February 16, 2013

UPDATED - Providence: 8th Highest Residential Tax Burden in the Country (Commercial Taxes Even Worse)

Monique Chartier

Funny that this should pop up now. (Major H/T Michael Graham. By the way, welcome back to the air, Michael. We missed you.)

It's the reason that I haven't shared the enthusiasm [link added] for the ... um, fiscal "achievements" of Mayor Taveras' tenure, genuinely nice guy though he is. His pension reform, as tepid as the state's, has only succeeded in locking Providence taxpayers into the eighth highest taxes in the country. Block Talk Editor Jenna Bromberg reports.

The tax burden of taxpayers living in different parts of the United States varies due to differences in state and local income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes and automobile taxes. So how does your city stack up?

Drumroll please…

The top ten cities* with the highest tax burden for a hypothetical family of three making $50,000 in 2011:

#10 Boston, MA

Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride on horseback here — but today, trading in the horse for a car of your own would cost $303 in taxes per year. The total tax burden for our hypothetical family in Boston sits at 12.2%, or about $6,125 annually.

#9 Burlington, VT

Vermont’s largest city, home to the very first Ben & Jerry’s, was ranked by Forbes as one of the prettiest towns in America — and we’re sure its 42,500 residents agree. But at a 12.3% tax burden ($6,150 per year), it’s #9 on our list of the most taxed cities in America.

#8 Providence, RI

The city of Providence is known for its historic and cultural attractions; it was first settled in 1636 by Roger Williams and was one of the original Thirteen Colonies. As of the 2010 census, 178,042 people lived within the city of Providence — and our hypothetical family paid $6,034 in taxes in 2011. $3,876 was property tax alone.

Yes, undoubtedly, backing down a substantial tax burden cannot be carried out in one term. But let's save the praise for when the burden is lessened, not just stabilized - especially when "stabilized" means assuring our position on yet another undesirable Top Ten List.


That, of course, is the residential tax rate. We would be remiss if we did not note that Providence's commercial tax rate - second highest in the country - is even higher. When do we start addressing both of these absurdly high burdens?

[Monique is Editor of the RI Taxpayer Times newsletter.]

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What is unfair about this is that the compolete list is not given. I suspect it is mostly older cities. Most like Boston and Providence have large slum areas. These pay relatively little taxes and carry large costs. THis necessitates a very high tax rate. I wonder what Detroit's tax rate is. They were considering demolishing about 25% of the city and making it park land. This to reduce police and fire costs.

I know little of Burlington, but Vermont is a very poor state, one might say impoverished. The "average income" may be high, but that is because of retired New Yorkers. Those retirees add little to the economy.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at February 17, 2013 3:01 PM
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