sounds like a good cause even if you dont live in mesa
Groups gird against Mesa tax By Blake Herzog, Tribune February 3, 2006
The fight is on for Mesas financial future, and the battle lines are stretching beyond the citys boundaries.
A coalition of conservative political groups on Thursday filed paperwork at the Mesa City Clerks Office to form a political committee, Property Owners Against Question 2, to convince city voters not to green-light the citys first property tax in 60 years.
East Valley Republican Assembly president Martin Sarager and 2004 Mesa City Council candidate Bob Hisserich, the groups co-chairmen, announced the committees intentions with a bang, holding a news conference with representatives of the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers, Arizona Seniors Coalition, Valley Business Owners (and Concerned Citizens), and the Arizona Republican Assembly.
Tom Jenney, executive director of the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers, said rejection of the property tax would send a message to other cities.
I guess the most important thing, especially if we beat this thing, is it will be an example of how people really dont want more taxes, they really dont want government to grow.
The Mesa City Council voted in December to put two tax measures on the May 16 ballot, the first increasing the sales tax rate and the second implementing a property tax. The city faces projected budget shortfalls of more than $37 million, attributed to increasing debt load and slowed growth of the sales tax and utility revenues it depends on.
The coalition will focus most of its efforts on defeating the property tax, Hisserich said.
He said the city should work harder to build the citys business base, rather than raise taxes on residents.
Every time the city needs money, the solution is to go to the taxpayer, he said. The solution is to bring business to Mesa. Its a simple solution.
Arizona Seniors Coalition president Charlie Powell, who also ran a close but unsuccessful race against a Mesa council incumbent in 2004, said the city should look at cost-cutting measures, beginning with the salaries paid to top officials.
If airline executives can take pay cuts when times are bad, why cant city executives? he said.
Hisserich said the group would likely turn to signs and other standard political tools in the run-up to the May 16 election, in part because he expects their budget to be more limited than that of Mesa Citizens for Responsible Public Policy, an arm of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce campaigning for the property tax which recently received a $10,000 donation from former Mayor Wayne Brown.
Former City Councilman John Giles, co-chairman of that committee, said Mesas status as a family-friendly city could be jeopardized if the property tax isnt approved, which would result in dwindling funds for police and fire departments, streets, libraries and parks and recreation.
He said he welcomes the coming debate on the issue, but I hope the debate around it remains about the facts, rather than the red herrings that dont address the merits of the proposal in front of the voters. Its all so important.
If you fight
Contact information for committees campaigning for or against Mesas property tax
FOR: Mesa Citizens for Responsible Public Policy Mesa Chamber of Commerce, (480) 969-1307
AGAINST: Property Owners Against Question 2 co-chairman Bob Hisserich, (480) 363-2878
Contact Blake Herzog by email, or phone (480) 898-6816
Groups rally against Mesa tax proposal
Justin Juozapavicius The Arizona Republic Feb. 3, 2006 12:00 AM
MESA - Saying the city has overspent itself by $100 million, dozens of residents rallied at City Hall on Thursday to kick off a campaign against what would be Mesa's first city property tax in more than 60 years.
Armed with signs reading, "Property Tax is a Toxic Cure for Mesa Ills," protesters, many of them seniors, said Mesa officials wouldn't be asking for another tax increase if they had been financially responsible.
After the rally, two groups filed campaign paperwork at the City Clerk's Office to sink the proposed tax. The first, Arizona Seniors' Coalition in Opposition to Question 2, is led by Charlie Powell, a 2004 City Council candidate. The second, Property Owners in Opposition to Question 2, includes support from the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers, East Valley Republican Assembly and Valley Business Owners and Concerned Citizens Inc.
"It's massive deception; they're playing the shell game," said Fred Phillis, on the city's announcement of a $37.7 million budget shortfall this year. Phillis is a member of the Valley Business Owners and Concerned Citizens Inc.
But Charlie Deaton, treasurer of the Mesa Citizens for Responsible Public Policy, which will campaign for the property tax, said much of the debt comes from bond issues voted on by the public.
"When you start talking about $100 million, you have to decide what is waste and what you really asked for," Deaton said.
The groups are attacking only the proposed property tax, which voters will decide May 16, not a separate sales-tax increase on the same ballot.