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January 08, 2015


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He deserves a chance.

He represented Arizona with respect and dignity while greeting the President.

That is light years ahead of Brewer and Napolitano.

Arizona needs a Governor and Legislature that will expand the state's economy so as not to be so dependent on real estate and construction and that has the bold vision to reform the state's tax code so as not to be so reliant on sales taxes for revenue. If income taxes are cut and sales taxes rise to make up for the lost revenue, it will hurt the middle and working class, as sales taxes are regressive.

It's too bad voters overwhelmingly passed Prop 100 in 2008 that prohibits the government from charging any new tax on the sale or transfer of real property in Arizona. A lot of cities and states have modest (under 1%) real estate transfer taxes paid either by the buyer or seller of real property. If AZ or cities within it had transfer taxes, it would diversify their stream of revenue and be a small step to changing the landscape of cities. There wouldn't be as much pressure to build beige strip malls, big box stores and chain restaurants.

Why can't cities think beyond the box and enact a small city income tax (let's say 1/2 of 1%) to help city coffers? Is it really going to deter the average person from residing in that city? There are even HOA's and master planned communities in metro Phoenix that have private real estate transfer taxes of 1/4 of 1% or 1/2 of 1% that go to the HOA treasury and yet it's not a deterrent nor has it impacted property values.

Property taxes in Arizona are also artificially low compared to other states and the valuation and taxation formula is difficult to understand leading to great disparity for similar priced properties in the same neighborhood.

It's also punitive on the middle class and poor that many cities in Arizona charge sales on food for home consumption (grocery store food) and arguably have photo radar for revenue purposes and the ticket cost is the same whether you drive a 78 Pinto or a 2015 BMW 7 Series.

It's time for a transformation to the tax structure in Arizona.

Scary part about Ducey and taxes is that he has made noise about increasing vouchers for charter schools while wreaking havoc on public school funding......don't get me started on our new Super of Public Instruction.

More of same ol same ol with AZ being in the basement of national educational per-student spending. I can't see anything changing before I retire in a few years. Merde...

More of the same for Arizona.

Ducey's challenge will be to find something left on Arizona's carcass to strip away. His Republican Party has done such a fine job already running the state into the ground. Down, down, down into the ground.

RIP Arizona.

"36.24 percent voter turnout "

The duece you say...

I mean really: no one cares about the Gov. of Arizona. It is a vacuous vacant position. Almost purely ceremonial. Like a Duchy or Dukedom. I am surprised that many troubled to vote.

Ducey and his policies have virtually no effect on my life. The same can be said about his predecessor. And her predecessor.

The best that can be said is this: They take my tax money and the roads are still shit. They've been shit since I've been here. They'll be shit at the end of Ducey's term. Thank god I don't care much to drive.

Which is not to say the world isn't changing for the better at near breakneck speed. It is. And there is nothing Ducey and the Koch oligarchy can do about it.

Globally, over half the new power coming online is from renewables. Locally, solar power is being offered to rooftops in Tucson by the "local" power company. They'll freeze your bill for 25 years. And... the Tucson region now "boasts 1000 miles of bicycle infrastructure."

This is *despite* the govt. subsidies given worldwide to the Coal and Oil oligarchs overwhelming those given to renewables by a 5 to 1 margin. The market in putting a stake in the Koch brother's hearts. They are buggy whip makers trying to hold on. Solar power is now cheaper. New tech will make it cheaper again. And cheaper again.

You say Ducey is King of the Duchy of Arizona and he has got nice hair?

I say: Who gives a deuce?


Some people just like living in dark ages. With such a low voter turnout might have been worse. At least the state knows where 36% of the states heads are, like I said some people like living in the dark.

I'd like to ask frequent commenter soleri how Oregon's economy is doing and how residents there like having a tax structure completely opposite of Arizona's, with a high state income tax, high property taxes but no sales tax.

What a pity it all is. That's what I think. When there is so much, even now, that is special about Arizona that the citizens are turning it over to the least qualified people to run it.

I am sure you know that Jonathan Rauch is, like yourself, an ex-pat Zonie. Camelback High, class of 77, I believe. He was a couple of years behind me. I bring this up because all of the really thoughtful people I knew from high school, Jonathan, his debate partner Frank Spotnitz (producer of the X-Files), for that matter the entire speech team, have left the state. If they lived here they would vote. If you lived here you would vote, but there is only so much a thinking person can take. Being a college professor in this environment is particularly painful. I will keep on voting and keep on teaching and keep on cultivating my urban farm and orchard, but I have watched the best minds of my generation and the generations that came after blow out and I can't say I blame them. Into a vacuum like that the Koch propaganda machine comes. Little wonder we have more of the same only worse…

Watch for state parks to become private franchised businesses with Ice cream palors on site for hungry hikers and bird watchers.

Happs, a 1 percent sales tax is a heavy duty tax for residential real estate. That adds several thousand dollars to a transaction that already comes with approximately 10 percent assessment in commission, taxes and fees.

