News Articles

Tax break for Invensys gets another boost in Foxboro

The Sun Chronicle - Foxboro
Posted Thursday, April 25, 2013

FOXBORO - Invensys Systems gave a strong indication that it intends to remain in Foxboro after winning another key board's support for a tax break on future renovations.

Rooted in the community for more than 100 years, the firm employs about 950 people in engineering and other well-paying jobs in Foxboro.

Photo by Frank Mortimer

Invensys Senior Vice President Steve Sacco addresses the town's advisory committee, along with Lynn Tokarczyk, a business development tax consultant.

The advisory committee voted 8-0 to advise the May 13 annual town meeting to approve the company's request for an incentive deal.

That agreement would save the company $1.9 million in new taxes over 15 years while providing the town with $1 million in new taxes on $33 million in improvements to its Neponset Avenue and Mechanic Street sites.

"I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that if Inveysys leaves it would be a catastrophe for the town, and apocalyptic for those who lose their livelihood," advisory committee Chairman Larry Thomas said during the at-times contentious debate.

The company will host an informational session on the proposal from 6:30 to 9 tonight (Thursday, April 25) in the cafeteria of the small building across Neponset Avenue from the main building.

If voters approve the tax incentive in May, it will be the first time Foxboro has endorsed what is known as a Tax Increment Financing agreement more commonly known as a TIF.

The state created the TIF program in the 1990s to stimulate business, Rep. Jay Barrows told the group, adding that Mansfield has approved four such arrangements for manufacturers.

Committee members hit Invensys Senior Vice President Steve Sacco with questions about the fairness of the proposed tax package to Foxboro taxpayers.

Member George Adler asked why a worldwide company with billions of dollars in annual revenue would push for such a relatively tiny savings on its budget, since achieving that requires the town to sacrifice a much larger percentage of its annual revenue.

John Spinney, who heads a financial services firm and is a certified public accountant, said he does not oppose a TIF for Invensys but believes that Town Manager Kevin Paicos's TIF review committee should have tried to negotiate a better deal.

The TIF committee also had unanimously favored the tax agreement, which will not reduce the base tax the company pays to Foxboro - currently more than $700,000 a year - but would reduce the tax on the new construction on a sliding scale, with no taxes to be paid on that construction for the first four years.

Paicos said TIFs are structured this way to help the company cover the costs of the new work.

Acting on that committee's advice, the board of selectmen recently voted 5-0 to support the deal at town meeting.