Commercial Property Assessments by Rhode Island Municipality, Plus PILOT Payments

Furthering the discussion from both Justin’s post on Providence and Brown University, and my post from last week on commercial and industrial property values in Rhode Island municipalities, bear in mind that Providence is already receiving state support, nominally related to some of its tax-exempt properties. Providence receives on the order of $20 million per year in state funds through the PILOT program, described in the state budget as follows…

Legislation creating this program requires the State of Rhode Island to reimburse cities and towns for property taxes that would have been due on certain types of real property that are exempted from taxation by state law. This includes property owned by nonprofit educational institutions, nonprofit hospitals, or any state owned hospital, veteran’s facility, or correctional facility.
Cranston received about $4 million per year from this program in fiscal year 2011 and no other Rhode Island community received more than $1 million in FY2011.

Given the City of Providence’s commercial tax rates, the $19 million dollar PILOT subsidy is equivalent to being able to tax about a half billion dollars worth of additional commercial property.

For every RI city and town, the additional commercial property assessment that would have been needed to generate their PILOT subsidies can be calculated…






















Community FY2011 State
PILOT funds
2011 Local Com
Tax Rate
C&I Prop. Value
Covered by PILOT Funds
Providence $19,097,871 $36.75 $519,669,959
Cranston $4,239,850 $30.39 $139,514,643
Warwick $957,595 $26.53 $36,094,798
Newport $833,229 $13.76 $60,554,433
Bristol $580,241 $12.43 $46,680,692
North Providence $456,364 $30.85 $14,792,998
Smithfield $429,064 $15.85 $27,070,284
Pawtucket $377,406 $24.54 $15,379,218
Woonsocket $134,688 $36.14 $3,726,840
South Kingstown $124,230 $14.51 $8,561,682
Westerly $110,040 $9.74 $11,297,741
East Providence $91,188 $22.25 $4,098,337
Burrillville $66,573 $16.15 $4,122,167
Barrington $48,984 $17.95 $2,728,914
Central Falls $19,158 $33.23 $576,562
East Greenwich $7,599 $17.49 $434,477
North Kingstown $5,803 $17.26 $336,211
Foster $417 $17.58 $23,720
Cumberland $109 $15.34 $7,106

…and added to the actual commercial/industrial tax base, to yield an “effective” commercial/industrial tax base for each community.

With PILOT funds taken into consideration, Providence rises to near the top of the list of Rhode Island’s urban areas, roughly tying East Providence, when ranked in terms of an effective tax base on a per-resident basis. (And note that using local commercial tax rates skews the results to Providence’s advantage, since an equivalent subsidy will translate to less taxable value in a high-tax community compared to a lower-tax one)…










































