Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has proposed a new property tax to help pay for construction of low- and middle-income housing to accommodate the city’s swelling population.
A 1% surcharge on property tax bills would raise enough money to pay for half of 53,000 proposed new units.
Walsh would raise additional funds by raising “linkage fees” charged to developers for large projects, and by increasing the $200,000-per-unit fine to developers who opt not to dedicate 13% of the units in any residential project to affordable housing.
Walsh’s proposal is especially aggressive, considering that Boston voters rejected a similar plan by a 60-40 margin in 2001, calling it a burden to taxpayers. But Walsh has countered: “At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to dollars, and where do we find the dollars to build the housing?” Still, Boston consistently ranks as one of America's most expensive cities: The cost of living is nearly 40% above the national average.