Arizona residents want town's tax increases to go on the ballot
GILBERT, Arizona: Some residents of Gilbert, Arizona are not happy with the latest set of tax increases passed by the Gilbert Town Council in response to falling tax revenues. Kevin Ross, a county assessor who lives in Gilbert, has initiated a petition drive to collect signatures in order to force a city-wide public vote on three taxes approved by the town council. He must collect 1,749 signatures for each of the three referenda by July 31.
The three taxes recently enacted by Gilbert's politicians are :
- An increase in the city's sales tax from 1.5% to 1.75%. This tax increase, according to the resolution approved by the town council, would be imposed for 30 months.
- An extension of a 1.5% rental tax to all residential rental properties. Currently, people who own just one rental unit are exempted from the tax.
- The creation of a one percent (1%) use tax on items purchased outside Gilbert but used in town.
Supporters of the bill maintain that it is necessary to maintain some revenue input in the face of the economic downturn. Opponents, however, feel this method is too simplistic and will only bolster similar problems in years to come. Councilwoman Jenn Daniels, who voted against the increase, said that these problems would most likely recur over the next two years and that the town would feel these tax increases with greater severity. She also said that cutting spending instead of adopting a tax hike would send a message to struggling families that all social entities will make sacrifices to save money, including the state government.
An attorney for the town says that Arizona law does not allow town tax hikes to be forced to a public vote using the veto referendum process.