**Public Health Concerns Regarding Influx of Illegal Immigrants**On Monday, July 7th, 2014, I directed my staff to contact the County Health Department, Arizona State Department of Health and the CDC to gather information in regards to public health concerns of infectious disease outbreaks as a result of a large number of illegal immigrants being transported in and out of Southern Arizona. The County Health Department, as of July 10th, has not provided my office with a plan or guidance but we do know they are working on getting information out to the public. The CDC sent a response to my office and that can be found here ( link to CDC response). As I feel we should be doing everything possible to ensure we have accurate information and that the Federal, State and Local Government is prepared if such a health crisis should occur, I have sent a letter to Governor Jan Brewer (Click here to view letter) and will continue to update this site as more information becomes readily available. If you have questions or comments, please contact my office (520) 724-8097 or email email@example.com .
The overall 63-cent increase is a combination of a 61-cent increase in the primary tax rate, plus a 6-cent increase in the library district tax rate, and a 7-cent decrease in the debt service tax rate.
Already burdened with one of the top tax rates in the state, Pima County businesses pushed back on the 63-cent increase that, piles on top of last year’s 25-cent rate jump.
Several letters from the business community were sent to the Board urging them to reconsider such a dramatic tax increase. The Tucson Metro Chamber noted that the tax increase “sends the wrong message to Pima County property owners and to prospective businesses looking to locate in our county.” The same concern was echoed by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, adding that “such a tax increase may impact their (companies with multiple locations) to expand and to hire new positions in Pima County as they consider the financial burden compared to other counties in this State.”
Below is a letter by ATRA that was submitted to the Pima County Board of Supervisors
On behalf of the Arizona Tax Research Association (ATRA) Board of Directors, I want to extend our concerns regarding the proposed 63-cent increase in the combined property tax rates for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget. The proposed combined tax rates (that are the responsibility of the Pima County Board of Supervisors) will reach a staggering $5.7167 − 91 cents higher than two short years ago. As property taxpayers are painfully aware, Pima County has for decades been at or near the top in highest county property tax rates. For many years, Pima County has solidly occupied the unfavorable position of the highest county property tax rates, with the FY 2014 combined tax rate a full dollar higher than second place finisher Pinal County. In addition to being the highest overall rate in the state, Pima County's FY 2014 rate was $2.71 higher than the average rate for all Arizona Counties. Most notably, despite being Arizona's second most populous county, Pima unbelievably still holds the distinction of the highest property levies per capita at $386 for FY 2014. By comparison, the most populous Maricopa County levied $118 per capita and the third largest Pinal County levied $208 per capita.
Tax burdens are one of many criteria that businesses use in determining site locations. It has been well established that Arizona's largest tax barrier to recruiting new employers is our high business property taxes. For 2013, Arizona ranked 9th nationally in industrial property taxes. Clearly, in the highly competitive marketplace for business retention and recruitment, Pima is already at a significant disadvantage both nationally and regionally. This proposed tax increase not only moves Pima County in the opposite direction of where it needs to go, it is a decision that will likely handcuff economic development efforts for years to come. Like Arizona businesses, Arizona state and local governments faced significant challenges during the great recession. Certainly every
Arizona government has needs that remain unmet from that difficult period. As you debate the needs of Pima County, ATRA strongly encourages you to balance those against not only the impact on Pima County taxpayers and businesses but also against the long-term viability of economic development in Pima County.
Americans for Prosperity and Taxpayer Scorecard
June 17, 2014 – (Pima County, AZ) – Pima County residents filled the room today at the Board of Supervisors meeting to speak out against an almost 17% property tax increase and the use of taxpayer funds to purchase land for soccer fields. Residents, business owners and members of various organizations repeatedly commented on the County’s already high tax rate and proposed tax increase. The Tucson Chamber of Commerce, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Tucson Electric Power, Arizona Multi-Housing Association and the Tucson Association of Realtors are just a few of the organizations who urged the board to vote against the County Administrator’s recommended 2014/2015 budget.
With the economy in Pima County yet to see significant improvement, many felt a property tax increase would hinder growth and deter business development. Ultimately, after 2 hours of listening to comments from the public, the majority of the Board approved the tax increase while Supervisors Valadez, Bronson, Elias and Carroll all voiced strong support to utilize taxpayer money to purchase land for soccer fields.
Supervisor Ally Miller, District 1, voted against the tax increase and budget and she was the only Supervisor to speak out against the use of taxpayer funds for the soccer deal.
Residents applauded Miller on her comments and fight for County taxpayers. After the meeting, Miller said, “While the other 4 Supervisors have clearly shown their priority is to spend taxpayer money on non-core services, such as buying and developing this land for soccer, they prove they do not care to listen to their constituents. Now faced with a 17% tax increase and roads that are still in dire need of repair, citizens must take a hard look at what the other Supervisors have done with their tax dollars and decide if they will continue to allow this type of leadership from their elected officials.”
The budget adoption meeting lasted over 5 hours and residents appeared to be disappointed and frustrated by the actions of the Board. The primary property tax rate will now be $4.27 per $100 of assessed value; up $.61 from Fiscal Year 2013/2014.
Supervisor Ally Miller, elected in November of 2012, is currently serving her first term as a member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors representing District 1. Supervisor Miller holds a B.S. in Business Administration (Finance) from The University of Arizona and a Masters in Business Administration from The University of Arizona Eller School of Management; she has been a resident of Pima County for more than 30 years.
Recently, I received calls from residents asking questions about Americans for Prosperity and the taxpayer scorecard. In order to understand how the scorecard works, it is important to note that the cumulative average over the years plays a huge part on the scorecard number. As the newest Supervisor, my scorecard number would never be as high as one would think, solely based on the fact I am the newest Supervisor on the Board. In a recent email from the State Director for Americans for Prosperity, he re-iterated that fact and I hope you will share this as he has suggested below. Here is direct text from his email:
Dear Supervisor Miller and Ms. Davis:
Thank you for sending that information. For better or worse, for the purposes of AFPF-Arizona's Local Government Scorecard, we cannot compare the policy recommendations made by various counties and cities with regard to legislation that might or might not be enacted by the Arizona Legislature. Also, for the purposes of the Local Government Scorecard, AFPF-Arizona cannot compare the different allocations of road monies made by counties and cities within their jurisdictions.
To clarify: Just looking at the FY 2014 scorecard alone, Supervisors Carroll and Miller both dissented on the final budget and levy votes, and thus both scored a +2, or "Ally of the Taxpayer" for FY 2014. Supervisor Carroll's cumulative average is higher, because he has seven years of recorded votes on our scorecards, whereas Supervisor Miller has only one year.
For the record: AFP-Arizona is disappointed that Supervisor Carroll: 1) supports an increase in the gas tax; 2) opposes the Rosemont mine; and, 3) joined with the majority on the Board to allocate road project monies in a way that was clearly vindictive and politically motivated.
Feel free to disseminate this response as widely as you want, in whole or in part.
For Liberty, Tom
Tom Jenney | State Director | Americans for Prosperity – AZ
Click here to view the 2014 Local AZ Government Scorecard: http://americansforprosperityfoundation.com/arizona/files/2014/05/FY2008-2014_LGSC_CumulativebyDistrict_05-23-2014_Final.pdf