[Source: Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal] — The National Federation of Independent Business is backing efforts at the state Legislature to restrict property tax breaks Arizona cities dole out to real estate developers and larger businesses. State Sen. Ken Cheuvront, D-Phoenix, has proposed Senate Bill 1260 to limit deals that involve keeping certain land in public hands and then leasing it to private entities. Those actions allow the private developer or business to pay lower property taxes because the land is owned by a government entity. Cheuvront wants to reform the so-called Government Property Lease Excise Taxes to put the practice more on par with traditional property taxes.
US Airways Group Inc.’s corporate headquarters in Tempe, Cabela’s sporting goods store in Glendale, the Scottsdale Princess Resort, and several major downtown Phoenix developments, including the Colliers Center, CityScape, and Arizona Center, all benefited from GPLET tax breaks. NFIB state Director Michelle Bolton said the property tax breaks from cities help a few “giant development companies and big businesses. The system is gamed and it’s criminal,” said Bolton of the specialized tax breaks. NFIB prefers across-the-board lower taxes and a friendly environment for all businesses, including smaller operations. Cities and economic developers who support the GPLET practice counter that it helps projects and developments that otherwise would not get built in the state.