Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Our Tea-Publican legislators will loudly proclaim that they have not raised your taxes, honoring their unholy pledge to their lord and master, corrupt K Street lobbyist Grover Norquist. Ah, but they did shift the tax burden to counties, cities, school districts, and other political subdivisions that will have to raise your taxes to provide services as a result of our Tea-Publican legislature. These sneaky-snakes will say "blame your local government" for raising your taxes. Sh*t rolls downhill, but we all know who rolled it down the hill.
Ted Prezelski who blogs at Rum, Romanism and Rebellion (R-Cubed) has a guest opinion at the Tucson Sentinel which describes how the sneaky-snakes in our Tea-Publican legislature will raise your property taxes. Legislators hope you aren't paying attention to state budget:
There is, in fact, $308 million in new revenue for the state. That's the amount that foreclosed homeowners can no longer claim as a mortgage interest deduction. I can't blame Kavanagh for not bragging about this one. Even in a legislature as crass as this one, crowing that the state is in better fiscal shape because people have been thrown out of their homes would be a bit much.
Legislative Republicans like to claim that they don't raise taxes on people, but they, in fact, raised taxes on property owners throughout the state. A provision in an education bill passed last year raises $70 million in, yes, revenue by ending a rebate for homeowners in many school districts. The change particularly effects rural school districts and districts, like TUSD, that incur extra costs because of desegregation orders.
And for homeowners, the increased property tax bill goes beyond ending the rebate. Former House Speaker Kirk Adams's corporate bailout package that passed shortly before he left to start his run for congress included provisions to decrease commercial, industrial and agricultural property taxes. While the bill doesn't explicitly increase residential property taxes, that will be the effect since residential taxes will be raised by localities and school districts to make up the difference.
Legislators knew this and included increasing an existing rebate (not the one they eliminated, of course) to somewhat blunt the effect on homeowners. Still, it is part of a longer term attempt to transfer the property tax burden from corporations to homeowners.
Of course, the rebate will be harder to collect after another idea that got pushed through last year. The rebate is given nearly automatically these days. The state makes the assumption that homeowners are basically honest and aren't lying about where their primary residence is.
But, no more. Next year, the assumption is that every house is a rental or vacation property and homeowners must sign an affidavit certifying that either they or a family member lives there. If you don't, that home where you are living is now a second home and you are out the rebate, which could be up to $600.
One could easily imagine a confused homeowner throwing away the post card affidavit rather than signing it. Their budget numbers are counting on thousands of people doing just that. It's the only way they can keep any veneer of fiscal responsibility while continuing to lower property taxes for corporations and other large property owners.
Confusion is a feature of this process rather than a bug. The legislature hopes that a rebate here and there will obscure the real aim, and it doesn't have anything to do with balancing the state's budget or lowering taxes on the average homeowner.
Note: In a comment to this guest opinion, Rep. John Kavanagh engaged in an ad hominem attack on Ted Prezelski and all "progressives" for pointing out factual information, failing to rebut any factual assertion -- something he also does here from time to time. Kavanagh treats the public with contempt. Voters should return the favor next November.
UPDATE: Arizona's county governments are prepared to fight back. Counties plan to lobby against giving money to state budget - Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required):
Maricopa County has decided to push back against the multi-million dollar contributions the state has forced it and four other counties to provide during the past three fiscal years to help fill holes in the budget.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted Nov. 14 to lobby against the forced donation, which the state began requiring of Maricopa and Pima counties in fiscal year 2009.
The state received $26.3 million from Maricopa County at the beginning of FY 2012, according to Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) spokesman Stefan Shepherd. In addition, Mohave, Pima, Pinal and Yavapai counties contributed a combined $12.3 million.
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“It’s essentially double taxation for Maricopa County taxpayers. It requires them to pay twice for state services, and that’s really bad budgeting policy. People here should be really unhappy,” Stapley said.
Stapley said the contribution, plus shifts of program responsibilities to the county, lost revenue streams and Highway User Revenue Fund sweeps have added up to a $94.1 million burden on Maricopa County this year.
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Richard Bohan, Maricopa County government relations director,
said he thought some state legislators wanted the counties to contribute so they could tout the state’s lack of a property tax while still benefiting from county property taxes. The state phased out its property tax in the mid-1990s, Shepherd said.
“The state had a property tax and got rid of it,” Bohan said. “So they like to say they don’t have a property tax but this is a way to keep getting revenue from it.”