Guest Editorial: The 2035 General Plan Is a Tax Increase in Disguise

By Tim Stratton

Ballots have arrived in your mailbox asking for your vote on whether to approve or reject the 2035 General Plan. For the fiscal health and wellbeing of the City of Scottsdale I urge you to vote no on the plan. There are many opinions on this plan and the spirited community debate is healthy and good to see.  I only wish it had been more prevalent as the City Council discussed the issue over the spring and summer months.  I have been concerned and critical of this plan from the beginning for its bad fiscal implications, as well as its bad effects on property values in Scottsdale.  It is nice to see some on Council finally coming around to the same conclusion.

Councilmembers Solange Whitehead and Betty Janik have stated this plan doesn’t raise your taxes.  They are dead wrong, and these statements demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of municipal finance.  Bad land use policies and policies that reduce property values and cost the City of Scottsdale revenue in the form of reduced sales and property taxes can cripple the City’s budget. When that happens, the dollars to support our great amenities and public safety budget will have to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is an increase in your taxes. Don’t be fooled by their pandering and fearmongering.  These issues are tied directly to the fiscal health and wellbeing of the City and this plan creates significant long term fiscal challenges.

Contrary to the elements in this General Plan, good land use policy protects our community and allows us to maximize property tax revenues, make smart budgeting decisions, and enhance our underlying tourism and retail base; however, this plan fails to protect our critical tourism industry and says nothing about the short-term vacation rental crisis that is ruining Scottsdale neighborhoods and stealing tax revenues from our legitimate hotels and resorts.

This plan does not reflect the high standards of our community. Vote NO on the 2035 General Plan. We need leaders with vision on City Council who see the big picture of their decisions and understand the result of bad policy.  Scottsdale has a budget of $2.75 billion dollars.  It needs to be ran as such, and not like an HOA. Every decision that is made should be made through the lens of sound fiscal policy.

Tim Stratton is a candidate for Scottsdale City Council