Rerun: Anti-tax activist, A.J. LaFaro, to lead District 17 Republicans

The Arizona Republic ran the following article on July 23, 2011. Strangely, it does not appear anywhere on the Arizona Republic or azcentral websites. We thought it was worthy to reprint.  (Credit to Dianna M. Náñez)

The Maricopa County Republican Committee has elected A.J. LaFaro, a Tempe resident who led the fight against raising the city’s property-tax rate, as Legislative District 17 GOP chairman.

The district covers most of Tempe and part of south Scottsdale.

LaFaro said he was inspired to become more involved in politics after a months-long, but unsuccessful, battle against the rate increase.

Last Month, the Tempe City Council unanimously approved raising Tempe’s property-tax rate to $1.79 from $1.40 per $100 of assessed valuation.

LaFaro said he hopes to inspire other District 17 Republicans to support GOP candidates who are fiscally conservative.

“We look for strong conservative Republicans who sincerely believe in the Republican ideals in regards to smaller government, lower taxes, lower fees,” he said. “And even individuals who may label or register themselves Republican … make poor public-policy decisions in their career.”

He added, “In my opinion, (Mayor) Hugh Hallman and (Councilwoman) Onnie Shekerjian … made a poor public-policy decision (voting for the rate hike).”

Council members have said they supported the rate increase because Tempe is required to provide sufficient funding to pay for existing debt.

Hallman and Shekerjian also have said that policy Tempe recently approved, which would protect against residents having to pay higher taxes, should property valuations increase, was essential to their support of the rate change.

LaFaro said Republicans’ frustration with their municipal, state and national-level representatives will bring them to the polls next year.

He bashed District 17 legislators David Schapira, Ed Ableser and Ben Arredondo, calling them “progressive socialist Democrats,” and singled out Arredondo for violating the public’s trust when he accepted gifts from the Fiesta Bowl.

Arredondo was a registered Republican until last year when he registered as a Democrat to run for a House seat.

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