Group files property tax initiative

Measure would limit revenue increases for secondary tax districts

KINGMAN - Arizona Tax Revolt filed a Property Tax Initiative for the 2008 election Wednesday, according to an e-mail from the group.

The initiative would roll back property tax levies to 2003 values starting in 2009.

The group has been working for several years to reform property tax laws in the state.

In November, voters passed Proposition 101, which limited how much cities, towns, counties and community colleges could raise their tax rates. The rates were limited to a 2 percent increase every year plus new construction.

Prop. 101, however, left out secondary property taxing districts such as fire districts, improvement districts, school districts, etc.

Arizona Tax Revolt was attempting to close that loophole with one ballot initiative, which would roll back tax levies to 2003 levels starting in 2009. It would also limit property valuations to 2003 levels. The growth of property valuations could only increase by 2 percent a year.

The organization has now split that initiative into two separate initiatives.

The first initiative rolls back levies to 2003 levels. If approved by voters the roll back would start in 2009.

"Since all taxpayers live under a budget we believe the government must also have budgetary limits," Arizona Tax Revolt Chairman Marc Goldstone stated in an e-mail. "We [have] included all the taxing entities under the levy limitation, no exceptions."

The second initiative involves property valuations. Arizona Tax Revolt has not yet placed this initiative on the ballot. Property values used to compute property taxes would be rolled back to 2003 starting in 2010. This would eliminate some of the inflation caused by the real estate market.

Goldstone explained in his e-mail that waiting a year to change the valuation's procedure would allow the legislature and state, county and city computers to change their programming to accommodate the new regulations.

Both initiatives are loosely based on California's Proposition 13, which passed in 1978. At the time California was faced with an increased demand for housing that was raising property taxes at a substantial rate. Many older residents were being taxed out of their homes.

Proposition 13 held real estate property taxes at one percent of a property's assessed full cash or market value. According to Proposition 13, the assessed value of a property can only be increased by a maximum of two percent a year. If improvements to a property are made or the property is sold, its value can be reassessed.

Unlike Prop 13, Arizona Tax Revolt's initiatives would hold property values at 2003 plus any 2 percent tax rate increase put in place by taxing districts. New homeowners would pay almost the same tax rate that the previous owner of the home paid.