Now, if you wanted to do a larger tax on new builds and a cut rate on resale and infill, I think I'd be there with you.

wow, this is really an unfair and over the top article. the guy was sworn in monday. he has no record at all. why attack him based upon speculation.

And insults like "nihilist ideology" and "whiff of [criminal] symington" and entrepreneurs as "sociopaths" suggest that this is not a fair or serious attempt at analyzing anything.

Good analysis, Jon, as usual, but I disagree with you that Fife's presence in the front row has any symbolic weight. I love the American custom of past executives participating in the change-of-regime formalities -- it distinguishes us from nations where these movements are handled through coups and executions. We do it with handshakes and congeniality and that always makes me proud of my country. Fife was a gladhandling scoundrel but he was still the elected governor of Arizona and deserves recognition as such. In fact, his continuing visibility is a reminder of our recent history (even if we didn't heed the embedded lessons). I would have invited him myself. Hell, I even would have invited Gov. Ev, had he been drawing air.

"A pen warmed up in Hell.
Fearless commentary."
No indication in that of a strict product of Objective comment.
Given that it still seems a lot more objective than Fox and CNN drivel.
Yeah it may be a bit early to brand the new Gov
Since human reason has been enraptured by innumerable objects in various ways for many centuries, it cannot easily fail that everything new, something old can be found which has some kind of similarity to it"
"It is also true that our minds make consistent use of comparison to organize experience." Donald Lopez.

It seems that I may fit the Federal governments profile of a terrorist since I want to save Sajuaro Cactus.

Theocracy:My prediction for the last 20 years.
The last war will be the M&M war.

Things could be worse. Here in Wisconsin, a once progressive state, Governor Scott Walker and his handlers are doing everything possible to turn us into Wississippi. This college dropout also appears to be gearing up for a presidential run. Beware of this Koch puppet.

I find it amazing that Ducey and the new class of Repubs are railing against special interests and promising to fix the mess that is Arizona's tax code and economy.
Republicans have been in power for most of the past 30 years, becoming more narrow in their viewpoints over time. Their corporate and real-estate supporters are the special interests; they made the bed we lie in today.
Yet we're to trust them to make it all better? I have a bridge you might be interested in buying ...

I know where AZ Pols can get a billion for the budget.

Good article here about the effect of the loss of hometown banks and the rise of real estate interests. This is not just a Phoenix thing.


Happs asked how Oregonians like having to pay higher taxes than Arizonans. I don't really hear many people complaining about the price tag that comes with civilization but I can't imagine them gladly paying taxes. Oregon looks like a state that takes good care of itself, much like Arizona once did. I'm down here for a visit at the moment, and I'm very aware of the contrast between the two states. Sprawl is the defining characteristic of life here - very few people walking, blandness, and a sense that no one really loves the community they live in. What do they love? Their house, car, friends, and nice weather. It's this devolution from civic life to the personal sphere that is reflected politically in socio-economic segregation and anomie.

wkg in bham cites an article I read last week, and one I strongly recommend. We regularly touch on its main points in this blog without quite making the overarching argument about "loser" cities in the new global economy. Phoenix is my hometown and I hate myself when I openly despair about it with apocalyptic finality. I want there to be hope. I write this with great sadness: I don't see any.

That said, props to The Newton at 3rd Ave & Camelback. I love it. The redo at Uptown Plaza looks very promising (including, it appears, yet another Craig DeMarco restaurant). Tempe almost looks like a major city, which is good in itself and bad for the region. The Portland Place condo proposal looks wonderful. I seriously doubt its viability but it would be wonderful for midtown if it came to pass.

I've heard a lot about the September rains from friends here. A cleansing flood is a contradiction in terms but I can't help but wish for the impossible. Please, God, wash away all that endless suburban sprawl and do it without harming anyone. Please get people to stop confusing their consumer preferences with some deep philosophical ideas or aesthetic principles. Please let Arizona wake up before it drowns itself in utter crap.

Arizona 114,000 square miles

Phoenix 517 square miles

99.5 % of Arizona is just fine

Only .5 % is crap

So, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Goodyear, Su-prise, Glendale, Sun City, Peoria, Prescott Valley, all the crap done with land swaps along the Rim, exurbanized Kingman, Pima County wildcat subdivisions, Bullhead City..."just fine."

For giggles:

Avondale, 45.1 square miles
Buckeye, 392
Carefree (AZ's best small town!), 8.9
Cave Creek, 28.2
Chandler, 64.58
El Mirage, 9.7
Fountain Hills, 18.2
Gilbert, 76
Glendale, 55.8
Goodyear, 301.6
Guadalupe, 0.8
Litchfield Park, 3.1
Mesa, 133.13
Paradise Valley, 15.5
Peoria, 178
Phoenix, 517.948
Queen Creek, 25.8
Rio Verde, 5.4
Scottsdale, 184.2
Sun City, 14.6
Sun City West, 11.1
Surprise, 85.6
Tempe, 40.2
Tolleson, 5.6
Youngtown, 1.3
Total: About 2222 (I didn't double check this)

Maricopa County, 9,224
Arizona, 113,900

All numbers from Wikipedia.

