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Yet Another Tax Break For The Rich

By Sam Bakken in News on Apr 11, 2005 8:25PM

Dolla Bills Y'allWe firmly believe that the government should tax the shit out of the rich. It's actually a good deal for everyone. You richies pay your taxes and pay for a greater share of the services that educate and care for us broke jokers. In exchange we cool it on the class warfare tip and try not to steal and ruin your expensive shit too often.

There are a hell of a lot more of us than you, but we just can't seem to catch up. You're just such a resourceful lot aren't you. With your president and your tax-code-savvy accountants? Yes, you are! You've even figured out that some buildings enjoy a sort of landmark status and house luxury condos that can save you thousands of dollars in taxes each year!

If you didn't know, the tax code we're referring to is the "Historic Preservation - Single Family Housing Property Tax Incentive." It reads, "Single family, owner-occupied residences with local, state or federal landmark designation can qualify for an eight-year freeze on the assessed valuation of the property. Properties must be substantially rehabilitated in accordance with U.S. Secretary of the Interior's 'Standards for Rehabilitation'." Crain's reports that to qualify, a building does not actually have to be a landmark itself, but only has to contribute to the character of a historic district.

Here are a few examples of the savings from Crain's:

-University Commons, 1000 W. 15th St. Tax bills average $650 for units that sell for an average of $275,000, market rate would be $4,800 per unit.

-University Station, 1550 S. Blue Island Ave. Tax bills average $200 for units that sell for an average of $250,000, market rate would be $4,400 per unit.

-Palmolive Building, North Michigan Avenue. "Developer Draper & Kramer Inc. would not disclose tax information, but public records peg its 2003 tax bill as a commercial building at just over $1 million—or what would be an average of $9,700 per unit. Taxes on a $2-million condo, the average price in the building, would be roughly $35,000 at market level."

-The Ambassador, 1300 N. State Pkwy. Tax bills average $5,000 to $7,000 for units that sell for an average of $2 million, market rate would be $41,000.

We understand that preserving historic sites is important, and that some of these buildings may in fact contribute to the history of the city. But in the Crain's article a developer even admits that applying the break to the Palmolive Building is "stretching the point".