Should seniors skate?

The Legislative session doesn’t start for another week and a half and I’m already tired of the bad ideas being proposed. I previously wrote about HB2002 Rep. Mark Finchem’s (R-Oro Valley) proposal, which would “allow the state to fire teachers who discuss politics, religion, or racial issues in classroom settings.” Yesterday, Newsweek picked up on Phoenix New Times reporting that nine of the points in his bill were “lifted directly from the Stop K–12 Indoctrination campaign, which the David Horowitz Freedom Center sponsors. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes David Horowitz as ‘a driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-black movements.’” Not to be outdone, Rep. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) submitted HB2015 which covers the same territory.

Now, we have “a self-proclaimed ‘tax activist’ who wants to excuse anyone 65 or older from paying property tax. Her name is Lynne Weaver and she is working with a former state GOP chairman to permanently ban property taxes on AZ home owners 65 and older.

What a ridiculous idea! As a Capitol Media Services article points out, if the initiative passes, homeowners under 65 would be left to make up the property tax burden the elderly were relieved of. This tax money after all, funds public education, emergency services and other community programs. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t rely on property taxes to fund these programs because it inevitably results in winners and losers. But the funding for these essential services has to come from somewhere and for now, that’s property taxes.

According to the AZ Department of Health Services “2014–2018 Arizona Healthy Aging Plan”, the number of Arizonans aged 65 and older was 14% in 2010. By 2025, the plan states “there will be as many people over 65 as under age 15 living in Arizona. These increases will be accompanied by a decrease in the proportion of working-age Arizonans who help support older adults in numerous ways including paying taxes on wages that help fund Social Security and Medicare.”

So, not only will there not be enough young people to support the older ones, but Weaver’s initiative would have those young people responsible for picking up the bill for elders’ property tax relief as well?

A California transplant, Weaver’s tried to limit property taxes before with efforts based on California’s disastrous Proposition 13, “a 1978 measure rolling back property valuations and capping year-over-year increases.” With this latest effort, she thinks she’ll have more luck targeting only seniors. But, she’ll need to get 356,467 valid signatures by July 2, 2020 for the initiative to make the ballot next year.

Which brings me back to another of Finchem’s proposals. He recently announced he wants to allow initiative organizers to collect signatures online. This caught my attention because although Sandy Bahr of the AZ Sierra Club lauded his proposal, I know (given his denial of climate change), he is not proposing this change to help promote renewable energy, or any other sane issue liberals care about.

What if Finchem wants the on-line initiative signing capability to help Weaver’s initiative qualify for the ballot? And if it qualifies, what’s the chances the voters will approve it? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that the 65+ age group are the most reliable voters of them all.

Then again, maybe I’m just getting cynical in my old age. No, I’m not 65 yet, but I do live in an active adult community. And yes, I believe in paying taxes for public education. Retirees (and others) paid for mine after all, and I want to ensure there are plenty of well educated young people to take care of all of our futures. Crazy concept, huh?

9 thoughts on “Should seniors skate?

  1. Before folks start messing with our system of ad valorem taxes on real estate and personal property they should realize the burden and effects the source of public revenue shifts have on our citizens.
    Taxes always seem to result in winners and losers. How the power of political groups “working on” elected and appointed officials are influenced and respond to organized pressure on their decisions need to be recognized. Special interests represent winners and usually leave victims when they succeed in obtaining special favors for themselves.
    There are “problems” with our real estate and personal property taxes but building more holes and exemptions into the system is NOT the answer. That is exactly what is wrong today.
    Equalization in statewide financial burdens to various taxing districts and uniformity in assessment practices statewide should be the priority before anymore changes are considered or adopted.
    Education, local public services and infrastructure approved in addition to minimum standards benefiting residents and their properties need to be provided in collection of property taxes. Fair income taxes levied according to ability to pay, transaction {sales} taxes and fees for services on a statewide basis to fund state government functions seem to me a fair and equal revenue sharing system.
    Your rightful concern for education funding should be undertaken through a statewide “basic school support” for district schools based on publicly mandated educational requirements. Local education enhancements approved by voters should continued to be financed through ad valorem taxes on real estate and personal property.
    Enough tinkering with our taxes, my burden are the sales taxes, maybe a senior citizen card exempting those over 80 from sales taxes. My cup of tea!

  2. Thank you for explaining Weaver’s absurd initiative. And Finchem? He’s obviously part of the “kill public education “ movement. Hope his bills get shot down!

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Did you hear about a Gail Griffin (R, LD14) now in House, attempt to get an additional tax deduction for military retirees’ pay? From $2,500 to $20,000 (not positive about that amount).

    That’s all I remember but not surprised… she’s quite self-serving and probably gets her last husband’s retirement ( that’s my presumption). I did remember being approached about that years ago, as a candidate opposIng Griffin, by a retired USAF Colonel, suggesting same .

    For what it’s worth….

    Best wishes to you and Holly…

    Pat Fleming Sierra Vista

  4. PAT…Nice to hear from some who knows where some of the bones are buried. As far as the stupid idea of reducing the property taxes for anyone, don’t. While property, residences don’t offer a measure of wealth they do have a part in the overall value of a community. I was in real estate sales for a number of years and one of the KEY questions a family would ask in searching for a home, “What school would our children attend?”
    The overall value of a residential property is local schools and local services. Relying on regressive taxation, sales tax, to fund education puts an unfair burden on the least likely to afford the tax. Sure at 81 it would be nice to avoid property taxes, but not at the expense of our education system and future generation.
    As a real estate broker and investor I have heard the cry from the industry for tax freezes, reductions and other gimmicks, but my advice has always been, resist. A balanced tax system is like a three legged stool, income/ability to pay, consumption/sales tax and property taxes/a measure of local service needs approved by the local citizens.
    Every turn we hear about Mark Finchem and I agree, a much better choice could have been made for the legislature. In my opinion, so much for “single shot”, you can’t beat somebody with nobody. No matter how extreme or off they may prove to be. Been done, yes, in rare cases. No need to rehash that now.

    • Hi Harvey. Thanks for the great insight on property taxes. As for your comment on single shot, don’t understand. We were not provided the opportunity to try a single shot in LD 11 for the House since we had no control over who else ran on the Democratic side. THAT is one of the two main problems with single shot – there is no way to preclude candidates from running if they really want to. The other, is that it is difficult to get the word about it, to the voters.

      • That of course is the problem, “getting the word about single shot”. Let alone getting basically non-involved, non-political people to be aware of elections every two years. Voter participation should be improved yet it has not. A few years ago there were no mail in ballots, no early voting stations and almost 100% of the voting was done on election day in person. Absentee
        mail ballots were reserved for folks actually away from home temporarily or who were to be away from home on election day.
        The answer to the problem of control of possible stocking horse or “sham” candidates is getting rid of unconstitutional multi-member election districts. Single member districts where each candidate seeks election on their own merits is the way it should be. Boss Tweed left behind two legacies, one bad, political corruption, and in my opinion one good, “city charters”. By getting the New York Legislature to allow the city of New York to adopt its own charter, Tweed was able to rob the city of millions of dollars with the state out of running the city’s business. His influence was enhanced by controlling elections and today almost all elective offices pit one candidate against another. Boss Tweed was a Democrat. Even in a heavy Republican district like LD 11 a candidate could properly be exposed and defeated in a head on contest.

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