It’s been in the news lately that Boston relies on its residential property tax more than other major American cities. Other cities collect more revenue, percentage-wise, from sales taxes, meals taxes, entertainment and ticket taxes, boat and car excise taxes, car rental taxes, occupancy (hotel) taxes, and something known as “occupation taxes”, among others.

Boston’s mayor, Thomas M Menino, has been working hard to convince the state government to allow the city the power to raise money through additional taxes; namely, a local restaurant meals excise tax on top of the state’s 5% meals tax, a parking excise tax (amount unknown), and/or a 50-cent surcharge to all movie and entertainment tickets. (Also suggested / threatened, the dreaded telecommunications tax and a 1% citywide sales tax.)

Today, the mayor took a new tact: he engaged the “enemy”.

The mayor hosted about 40 restaurateurs at a private briefing at the Parkman House, where he pleaded for their support and made the case that restaurants would benefit from a tax increase because it would lead to a reduction in commercial and residential property taxes, aides said.

Now, that takes some guts – trying to convince people that their taxes will go DOWN while you are at the same time proposing that their taxes will go UP.

“I was surprised by the receptive mood they were in,” Menino said after the meeting. “Nobody said, ‘This is going to kill our business.’ “

Here’s our mayor with Charlie Sarkis, owner of Papa Razzi and Joe’s American Bar and Grille. Notice the “receptive” look on Charlie’s face (and notice how tightly he’s gripping the wallet in his pocket).

I’m all for spreading the city’s tax burden across as many people as possible (especially tourists, visitors, and … people working in the city), but I don’t expect my property taxes to go down, at all. I’m not that naive!

Source: Dishing up support for meals tax – By Donovan Slack, The Boston Globe

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Updated:  1st Q 2018

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