Community2011 Com&Ind
Assessed Prop. Value
C&I Prop. Value Covered
by PILOT Funds
Effective Com&Ind
Prop Value
PopulationEffective C&I
Value/Resident
New Shoreham $130,939,920 $0 $130,939,920 1,051 $124,586
Newport $934,154,749 $60,554,433 $994,709,182 24,672 $40,317
West Greenwich $212,634,500 $0 $212,634,500 6,135 $34,659
Smithfield $643,292,510 $27,070,284 $670,362,794 21,430 $31,282
Middletown $478,133,706 $0 $478,133,706 16,150 $29,606
Warwick $2,216,473,370 $36,094,798 $2,252,568,168 82,672 $27,247
Westerly $573,347,700 $11,297,741 $584,645,441 22,787 $25,657
East Greenwich $323,074,200 $434,477 $323,508,677 13,146 $24,609
Lincoln $499,566,954 $0 $499,566,954 21,105 $23,671
East Providence $853,687,753 $4,098,337 $857,786,090 47,037 $18,236
Providence $2,718,570,863 $519,669,959 $3,238,240,822 178,042 $18,188
North Kingstown $458,263,940 $336,211 $458,600,151 26,486 $17,315
Johnston $494,193,192 $0 $494,193,192 28,769 $17,178
Cranston $1,062,342,644 $139,514,643 $1,201,857,287 80,387 $14,951
Portsmouth $259,361,400 $0 $259,361,400 17,389 $14,915
Narragansett $225,330,972 $0 $225,330,972 15,868 $14,200
North Smithfield $167,491,298 $0 $167,491,298 11,967 $13,996
Warren $146,246,352 $0 $146,246,352 10,611 $13,783
Scituate $141,574,476 $0 $141,574,476 10,329 $13,707
South Kingstown $369,939,495 $8,561,682 $378,501,177 30,639 $12,354
Burrillville $181,718,900 $4,122,167 $185,841,067 15,955 $11,648
Cumberland $387,020,200 $7,106 $387,027,306 33,506 $11,551
Little Compton $39,773,100 $0 $39,773,100 3,492 $11,390
Bristol $207,878,241 $46,680,692 $254,558,933 22,954 $11,090
Foster $47,954,300 $23,720 $47,978,020 4,606 $10,416
West Warwick $298,922,040 $0 $298,922,040 29,191 $10,240
Richmond $78,348,600 $0 $78,348,600 7,708 $10,165
Coventry $345,856,734 $0 $345,856,734 35,014 $9,878
Pawtucket $671,106,617 $15,379,218 $686,485,835 71,148 $9,649
Exeter $56,010,100 $0 $56,010,100 6,425 $8,718
North Providence $232,094,220 $14,792,998 $246,887,218 32,078 $7,696
Woonsocket $295,463,687 $3,726,840 $299,190,527 41,186 $7,264
Tiverton $113,794,995 $0 $113,794,995 15,780 $7,211
Barrington $111,820,800 $2,728,914 $114,549,714 16,310 $7,023
Jamestown $35,409,500 $0 $35,409,500 5,405 $6,551
Charlestown $46,429,900 $0 $46,429,900 7,827 $5,932
Hopkinton $47,827,200 $0 $47,827,200 8,188 $5,841
Glocester $38,302,758 $0 $38,302,758 9,746 $3,930
Central Falls $73,070,759 $576,562 $73,647,321 19,376 $3,801

The list once again unavoidably brings us to the question that the urban chauvinists refuse to consider: Is there any real justification for demanding that significantly more non-residential “value”, for taxation or for other in purposes, be available to Providence than to other densely populated Rhode Island communities like Pawtucket, Cranston or North Providence?

Indeed, if you forgo the assumption that the most populous place is a region must automatically become the place where everybody wants to go for everything, and then compare Providence to its surrounding communities, Providence seems to have done very well for a non-tourist urban area in terms of the amount of commercial property within the reach of its tax assessor.
Certainly, in terms of commercial and industrial tax revenue collected, there are only a few places in Rhode Island doing better, at least in the short term. That will be the subject of the next chart…

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Justin Katz
Justin Katz
10 years ago

There’s got to be a way to turn “urban chauvinists” into a coinage.
chaurbanists (“shore-banists”)
chauvurbanists (“show-ver-banists”)
urbvanists (“herb-vanists”)

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Why is this being treated as a new problem. SOmeone has poijnted out that Brown predates the City of Providence. I am certain that Harvard’s charter prescedes that of Cambridge. So they are exempt from taxation as separate entities, should Providence be able to tax Cranston?
At any rate,there is nothing new here, all that is new is the crisis mentality.
Providence’s problem could probably be said to have begun when Corliss Engine closed. Then American Locamotive, Brown & Sharpe, and how many more. It is a tiny city, and its lifeblood has fled. Boston has the same problem, look at a map. It whines about the exempt property but it perseveres.
Back in the sevennties, I was friendly with an employee of what was then the world’s largest property developer (Olympia & York). There eyes were on Povidence, because of its location. “Deregulation” was making state borders disappear for banks,insurance companies, etc. Why wasn’t Providence laying out the carpet for them? Was I the only one to know?

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Posted by Andrew
Warrington,
Anyone who’s in favor of “consolidation” in the current environment is basically answering yes to the question of whether Providence should be able to tax Cranston.
I just looked over my last post, the spelling is so atrocious I am surprised that you could even decipher my meaning.

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