AN ACT FURTHER REGULATING PROPERTY TAX PAYMENTS IN CITIES AND TOWNS.
Whereas , The deferred operation
of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is forthwith to regulate certain
property tax payments in the current fiscal year, therefore it is hereby declared
to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding section
57C of chapter 59 of the General Laws, the commissioner of revenue shall allow
cities and towns to issue a third-quarter preliminary tax bill in fiscal year
2004. This third-quarter preliminary tax payment may not exceed 125 per cent of
the first-quarter preliminary tax payment.
SECTION 2. There shall
be a special commission to draft legislation to mitigate the dramatic increase
in residential property tax bills caused by the recent rapid increase in residential
assessed values and corresponding decline in commercial and industrial assessed
values. The commission shall consist of 5 members, 2 of whom shall be the house
and senate chairs of the joint committee on taxation, who shall serve as co-chairs;
1 of whom shall be the commissioner of revenue; 1 of whom shall be the president
of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; and 1 of whom shall be the mayor of
the city of Medford.
The commission shall develop legislation that allows
cities and towns to impose a levy on the commercial, industrial and personal property
which may temporarily exceed 175 per cent, but never exceed 200 per cent, of the
full and fair cash valuation of the taxable property in these classes divided
by the full and fair cash valuation of all taxable real and personal property
in the city or town, for the purpose of providing that the residential property
class does not bear a lower percentage of the total property tax levy than the
percentage that was imposed upon that class in fiscal year 2003; but, no city
or town may increase its threshold by more than 25 percentage points. Any increase
in the 175 per cent threshold shall be restored to the 175 per cent threshhold
over the subsequent 4 fiscal years, or sooner if increasing commercial, industrial
and personal property values restores the residential share of the total tax levy
to its fiscal year 2003 level. The commission shall consider mechanisms to mitigate
the potential negative impact of such a measure on business establishments, including,
but not limited to, amendments to the existing small business exemption, and shall
consider the consequences of taxing agricultural land at the open space tax rate.
The commission shall hold any hearings or meetings that it considers necessary
and shall file the legislation with the clerks of the house of representatives
and the senate not later than January 12, 2004.