No relief this year

Property tax initiatives fail to gather enough signatures

Arizona property owners won't have a chance to vote on two property tax relief initiatives this November. Both Arizona Tax Revolt and Prop 13 Arizona's push to change state tax laws have failed to gather enough signatures.

Marc Goldstone of Arizona Tax Revolt said he was disappointed but "really encouraged by the great work of our volunteers."

His two initiatives fell 53,000 signatures short of the 230,047 needed to get them on November's ballot.

"As hard as our volunteers worked, there just wasn't enough of them," he said.

However, he feels that his group's push did some good. Some taxing districts decided against putting new bonds or other indebtedness on the November ballot because the districts were unsure if Arizona Tax Revolt's initiatives would make the ballot, he said.

Goldstone said the group might try again next year if they can collect enough donations to hire paid signature gatherers.

The more than 1,200 volunteers the group had were great, he said, but just not enough to gather the signatures needed.

Prop13 Arizona also failed to gather enough signatures to put its initiative on November's ballot.

"We will refile for next year right after the November election," Chairwoman Lynne Weaver said. "We learned a lot in this campaign."

The group plans to hire some paid signature gatherers for next year's campaign and has already started to make plans for fundraisers during the summer.

Weaver feels the soft economy and the decrease in tax revenue to the state may work in the group's interest. An increase in income tax revenue would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, and customers are already complaining about sales taxes. That leaves property taxes as one of the only ways the state can gather funds.

"The government can't control itself. It keeps asking for more," she said.

She is hoping that once property owners see higher property tax bills this year or next, they will be more willing to sign petitions limiting how much the state can increase the property tax rate.