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Tax incentives: Keene considers half of a good idea

November 13. 2017 10:46PM

Keene officials have discovered an intriguing concept.

If you lower taxes, businesses have a greater incentive to locate in your community.

The city council is considering a state tax incentive program for the Marlboro Street corridor, hoping that a temporary break on local taxes will encourage businesses to move into the refurbished downtown buildings.

The state program allows local officials to provide a five-year tax break for downtown and historic properties. Keene would designate the Marlboro Street Corridor Economic Revitalization Zone. Businesses in the zone could also apply for a break on their state business taxes.

Keene councilors should take this lesson to heart, and apply it citywide. Rather than a short-term, geographically-limited tax zone, why not lower taxes for everyone?

Lowering the city’s overall property tax rate would make Keene a more attractive place for families, as well as businesses. These new taxpayers would help make up for the loss of revenue from the lower rate. That’s the same logic justifying the economic revitalization zones.

Incentives work. They work better when everyone can respond to them.


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