The Arizona Republic's Laurie Roberts is known for her frequent hit pieces on Republicans. Her latest piece is so lousy it's frankly embarrassing. Entitled "Why is Royce Flora allowed to campaign for treasurer on our dime?" she claims that election laws are violated because the Maricopa County Treasurer's Office - gasp - included a flyer with property tax bills containing a message and photo from the Deputy County Treasurer, Royce Flora, about things like paying your bill online. Royce is running to replace the current treasurer, Hos Hoskins, and has a Democratic opponent.
Elected officials frequently send out mail like this, it happens every day, it's known as franking and it's perfectly legal. Yet Roberts claims that is illegal campaigning. She is smearing Royce for no reason - he will not be investigated because there was no wrongdoing. If he was a Democrat, she would have never written this column.
MCRC Briefs ran this response from Hos -
Charles “Hos” Hoskins, Maricopa County Treasurer: Regarding Laurie Roberts: -Why-Royce-Flora-Allowed-Campaign-Treasurer-Our-Dime I am pleased that she included a copy of Mr. Flora’s letter so everyone can see that is void of any “vote-for-me” language. It is informative and states our commitment to service. It is also part of our effort to support Maricopa County’s Strategic Plan that states – “By the end of 2018, the Treasurer’s Office will increase the number of parcels enrolled to receive paperless statements to 10% . . .” View the entire plan at: http://www.maricopa.gov/StrategicPlan/pdf/StrategicPlan2015-2018v0_0_1.pdf The purpose of the tax bill insert was to persuade property owners to pay their taxes online. This allows us to capture email addresses of taxpayers that are computer savvy so we can offer them the option to receive their tax bills electronically instead of by mail. The cost of printing, paper and staff time to mail tax bills is expensive. Our mailing budget this fiscal year is $905,140 which is bordering on the absurd considering that the technology to go paperless has been around for decades. We have not been able to move toward a paperless environment due to our outdated (1988) IT system which we are in the process of replacing. In fiscal year 2016 we received 2,723,528 property tax payments of which 300,880 (11%) were made online. We need to get the number of online payments up to 500,000 to justify the programming costs associated with delivering tax bills electronically. I don’t expect Mr. Royce’s letter to come close to that, but every available opportunity to increase online payments must be pursued. Finally, anyone that thinks that there is some political benefit from associating your name with property tax bills that have increased considerably should see our mail and answer our phone.
I've known Royce for years, and he's one of the most ethical, honest people I've ever met. He would gladly give you the shirt off his back. This is nothing more than a sleazy attempt at character assassination to tip the election to the Democrat. Fortunately, it won't work. It is difficult for a Democrat to get elected to a Maricopa County office since the county is overwhelmingly Republican, plus no one reads the Repugnant anymore.