Despite, 9% unemployment, declining property values, underwater homes and record home foreclosures, three Pima County Supervisors think Tucsonans need to pay more property taxes. They say Pima County needs the revenue.
The question then becomes, “Who works for whom in Pima County?”
Is Pima County an absentee landlord? Are County Supervisors, Assessor, Treasurer and Sheriff collecting “Rack Rent” from Tucson peasants? Rack Rent in 1850s Ireland was named for a torture instrument – for government increasing home payments on Irish peasants more and more until they starved. “Unable to pay Rack Rent, thousands of the starving ones were thrown out, and other thousands threatened to be thrown out of their wretched homes, to perish on the roadside.” (Baird, 2004)
Last Monday Democrats Elias, Bronson and Valadez on Pima County’s Board of Supervisors voted to raise Pima County homeowners’ Property Tax rate for the second year in a row during a serious recession. The tax rate will grow from $4.67 to $4.84 per $100 of the County Assessor’s valuation of all Pima County homes (Bodfield, 2011)
The County Board’s two Republicans, Day and Carroll, opposed the tax increase.
And that’s not all the bad news for Tucson homeowners. A seventeen-cent Pima County increase is in addition to increases by other taxing entities in the county. Some school districts also raised their rates for next year. Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) for example, raised their tax rate almost 10%. Tucsonans may recall that TUSD’s increased tax monies will be added to over $53 million they still receive each year for “desegregation” in a numerically declining district.
County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said, while the tax rate is higher, property values dipped 7 percent, so homeowners might actually end up paying less this year. (Your house is worth less. You should be grateful.) He noted the tax levy – the entire pot of taxes collected countywide – is down from $421 million in 2011 to $402 million for 2012. (Bodfield, 2011)
So homeowners should be concerned that government is not collecting enough money?
Someone should explain to politicians that homeowners are not earning enough money.
The County Manager failed to mention: 1) Pima County already has some of the highest property Taxes in the US. 2) The County Assessor will not be able to reflect falling property values for years. Homeowners will pay scarce 2011 dollars for those big 2008 home values. We can appeal our property valuations, but we will pay more each year.
Pima County homeowners are not yet starving like those Irish peasants, but it is pretty obvious our government would not care if we were.
Baird, R. (2004). Goarticle.com. The Irish Issue. Free content article directory. http://goarticles.com/article/The-Irish-Issue/27698/
Bodfield, R. (2011). Arizona Daily Star. Pima County OKs higher tax rate to offset revenue loss. http://azstarnet.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_1491cf5a-da6f-501a-9e26-74e13d0b2dca.html?mode=story