Property Tax Classification: Historic Residences
State Senate Bill S.B. 1166

January 27, 2010


On Wednesday, State Senator Linda Gray introduced SB 1166 that would eliminate the State Property Tax Reclassification program.  This is the "tax break" for residential historic properties in Arizona: approximately 6,000 total statewide of which approximately 2,900 are in Phoenix and 2,000 in Tucson.  It will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, January 27, 2010.

The proposed bill (SB1166) is linked here:

To express your opinion about this proposal, contact your state legislator -- — and/or members of the Senate Finance Committee:


January 26, 2010

TO:  Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Members of the Senate Finance Committee:

FROM:  Wayne P. Murray

In reference to State Senator Linda Gray’s introduction of SB1166 scheduled to be heard before your committee on January 27, 2010, to eliminate the State Property Tax Reclassification Program, I strongly urge you to vote NO as to this bill.

Attempting to balance the state budget shortfall on the backs of our residential historic heritage is short sighted because if we do not respect the past, we cannot lay a positive path for the future.  Contrary to Ms. Gray’s view, it is the responsibility of our state government to take an active role in preserving our valuable heritage.  This voluntary tax incentive program redirects a portion of a historical home’s property taxes back to the owners so as to maintain the historic integrity of the home as well as to create an incentive for historic exterior preservation following national guidelines for maintaining the defining characteristics of historic homes and entire historic neighborhoods.  This tax break is an important incentive for the residents of the older neighborhoods to seek historic designation and make the community distinctive.

Ms. Gray’s portrayal of this incentive as a government handout or robbing public education is nothing more than political posturing and illustrates the fallacy in Ms. Gray’s proposal and philosophy.  Removing the tax incentive in a high foreclosure environment puts whole communities in jeopardy at a time when downtown neighborhoods are subject to extremely high risk of falling back into blight and crime.  The tax incentive protects neighborhoods by keeping property values higher than they would be without the historic preservation designation that is supported by the tax incentive.

The property tax originates with residents and their productivity, not with the state.  How, then, can the state “hand out” what was not theirs in the first place.  When the government, with its exclusive power to levy taxes, wants less of something or some activity,  then it increases tax.  Why would you, as our state legislators, who are responsible for preserving the heritage of the State of Arizona, want to preserve less?

This statewide program has proven that it is one with little waste, requires little oversight, is voluntary, and, most of all, is highly efficient in obtaining its goal of preserving our precious heritage.  It has a proven track record of stabilizing neighborhoods, increasing property values and producing a positive growth force of economic impact on surrounding areas.

I again urge you, our state legislators on the Finance Committee, to vote NO on SB1166 and not allow this action to proceed and become yet another partisan football in the relentless game that has become the force that is driving the policy that we are required to live by.

Resident Historic Coronado District
Wayne Murray
902 East Palm Lane Unit 9
Phoenix, Arizona 85006


I attended the meeting, and was given the opportunity to speak. Many residents were in attendance and many of the issues brought to light. When my turn, I concentrated on the Coronado and Garfield areas and the impact on these working class Historic neighborhoods. Things went rather well as the vote was postponed pending more research on the impact and benefit ratios that were raised at the meeting. I was able to meet with two of the committee members after the meeting to have a brief question answer chat. I will post more information on the conversations at the meeting as it becomes available, as well as notice of future meetings. I know that the number of e-mails had a impact on the outcome of the meeting.

Article in the Arizona Republic regarding the meeting

Thursday 27th

By Sadie Jo Smokey, Republic Reporter

GOP senator floats bill to tax historic homes

If you are interested in watching the testimony that led to SB1166 being held in committee, click below and forward the video to 45:25.