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Michael: No to Apache Junction property tax; keep less-intrusive city sales tax


My response to “City of Apache Junction may seek vote on first property tax” (cover story, September 2023 issue of Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent):

The American Dream is owning your own home, not paying property taxes. Taxes are nothing short of a never ending lien robbing owners of true ownership. If you’re in doubt, stop paying your property taxes and see what happens. You’ll lose your largest investment at the court house steps. So, why would you agree to a city property tax on top of your existing county property taxes. You wouldn’t and you shouldn’t.

Since Biden took office, prices are up 16.9% while real wages are down 3%. Mortgage rates are the highest in 22 years and Americans have lost $10,000-plus paying for the increased cost of living. The situation for the elderly and retirees is even worse, since they’re on a fixed income with little or no opportunity to combat out-of-control inflation. Yet, in the midst of this economic crisis, councilmember Tess Nesser and others would like to add one more financial burden in the form of a city property tax. I say absolutely not!

Especially, since a city sales tax, which already exists, is by far the least-intrusive, all-inclusive and most equitable of all taxes. That’s because everyone, rich or poor, pays their fair share. In other words, the greater your ability to spend more on goods and services, the more you pay in taxes. And vice versa, the less you have to spend on goods and services, the less you pay in taxes. Further, as councilmember Nesser begrudgingly acknowledges, a sales tax affords us the ability to take advantage of any cost savings anywhere, anytime. That’s a choice I want to keep, since choices are our friend and mandates are not.

A city property tax, on the other hand, is one such mandate which takes away our choice to pay, with far reaching negative consequences, including the real potential of losing one’s property. Further, a property tax is discriminatory, because it unfairly targets many existing and longtime residents including retirees living on a fixed income without opportunity to keep up with rising costs resulting from out-of-control inflation.

For Councilmember Nesser to suggest only city residents north of U.S. Highway 60 will pay a sales tax is not only inflammatory, but blatantly divisive. Unless she has a crystal ball, there’s no way she can predict who, when and where the residents of Apache Junction will spend their disposable income based on geographic location. This is a scheme to pit existing longtime residents north of the city against those moving to the south of the city. She should not only be ashamed of herself, but should publicly apologize for such a divisive suggestion.

Also, for her to suggest that the citizens of Apache Junction should be burdened with funding law-enforcement pensions, when many of those same residents don’t have pensions of their own and depend solely on Social Security for their financial welfare, is extremely self-serving and insensitive. Instead of passing the buck, the city needs to adopt an employee-funded retirement fund, if it doesn’t have one already. This is what fiscally responsible public agencies do.

Don’t be fooled by Councilmember Nasser’s divisive argument to hold us hostage with a city property tax. Its unconscionable for her to suggest a property tax is more equitable than a sales tax. Its also unconscionable for her to cry “the sky is falling” when she and her fellow council members are proud of spending a precious $315,500 of our tax dollars on license-plate cameras used to spy on us.

Enough is enough. Join me in telling Nesser and her colleagues on the council to stop attacking our freedoms by spending our money on surveillance cameras which serve a few to harass the many. Tell them to go back to the drawing board to come up with alternatives other than a city property tax to fund the city’s bureaucracy. And tell them to stop attacking the American dream of owning a home with higher and insidious taxes of any kind.