So metro Phx. is about 2% of AZ and about 25% of Maricopa County.

This tread doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so I don’t feel too bad about this very off-topic post. Also, all I really know about Phoenix is what I have gathered here supplemened by very limited other information. Two questions:

1. Is downtown Phoenix considered to be the premiere location for businesses that have an option? Some, like law firms that need quick access to the various court houses are pretty much tied to downtown. But what about others?

2. Is Central Avenue considered to be a premiere (residential) address for those who can live anywhere?

Note in advance, I think these two items are very closely linked.

1. No. Not even the legal firms.
2. No. Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Carefree, but there are parts of Phoenix like Arcadia (Scottsdale schools), North Central between Camelback and Northern, and Encanto (historic homes) that are also high-end.

I have a different opinion than Jerry McKenzie.

(1) I believe that downtown Phoenix is THE legal employment center for not only metro Phoenix but the state. There are more law firms and lawyers downtown, in dense proximity to each other and per capita, than anywhere else. With ASU's new law school and law institute under construction in downtown, this will continue to be true for some time.

(2) Central Avenue being considered a "premiere" residential address is more complicated to examine given the suburban nature of the entire region. In that case I would say there is truly no "premiere" address as even the most expensive zip codes have their detractors. Some would say Paradise Valley, or Scottsdale (take your pick between North and Old town) could hold the title. Others would argue that the Camelback corridor in Phoenix, Arcadia, North Central (which bookends Central Ave), or Ahwatukee are premiere addresses.

One thing is for sure, nearly any residential address near Central Ave (downtown and northward) would command a higher in comparison to nearly any other sub-market in Phoenix. A one bedroom apt or studio in downtown Phoenix could easily rent for over $1000. In any suburban market, even Scottsdale, you can find similar sq footage in a "luxury" unit for far less. FYI, vacancies in the 1 bedroom and studio markets in downtown are extremely low.

reply to phxSUNS fan:

1) having a "legal corridor" is ok, but does nothing to do produce any value. Lawyers fighting and lobbying is overall a negative sum game in that they produce nothing and charge to do so (some help close transactions, but not so much in AZ where there are few).

I am not anti-lawyer at all, just noting that a neighborhood/sub-market filled with authors, manufacturers, television studios or car dealers would be better for job creation, wealth accumulation, etc.

2) this is LOL funny. there is no one who wants to live on central avenue. several of the projects in midtown and downtown (summit, 44 monroe, chateau, etc) already went bankrupt which limits the "Animal Spirits" to create new inventory. Apartments at 24th/Camelback, downtown Scottsdale, Kierland, Tempe (if nice and comparable) all command better rents. If there was demand for space, all of the empty buildings would be converted to Resi (like the rest of USA) but there isn't. In fact, they can't give away those buildings.

Anonymouse wrote: "1) having a "legal corridor" is ok, but does nothing to do produce any value. Lawyers fighting and lobbying is overall a negative sum game in that they produce nothing and charge to do so (some help close transactions, but not so much in AZ where there are few)."

2)In a narrow sense you are correct. However, many lawyers are young professionals and do choose to live downtown. Their relatively high salaries contribute to downtown's economic well-being. They tend to purchase things downtown and they dine downtown beyond the lunch hour. Having law firms downtown also contributes to office occupancy rates in the downtown sub-market. Running a law firm also stimulates other economic activity in terms of purchasing products to carry out their business.

2) I actually live on/near Central Ave. along with many other young professionals. 44 Monroe, in its initial offering as a condo tower, did go bankrupt but as an apartment tower is nearly 97% leased. This is similar to other apartment buildings along Central Ave. The apartment vacancy rate in downtown is the lowest in the metro Phoenix sub-markets.

Here is a brief comparison of rents in downtown and Kierland:

Downtown: Residences at CityScape (NE Corner of Central and Jefferson)
A 560 sq ft studio rents for $1200+

According to their website, only 1 studio is left for rent.

Kierland: The Paragon at Kierland (71st St.)
The smallest apt at 964 sq ft rents for $995.

They have 4 of these apts available for rent. A comparable 1 bedroom in downtown rents for $1,612+.

Tempe: the new luxury Skywater at Town Lake
A 632 sq ft studio rents for $1,100. This is closer to matching downtown's high rents but with more sq. ft.

The sub-market that comes closest to downtown would be the Biltmore/Arcadia area.

DOMUS, a new luxury apartment complex on 36th St
A 514 sq ft studio rents for $975+.

Almost forgot Old Town. Now this sub-market does compete neck-and-neck with downtown.

The Optima Sonoran Village which is near Camelback Rd. has 598 sq ft one bedrooms starting at $1,395. 4 are available according to their website.

I chose some of the newest, most popular choices to compare in each sub-market.

I forgot to post Skywater at Town Lake's info:


Last note: I should have added that at the extreme high-end in each sub-market, downtown by far blows the others out of the water.

The most expensive 3 bedroom apartments in Downtown Phoenix rent for nearly $8,000/month. The closest competitor in Old Town Scottsdale tops out around $5,300-$6,000/month for a similar 3 bedroom apartment.

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