By Alan Marchione
Here we go again. This November, taxpayers once again find themselves badgered by the Maricopa Unified School District on what percentage of their hard-earned dollars they can actually allocate to the care of and interests of their own families. The MUSD, already having an existing bond in place, after passing the current override, and the approval of the Red for Ed measure last year, wants even more of your money. Remember this measure is on the ballot as many of you are mailing your Pinal County property tax payments, due by Nov. 1.
It’s not surprising how strategic the MUSD is being in proposing Prop 437 to voters this November. This measure in the off-election cycle guarantees most of you will stay home, or be less interested in casting your vote, allowing advocates of the measure to pass it while most aren’t looking. In a calculated effort, Mayor Price, Council and School Board Members have all come out in favor of the measure, without addressing any of the valid arguments against the tax increase.
Prop 437 seeks voter approval for nearly $113 million of our hard-earned income. Don’t be fooled by the $68 million request, because that number doesn’t include the 28 years of interest we’ll all be on the hook for. On average, you’re looking at an additional $300 annually to the District on your tax bill – let that sink in.
Also, don’t be fooled by propaganda suggesting economic development will be adversely affected if not passed. Even with the MUSD’s years-long low ranking of 75th in Arizona, houses continue to be sold, and property values continue to rise. Maricopa is, and will remain a predominantly bedroom community for many years to come, and a majority of us feel that pain driving the 347 each day. There are no big companies coming to Maricopa with its limited infrastructure, and the Valley has too much unoccupied business capacity for Maricopa to become a viable option for business overflow.
What’s also not mentioned is the increased capacity for high school students at our local charter schools, and Heritage Academy which has a brand new facility coming online, serving grades 6-12 in the near future. If your child attends one of our many local charter schools, your increased tax spending will not benefit their education in the slightest. Not one dollar of Prop 437 tax dollars, or the current override tax will ever go to your child’s charter school. You’ll be subsidizing schools your children don’t even attend.
I’ll make the assumption the vast majority of Maricopa’s residents moved to the city because of the lower cost of housing. Many residents already question that decision, when factoring in the higher cost of utilities, fuel and maintenance costs on their vehicles, and with property taxes rivaling some counties in California, any savings in the cost of homeownership is basically eliminated; thus making a move to, or back to, the Valley more appealing.
If you’re a senior on a fixed income, can you afford another tax increase? Seasonal residents will again be realizing an increase in their property taxes, with no voice in the matter, and no realized benefits. Maricopa business owners will be burdened with increased costs as already high rental rates increase even higher to offset the cost.
Understand this… MUSD will never have enough of your money. Even with an existing bond in place, the override tax in place, higher tax revenues coming in from higher property values, and Red for Ed funds, they are continuing to petition for more funds, and will do so indefinitely. Their appetite for your tax dollars is insatiable, and they’ll tax you to death to get it.
Send a message to the MUSD to “budget for reality,” Join me in Voting NO on Prop 437.
Alan Marchione is a resident of Maricopa.