Providence has topped a set of national rankings, and Mayor Angel Taveras probably isn’t happy about it.
Taxpayers in Rhode Island’s capital city paid the highest commercial property taxes charged in any of the nation’s 53 biggest cities in 2011, according to the latest edition of a widely cited comparative study by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Minnesota Taxpayers Association.
The previous edition of the study listed Providence as having the second-highest commercial property taxes among big cities, behind only Detroit – a statistic that’s been widely referenced locally ever since Governor Chafee cited it on Newsmakers and then had his research confirmed by PolitiFact.
But the tax burden on commercial property in Providence grew even heavier in 2011, when Rhode Island’s cash-strapped capital slapped a tax bill of $4,975 on commercial property worth $100,000 – $69 more than second-ranked Des Moines and $75 more than third-ranked Detroit. Here’s a chart:
Taveras has proposed freezing the commercial tax rate for seven years – apparently at what has been the highest level in any major U.S. city, according to this study. Even that may not happen: City Council members have expressed skepticism about the proposal, suggesting they may raise commercial taxes even more.
The study said Providence also charged the fifth-most on apartment buildings among the 53 big cities in 2011, with a tax of $21,765 on a $600,000 property, behind Des Moines, Detroit, New York City and Buffalo. In addition, Providence ranked 11th-highest for homestead property taxes on the median-value home and 9th- and 10th-highest for industrial property taxes on machinery, equipment, inventories and fixtures.
The latest edition of the study was cited Friday on Twitter by Gary Sasse. “Rhode Island’s economic health is linked to more competitive business taxes in the Capital City,” he commented (in abbreviated tweet form). Not coincidentally, the owner of the now-vacant Superman building wants a tax break to redevelop it.