Referendum sought on school debt limit in Arizona

Monday, July 8, 2013

Arizona voters may get the final word on a controversial provision in the state budget that doubles the bonding capacity of school districts around the state, opening the door for higher property taxes.

Wesley Harris, founder of the Original North Phoenix Tea Party, said lawmakers are not living up to their constitutional obligation to provide adequate funds for construction of new schools and making repairs on existing ones. Rather than come up with the cash, Harris said legislators have decided to dump the obligation onto local taxpayers.

To do that, he said, they voted to allow unified school districts to borrow up to 20 percent of the total assessed value of all property within the district - double the current limit. The bonding capacity of elementary and high school districts is doubled to 10 percent.

The referendum Harris is promoting seeks to block that change.

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