Edwards touts tax break for distressed property rehabs


With the House passing legislation creating a tax break for certain types of residential development, Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton) said he sees a promising avenue for job creation and economic revitalization.

The House voted 70 to 0 last week to approve a bill that allows a tax exemption for  residential property developed on speculation or renovation of existing residential housing refurbished on speculation.

“I think adding foreclosed and abandoned properties to the list of possible developments makes this bill more attractive than last year,” Rep. Edwards said. “I want this legislation to serve as a vehicle for getting people back to work in an industry that plays an important role in our general economy. Construction workers have been going too long without jobs.”

Form instance, he said,  if a developer or contractor purchases a property valued at $65,000 in Tiverton, that individual would pay about $1,300 in taxes each year. If enacted, his bill would allow that contractor to solely pay taxes on the land while he or she builds a home, which carries a value of $100,000. Six months after completion of that home, the property sells for $205,000. From that point, the town has the ability to assess the property for $4,100 in taxes – a net increase of $2,800 for the town.

“This legislation does not bring our cities and towns any less revenue than they are receiving now,” Rep. Edwards said. “Building suppliers will benefit from this, too. When you start putting people back to work, it causes a chain reaction of productivity. I think this is just aggressive enough to get things moving while taking long-term planning into consideration. We simply cannot afford to hold onto any short-sighted views of the economy.”



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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.