Letter: Five people imposed a significant tax policy change 

December 15, 2023

On November 20, the Concord Select Board unanimously finalized their vote to adopt the Massachusetts Residential Tax Exemption (RTE). This exemption is a blunt instrument that lowers the taxes on many homeowners, even if they don’t need relief and shifts the burden of town expenses to owners of more expensive houses, regardless of ability to pay. 

There seems to be agreement that Concord has a spending problem, and that tax relief is necessary for those individuals struggling to remain in Concord. It is the method of providing relief that is in dispute. 

The process the Select Board utilized in adopting this significant change in tax policy for all Concord homeowners has raised questions and concerns. Many homeowners were completely unaware that the Select Board reversed the cost allocation projections presented at the Middle School override meeting, choosing instead to adopt a significant tax change. 

In 2019 the town of Lexington formed a committee to look into adopting the MA RTE. The Committee sought “expert testimony from Economists and Housing Policy Experts, local Real Estate Agents, Assessors with implementation experience, as well as survey research” and held two public meetings. A 192-page report was issued with the recommendation to not adopt the RTE based on multiple analytical rationales. This is a commendable example of an inclusive, accurate, thoughtful and transparent process. 

Lexington’s report: 


It is understandable that concerned citizens implored the Select Board to pause their actions believing that such a significant change to Concord’s tax policy deserves more informed and expert analysis. 

What is not understandable is that five people decided to impose a homeowner RTE they described as a one-year experiment and simultaneously suggested the addition of a task force as an after-thought. 

Lindsay Gillis 

Alford Circle