I oppose Gilbert Question 1 because passage will result in an unnecessary tax increase. Even if you accept the misleading information about necessity, the facility is self-described to meet “current and future needs.” No one can say Gilbert needs all of this facility now. Other options requiring less debt were presented which were focused on the most important and immediate needs. Furthermore, according to the debt service schedule in the Town’s own publicity pamphlet, the debt payments paid for by Gilbert property taxes will increase by 11.8%. Discussions about property values and the tax rate are misleading because regardless of what happens to them the town still needs an 11.8% increase from Gilbert property taxes to pay for the bond.
It is unsettling that such simple facts as just outlined are so easily obscured by arguments designed to confuse the public. It’s even more unsettling when the source is town staff as the AZ Republic recently highlighted with the 85% eligible for retirement number that turned out to be 46%. Another example of this is a recent email from staff to the council. In the email, the council was given examples of how the average property tax would change under different scenarios of property values while maintaining the “intended” 0.99 rate. One of the “possible” scenarios provided was a 0% increase in property values resulting in no increase to the tax payer. This scenario is horribly misleading because one of the assumptions behind the 0.99 rate is an increase in the property values. Specifically, staff is planning on a 5% increase in total assessed valuation in the next year. So why present a possibility of no increase when that’s not the plan or expectation except to obscure the reality that the average property owner will in fact pay more in taxes as a result of the proposed bond?
I respect those who admit passage of Question 1 will increase taxes. Even if the argument is the tax increase is small and worth it, the honesty of the argument deserves respect. I would still challenge why it is wise to build the most expensive option thus borrowing more than is necessary, but I cannot respect dishonest arguments that apparently need deception to be palatable. Gilbert values vigorous, honest debate. We make our best decisions as a result. Join me in sending a message that misleading arguments are unwelcome by keeping the debate focused on the real issues at hand. I hope you will also join me in defeating this tax increase but I respect those who, after fair and honest consideration, disagree.
Additional confirmation of facts can be found at notaxhike.org