Proposition 2 ½ limits the City of Newton, and all other Massachusetts communities, the amount of citywide taxes that can be raised. Proposition 2 ½ limits a community to raising citywide taxes by 2.5% from the previous year’s levy limit. Allowing for new growth can then increase this levy limit. New growth consists of property tax increases caused by new construction, renovations or land use changes. Proposition 2 ½ does not limit any individual property tax increase or decrease. For example, in Fiscal Year 2017, the Mayor and the City Council approved a budget that included a tax levy of $318,009,858. The levy limit for Fiscal Year 2016 was $304,054,763. So, the maximum amount of taxes that can be budgeted by the Mayor and the City Council for Fiscal Year 2017 is $304,054,763 X 102.5% = $311,656,132 plus certified new growth plus a voter approved debt exclusion payment of $1,554,028. (The 102.5% number is increasing the previous year’s limit by 2.5%). The new growth, which was certified by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, is $4,799,698. Therefore, the maximum amount of taxes which can be levied for Fiscal Year 2017 is $311,656,132 + $4,799,698 + $1,554,028 = $318,009,858. This figure is the levy limit, which will be used to determine next year’s maximum tax levy. A community may increase the property tax levy less than 2.5%, but that is a determination made by the budgetary requirements of the city as determined by the Mayor and the City Council. A community may not increase the tax levy greater than 2.5% without approval of the voters. The Mayor and the City Council increased the tax levy by $12,658,512 over last year's actual tax levy of $305,351,346 (FY2016 Levy Limit of $304,054,763 + $1,296,583 Debt Exclusion payment). This is what causes a tax increase, not an increase or decrease in assessed values.