On Thursday, May 20th, the City Council voted to give final passage of the Tax Stabilization Investment Act. The ordinance now goes to the Mayor to be signed into law.
The Tax Stabilization Investment Act reforms the City’s Tax Stabilization Agreement (TSA) process by standardizing the tax stabilization benefit for all businesses who wish to take advantage of the development incentive. Key points of the legislation include:
- Establishing standard tax stabilization periods based on the size and scope of the project, ranging from five-year stabilizations for $3million and under projects to twenty-year stabilizations for projects over $50million.
- Streamlining and clarifying the citywide review and vetting process through applicable City departments including Inspections and Standards, Public Works, Planning and Development, the Tax Collector, Licensing, and the City Solicitor prior to review by the City Council.
- Specifying area standard wages for construction workers on projects over $10 million.
- Creating a commitment to ensure that post-construction jobs earn a wage twice the United States Department of Health and Human Services Federal Poverty Guideline for a family of three divided into an hourly wage at forty hours/week, fifty-two weeks/year on projects over $10 million.
- Ensuring that the full taxes on the property become due should the property be transferred to a tax-exempt entity.
Specifying a “clawback” procedure that allows for the Council and the City to reconsider an existing agreement in cases of non-compliance.
Additionally, the ordinance maintains current TSA standards on minority- and women-owned business enterprises, First Source hiring, obligations to the Affordable Housing Trust, payments to the City of Providence Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, and apprenticeship utilization.
“With the passage of this Act, the City is making an investment in neighborhood residents when we support development via tax stabilizations. For too long, high-level publicly subsidized development, while increasing the tax base, has not resulted in opportunities for city residents to gain meaningful employment that has the capacity to break cycles of intergenerational poverty. This Act ensures everyone can share in the opportunities in our city,” said Councilor Rachel Miller (Ward 13), a co-sponsor of the legislation who led the reforms effort.
“The TSA program has resulted in millions of dollars of investment in downtown Providence. A recent report to the Finance Committee projected that the city’s current tax stabilized properties will generate an additional $454 million in revenue over the next two decades. The TSA Investment Act is an evolution of this economic development tool that continues to incentivize major projects downtown and throughout the city, creating jobs, and ultimately increasing our tax base. I’m grateful to my colleagues on the City Council who have the foresight to adapt our approach to supporting growth in Providence,” stated Council President John J. Igliozzi.
“The Act levels the playing field for businesses who follow the law, treat their employees fairly, and want to invest in the future in partnership with the City. Additionally, the ordinance creates crystal clear procedures for developers of any size to know exactly what to expect when they seek support from the City for their projects. This level of clarity around expectations and timeline will support further development, while also standardizing the community benefits provided through the tax stabilization process,” said Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11).
“The ordinance is a critical first step in updating the laws related to contracting with the City of Providence. TSAs are just one piece of the puzzle in how the City supports and promotes small businesses. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues to review and update as necessary other key related ordinances, including the First Source Hiring Ordinance and the MBE/WBE ordinances,” said Finance Committee Chairwoman Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5).
The final passage of this ordinance is the culmination of several years of effort by the Council working in collaboration with stakeholders to revamp the tax stabilization process. The resulting Tax Stabilization Investment Act supports and incentivizes development, while also providing consistent and tangible benefits for local residents every time a stabilization agreement is approved by the City Council.