PHOENIX – Supporters of a ballot proposition that would prohibit state and local governments in Arizona from adding a tax on sales of homes, farms and other real property say it would spare residents from double taxation.
Opponents say Proposition 100 would unnecessarily restrict the ability of governments to determine the best way to provide for the state’s rapid growth.
As of 2004, 35 states and the District of Columbia imposed a tax on the transfer of real property, producing about $7 billion, according to a report by the Washington, D.C.-based Federation of Tax Administrators. In all but seven states and the District of Columbia, the tax was 1 percent or less. In some states, such taxes are imposed at the local level.
The proposition was put on the ballot by a group calling itself the Protect Our Homes Coalition. The group’s primary financial sponsors are real estate agents, according to records filed with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.
Steve Roman, a spokesman for the Protect Our Homes Coalition, says Arizonans should be protected from ever facing such a tax because they already pay property taxes. He says real estate agents are leading the effort because they are intimately aware of the impact such a tax would have on keeping property affordable.
John Wright, president of Arizona Education Association, says the proposition would stifle governments’ ability to discuss potential tax changes.
“It is an abuse of the Constitution; that’s what the Constitution is there for,” Wright says. “It protects our right as citizens to discuss these issues.”
Sandy Bahr, spokeswoman for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, says her group opposes the proposition because it could wind up costing tax revenue that could be used for important projects such as conservation programs.
Joe Sigg, director of government relations for the Arizona Farm Bureau, says residents are having a conversation about the need for such a tax by voting on the proposition.
• Provisions: Would bar state and local governments in Arizona from imposing a tax on the sale or transfer of homes, farms and other real property. There are no such taxes in Arizona at present.
• Arguments for: Put forward by organizations representing real estate agents. They say the measure would protect residents from double taxation because owners already pay property taxes. They say such a tax would make it more difficult for people to afford property.
• Arguments against: Opponents say the measure would unnecessarily prevent governments from considering all possible options as they try to provide for Arizona’s rapid growth.
• Who has the tax: According to the Washington, D.C.-based Federation of Tax Administrators, 35 states and the District of Columbia had such taxes in 2004. Most of the rates were 1 percent or less.