Maricopa County is planning to slash its property tax rate for residents. The Board of Supervisors says the cut, included in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, is aimed at keeping homeowner expenses manageable.
But that doesn’t mean your overall property tax will decrease. The bulk of homeowners’ property tax woes stem from secondary taxes for municipal services and education.
On Monday, the board approved a $2.2 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins in July, a 7 percent increase over the current budget.
Supervisor Don Stapley, RDistrict 2, said the county will be able to provide needed services while reducing county-controlled secondary property taxes by 14
cents per $100 assessed valuation.
The secondary tax rate contributes to funding special-purpose costs such as libraries, improvement districts and the stadium district.
Stapley’s district encompasses much of the East Valley, including Carefree, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Mesa and Paradise Valley.
He said the fiscally conservative board is trying to keep homeownership affordable despite rapidly increasing property valuations because of school bonds and other special levies.
“We did it because we thought it was the responsible thing to do,” he said. “When valuations do what they’ve done, we have to reduce the rate. If we didn’t reduce the rate, people’s taxes would be out of control.”
In August, the board plans to approve a reduction in the primary property tax rate of 7½ cents per $100 assessed valuation. The move will constitute the largest decrease in decades, said board Chairman Fulton Brock, R-District 1.
“The county has an obligation, we feel, to do anything we can to try to keep taxes manageable,” Brock said.
Maricopa County has one of the state’s lowest primary property tax rates, added Brock, whose district includes Tempe, Guadalupe, Chandler and Queen Creek.
The county’s rate is less than 2 percent, while neighboring Pinal County has a primary rate of more than 4 percent.
Stapley said Maricopa County has voluntarily imposed a 2 percent annual cap on secondary property tax increases, and he recommended that other counties do the same.
“There’s got to be a better way than to keep jacking property taxes up,” he said.