Pima County unveils sales tax to fix road

Pima County needs money to fix its roads.

It has three options to raise the cash.

It can lobby the legislature for a 10 cent a gallon gas tax hike. But the legislature is not in the tax raising mood.

It could raise the property taxes but the county already has one of the highest in the state so it's likely that's a non starter.

Or it could impose a one half cent sales tax.

That's likely the most palatable option but evens that has some obstacles standing it it'd way.

The county board would have to approve it unanimously and that's not likely.

"It while be a minor miracle," says County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry Whois floating the plans. "It would be difficult."

So to sweeten the pot of sorts, the county would take half the $76 million it would raise to pay for road maintenance and repair and the other $38 million would be used to lower property taxes,

It's estimated it would save $73 on an average priced home.

And the sales tax would be spread around, in essence paying for the tax cut in part.

"A sales tax is exported to non residents who come here, who come here from Mexico to shop, to visitors from other states," Huckelberry says.

At the same time local residents would get the benefit of better roads and lower property taxes.

There seems to be near universal opinion that the county roads set a bad example for residents and tourists alike.

"If you have a big CEO coming in and if people could tell them that the roads are in bad shape but we have a plan to fix them, I think they would understand that," says Transportation Director Pricilla Cornelio. "Unfortunately, we don't have a plan."

That's the ball Huckelberry is tossing to the board. They are options which are legally available to the board.

"We do have the will to solve the problem. It's just setting our mind to doing it," he says. But "it can't be done for free."