The Economic Life of our City
Helping Our Small Businesses Thrive
Like many local residents, Kenzie loves shopping at the local businesses of District 8 -- and knows that for independent businesses to survive in our urban neighborhoods, they need access to affordable rents. In order to make this reality, Kenzie favors inclusionary development on the commercial side too -- to generate affordable commercial space set-asides just like we generate affordable unit set-asides. As she campaigns around the district, Kenzie has been asking small business owners how the City can help them. As a councilor, she will be an advocate and a guide for small businesses through the city’s public processes and will pursue solutions that are respectful of neighbors while allowing such enterprises to flourish. Kenzie is also enthusiastic about new ventures that enliven our public spaces -- such as the Owls Nest beer garden on the Esplanade or food trucks across the city -- and wants to proactively help address trash management and other logistical challenges for such enterprises.
Workforce Development & Labor
Kenzie is proud to have the endorsement of UNITE HERE Local 26, whose workers staff hotels and cafeterias across District 8, along with Fenway Park. She believes that one job should be enough, and that well-paying jobs are part of the solution to housing affordability. She supports enabling workers to unionize and bargain collectively for a fair wage and good working conditions.
In her work at the Boston Housing Authority, Kenzie ran the Mass LEAP pilot program, which provided BHA residents with educational, financial, and vocational supports to help increase their family earned income, then allowed them to save that increased income towards achieving a dream like buying a house or starting a small business. She has also actively supported the coalitions that advocate each year for increased funding for youth jobs. Kenzie believes that investments in job training and pathways into well-paying jobs are critical to countering income inequality in Boston.
PILOT: Asking Our Institutions to Pay a Fair Share
Kenzie believes that Boston’s largest institutions benefit from a vibrant city and vice versa, so those institutions must help sustain the city they call home. As state aid to cities and towns has declined, the share of Boston’s budget that is covered by property taxes has hugely increased to roughly three-quarters, even as more than half of city land is held by non-taxable government or non-profit entities. As Boston grows and the demand on city services increases, it is all the more critical that we revisit the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement that was reached in 2009 with the city’s large non-profit hospitals and universities. Currently, PILOT assessments are based on 2009 property valuations, our large non-profits are only asked to pay 12.5% of what they would as taxable landowners, and even so, university compliance is low. We need to put PILOT-eligible properties on the same three-year assessment cycle as taxable properties, ask for a full 25% payment (not to be replaced by in-kind community benefits), and establish a new understanding that Institutional Master Plan amendments which impose additional burdens on our neighborhoods and city services need to be matched by consistent PILOT payments.