LD-19 legislators praise school tax bill

State Rep. Lupe Diaz, R-19, left, state Rep. Gail Griffin, R-19, and state Sen. David Gowan, R-19. - Contributed Photos

Contributed article

PHOENIX — Republicans in the Arizona State Legislature are celebrating the recent passage and signing of House Bill 2173, a bipartisan bill sponsored by House Education Committee Chairwoman Beverly Pingerelli to correct school district property taxes in rural Arizona. The measure was introduced after mistakes identified in the current fiscal year caused dramatic tax increases in several rural school districts, most prominently in the Continent Elementary School district in Green Valley.

HB 2173 ensures that taxpayers who are paying the minimum qualifying tax rate in their school district receive credit for the taxes they pay for their high school students educated in another school district. With the bill’s enactment, elementary-only districts like Continental will no longer pay tuition for these high school students but rather they will be “open enrolled” in the school of their choice like any other student around the student.

“Property tax increases significantly impacted Green Valley residents this year, prompting immediate actions to remedy this situation,” said Representative Gail Griffin. “Despite the complexities involved, collaboration with school finance experts has led to a sustainable solution.”

“We will resolve the issue of overpaid property taxes for these districts in the upcoming budget, Representative Lupe Diaz added. “We have proposed a reasonable resolution to the Governor’s office to provide targeted funding to those rural school districts, so taxpayers receive an equitable reduction in order to pay them back for last year’s overcharge.”

“As soon as we were made aware of these unintended consequences, we swiftly came together to find a solution,” said Senator Gowan. “My amendment on this bill ensures the dollars that should not have been collected will be returned to taxpayers in the form of a deduction on following year’s property tax. I also made sure the school districts most disproportionally affected in LD-19 were taken care of.”

The legislators expressed appreciation for Chairwoman Pingerelli’s leadership in bringing this important legislation forward to enable a timely resolution to this urgent matter. Legislative District 19 includes Graham, Greenlee and Cochise counties.