Log in


Smith: Candidates’ words don’t match reality


All three city council incumbents running for reelection (Mayor Ortega and Councilmembers Caputi and Durham) congratulate themselves for keeping taxes low for Scottsdale citizens.

Are they referring to the tax rates imposed on citizens? Or the actual taxes paid by citizens? Either way, the statement is a surprising one for them to make.

On the one hand, if they mean they’ve worked to keep our tax rates low, they should explain why they’re supporting the November ballot question to raise Scottsdale’s sales tax rate by 0.15%. They could have earned credit for lowering our sales tax rate this year if they had voted for early termination of the first Preserve Sales Tax (0.20%), since the sole purpose of that tax was completed ahead of time. But they did not.

On the other hand, if they mean they’ve worked to minimize the taxes we actually pay, that’s also hard to accept. These three members of council were sworn into office January 2021. When FY20/21 ended, the year's actual sales tax collections for the year were $235.9 million and primary property taxes were $36.3 million. The combined amount was $272.2 million, up 12% from the COVID levels of FY18/19 and FY19/20.

Since then, tax collections have increased dramatically!

In FY21/22, the first full year that these three individuals and their colleagues presided, the combined sales and primary property taxes rose to $324.3 million, a 19% increase over the prior year. In FY22/23, collections rose to $351.9 million, another 9% increase.

Results for FY23/24 are not yet known, but sales tax collections are running higher and we already know primary property taxes will increase by 5%.

Candidates should be careful not to insult the intelligence of voters.

Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at AzOpinions@iniusa.org.