Property tax supporters and opponents came out in force this week, submitting more than 50 arguments for the May election’s publicity pamphlet.
Will Mesa voters believe arts and library groups, police and fire unions, school district employees and the mayor, who say a property tax is necessary? Or will they agree with Rep. Russell Pearce, RMesa, Valley Business Owners, the Arizona Republican Assembly and Councilman Tom Rawles, who think the city should cut from its budget before asking for more?
There were 26 arguments filed in favor of the property tax and nine filed in favor of the sales tax increase. On the other end, 18 arguments were filed against the property tax and two against the sales tax increase. The arguments due Wednesday were limited to 300 words or less and cost $250 each.
The publicity pamphlet will be mailed to voters April 3, 10 days before the start of early voting.
On May 16, Mesa voters will decide whether to implement the first city property tax in 60 years at a cap of $30 million per year, and increase the city sales tax to 1.75 percent.
“This is going to be one of the most critical decisions facing the community in many years . . . and it’s not a time for people to be sitting on the sidelines,” said Deanna Villanueva-Saucedo, a Mesa Unified School District employee who signed an argument favoring the property tax.
Last week, Daedalus Real Estate Advisors contributed $10,000 to the committee supporting the taxes, Mesa Citizens for Responsible Public Policy. The company is the developer of Longbow Business Park near Falcon Field and its managing member, Robert McNichols, was a member of the Mesa 2025: Financing the Future committee that recommended the taxes. The “Yes for Mesa” campaign previously received a $10,000 contribution from former Mayor Wayne Brown.
Supporters 1: Mayor Keno Hawker and four council members 2: Police and fire unions 3: Arts center and museum foundations 4: Friends of the City of Mesa Library 5: Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens 6: Former Mayor Wayne Brown 7: Mesa Historical Society 8: Southwest Ambulance 9: Mesa Grande Community Alliance 10: Mesa school board member Cindi Hobbs
Opponents 1: Councilman Tom Rawles 2: Councilwoman Janie Thom 3: Rep.
Russell Pearce, R-Mesa 4: Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa 5: Arizona Republican Assembly 6: Arizona Federation of Taxpayers 7: Valley Business Owners (And Concerned Citizens) 8: District 4 council candidate JT Ready 9: Arizona Seniors’ Coalition founder Charlie Powell 10: Former Mesa Councilman Louis Stradling