Donald Torrey: Comparing rents in Northampton, Austria not accurate

Published: 2/14/2020 10:15:56 AM
Modified: 2/14/2020 10:15:44 AM

I would like to respond to the Julio Alves column on high rents (“A city for higher-income households,” Jan. 20).

Austria has a completely different tax system. It isn’t even a fair comparison. There isn’t a property tax in Austria, thus no direct connection between tax increases and rent. They have a value added tax of 20%.

Massachusetts relies heavily on property taxes to pay for the bulk of a city’s needs. The average home pays between $4,000 and $6,000 per year.

The real reason for rent increases in Northampton and Easthampton is because of government increases. When the minimum wage goes up, everything goes up. When a city override passes, rents go up.

When new nonessential taxes are voted in, like the Community Preservation Act tax, rents go up. Now when taxes and fees are created, such as marijuana fees, lodging fees and sales tax on internet purchases, but aren’t used for property tax relief, rents don’t go down.

Perhaps as new taxes are created there should be a direct correlation between the new tax and a reduction in property tax.

Donald Torrey


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