Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Tom Fudge : The Mills Act is a state law that's been on the books for many years. It is named for Jim Mills, a San Diego politician who became President pro-tem of the California State Senate.
The Mills Act is aimed at preserving historic buildings, by giving the owners of those buildings property tax cuts if they promise to preserve the structure in its historic state. San Diego homeowners have made extensive use of the Mills Act. More than 800 homes are covered by the Act in our city. San Francisco, by comparison, has only three.
The Mills Act has become controversial, due to the current crisis of government funding. Some people, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders included, don't like the fact that some homeowners are enjoying significant tax breaks under the act. Furthermore, critics say Mills Act homes are being monitered, so we don't really know if they're being historically preserved. Some call the Mills Act a subsidy for wealthy home owners, since most of the "historic" homes in town are pretty high-priced.
- Bruce Coons , executive director of Save Our Heritage Organisation .