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Yuma Illegally Sneaks Property Tax Past Voters; Goldwater Fights Back

August 18, 2023

If the government is going to take a cut of your hard-earned money through taxation, it had better follow the law in doing so. And it certainly shouldn’t use backroom maneuvers to avoid democratic accountability and bypass the will of the people—all while leaving them to foot the bill.

But that’s exactly what the Yuma County, Ariz., government is doing, illegally ramming property taxes down residents’ throats. Now the Goldwater Institute is standing up for Arizona taxpayers by demanding that the Yuma County Board of Supervisors follow the law, which requires the government to obtain voter approval before imposing a new tax.

For the past two years, the Yuma County Hospital District—the governmental body charged with regulating the Yuma Regional Medical Center—has been bypassing Arizona’s clear voter approval requirements. Instead of letting voters approve or reject new taxes, the district has simply been sending its budget straight to the county Board of Supervisors, so that the board can directly impose a property tax on Yuma County residents.

The hospital district isn’t just using a loophole—it’s blatantly breaking the law. And with the district trying yet again to force Yuma taxpayers to foot its bills without going through the democratic process, the Goldwater Institute is stepping in to fight back. Yesterday, Goldwater sent a letter to the Yuma County Board of Supervisors, emphasizing the clear voter approval requirements in Arizona law and urging the board not to impose another tax on residents without their approval.

It’s just the latest instance of Goldwater spearheading the charge to protect Arizona taxpayers. From defeating Prop 208’s unconstitutional tax hike on small businesses—which would have killed over 100,000 jobs—to passing the nation’s lowest flat tax rate, to stopping a bizarre and illegal transportation excise tax scheme in Pinal County, to reinforcing Arizona’s ban on doling out taxpayer funds to private companies, Goldwater is committed to ensuring Arizonans can keep more of their hard-earned money.

And we’ll keep working to make Arizona the freest, most prosperous state in the nation.

You can read our letter here.

John Thorpe is a Staff Attorney at the Goldwater Institute.



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