House to vote on coastal property tax breaks

May 26, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Next Thursday, June 1 the House of Representatives will vote on a bill that enables property tax breaks for improvements to handle storm surge and sea level rise.

The bill, SB 185, is based on a law that allows towns to give property tax breaks for efforts to preserve historic buildings. 

Towns have the power to decide whether or not to implement the tax breaks and to decide which properties and improvements are eligible.

Bill supporters argue that SB 185 will encourage preparation for changing sea levels and precipitation, thereby protecting property values in the long term.

“The town benefits by not losing revenue-producing and sometimes job-producing property and cultural heritage,” wrote Rep. Susan Almy.

Bill opponents argue that property owners already benefit from increased value from improvements, so it’s only fair to pay taxes on that increased property value. Coastal Rockingham County already has the highest median home values in the state, so the tax breaks would likely be going to wealthier homeowners in New Hampshire.

“This bill provides an incentive to sell quickly before the temporary tax discount provided in this bill expires,” wrote Rep. Bill Ohm.

A majority of the House Ways and Means committee recommends passing SB 185.

Do you support a local tax break for improvements to handle storm surge and sea level rise? Share your opinion in the comments below.

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