The American Dream Act Arizona initiative text, Click to read
This is the initiative text as filed with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office. A copy of this text is attached to each petition we circulate so registered voters can read exactly what we are proposing.
The text with lines drawn through it is what we are eliminating. Text in all capital letters is important to read as this is what we are adding. All the other text that is in normal upper and lower case is existing constitutional law.
You may find things in the existing law that you like or dislike but we offer no opinion on it. We are only addressing and changing property tax laws that affect US citizens aged 65 and older.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Will cities with senior populations lose property tax revenues?
No. Property taxes are a levy and therefore a shortfall would be made up from VERY small increases on non-exempt property taxpayers.
Here is a statement from Maricopa County Treasurer Royce Flora on this question:
Maricopa County Treasurer Royce Flora says that false information has surfaced that the City of Surprise will lose $2 million in revenue if the Arizona Dream Act initiative passes on the 2020 ballot. Flora emphasized, “Surprise will not lose any money if this passes. The levy amount is unaffected. The is just another myth foisted on voters confused by one of the most complicated property tax systems in the country. As this moves forward you will hear more of these distractions from money grabbers and lobbyist who feed them. It (loss) is simply not true. Schools will not be impacted and teachers will not be impacted. The only real downside, if there is one, is people who have the exemption could be more likely to support school bond and overrides since they will not feel the pain.” Flora continued, “The levy is the levy. It is unaffected. That means revenue is unaffected. Revenue is the amount of money taken from taxpayers. It does, however, mean people under 65 will pay a little more until they reach 65. Most will recover the increase in the first year or two after reaching 65. It also means those 65 and over will have more money to spend on goods and services.” Flora refers readers to “How The Property Tax System Works In Arizona” on the county treasurer’s website, http://www..maricopa.gov Flora said additional informational will be posted on the county treasurer’s website today. Surprise Mayor Skip Hall, said, Flora’s explanation does not resemble how it was presented at a recent Sun City Grand Republican meeting. “The way I understand the initiative is anyone over the age of 65 would not pay any property taxes. 20 % of our residents are 65 and over. Their home values also tend to be higher. Given that the city receives nearly $9 million from property tax the math estimate comes from those three factors.” He also pointed out, “If everyone else pays more to make up what over 65 doesn’t pay, then there is no effect on the city.” Several weeks ago, initiative founder Lynne Weaver, announced the Arizona Dream Act, saying, “The senior citizens property tax relief initiative would eliminate all property taxes on the Arizona primary legal residence of US citizens age 65 and over.” She pointed out that, “Texas seniors pay no state income tax and still needed help with their property taxes. We are working to help our Arizona seniors stay in their family home as long as possible by eliminating all property taxes on the Arizona primary legal residence of United States citizens aged 65 and over.”
- Why is this referred to as a “Retirement Tax” and why are seniors threatened?
Arizona has made ALL home ownership subject to property taxes, and gives the County an automatic lien on your property. That means if a homeowner is DELINQUENT in paying property taxes, the County Treasurer is authorized to send out a delinquency notice and can automatically seize the property, and then conduct a tax lien sale! Upon reaching retirement age, and without a continuing job-related income, many seniors are not able to handle ongoing financial and medical needs on a fixed income, including paying property taxes.
And once evicted, Seniors must find alternative rental housing, or move in with family in Arizona or out-of-state. While there is a short-term process for the homeowner to pay off the delinquent taxes with interest, it still presents most Seniors with a financial challenge to come up with the money.
- By exempting the 65+ crowd, how will this affect any increase in property tax now for those 64 and under?
This will vary year to year and by location, just as it does when there are changes to one or more of the 9 property tax classifications with each class being treated differently for tax purposes and subject to Legislative change. (see chart below)
The change will not be noticeable and is expected to be in the $1. to $10 range per year. The amount your property taxes might increase will vary year to year depending on how many seniors live within the boundaries of each of the different taxing districts (they are all different!) on your property tax bill, how many are US Citizens, and how many meet the residency qualifications to make Arizona their primary legal residence and thus pay state income taxes in Arizona. It will change as seniors move in or out of each of the taxing districts and as people turn 65 and qualify for the exemption.
Keep in mind that property owners have repeatedly voted to increase their property taxes with the passage of bond issues and overrides for schools and county hospitals and to support the arts, to name a few, representing billions of dollars of debt. Many of the voter approved increases are for tax increase amounts higher than increases from senior exemptions. Helping keep seniors in their family home is surely as important as bond issues and overrides.
Whatever additional might be paid as a result of the senior exemption will be recouped in the first year the homeowner is 65 and exempt.
- How does this affect those individuals with their homes already covered in a Living Trust?
Living Trusts ARE COVERED in the proposed exemption! Living Trusts have no impact on tax liability. Living Trusts avoid probate and expensive probate fees while affording privacy for your financial affairs. If the taxes are not paid, the Government can still automatically seize and sell the home for delinquent taxes.
- How does this affect those individuals with high value homes?
This Initiative does not review home value or income when exempting the tax.
There are few multi-million dollar homes in the state owned by Arizona legal residents over 65. The cost to create a government agency to do annual reviews of income and determine who qualifies for an exemption is greater than whatever taxes would be collected from high value properties. We want high income earners to make Arizona their legal residence and pay state income taxes to our state.
- What happens if, one spouse outlives the significant other who was 65 or older, and the surviving spouse is under 65 year old? What happen to the tax exemption?
When the spouse who is over 65 passes away, and the home is in BOTH names, but the surviving spouse is under 65, the property tax is added back on to the home again, until that spouse reaches 65, and then the tax will be exempted again.
- What are the negatives about passing this Citizen Initiative?
There are No Negatives, except if one does not want to pass this Initiative to help our Seniors, then they are for HIGHER TAXES