Letters to the editor: Sept. 5 - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letters to the editor: Sept. 5

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Posted: Friday, September 5, 2008 10:23 pm | Updated: 9:00 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

 The reductions in Maricopa County property tax rates, as reported Aug. 19 in the Tribune, provide some good news for property taxpayers. Yet, as school district property taxes are affected not only by the school districts but also by the districts’ voters and the state Legislature, it is important for taxpayers to know who contributed to the tax rate declines and who actually inhibited the rates from falling as far as they would have otherwise.

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TAX RATES

School districts not helping

The reductions in Maricopa County property tax rates, as reported Aug. 19 in the Tribune, provide some good news for property taxpayers. Yet, as school district property taxes are affected not only by the school districts but also by the districts’ voters and the state Legislature, it is important for taxpayers to know who contributed to the tax rate declines and who actually inhibited the rates from falling as far as they would have otherwise.

Submit your letter to the editor

School districts’ secondary property tax rates are essentially voter-determined. These rates will rise or fall as needed so that the amount collected will fund the district’s voter-approved overrides or bond programs. Of the $0.33 average rate decline of the six East Valley school districts included in the Tribune article, $0.12 resulted from declines in the voter-approved secondary rates.

The remaining $0.21 of the average decline resulted from decreases in the districts’ primary rates. While voter decisions determine the secondary rate, the decisions of both the state Legislature and the local school district governing boards determine the primary rate.

The Legislature annually establishes the qualifying tax rate, or QTR. As a result of the truth-in-taxation laws, the Legislature has consistently lowered the QTR to offset increases in property owners’ assessed values. Over the past 10 years, the Legislature has dropped this rate from $4.40 in 1998 to $2.92 for 2008. This year’s $2.92 rate represents a $0.28 decrease below last year’s level in this portion of school districts’ primary tax rate.

The total primary rate of the six East Valley school districts on average declined by only $0.21 due to increases in the locally-controlled portion of the primary rate.

The Gilbert Unified School District increased the locally-controlled portion of the primary rate by $0.40. Higley Unified increased this portion by $0.21 and Mesa Unified increased it by $0.14. The remaining three districts decreased this portion of their district’s primary rate — by $0.33 in Scottsdale Unified, $0.10 in Chandler Unified, and $0.02 in Tempe Elementary.

The locally controlled portion of the primary rate is largest in the Higley Unified School District ($1.10), followed by Tempe Elementary ($0.96) and Mesa Unified ($0.46).

JUSTIN OLSON

RESEARCH ANALYST

ARIZONA TAX RESEARCH ASSOCIATION

PHOENIX

PRESIDENTIAL RACE

Obama wants business to pay fair share

The American people deserve to read the truth. The commentary in the Tribune by Austin Hill on Aug. 21 was a true character assassination of both Barack Obama and his father. Hill quotes the Investor’s Business Daily, which, according to Wikipedia, “is often criticized for being excessively devoted to large corporations.” Whose interests and values is Hill representing in this column?

It appears that Hill is reverting to the McCarthy-era tactics to name call and instill lies, fear and hatred towards Obama and his father. Politico states: “They are assuming Obama senior is the one who came up with this concept of African socialism, but that’s totally wrong. Based on that, they’re imbuing in him the idea that he himself is a socialist, but he is not.” Is Hill insinuating that liberals are communists? Isn’t that what Joseph McCarthy would have done?

Why is Hill attacking Obama, who is asking corporations to pay their share? Corporate CEOs are making almost 500 percent of what the average worker is making. Shouldn’t we be voting for good leadership that will take us out of this dismal eight-year mess and not continue the same exploitation of our great country under corporate rule?

Let us not forget that this is not the United Corporations of America but the United States of America. Corporations should not be running our country and should be paying their share! And finally, let us demand the truth and then the truth will set us free.

ANNA MARIA GIFFIN

TEMPE

Obama’s record fails any test

RW Kistner wrote (Letters, Tuesday) that he was awed by Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. I’m not so much awed by someone with less than 150 days in the Senate before he left to start campaigning, has absolutely no experience in running anything, even a Dairy Queen; has acknowledged relationships with domestic terrorists, radical black preachers and convicted felons. Nor am I impressed with someone who has voted without fail for every abortion bill that he’s had the chance to. Is this the “moral leadership” to which Kistner refers?

It would seem that Kistner is impressed with the ability to read someone else’s professionally written speech from a TelePromTer. Myself, I’m looking for a bit more substance in a national leader.

JIM PEASLEY

CHANDLER

Draft would remind us of responsibilities

As a Democrat, I rarely agree with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on issues. But McCain recently indicated that he would consider reinstating the draft to augment our military strength.

Speaking as a Vietnam-era veteran with a service connected disability, I, too feel that every American should be given an equal opportunity to serve the country that has given them so many freedoms and opportunities.

Too many people take their liberty for granted and are completely absorbed in themselves and have no thoughts about others. We cannot expect to enjoy the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without some obligation to help to maintain these rights.

I therefore join Sen. McCain in considering re-instituting some form of the draft or other type of service to America to honor the freedom and liberty we all enjoy.

WAYNE FOX

TEMPE

Biden poor choice compared to Clinton

The mystery is over. Barack Obama selected Joe Biden as his running mate. I have nothing but respect for Biden and his service as senator. Actually, it would have been more appropriate that he be the presidential candidate instead of Obama.

Biden actually said it himself in saying that Obama was too inexperienced. I guess now he can “cop out” on this statement by saying, “You have someone with experience, you have me.”

Being a Hillary Clinton supporter, I am so perplexed why Joe Biden was chosen over Clinton. They both voted for the Iraq invasion. They both are elders and part of the old establishment. They both thought Obama was too inexperienced.

The bottom line is that Obama is a shallow man who puts his own ego above what would have been a unified party with a Obama/Clinton ticket. Shame on him.

JOEL DINA O’CONNELL

TEMPE

Palin lives up to her own standards

Yes, Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter is five months pregnant. She plans to keep the baby and marry the father. So what? It shows that she practices what she preaches. It is another example of Palin’s pro-life stance. John McCain and his staff were aware of this before the announcement of her as his vice presidential running mate.

This information should not affect support for her at all.

DIANNA QUIST

MESA

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