The Zone
Senate Approves Ballot Measure That Would Compensate Arizonans Affected By Homeless Crisis

March 7, 2024

By Elizabeth Troutman |

On Monday, the Arizona Senate approved HCR 2023 to be on the 2024 general election ballot. The ballot measure would compensate residents, businesses, and property owners whose livelihoods are harmed by lawlessness surrounding the homelessness crisis. 

According to the Goldwater Institute, the first-in-the-nation reform allows property owners, who have had to deal with mitigation expenses as a result of a municipality’s purposeful failure to enforce nuisance regulations related to the homeless crisis, to receive a refund for damages up to the amount of their property tax liability. 

The funds are then deducted from the offending municipality’s state shared revenue and sent to the property owner.

“Arizonans no longer trust that their tax dollars are being used by local governments to enforce the law and address rampant homelessness,” Goldwater President and CEO Victor Riches said. “This ballot measure will ensure that when municipalities fail to do their job, business and property owners are not left holding the bag.”

The Goldwater Institute is a Phoenix-based conservative think tank. The group says the reform has a large coalition of support from residents, property owners, and business owners who have been hurt by their government’s failure to enforce the law, and the government’s tendency for pushing homeless people into unofficial open-air shelters like “The Zone” in Phoenix.

The bill was sponsored by Senate President Warren Petersen and Speaker of the House Ben Toma, both Republicans. 

Toma said Arizona residents are tired of lawlessness and inaction regarding the homelessness crisis. 

“Business owners and residents alike are having their property stolen, vandalized, or terrorized and are desperate for help,” Toma said. “That’s why I sponsored HCR2023, to hold our local governments accountable to our community members and to help provide some relief for property owners who have suffered damages because of a city’s purposeful failure to provide the public health and safety services we all pay for.”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Goldwater Institute was founded by Barry Goldwater. The story has been corrected.

Elizabeth Troutman is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send her news tips using this link.

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