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Scottsdale City Council unanimously disapproves historic-home tax increase

Written by Matt Hendley Subject: Arizona's Top News
By Matt Hendley
            The Scottsdale City Council voted 7-0 Feb. 1 against a state Senate bill that would end tax incentives for owners of historic homes.

            Senate Bill 1166, authored by Sen. Linda Gray, R-Phoenix, would cause property taxes on historic homes in Arizona to increase from 5 to 10 percent, said Brad Lundahl, Scottsdale’s acting government relations director. The bill would override a 1975 law that gave historic homes a different property tax classification, Lundahl said.

            “The purpose of the original tax break was to keep the residences historic,” Councilman Robert Littlefield said, “What’s the motivation behind this bill?”

            Lundahl replied, “I believe the only purpose is to generate more revenue.”

            Under current law, any noncommercial property registered with both the National Register of Historic Places and the Arizona State Parks Board is eligible for the historic home tax classification, according to the Arizona State Senate fact sheet.

           “To rescind it now seems like poor play,” Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane said.

            The revenue generated from the new tax classification would help fund education equalization assistance, however, benefits could be offset by the costs of other rebate programs, according to the Senate fact sheet.

            “Historic property actions are limited,” Councilman Tony Nelssen said. “I think you lose incentive to maintain a historic home.”

            There are 5,194 historic properties in Arizona, Lundahl said, including 317 in Scottsdale. The Senate fact sheet states the total noncommercial historical property value in Arizona at $68.5 million.

            The bill currently is in the Arizona State Senate Committee on Finance for consideration.