Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools
Bartlett Bunker 9-22-15
Lesko Legislative Update
Property Tax Update
Recently, Maricopa County Treasurer Hoskins included a political opinion piece letter in your property tax bill at taxpayer expense. After review by Senate staff, tax experts, and lawyers, it has been determined that Mr. Hoskin’s editorial is filled with inaccuracies, omissions, and misleading statements.
In his opinion letter, Mr. Hoskins used the wrong assessment ratio in the base year of his analysis and has totally ignored the multiple increases to the homeowners’ rebate passed by the legislature specifically designed to protect the homeowner.
Mr. Hoskins also mischaracterized Proposition 117, which was passed by a majority of the voters in 2012. He suggests that Prop 117 caused residential taxes to be higher than they otherwise would have been. This is untrue. In fact, Prop 117 helped homeowners this year. Even though residential assessed property values in Maricopa County increased by 25% for the 2015 tax year, Prop 117 limited the increase in the taxable value to 5%.
Leadership in the Senate has reached out to the county treasurer’s office. I hope that Mr. Hoskins will realize his misstatements and correct them.
If nothing else happens, I hope this controversy causes you to take a closer look at your property tax bill before you vote for a tax increase. If your bill is like mine, 70% of the taxes go to schools, and in my school district, a school override tax increase is again being placed on the ballot. Voters recently approved $935 million in bonds for the Maricopa County hospital, another $369 million in school general obligation bonds and $89 million/year levies for overrides for school districts. This November Maricopa County voters will vote on $804 million in school bonds and $147 million in annual override levies for the schools. These numbers don’t even include bond requests at the city level. People don’t always realize how their vote affects their tax bill.
In an attempt to clarify, I’ve written some bullet points to help address Mr. Hoskin’s letter:
I hope I have cleared up some of the confusion over Mr. Hoskins political opinion letter. I have no idea why he wrote it. Perhaps it is because the legislature wouldn’t approve his request to spend $1 million more in advertising for a program he administers. Or perhaps it is because the legislature ended a funding mechanism run by his office that unfairly targeted low income homeowners that were behind on their taxes. Whatever the reason, I hope that his letter has caused you to study your property tax bill more closely.
Together, we can make a difference.
Arizona State Senate
Legislative District 21