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First in Nation: Relief on Ballot for Arizonans Paying the Price for Homeless Crisis

March 5, 2024

Relief is on the horizon for law-abiding Arizonans hurt by government’s failure to address the state’s rampant homelessness crisis. Today, the Arizona Senate approved a first-in-the-nation Goldwater Institute reform, which now goes to the 2024 general election ballot, that compensates the residents, businesses, and property owners whose livelihoods are being destroyed as municipalities refuse to enforce the law.

“Arizonans no longer trust that their tax dollars are being used by local governments to enforce the law and address rampant homelessness,” Goldwater President and CEO Victor Riches said. “This ballot measure will ensure that when municipalities fail to do their job, business and property owners are not left holding the bag.”

Sponsored by Senate President Warren Petersen and Speaker of the House Ben Toma, HCR 2023/SCR 1006 allows property owners, who have been forced to shoulder mitigation expenses as a result of a municipality’s purposeful failure to enforce nuisance regulations related to the homeless crisis, to receive a refund for damages up to the amount of their property tax liability. The funds are then deducted from the offending municipality’s state shared revenue and sent to the property owner.

“Arizonans have had enough when it comes to lawlessness and city inaction. Business owners and residents alike are having their property stolen, vandalized, or terrorized and are desperate for help. That’s why I sponsored HCR2023, to hold our local governments accountable to our community members and to help provide some relief for property owners who have suffered damages because of a city’s purposeful failure to provide the public health and safety services we all pay for,” Speaker Toma said.

The reform has garnered a large coalition of support from residents, property owners, and business owners who have been hurt not only by their government’s failure to enforce the law, but by the government’s proclivity for shunting homeless people into unofficial open-air shelters like “The Zone” in Phoenix.

All around the state, local governments have spent months and years refusing to address their homelessness crises by enforcing the law. The result: law and order give way to death and destruction as violent crime, public drug use, and vandalism run rampant in these lawless homeless encampments.

If the government isn’t going to solve the problem, Arizonans need to take matters into their own hands. This law empowers them to do just that.

You can read the full language of the measure here, and read more about what Goldwater is doing to address homelessness here.



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