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Rep. Cusack Seeking Tax Break for Small Businesses in Braintree

In Braintree last year, the small business exemption saved owners on average $960. Local officials think that can be improved.

Rep. Mark Cusack at the Braintree Chamber of Commerce breakfast Tuesday, Dec. 10.
Rep. Mark Cusack at the Braintree Chamber of Commerce breakfast Tuesday, Dec. 10.
Next month Rep. Mark Cusack, D-Braintree, will file a home rule petition to double the amount small business owners in town can save when paying property taxes.

Cusack announced the measure – to increase from 10 percent to 20 percent the local option small business property tax exemption – during a meeting of the Braintree Chamber of Commerce Tuesday morning. 

The exemption, which the Braintree Town Council has recently adopted each year along with the town's tax classification shift, provides commercial owners holding property worth less than $1 million and employing less than 10 workers with an approximately 10 percent discount on their property tax bill.

In Braintree last year, the exemption saved business owners on average $960. The impact on the community could be far greater, however, with some tweaks to the state law, local officials have said.

This year the exemption is projected to be for 142 Braintree businesses with a total value of $52,621,000, based on an eligibility list the state Department of Revenue provides the town.

Braintree currently takes 10 percent of that total value – $5,262,100 – and multiplies it by the estimated tax rate per thousand of $25.93 for commercial property owners.

The resulting $136,400 in savings for those 142 owners would be redistributed to non-qualifying property owners in the commercial class, not residential owners.

Doubling the exemption amount will lead business owners to reinvest by hiring and expanding, Cusack said.

"In Braintree this makes sense," he said.

Chamber President Michael Wilcox said the home rule petition, if passed successfully through the State House and signed by the governor, would make Braintree even more competitive when it comes to attracting businesses.

Cusack said he will work with Mayor Joseph Sullivan and the Town Council to prepare the legislation for filing in January. He also vowed to work with his colleagues at the State House to improve the thresholds and make the exemption stronger overall.

For example, the property value and employee caps should be higher, to better reflect property values today and keep up with a larger definition of small businesses that has come with two decades of inflation and economic growth, Chief of Staff and Operations Peter Morin said.

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