(The Center Square) – Arizona’s largest county is cutting property taxes.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved of a tentative $3.4 billion budget for the 2022 fiscal year. The proposal is an increase from its $3 billion budget enacted amid the COVID-19 pandemic that saw a reduction in spending but a flat tax levy and federal aid.
Since the county’s portion of a resident’s total property tax levy is roughly 15% of a total annual bill, the change won’t be significant. Some may see their bills go up, since home values are the other half of the equation when tabulating a property tax bill. According to WalletHub, a $225,550 single-family home would pay an average of $1,499, the 13th-lowest rate in the nation.
Still, the announcement was welcomed by budget hawks who have criticized the county for tax increases in years past.
Kudos to the [Board of Supervisors] for reducing the primary property tax rate below the Truth in Taxation requirement,” Arizona Tax Research Association Senior Analyst Sean McCarthy said Tuesday. “Now let's do the same with County Flood and Library Districts.”
The proposal uses $439 million in federal tax dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act. The board said it will use those funds to hire 30 more county health department employees to aid in its ongoing fight against the pandemic.
“Our job is to be responsive to the needs of our community and respectful of the taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars. This budget does that,” Vice Chair Bill Gates said. “The pandemic taught us how tenuous health and financial security are for too many in our community, and so we invested in those areas.”
The plan, if enacted, would spend $76 million to improve the county’s technology infrastructure and increase internet service options for residents. It also includes $5 million to fight homelessness, and adds personnel to the county medical examiner’s office, which has been understaffed in correlation with population growth and deaths attributed to COVID-19.
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