After 35 years of being a part of and running numerous campaigns, I can say with absolute certainty that running for public office always reveals character. In the crucible of a campaign, a candidate’s character is always revealed; sometimes that experience emboldens and strengthens them and sometimes it is humiliating and defeating.
Two examples of the former have been on display this week. In today’s Arizona Republic, the Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Clint Hickman, unequivocally states a clear case why Rodney Glassman should not be elected to the job of County Assessor. As the Chairman’s opinion piece (see below) amply demonstrates, Mr. Glassman is nothing but a huckster and a man desperately seeking public office who has no idea what a County Assessor’s job is. Mr. Glassman is a perennial candidate who has run unsuccessfully for many offices including running against Senator John McCain as a Democrat.
As county residents, we don’t need to harken back long to remember the troubling times Maricopa County experienced when professional politicians used their office as political weapons to destroy the collegiality of regional government. All government works best when elected leaders work together to try to solve public policy challenges instead of trying to score cheap political points. This is made even clearer today when we are facing a pandemic effecting our public health and our economy.
Similarly, I could not help but shake my head and exhale when a picture (below) was shared with me late last week revealing a candidate’s campaign bus parked in front of an adult entertainment establishment. Scottsdale voters are on the verge of electing a new Mayor to follow in the seasoned footsteps of Jim Lane who has led that city for the past 12 years. Did the candidate really think that parking her bus in front of an adult nightclub was a good idea? Is that her vision for development and what is really driving her bid for Mayor?
In any event, voters in Maricopa County and Scottsdale still have a say before the crucible of public service continues to reveal more about these and other candidates past the election next Tuesday. Fortunately, voters still have the ability to remedy these and other issues on Election Day.
Remember to vote. It is your voice, it is your authority and responsibility. It is our community.
Rodney Glassman doesn’t understand the county assessor job he seeks
Opinion: The tax rate is the one part of your property tax bill we supervisors control, and it has stayed flat for four years. Rodney Glassman should know that.
My fellow board members and I were surprised to read the recent opinion piece from a perennial candidate-for-office now running for Maricopa County assessor. The op-ed shows not only a basic misunderstanding of the job for which he is running, but also the role of the board of supervisors.
In Maricopa County, we’ve seen several years of rising home values. This spring, the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office reported a 6.9% year-over-year increase in median single-family home values. Rising values mean the housing market is strong and you can get more money for your home, if you choose to sell it.
One consequence of higher property values is that you end up paying more in property taxes.
How much you pay in property taxes is a combination of two factors: your property value, which is determined by the elected county assessor; and the tax rate, which is determined by the county board of supervisors.
We, not the assessor, control the tax rate
In Maricopa County, you pay your bill to the county treasurer’s office. Tax bills lag property valuations by 18 months in Arizona, so what you pay now really reflects what your property was worth a year and a half ago.
This board believes quality county services should not be reliant on taxpayers digging deeper into their pockets. So, each budget cycle, we start from an assumption of not raising the rate. In fact, the rate has stayed flat for four consecutive years. The tax rate is the one part of your property tax bill we control
The board’s commitment to taxpayers is also apparent when you look at the county’s tax levy, year over year. For the fiscal 2021 budget we just approved in June, the taxes we expect to collect is $140.5 million below the maximum amount allowed by state law.
Other governments bump up against this ceiling to pay their bills; Maricopa County provides quality services at a reasonable cost, spending far less than many counties of comparable size.
Most of your bill doesn’t go to us
Property valuations are mailed out in February; the tax rate is set in August; and you get your tax bill in October. The opinion piece alleges this process amounts to “secret tax increases that take more money out of your pocket without transparency.”
We hold a public “truth in taxation” hearing any year we collect more property taxes, whether that’s one dollar or a million dollars. We held one in June. This hearing isn’t just written into state law, it’s also good practice because it gives residents a public forum to provide their comments before we make any final decisions. We value that.
And you may be surprised to learn only a small percentage of your property tax dollars go to Maricopa County government. Historically, county taxes make up about 11% of your bill. Most of the money goes to school districts. The allegation that county supervisors are looking to “generate more cash” shows a basic misunderstanding of how taxes are collected and distributed.
We’re not hiding: info is on our website
In fiscal 2021, the increase in the primary county tax amounts to an extra $4 and change ($135.92 to $140.09) on a $100,000 home. Again, this is based on rising property values. We put that information in a press release on June 4 and it is still on our website. Not a great way to keep a secret, is it?
The assessor is responsible for fairly evaluating property, not setting the tax rate.
Rodney Glassman’s opinion piece raises questions about his ability to do the former and stay out of the latter. He clearly wants an elected position, having applied for both the county assessor and county attorney vacancies last year.
His lack of knowledge confirms that the board of supervisors made the right decision in not choosing him for either.