Supporters Attempt to Get Property Tax Cap on Ballot for Third Time

Phoenix, AZ – That difference is secrecy. Lynne Weaver who chairs Prop 13 Arizona said she is forming a nonprofit organization to accept donations. That entity, in turn, will forward all of its money to the campaign. The reason is that contributions to the organization, unlike those directly to the campaign, do not have to be publicly disclosed. Weaver said that should encourage financial support that was lacking in the past.

(Some of the people that would support Prop 13 Arizona may need a building permit or something of that sort. And they were hesitant. So we just think that this is better, especially after what we've seen in other states as far as retaliation against those who have different political views.)

Weaver figures that cash will help hire the paid circulators who will be needed to gather the more than 259 thousand signatures by July 5, 2012 to put the issue on the ballot. The essence of the initiative would roll back the taxable value of all property to 2003 levels, before speculators sent prices soaring, allowing future increases of only 2 percent a year. The value of any home purchased since then would be based on its actual sales price, with a provision for decreases if the actual value has fallen below that. It also would cap total taxes on any residential property at one-half of one percent of its value. So the maximum tax on a $200,000 home would be $1,000 a year. More to the point, there would be no exception for voter-approved bonds, overrides or special district assessments. Weaver said voters who turn out at elections, sometimes held at odd times of the year, should not be able to raise property taxes on everyone.

(They're the only tax on wealth. They're the only tax on an asset. Everything else, if you're not working you don't pay income tax. If you're not shopping, you're not buying sales tax. But if you want a roof over your head, whether you're a renter or a homeowner, you're going to have to pay property tax. And that's why this is the most sensitive tax. And it's the meanest and cruelest tax.)

The proposal gets its name because it is modeled in part on California's Proposition 13. That 1978 initiative was the first of a series of voter-approved limits on government spending. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.