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  • Supervisors adopt FY2016 budget, includes small tax increases

    Jun 16, 2015 | Read More News
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    board of supervisorsThe Pima County Board of Supervisors today voted 3-2 to approve the Fiscal Year 2016 budget. The adopted $1.17 billion budget is 1.8 percent less than the current fiscal year, and 21.35 percent less than the county’s 2007 budget. Supervisors Ally Miller and Ray Carroll voted no.

    The budget includes increases to the primary property tax rate and two of the county’s three secondary property tax rates. The primary property tax rate will increase 11 cents from $4.2779 to $4.3877 per $100 of a property’s assessed value. The Flood Control District’s secondary tax rate increased 1 cent from 30.35 cents to 31.35 cents per $100 of assessed value, and the Library District’s secondary tax rate increased 8 cents from 43.53 cents to 51.53 cents per $100 of assessed value. All totaled, the county’s combined property tax rate increased 19 cents, from $5.7639 to $5.9537 per $100 of assessed value. The board took separate votes for the Library and Flood Control districts tax rates. The Flood Control District tax rate vote was 3-2, with Supervisors Miller and Carroll voting no. The Library District tax rate was 4-1, with Supervisor Miller voting no.

    County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the 11-cent primary tax rate increase is entirely due to a change in the state budget that requires some local jurisdictions to pay the taxes of some school districts in which a combined primary property tax rate exceeds the state’s tax rate cap of 1 percent of a home’s full cash value. The county, last week, filed a lawsuit against the state and the Legislature’s Property Tax Oversight Commission, saying the new law is unconstitutional. Resolution of that suit is pending, but the county has asked the state Supreme Court for an expedited hearing in hope of having the law struck down before the county has to levy the approved tax increases in August.

    After the board adopted the new fiscal year’s budget, the board also passed a resolution that says if the county prevails in its legal action or if the legislature repeals the new law in a special session before the county levies the new tax rate in August, the board will repeal the 11-cent primary property tax increase.

    If the legal or hoped-for legislative action extends past the time of the tax levy, the board pledged to reduce fiscal year 2017’s tax rate by 11 cents if the county prevails or the legislature repeals the law during its regular session next year.

    “I’ve been serving on the Board of Supervisors for 18 years and these cost transfers by the state onto local jurisdictions have occurred repeatedly during that time. About a third of our primary property tax rate paid by Pima County taxpayers is imposed on us by the state,” said Board Chair Sharon Bronson. “With this latest cost transfer, we’re now required to send about $106 million a year to the state to pay for state programs. This latest transfer is clearly unconstitutional, and we’re asking the State Supreme Court to strike down this law that unfairly requires Pima County taxpayers to pay the tax bill of others. Enough is enough.”