City Council Creates a Special Commission for the Study of a Progressive Tiered Property Tax

Sep 20, 2019 | 0 comments

City Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15) and Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia (Ward 6) tonight introduced a resolution that creates a special commission to study a progressive tiered property tax in the city of Providence.

“There is not enough predictability for residents when it comes to their property taxes,” stated City Council President Sabina Matos. “After this year’s revaluations we saw property values skyrocket in many areas of the City. Some property values rose as much as 50%. The hardest-hit areas were also communities where a majority of families live on fixed incomes. Creating a progressive property tax is a way for all residents to be on equal footing when it comes to their annual tax bill. Earlier this year we were successful getting enabling legislation in the State Senate to put forth a tiered property tax structure but were ultimately unsuccessful in the House of Representatives. We will again work with our state colleagues so that we can have this in our City’s toolbox if needed. In the meantime, I am bringing together professionals from various relevant fields of expertise to help us assess whether a progressive tiered property tax is right for our communities.”

The city of Providence is required by State law to have a full property revaluation every nine years, and a statistical revaluation every three years, and this Commission will look at best practices to help modulate those swings in values. The accurate and timely valuation of property is crucial to ensuring equitable and predictable assessment of local taxes, but because the particular standards and procedures for revaluations vary broadly across different jurisdictions, the Council believes they need to address this issue head-on.

In May of this year the City Council leadership team proposed a progressive tiered tax plan that would have given a 40% exemption for the first $350K of assessed value for all homeowners, and then a 28% exemption on the assessed value after that. The Council’s leadership and finance teams felt that this was an equitable way to provide much-needed relief for homeowners who were facing a greater increase on their property tax liability than in years past.

Council President Matos continued, “This is priority for my leadership team, and I want to thank Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia, Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan, and Majority Whip John J. Igliozzi for their guidance and steadfast support to ensure that our residents have predictability when it comes to their annual property tax bills.”

The goal of the Commission will be to study and make recommendations regarding the property tax tiered system and to make further recommendations regarding appropriate changes to City procedures and State law, including study and analysis of the overall revaluation process. The Commission will consist of at least nine members appointed by the City Council President and will issue a report within 120 days of the date appointments are made to the Commission.