4 ways lawmakers like me can lower housing, food costs

Shockingly, food prices have skyrocketed over the past year between 15% and 45% for items such as eggs, butter, lettuce, coffee, bread, potatoes and poultry.

By State Sen. Warren Petersen

|The Arizona Republic

As the holiday season sets into motion a barrage of spending on gifts, festivities and travel, many hardworking citizens within Arizona are finding themselves struggling to pay for basic necessities in the face of inflation.

Despite hopes from analysts that inflation is cooling, the Consumer Price Index is still up more than 7% nationally for the year, and metro Phoenix is worse at 12%. That means putting food on the table, filling up the gas tank, making rent and paying bills is even more challenging for those living paycheck to paycheck. At the same time, government has collected a record amount of revenue. When comparing fiscal year 2019 to fiscal 2022, General Fund revenue for Arizona has increased by 48% – a whopping $5.64 billion!

While the federal government continues to exacerbate the problem with reckless spending, there are at least four actions we can make at the Legislature to counter the effects of rising prices and help our citizens reeling from runaway inflation.

1. Eliminate tax on renters

Charging rental tax is bad tax policy. Arizona is one of the few states that allows it.

The government already collects property tax on the property and should not also charge the tenant a tax for that same property.

This tax can be anywhere from $50 to $200 a month, ranging across the state between 1% and 4%. Phoenix charges 2.3%, one of four Valley cities charging 2% or more.

That’s money a tenant could use for gas or groceries.


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December 2022