On Friday July 1, 2016, the Phoenix City council met to vote on and approve a portion of the funding for the 2016-2017 budget by voting to approve a floating property tax increase. The vote passed by a narrow margin (5-4) after much laborious debate. The increase as structured means that the property tax on an average Phoenix home valued at $200K will go up by $4.95/month (just over $50/year). Those with cheaper properties will pay less and those with more expensive properties will pay more. The last time Phoenix increased property taxes was in 1995. By ‘floating’ the tax it will self regulate and hopefully avoid future battles over raising property taxes.
The proposed budget was voted on and approved by council no less than three times in the past two months. It was approved knowing that a property tax increase would be an integral and required component of making the budget work. Failure to approve the tax bump would have created an immediate $37M deficit. PLEA was told that if this occurred, one of the immediate short term solutions would be to freeze all hiring and promotions for public safety.
Knowing this, it is disappointing that citizens, along with police and fire, are forced to come to council chambers under threat of public safety hiring and promotions being frozen, to endure hours upon hours of political theater on what should have otherwise been a routine confirmation vote to approve the funding mechanism.
PLEA would like to thank Mayor Stanton, Councilwomen Thelda Williams and Laura Pastor, along with Councilmen Mike Nowakowski and Danny Valenzuela for making the tough decision on the property tax and doing the right thing by voting yes to support public safety. Additional thanks to all of the police officers, firefighters and citizens who took their time to come show their support.