Arizona fire districts and Proposition 310

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Everyone knows that November is election month. You are probably tired of seeing campaign commercial after campaign commercial for months now. Aside from voting for people, there are ten propositions Arizona will get to weigh in on during the upcoming elections. One of them being Proposition 310, which would levy a sales tax to crease a Fire District Safety Fund.

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Proposition 310

This proposition would create a 0.1% sales tax for twenty years and that funding would go straight to state fire districts, which would be distributed monthly. By providing a tenth of a penny increase in purchases, it is predicted that this levy will help generate roughly $150-200 million annually!

What is a fire district?

Fire districts aren’t the same as a fire department, which might confuse some people. A fire district is independent from local governments and is an elected board of three-to-five-people. A district receives property tax revenue to pay for equipment and employees which provides emergency and fire protection services. As of April of 2022, there were 141 active fire districts in the state of Arizona. The tax amount a district receives is based on its boundaries and its budget. However, it cannot exceed the lesser of $35,000 per $100,000 of assessed value in 2023 and thereafter or 108% of the prior year budget.

Prop 310 Pros and Cons

Like all other politics there are advocates and there are opponents. Some say this would help fund an important service, benefitting the state as a whole. The money generated from this levy will not only be enough to ensure there are enough firefighters to combat the next house or forest fire, but it will also provide an opportunity to have state of the art technology to save lives and put out those fires safely.

Executive director of Arizona Public Health Association Will Humble argues that “not every single one of them, but almost all the rural fire districts that do emergency medical services are badly underfunded. A lot of times it’s just volunteers. Their equipment is old, nonfunctional, or nonexistent.”

Others believe it is a burden being put on taxpayers across the state with few reforms for responsible spending. Additionally, Arizonians already pay taxes for emergency services in their own communities through their property taxes. Many are arguing that this is an unfair redistribution of wealth that would only be benefiting fire districts who can’t manage their own money effectively.

Whether you are for or against Proposition 310, it is important to get out and vote this November. Check your registration status now, and let your voice be heard. If you have any questions, contact your Henry+Horne advisor.

Meredith Moore

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