7/17/2012 1:03:00 PM Letter: Prop 117 caps annual growth of limited value to 5 percent
In your July 12, 2012 edition, reporter Steve Ayers gave an unfavorable review of Proposition 117, which is on the November General Election ballot. Mr. Ayers suggested that any fifth grader with basic math skills could understand that Prop 117 won’t be good for taxpayers. While Mr. Ayers accurately described the simple mathematical calculation for determining property tax rates, adults who actually pay property taxes know he glossed over the real story.
Strangely, Mr. Ayers simultaneously recognizes that Arizona is famous for an overly complex property tax system and then defends it as one that even a fifth-grader could understand. He clearly hasn’t fielded the countless phone calls that I have over the last 25 years from frustrated taxpayers trying to comprehend a tax bill that is designed to confuse.
A particularly complicating feature of Arizona’s property tax system is the multiple sets of valuations used to calculate property taxes. Prop 117 simplifies the system by eliminating secondary (unlimited) net assessed values in favor of using only the primary (limited) value.
Eliminating the secondary net assessed value also provides the opportunity to eliminate maybe the most undesirable feature of our system: the lack of any limit on the annual growth in secondary values. Not long ago, the lack of any limit exposed many Arizona homeowners to 60 percent increases in taxable values in one year. Despite those record increases in values, 140 taxing jurisdictions statewide left tax rates the same or increased them; resulting in huge tax increases. Prop 117 caps the annual growth of the limited value to 5 percent.
Prop 117 received bi-partisan support in the Legislature because it simplifies a complicated system and protects property taxpayers from unreasonable increases in taxable values. I encourage your support of Prop 117.