Pima County may pass first sales tax ever

Pima County may pass first sales tax ever

PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - For the first time ever, Pima County is on the verge of passing a sales tax.

If passed it would do two things. 1) Pay for road repair. 2) Lower property taxes.

The sales tax is being recommended by a citizens panel appointed by the Board of Supervisors to test the waters to conclude whether the sales tax is the best alternative to the county's perplexing road problem.

The recommendation and the reasons behind it can be found here. 

The tax is estimated to raise $80 million every year for 10 years, at which time it would sunset.

The committee's reasoning is the sales tax would be spread over a larger universe which would include not only residents in Pima County but visitors, such as winter visitors and tourists alike.

Right now, homeowners shoulder the burden for the county's operating budget. Last year, the board passed a property tax increase which raises $19 million a year for road repair. It makes only a small dent in the nearly $1 billion the county feels it needs to bring its roads up to standard. Right now, 70 percent of the roads range from poor condition to virtual failure.

For homeowners like Jeff Levine, who lives in Casas Adobes, that's good news.

"They've never ever been paved," he said of the street in front on his home. "Not in the 40 years I've been here."

While still skeptical, he's willing to give the county a break, a wait and see, with a caveat.

"As long as they use the money for what they say they're going to do," he said.

The sales tax is recommended for the April 3, 2018 agenda with a do pass recommendation from the County Administrator.

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