Businesses join to fight property tax in Arizona

The Arizona Republic
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Matt Benson

A coalition of 21 Arizona business groups has penned a letter to legislators, asking for a permanent repeal of a state property tax.

The equalization tax has been the focus of much Capitol discussion in recent months. It is nearing the end of a three-year suspension, so the tax, and its more than $250 million a year in state revenue, is slated to come back on the books in fiscal 2010. The business groups hope to keep that from happening and argue that the tax would "create further harm to struggling homeowners and businesses during this difficult economic time."

"Now is the time for Arizona to position itself for economic growth and job creation," the letter states. "The repeal is a critical and important step as Arizona looks to improve its competitiveness and recover from this recession."

Business interests aren't of one mind on the issue. At least one group, the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, has pointed to the state's dire finances in asking that officials hold off on repealing the property tax.

House and Senate Republicans have indicated that elimination of the tax is a priority; Republican Gov. Jan Brewer has not given her preference.

Groups signing onto Wednesday's letter include the Arizona Tax Research Association, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Free Enterprise Club, Arizona Manufacturers Council, National Federation of Independent Business and the East Valley and West Valley chambers of commerce.