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Arizona Lawmakers Consider Putting $1 Million Into Elderly Assistance Fund

A measure is making its way through the Arizona legislature that would help low income seniors with their property tax. But this isn't a new effort.

The Elderly Assistance Fund was created in 2006 and was supposed to freeze a person’s property tax from going up any further. But in 2015, lawmakers removed the mechanisms that would've funded the program.

"Senate Bill 1383, if passed by what Sen. [Lela] Alston is hoping for and we’re supporting her, will help low income elderly keep homes by freezing their property taxes from going up any further," said Ron Bellus, the legislative liaison with the Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office.

Steve Jennings with AARP Arizona said the money is running out, leaving low-income seniors with a potentially huge property tax bill.

"And so ... Senate Bill 1383 would put $1 million back into the fund and be about one third of the money that’s needed to cover the people that were eligible before," he said.

Anywhere between 11,000 and 12,000 people in Maricopa County are currently enrolled in the program.

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KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.