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Teed off at tax break for golf clubs

Posted by Ralph Ranalli August 30, 2007 12:20 PM

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Newton Alderwoman Victoria Danberg wants to end tax subsidies for "playgrounds for the wealthy."

NEWTON/REGION

The concrete steps leading into Newton's Cabot Elementary School are crumbling and the building has no handicapped access. Across town at Fire Station No. 7, the roof leaks water into the firefighters' bunk room.

Meanwhile, Charles River Country Club in Newton -- with its rolling fairways and carefully manicured putting greens -- received a $381,000 tax break last year under a state law that exempts private country clubs from paying 75 percent of their property taxes.

According to the Newton assessor's office, Woodland Golf Club also cut $301,000 on its tax bill last year and Brae Burn Country Club shaved $390,000 from its taxes. Counting Charles River, that's more than $1 million in taxes that Newton cannot collect from three private, local institutions. Framingham and Marlborough country clubs also take advantage of the tax break, as do many other private country clubs across the state, staff writer Megan Woolhouse reports in today's Globe West.

That has outraged Newton Ward 6 Alderwoman at Large Victoria L. Danberg, who said the city could use the money for repairing city schools, fire stations, and other public buildings instead of subsidizing "playgrounds for the wealthy." She wants local elected leaders and the city's legislative delegation to toughen the law.

"We can take them on," Danberg said. "I can tell you very few people have sympathy for the poor golfers from these clubs who are crying poverty."

Read more about the controversy over Chapter 61B in the online edition of today's Globe West.

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