DiCiccio: Phoenix leaders pushing $37M property tax increase

Phoenix politicians are pushing a $37 million property tax increase. This is right after they pushed a transit tax of $31.5 billion, a water tax increase of $15.3 million that went for pay raises and bonuses, and an airport ride sharing fee of over $8 million annually.

Sal DiCiccio

Sal DiCiccio

This new $37 million property tax increase is a clear example of Phoenix spending more than they need and taking more money from you and your family.

First, Phoenix does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. This property tax increase is coming when Phoenix is seeing record budget revenue of over $1.2 billion and has a $60 million surplus. That record revenue is forecast to grow over the next five years and can cover reasonable needs.

Second, they are using shell game accounting to justify the increase. The city destroyed its credibility when their projected $31-$58 million deficit suddenly became a $60 million surplus. They are conjuring up ways to spend that surplus so that they can raise your property taxes. For example, they have loaded $36 million in expenses from future years into the 2016-17 budget to create the mirage that there is a budget shortfall.

Third, the property tax increase will impact your budget. The average residential property will see a 26 percent jump in their property tax bill in one year. Your tax will continue to grow even faster as your property values increase.

The real problem and the real solution is for Phoenix to create a strategic plan. No different than any other entity. Phoenix is a $3.5 billion dollar operation without a clear direction of where it is going and wants to spend your money on everything.

We need a strategic plan that determines the strategic functions of government that must have priority for funding. Non-strategic functions should then be privatized or eliminated.

I have consistently requested we move toward a strategic plan. However, the government unions have a strong control over the politics of our city, preventing basic ideas from ever taking place.

For example, the city of Phoenix has one of the largest car service operations in the state. Everyone can agree that the city should maintain city-owned vehicles, but should city employees whose average compensation is over $110,000 per person, be the ones who change the oil?

This could easily be bid out to the best entity at the best price and service. City employees could also bid on this service. Strategic planning allows for the focus on spending critical monies on strategic functions. Without a true plan and direction Phoenix will continue to have a structural deficit and will demand more and more money from you.

Editor’s note: Mr. DiCiccio is member of Phoenix City Council representing District 6

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