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Effort Underway To Ban Property Taxes For All Senior Arizona Homeowners
In Arizona, property taxes are collected and managed by the counties to pay for public education, emergency services, health, water and many other community services.
But, a self-proclaimed "tax activist" and California transplant has found Arizona's property taxes "unpredictable and inexplicable" comparatively.
Since moving here in 2016, Lynne Weaver has tried multiple times to enact similar reforms, but failed.
This year, she is working with former state GOP chairman Randy Pullen to permanently ban property taxes on Arizona home owners who are 65 and older.
Weaver, who admitted she is over 65, said the current program freezing taxes for eligible seniors who make less than $37,008 a year ($46,260 as a couple), has found the renewal process too burdensome and excluding for most seniors.
"We have too many people losing their home, unable to pay property taxes,'' she said."Why should just low-income people be able to stay in their home after they retire and they're on a fixed income?''
In her latest proposal, anyone age 65 or older would be excused from paying a property tax.
She has reasoned that, even when an elderly resident has substantial property, it can disappear quickly in a medical crisis.
"You may be well-off today," Weaver said, "But you may be diagnosed with something tomorrow that's going to take everything you've got to keep up with it. Your luck changes quickly."
When it does change, she continued, "People over 65, most are not working. And they can't go back and get a second job or a better job."
She based her prior proposals off of California's Proposition 13, a 1978 measure rolling back property valuations and capping year-over-year increases.
In this initiative, Weaver thinks she will have better luck targeting only Arizona's seniors, but that will take gathering 356,467 valid signatures before July 2, 2020 to make the ballot next year.
Opponents to Weaver's plan point out that if her initiative passes, home owners under 65 would have to bear the entire property tax burden, which is necessary to fund public education, emergency services and other community programs.