NELF Amicus Brief Argues Against Higher Taxes That Could Be Passed Along to MBTA and Riders
BOSTON – The New England Legal Foundation (NELF –www.newenglandlegal.org), the leading legal advocate for free enterprise in the Northeast, has filed an amicus friend-of-court brief in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court against a city of Boston attempt to tax MBTA billboard management. Outfront Media LLC, which manages 14 MBTA-owned billboards, is facing unexpected taxes that likely would be passed along to the MBTA, its riders and state taxpayers, unless the SJC agrees with NELF that Boston has failed to prove an exception to a general exemption from local taxation of MBTA assets.
In its brief, filed today in Outfront Media LLC vs Board of Assessors of the City of Boston, NELF argues, “The Legislature has long recognized that providing the MBTA with an exemption from local taxation better allows it to fund and to perform its essential public services for all the citizens of the Commonwealth.”
It added, “The real property [the billboards] at issue indisputably [are] exempt from taxation,” and, as Outfront Media is “in reality an agent for a principal [the MBTA],” the agent “should not be subject to property taxes that its principal would not otherwise pay.”
NELF President Dan Winslow, a well-known opponent of excessive taxation, observed that the statute that exempts MBTA assets from local taxation is based on sound public policy. “Companies that perform services for the MBTA, doing work that the T could do for itself with adequate capabilities and staff, should not be subjected to local taxation. Any other interpretation will result in companies passing tax costs along to the MBTA, which in turn will pass such costs to riders and taxpayers creating an endless tax doom loop.”
The brief was authored by NELF Legal Fellow Dustin F. “Dusty” Hecker. Hecker is a top-rated business litigation attorney and was selected as a “Super Lawyer” for 2006 – 2023, a designation that generally is given to only five percent of attorneys.