Tiverton taxpayers should take note of this paragraph from Marcia Pobzeznik’s Newport Daily News report from Monday’s special Town Council Meeting:
If all of the gaming revenue was used to offset the tax rate, the worksheet created by McGreevy and Robert showed that the current tax rate of $19.05 per $1,000 valuation could be lowered 11.6 percent, or $2.21. A home valued at $260,000 would then have a tax bill of $4,386, or some $576 less than the current bill.
Upon request, the town government provided Tiverton Fact Check with the various scenarios presented to the council at the meeting (PDF). All of the scenarios assume that the Twin Rivers tax bill would simply be added to the town’s total property assessment and lower the tax rate by 3.75%.
Regarding the town’s take from the casino’s operation, with a minimum of $3 million, the options range from devoting all of the money to new spending outside of the budget process to using it all for tax relief:
The $576 savings for a $260,000 property may not be the most helpful way to think about the matter. Rather, the tax savings would be $221.54 for every $100,000 of property value. On a $450,000 house, therefore, it would be nearly $1,000.
Using money from the casino for only partial tax relief would at least take some of the pressure off homeowners for annual increases… for a year or two. But allowing Tiverton taxpayers the full benefit of the revenue would be enough to make a real difference in families’ household budgets and their lives.
While the budget was exploding in the years before the financial town referendum (FTR) put an end to the abuse, spending advocates measured the taxes by how many cups of coffee Tiverton residents would have to give up each year — as in, “This is the equivalent of just one cup of coffee per day.” Now that we’ve all adjusted our caffeine habits accordingly, revenue from the casino presents an opportunity for the people of Tiverton to keep enough of their earnings for things they shouldn’t have had to give up in the first place, like home repairs, vacations, and retirement savings.