We urge Our Revolution Medford supporters to call on their representatives to support bill H.4079. This bill is for a Home Rule Petition that would allow Medford to require that large non-profit institutions like Tufts University, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and Harvard Vanguard present their institutional master plans to the city for review and approval. This a tool that would be extremely useful for the city to have in negotiations with these large non-profits, which pay a fraction of the value of the real estate that they occupy in lieu of taxes (which by law they are not required to pay at all). The bill is in the Third Reading Committee in the state legislature and is co-sponsored by Representatives Christine Barber, Sean Garballey, Paul Donato, and Senator Pat Jehlen. Somerville has passed a similar petition that is also under review. We feel that the city of Medford requires knowledge of major developments within its borders in order to plan for the future and to weigh in on what is in the city’s best interests.
Contacting your representatives
Dear Chairman Speliotis,
I’m writing to urge you to support Bill H.4079 allowing Medford to be able to require certain institutions within its borders to provide an institutional master plan. Large non-profit institutions in Medford pay a fraction of the value of the real estate that they occupy in lieu of taxes (which by law they are not required to pay at all). Tufts University, for example, has been paying less than 6.5% of the for-profit tax liability. Meanwhile Tufts does not have adequate dorm space for its undergraduate and graduate student population and has been increasing enrollment without sufficiently increasing dormitory space. Much of the housing that Tufts does provide comes from neighborhood home purchases which are subsequently converted to non-taxable status. This puts pressure on Medford by reducing its tax base, by increasing city services and by increasing the local demand for housing. While Tufts University presumably knows what its future plans are, it refuses to share them with the city of Medford (and Somerville). This Act would allow Medford to discover and influence the future plans of Tufts and other large non-profits within its borders.