they might offset whatever hit we take,” he said.

There are two options available if the town does proceed with a cut to tangible taxes, said Amoriggi:

• One would institute two different rates on small and large businesses, which would be hard to implement given the likely debates over what constitutes as a small business.

“I could see a lot of arguing with business owners by putting them in separate boxes,” he said.

• And the one previously mentioned to create an exemption up to a certain dollar amount, meaning a business might be exempt from tangibles if they have less than, say, $100,000 worth of taxable assets.

“I think the fair way would be an exemption up to a certain dollar amount,” he said. “I would expect one or the other in this year’s budget, and then we’ll see if everyone has the appetite (for it).”

Lombardi said this week that he likes the idea of cutting tangible taxes, but wants to make sure the details are right.

“We need to make sure we don’t take away from Peter to pay Paul,” he said.

The Breeze previously reported on how a tangible tax exemption could allow smaller taxpayers to avoid this particular tax while maintaining the bulk of the tangible tax money coming in from larger outfits such as Verizon and National Grid. Increasing the overall rate could help make up for any shortfall.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the committee will discuss whether to hire an engineer to conduct a study on traffic patterns and infrastructure in and around Centredale.

Amoriggi said it seems prudent to spend the money on an engineer to do a more comprehensive analysis alongside an ongoing state analysis on a portion of the village area. The town continues to discuss roadway modifications that would both improve parking and create better flow with two-way traffic flow, he said.