Yesterday the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers released a scorecard on local governments in Arizona, grading 563 local officials from around the state on tax and budget policy.
The state's top-performing local official was Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll, who dissented when the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to increase its budget by 14.3 percent and increase property tax levies by $34 million. Carroll also led the fight against the imposition of a new half-cent county sales tax. Pima Supervisor Ann Day also voted against the budget, the property tax rate, and the new sales tax, joining Carroll in the category of Champion of the Taxpayer.
The state's other Champion of the Taxpayer was Willcox Councilman Phil Stratton, who joined five other council members in voting for a ten-percent budget reduction--and then bested them by voting against an increase in property tax levies.
But the vast majority of Arizona officials will not be happy to see this year's scorecard in the hands of local voters. Over 200 elected officials earned designations as Allies, Friends, Champions, and Heroes of Big Government, and 60 officials fell into the "Needs Improvement" category.
Too many local government officials in Arizona seem to operate under the assumption that no one is watching them, and that their job is simply to spend as much money as they can. With the release of the scorecard, local officials are now on notice that the taxpayers are watching. We look forward to seeing much better scores next year.
Chad Kirkpatrick is chairman, and Tom Jenney is executive director, of the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers, a state chapter of Americans for Prosperity.