Why I’m Not Buying a House in Glendale, Ariz.
By Byron Schlomach, Ph.D.
After well over four years in Arizona, my wife and I have finally sold our property in Texas and we’re ready to buy a house here. I work near downtown Phoenix, but we’d like a little room and we’re not flush with cash, so I’m willing to drive. That means we could choose to live in most communities in the Valley, as long as they’re within about 20 miles of downtown Phoenix. One city in particular, though, is scratched off the list: Glendale.
I personally consider some parts of Glendale to have a lot of potential. There are some nice neighborhoods, some good schools, and drive times would be tolerable. The idea of moving to Glendale, however, looks too much like a crapshoot. If I wanted to gamble, I could go to a casino. But I don’t want to gamble with an asset as big and as important as a house.
The risk comes from the fast-and-loose way Glendale’s leadership has played with taxpayers’ money. The city has used sales tax proceeds to guarantee bonds for sports venues I personally would never use. It is also paying the National Hockey League to keep the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena. Meanwhile, parks and a library annex, things I might use, will not be funded at levels once expected. Facing a $35 million budget deficit this year alone, the city is literally teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
Top this off with a sales tax increase that will make Glendale’s the highest sales tax rate in the nation among major cities, and an expected property tax increase, and I cannot predict what my cost of living in Glendale is likely to be. At this rate, the value of any house I buy could be hurt just by being located in Glendale.
I love my family. I’m not taking the chance. I’m not buying a house in Glendale.
Dr. Byron Schlomach is the director of the Goldwater Institute’s Center for Economic Prosperity.
Arizona Republic: Glendale Leaders Mull Proposed Hike in Property Taxes, Layoffs