2000 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 12:42:37 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: [CPEO-BIF] New Study Debunks Myths About Property Taxes in Massachusetts
March 21, 2000

Trust For Public Land
New England Press Release 

New Study Debunks Myths About Property Taxes in Massachusetts

Erin Rowland, Public Affairs Manager, The Trust for Public Land, (617)
David Santomenna, Project Manager, The Trust for Public Land, (617) 367-6200

Copies of the report are available on the Web at

Boston, Massachusetts: Today, the Trust for Public Land, a national
nonprofit organization, announced the release of its new report, Community
Choices: Thinking Through Land Conservation, Development, and Property
Taxes in Massachusetts. The report disproves the long-accepted myth that
new residential development makes towns financially stronger by bringing in
more local property taxes revenues. In fact, the study finds that in many
cases new residential development results in a net revenue loss for towns
because the additional property taxes don't fully cover new municipal
services costs.

Whitney Hatch, vice president and regional director of the Trust for Public
Land, explained, "The Massachusetts landscape is undergoing an intensive
transformation. As development pressures mount on farms, forests, and other
open space, communities are struggling to control their growth and find a
balance between development and land conservation. Community Choices is
designed to give municipal officials and boards the information they need
to make sound decisions about their land."

"The Trust for Public Land's Community Choices report is an excellent
example of the type of information Massachusetts residents need to make
critical choices about our future," said Bob Durand, Secretary of
Environmental Affairs. "We must act now to preserve what is special about
our communities, or we will lose our unique character forever. If we lose
that, we lose the quality of life that makes Massachusetts such a great
place to live, work, and raise a family. The same booming economy that puts
pressure on us to develop our open spaces also provides us with an
opportunity to reinvest near existing infrastructures, furthering community

"Whenever a town proposes a land conservation project, questions invariably
arise about how the purchase will affect the municipal bottom line,"
commented Sally Zielinski, executive director of the Massachusetts
Association of Conservation Commissions. "This report will go a long way
toward clarifying the relationship between how land is used, what property
taxes are generated from that use, and what towns pay to provide services
like fire and police protection and public schools."

The report concludes that: 

* In general, Massachusetts communities with the most residential
development have the highest property tax rates; 
* Towns with the highest residential property tax rates do not spend the
most per pupil on education. 
* Land conservation can help control property taxes by guiding growth and
limiting the need for expanded municipal services; 

Community Choices was written for the Trust for Public Land by economist
Deb Brighton and was first released in 1998. The publication of this newly
revised version was made possible by generous gifts from the Cricket,
Orchard and Sudbury Foundations and from individual supporters.

The Trust for Public Land was founded in 1972 to protect land for people to
enjoy as parks and open space. Since then, we have protected more than 1
million acres of land nationwide. To order a copy of Community Choices,
contact Elizabeth Bromberg at(617) 367-6200 x316 or via email at
elizabeth.bromberg@tpl.org. For more information about the Trust for Public
Land, visit us on the Web at www.tpl.org.

Note to editors:
Copies of the report are available on the Web at

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