SB1071 Fails on Reconsideration

Law Would Have Cost County Taxpayers Thousands Lake Havasu City, AZ – Reconsideration of SB1071 failed 28 to 31 yesterday in the Arizona House of Representatives. The bill, originally sponsored by Arizona State Senator Steve Smith, would have put a $500 cap on fees that a county treasurer may charge for a tax lien deed where ten or more parcels are involved. Supervisor Buster Johnson, Chair of the Arizona Association of Counties (AACo) Legislative Committee, reached out in opposition to the bill. “This was special legislation aimed at helping a private investor in Pinal County,” Supervisor Johnson stated. “I want to thank Representative Cobb for voting against this bill and for recognizing that this was poorly written and would have harmed Arizona’s counties,” Johnson continued. According to AACo, the majority of the treasurer’s in Arizona were against SB1071 stating that if passed it would have set a president for future tax liens that would have cost county taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. “If this bill would have passed a million dollar investor would have end up paying a little over .17 cents per parcel in tax lien deed fees while regular county taxpayers are still paying $50,” Johnson explained. The bill was originally brought about after Phoenix area attorney and multi-million dollar investor Wayne Howard purchased 2,922 tax lien properties in Pinal County resulting in him having to pay a fee of $146,100 to get them deeded through the Pinal County Treasurer’s Office. “Anyone who buys a lien knows the costs when bidding and they make a business decision at that time as to the worth and their investment,” Johnson stated. Current state law allows third parties to purchase properties through tax lien sales after a property owner is delinquent on their taxes for three years. The owners of the lien may then initiate foreclosure proceedings if the landowner does not pay what they owe plus penalties. If the third party obtains a court-ordered judgment on the foreclosure, the third party is then required to obtain a deed transferring the property from the debtor to the third party. The current fee for the issuance of each deed is $50 according. According to Johnson, the current fee only covers half of what it costs the treasurer’s office to transfer the deed. “A breakdown of the actual cost to process these deeds amounts to $97 per deed,” Johnson explained. “At the $50 level we can process them and it still costs the county taxpayers some money,” Johnson continued. “If we put a $500 cap on deeds of ten or more, regular citizens are still being forced to pay the $50 fee while multi-million dollar investors are getting over a 90% reduction,” Johnson stated. Johnson also believes that the language of the bill would not have held up in court. “Legally you cannot bundle multiple deeds. They need to be done individually,” Johnson stated. “If it is a subdivision for example with multiple lots it cannot be put back as one piece … Continue Reading →

House Bill 2625 Asks for More Taxpayer Money to be Added to Fines

Lake Havasu City, AZ – Supervisor Buster Johnson would like to make the public aware of a proposed piece of legislation known as HB2625 which adds another tax on our already overburdened taxpayers. This proposed legislation made it through the House without any opposition or without one “no” vote and has been passed to the Senate. This “fee” will be added to an already over bloated additional fee schedule on “every fine, penalty and forfeiture imposed and collected by the courts for criminal offenses and any civil penalty imposed and collected for a civil traffic violation and fine, penalty or forfeiture for a violation of the motor vehicle statutes, for any local ordinance relating to the stopping, standing or operation of a vehicle for a violation of the game and fish statutes in Title 17”. “It used to be you received a ticket for $65.50 and $65.50 was all you paid. Now if you get a ticket for $250 the additional fees are $243 and it goes up. One of the DUI fees is $4,623 plus the cost of the ticket. Once again, the government has found a way to take monies from you and put the funds to work for other causes” stated Supervisor Johnson. Just a few of the more than 50 allowable fees are medical services enhancement, clean elections, elected officials retirement, law library and law library improvement. This proposed Victims’ Rights Enforcement Fund would add to the two fees already assessed for victims’ rights and victims’ assistance. “In FY13, Supervisor Johnson stated, “over $20 million was collected from taxpayers in 4 categories of additional fees alone.” All of these assessments fall under the category of a “sin tax” and by saying it is for a good cause doesn’t make it right. “I believe individuals should be able to choose the charities and candidates they wish to support,” Johnson stated. “It is not up to the government to decide who you are going to contribute to” Johnson added. ###