Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why your property taxes will increase

Why your property taxes will increase

Pima County Supervisor Ramon Valadez tells the tale of how the AZ State Lege (aka the idioture) balanced its budget on the backs of counties and municipalities - particularly singling out Pima County.

Most years, the crafting of the annual Pima County budget is when we decide on our priorities for the coming year. This year, the state of Arizona inserted its priorities into our budget.

Normally, the state and the county negotiate a reasonable amount the county will agree to pay to cover the cost of some state-funded programs. We then figure out how to absorb it into the budget without raising property taxes. We had reason to believe we could expect much of the same for this year’s budget.

Instead, the Legislature, in a last-minute budget bill amendment that was presented at 3 a.m., shifted $47 million of state budget costs to the counties. Pima County has to pay up to $23.2 million, or 49 percent, of the total, even though we only have 17 percent of the state’s population. This increased our existing state cost shifts from $82.8 million to $106 million, or nearly 33 percent of the total Pima County primary property tax collected in FY 2016.

Once upon a time, back when Frank Antenori was a state senator from LD 30, I attended a Republican Club meeting. (Shudder!) This was back when the Lege was doling out border security money and was denying it to Pima because of remarks made by our Sheriff. Antenori, when asked about that, was very forthright: "political payback." The Lege has done it again.

Congratulations for your help in balancing the state budget.

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