Constitutional Changes in Arizona Protect Homeowners

By Anthony SanFilippo

When Arizona voters passed Proposition 126 last November, it was the latest in a history of amendments to the state constitution that either helped or protected Arizona homeowners.

Proposition 126 created the Arizona Taxpayers Act, which amends the Arizona constitution and stops state and local governments from imposing any new sales taxes or taxes on services.

Even though the Arizona legislature had not acted on its right to do that prior to November, trends from around the country indicated that it could be something lawmakers would consider soon.

Which meant it was important to act now to stop new sales taxes and taxes on services from ever happening.

It was reminiscent of what took place in Arizona a decade earlier.

Proposition 100

In 2008, Proposition 100 was put on the ballot – again with the intention to protect homeowners.

At the time, 76.8 percent of Arizona voters passed the Protect Our Homes Act, which shot down the real estate transfer tax.

Voters identified this tax as double-dipping into their pocket books, which meant a loss of equity and cost increases when Arizonans sold their homes. It also negatively impacted lower income individuals.

But did you know that protecting homeowners with constitutional amendments goes all the way back to the 1960s?

In November 1961, the Arizona State Supreme Court ruled that buyers and sellers of properties were required to hire lawyers to do the work licensed real estate agents do elsewhere.

So, deed preparation, mortgages, leases, etc. were to be authored by an attorney instead of an agent, which resulted in increased costs.

Furthermore, the court ruled that the legislature could not authorize real estate licensees to perform these tasks, because it would be deemed as practicing law – which is controlled by the court.

Proposition 103

A year later, Proposition 103 was added to the ballot and 78.6 percent of voters approved it, amending the constitution to allow for limited practice of law for real estate licensees to reduce costs for homebuyers and sellers.

Homeownership is a dream that is deeply ingrained in the American spirit.

Sometimes that dream can be inadvertently derailed by local and state governments, as they search for ways to fund projects and programs.

Sometimes Americans need to pass amendments to their state constitutions to protect homeowners and those pursuing that dream of homeownership.

In Arizona, there have been three key amendments in the last six decades. It’s probable Arizona voters will continue to defend homeownership when similar hurdles arise in the future.


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