With recent discussion here about how to keep local dollars in Brattleboro, I’m hoping someone here in Brattleboro might read about this exciting option and run with it! Apparently this program incents residents to shop locally at participating businesses who provide % credit for purchases (via a card), which is then applied to the purchaser’s property tax bill (renters receive a yearly rebate check instead.) The program is a win-win — local businesses get increased patronage, residents are rewarded for shopping locally, and as I understand it, the decrease in town revenue from the property tax credit is directly offset by the increase in taxes paid by healthy, thriving local businesses.
I heard about this program at a conference I attended last weekend from a person who participated in getting this program up and running in his own community. If anyone here is interested, I can put you in touch with him.
From Fincorp’s website:
PROPERTY TAX REWARD PROGRAM
Founded in 2010, Fincredit Inc. is a business solutions company focusing on merchant services and marketing.
In late 2010, our company started the development of the Property Tax Reward ProgramTM
(PTRP). Under the PTRP, homeowners shopping at local participating
merchants, receive rebates on sales and services in the form of property
tax credits. The more homeowners shop in their town, the more property
tax credits they accumulate.
on, our company realized that the road to developing an effective
property tax reward program for the benefit of the individual resident
and the business owner alike, could not be achieved without the
involvement, in a leadership capacity, of local townships and their
economic development entities.
years townships have been advocating for local spending. The benefits
of a thriving local economy go well beyond the obvious reasons. Lower
vacancies, higher ratables, new jobs, lower property taxes are just a
few reasons for shopping in town. It soon became clear to us that what
prevented townships from developing a strong Shop Local program was lack
of attractive incentives to town residents.
challenge was to create a special business reward program that would be
a true asset to the local business community and, at the same
time, provide a strong motivation for residents to shop in town. For us,
there was only one solution. Property tax credits earned
on purchases of goods and services from local merchants was the best way
to create an ongoing, vialble Shop Local economic program.
The response of homeowners looking
for ways to lower their out-of-pocket expense of property taxes has
been overwhelming. Add to this, the need of local merchants to increase
their business volume and of townships to keep existing businesses from
leaving while attracting new business initiatives.
us, combining existing and proprietary, patent-pending, software was
the winning formula for creating a sound infrastructure for townships to
build and launch their property tax reward program.
This is a true ‘win-win’ solution for
town residents, local businesses and townships. By using a
township-issued property tax card, residents enjoy a direct relief on
their property tax bills; the business enjoys a higher local
awareness/revenues, and the township benefits from lower vacancies, more
local jobs and happier residents.
More info can be found here from Marlboro, NJ, the first town to participate. The linked page is a chronological list of articles from newest to oldest (click on each article’s title to go to the article).
Below is the text of an article about Manalapan, NJ’s anticipated program:
Cut Property Taxes by Shopping Local: Manalapan [New Jersey]’s new Property Tax Program
reduces residential property taxes when you shop at local businesses.
By Katrina Rossos, March 22, 2012
Want to pay less property taxes?
Well, soon your Manalapan property taxes can decrease by simply shopping local.
Manalapan’s Economic Development Council is implementing a
Property Tax Program allowing township residents to receive discounts at
participating business and an equivalent credit to pay down their real estate
Tax Card is a patent of Fincredit Inc., a company that has been
approaching municipalities nation-wide to join their new initiative.
Fincredit has received approval from the state and a number of New Jersey
townships have signed on to this win-win program, which benefits both business
owners and residents, including neighboring Marlboro Township.
Manalapan Mayor Susan Cohen thought the program would be a perfect fit for
Manalapan and introduced Fincredit director Carmine DeFalco to the Economic
Development Council (EDC), according to EDC Chairman Nicholas Campanella.
The company will issue special cards
to the municipality, sponsored by either the municipality or paid for by an
investor. Then, the cards are co-branded by the investors (if that is the case)
and issued to all residents. Each household will be issued two cards.
Currently, Manalapan Township is recruiting local businesses to sign up to
participate in this program and accept the card and offer a certain discount to
So, how does this work?
If a resident shops at a participating local business they will purchase their
goods and also have the cashier swipe their Property Tax card. A specific
percentage of the sale, decided upon by the business, will go towards the
reduction of your property taxes, Campanella explained. Some fees will come out
of that percentage to be paid to Fincredit, but they are minimal.
Fifty days before your quarterly tax payment is due, Fincredit uploads all
payments to the municipality. Then, the township will send you a revised tax
bill minus what you have already contributed, according to Campanella.
For instance, if you go out to a participating restaurant and spend $100 and
the restaurant offers a 10 percent rebate, then $10 will be contributed towards
your property taxes once the merchant swipes your Property Tax card, minus the
fees paid to Fincredit.
Read the rest at http://manalapan.patch.com/articles/slash-taxes-by-shopping-local
If you are interested in potentially starting a property tax reward program here in Brattleboro, please contact Fincredit at (732) 946-0919 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, see http://www.propertytaxcard.com/faqs. I’m not able to take this on myself, but as a Brattleboro resident, I would be thrilled to see this considered in our town, and it would make me think twice about shopping in MA or NH.