State says special tax must be paid by Florence businesses in historic buildings

Silver King Marketplace / Mark Cowling/PinalCentral

Silver King Marketplace tenants could see their rent nearly double with the GPLET tax coming due. Only Florence Fudge Co., operated by the nonprofit Mosaic Church, is exempt from the tax

By Mark Cowling | Pinal Central

Town staff met recently with state and county representatives, but couldn’t find a simple solution for exempting businesses in town-owned historic buildings from paying a special state excise tax on government property that will nearly double their rent.

“The meeting concluded with no new options for tenants except to pay the GPLET (Government Property Lease Excise Tax) unless the business is exempt or there is an approved abatement,” according to a memo from town staff to Town Manager Brent Billingsley.

The Silver King Marketplace and Brunenkant building are both historic downtown buildings owned by the town of Florence. Only Florence Fudge Co., run by the nonprofit Mosaic Church in the Silver King, is exempt from the tax.

An eight-year abatement period on the tax expired Feb. 9 on the Silver King. The town didn’t abate the tax on the Brunenkant because town staff believed it was exempt.

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