Democratic state auditor candidate Suzanne Bump says she will pay nearly $6,000 to the City of Boston while the city reviews her property tax status, after questions were raised about her receiving residential exemptions in both Boston and Great Barrington.
Bump's comments came after a Globe story today on Bump's exemptions. The Globe reported that state revenue officials said no taxpayer can claim residential status in more than one community in order to receive multiple tax breaks.
Bump said in a statement that she had received "verbal confirmation" from tax officials in both Boston and Great Barrington that her tax status was "appropriate."
But she said she would send a payment of $5,875.05 to Boston until a "final review" is made of her property tax status. That is the amount she and her husband saved since they were approved for an exemption in 2007.
"Our actions have received approval from the local taxing authorities. I'm asking Boston to review the situation and if they think it's inappropriate, then clearly we will abide by their decision," Bump said in an interview.
"It's our understanding right now that it's legal and appropriate," she said.
Ron Rakow, Boston's assessing commissioner, told the Globe that the city's only concern is whether Bump was qualified for the tax exemption, which he said she is. Karen Avalle, the Great Barrington town assessor for 15 years until last month, said her office would have had no reason to believe Bump was anything but a full-time resident.
"You can only have one residence, one domicile," Avalle said. "They can't have it both ways; they have to pick one."
Christopher Lamarre, the current assessor, was out of the office for two weeks, an employee in the assessor's office said today.
Mary Z. Connaughton, the Republican candidate for auditor, had no comment on the report, saying she was focusing on her own campaign.
"I'm running a positive campaign and talking more about my qualifications. The way I see it, this will be resolved by the appropriate authorities, and I'm maintaining objectivity," she said.
"I'm more focused on my campaign than my opponent's right now," she said. "Things are going well. I'm really enthused about my candidacy, and the message of having an experienced auditor and CPA as state auditor is ringing loud."
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