Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.Yesterday in Part I, I shared the concept of Worker Power and their current referendum effort to oppose the City of Glendale’s use of a GPLET within portions of the VAI Resort. I alerted those who had signed their referendum petition that an email with their personal contact information was generated and sent to the Glendale city council.

What in heaven’s name is a GPLET? Its full title is Government Property Lease Excise Tax. It is an incentive created by the Arizona Legislature that permits cities and towns to encourage development within their communities. A GPLET permits a temporary lower property tax payment for up to a maximum of 25 years. This means instead of a developer paying property tax, the developer must pay an excise tax in its place. The excise tax amount is determined by a formula created by the Arizona Legislature. Please note that tax is still paid on the property but at a lower rate called an excise tax instead of property tax.

A project eligible for a GPLET would typically not otherwise be built at the desired scale or design or timing because of the expense of the land, the cost of building massive projects, and the high rates of commercial property tax.

A city is providing the GPLET to land that it does not expect to develop soon. It is by no means counting on the property paying taxes in the near term. A GPLET can cause a project to be built sooner rather than later.

Historically, Arizona cities and towns have used GPLETs often. It is not some kind of exotic incentive rarely used. In the past twenty years at least 8 Valley cities have used GPLETs.

  • Avondale currently has 4 GPLETs including one for its Phoenix International Speedway
  • Chandler currently has 4 GPLETs including one for its Overstreet Cinema
  • Glendale currently has 21 GPLETs, a majority of which are airport related but there is one for Cabela’s and one for the Renaissance Hotel
  • Goodyear has 1 GPLET for its Western Regional Medical Center
  • Mesa has 51 GPLETs including its Mesa Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau
  • Phoenix’s financial report is not so opaque but I was able to identify at least 58 GPLETs, including restaurants and hotels
  • Scottsdale has 19 GPLETs including the Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale (part of the PGA Tour)
  • Tempe has 40 GPLETS including the Tempe Town Lake and the Hilton Hotel

Why is Worker Power doing a referendum on the VAI Resort development now? Remember, I said in my last blog post that they are opportunists? If they were genuinely opposed to the use of GPLETs, they would have opposed the original GPLET for this project passed by the city council two years ago. Where were they then? Crickets. Oh wait, weren’t they in Georgia working on Rafael Warnock’s senatorial campaign? That action would bring them far more notoriety than opposing a no-nothing GPLET in Glendale. How come the only other GPLET they’ve opposed is the one involving the Coyotes project in Tempe?

It looks like there will be a Part III to this GPLET blog tomorrow. In the next part we’ll look at the benefits of this GPLET as well as Worker Power’s publicly offered reasons for their opposition.

© Joyce Clark, 2023     


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