SEN. BLEDSOE

Joe Thompson, chief deputy Pulaski assessor, said today that James and Sen. Cecile Bledsoe did not claim a homestead tax exemption on a Little Rock house they purchased this summer, though county records indicate they enjoyed such an exemption.

Jon Comstock, the Democrat challenging Bledsoe’s bid to add four more years to her 16 in the legislature, had issued a news release last week noting that county records showed Bledsoe had a homestead property tax exemption on houses in both Rogers and Little Rock. The credit may be claimed only for a principal residence. Bledsoe didn’t respond to my question about Comstock’s news release.

Thompson explained that when a property changes hands, the homestead exemption on the property — in this case on a house in Chenal Valley — remains in place for the year and thus continues to be reflected on the assessor’s record. When the Bledsoes bought the house, they didn’t file the form sent to the assessor claiming a homestead exemption, Thompson said. He said it is possible that the sale terms included a pro-rating of the property taxes on the property. Thus, the exemption granted to the property at the first of the year might have provided some benefit to the Bledsoes this year. But Thompson said they won’t receive the credit in future years.