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Hanshew: Errors in ‘The American Dream Act’ article


There are several significant material errors in “The American Dream Act” article.

California’s Proposition 13 property tax assessment methodology is held out as the benchmark due to having an annual cap on how much the property tax assessment can increase. With Prop. 117, Arizona also instituted an annual cap in property tax assessments.

In that regard, the systems are very similar. California caps at 2% and Arizona caps at 5%.

Ms. Weaver is quoted stating she suffered a 245% increase. The only way that I can imagine her value increasing that much is new construction previously being valued as raw land (or the improvements valued as a percentage complete) becoming fully occupied and floating up to the full value as an occupied residence.

There may have also been a change in use, which triggers a Rule B re-valuation, but that would be unlikely for a single-family residence.

The article also omits that there is an active effort in California to revise Prop. 13 and remove the cap. Google “California split-roll initiative” for more information. Prop. 13 has created all kinds of issues for Californians and leads to an imbalance of taxation among their citizens.

Arizona’s system isn’t perfect. In fact, it has some significant flaws that I would love to see changed. But exempting seniors isn’t one of them. No argument that property tax is a wealth tax, but it is applied evenly across the board to rich and poor alike. So in that way, it is egalitarian.

Being old enough to join AARP myself, I understand and have compassion for those with fixed incomes. But in reality, this seems to me as a thinly-veiled attempt for seniors to avoid paying for the schools and infrastructure that make our communities operate.

Sadly, I have heard people say they already paid that when they were raising their own young families when in reality it was the generation ahead of them who was paying the way with them.

Editor’s note: Mr. Hanshew is a Scottsdale resident