Pima County residents to pay ‘Tea-Publican Transfer Tax’


The headline in the Arizona Daily Star this morning reads $1.16B county budget has 20-cent property tax increase:

Cartoon_23Supervisor Ramón Valadez said the increased primary rate, which equals 11 cents of the new combined rate, is from state costs the Legislature shifted to the county.

“This budget is not a Pima County budget,” he said. “This is the state of Arizona determining our rate for us.”

He pointed out that as much as one-third of the county’s primary property tax collections goes to support state-provided services.

If Pima County knows exactly how much of this tax increase is due to our Tea-Publican Arizona legislature transferring state obligations to county and local governments so they can falsely claim that they have “balanced” the budget — by transferring state obligations to counties and local governments, while simultaneously sweeping stealing shared tax revenues — and to falsely claim that they have “reduced” taxes — by forcing your county and local governments to raise taxes — then Pima County should have a line on its county tax assessments highlighting this amount as the “Tea-Publican Transfer Tax.” After all, this state has “truth in taxation” laws. Pima County residents should be told that Tea-Publican Arizona legislators are directly responsible for this tax increase.

I posted last week that Pima County has sued the state of Arizona over the transfer of these state obligations to the county. Pima County sues our lawless Tea-Publican Arizona legislature:

In fiscal year 2016, Pima County officials estimate they’ll have to cover as much as $18.6 million in additional aid to TUSD that in past years would have been provided by the state.

Attorneys for Pima County argue that the cost shift amounts to an unconstitutional requirement for the county to raise taxes. The attorneys says it would unconstitutionally require Arizonans in one jurisdiction be taxed to pay for services in another because Pima County residents who don’t live in TUSD would be forced to subsidize the district.

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“[T] ransferring up to $18 million of former state costs onto Pima County simply because the state doesn’t want to pay it anymore is wrong,” said [Republican] Supervisor Ray Carroll. “That’s not fiscal conservatism. That’s punitive to the taxpayers of Pima County.”

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The provision in the budget is a part of a trend of county dollars being swept up for the state’s benefit. Last year Pima County provided the state $83 million in revenue, Huckelberry said. This year, lawmakers shifted another $23 million in state costs to Pima County, he said.

Roughly one-third of Pima County’s property tax revenues are provided to the state, Huckelberry said.

Pima County had to assess this new tax in order to comply with state laws regarding enacting county budgets, and because the state of Arizona would not agree to an expedited hearing of the lawsuit filed last week. Pima County may boost taxes for education funding:

Pima and Pinal counties may have to set their tax rates — and hike the levy on businesses and homeowners — before a court decides whether a provision in the state budget is legal.

That could add up to $45 a year in taxes for a $180,000 home in Pima County, and a yet-to-be determined amount in Pinal.

And whatever is borne by homeowners will hit businesses twice as hard because of the way they are assessed for tax purposes.

The reason is the Attorney General’s Office will not accede to a request by Pima County, which has filed suit, to have the state Supreme Court decide quickly whether counties can be forced to pick up education costs the state will not.

In fact, John Lopez, the state’s solicitor general, wants nearly another month before he even has to present his arguments.

A spokeswoman for his office said even then he may ask the justices to reject the county’s plea for them to provide a quick resolution. That could send the case to a trial judge. And that decision could wind up back before the Supreme Court in an appeal.

That, in turn, creates the problem.

Arizona law requires counties to set their tax rates by Aug. 17. Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said if there is no resolution by then, he will have no choice but to advise the Board of Supervisors to add in the additional money the state budget demands the county provide.

And Huckelberry said if the county has to absorb all of the $18.6 million, with none shared by the city of Tucson or Pima Community College District, that adds 25 cents to the county’s planned tax rate of $4.27.

In Pinal County, the only other one affected, the hit is estimated at $7.6 million.

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[Pima County] wants the justices to rule on the entire issue ahead of that Aug. 17 deadline.

In his response Wednesday, Lopez said the lawsuit “raises important issues of constitutional law involving complex taxation matters.” And he wants until July 3 to respond.

But Kristen Keogh, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, said Lopez could argue at the time that the high court has no jurisdiction to hear the case. And if the justices agree, there is no chance of meeting that deadline.

Be sure to send a note of thanks to your Tea-Publican Arizona legislators for your tax increase this year, Pima County residents. Only a few Tea-Publican legislators represent a small portion of Pima County, including Rep. Chris Ackerly in LD2; the trio of Teabaggers in LD 11 who mostly represent Pinal County, Sen. Steve Smith, and Reps. Mark Finchem and Vince Leach; and the trio of Teabaggers in LD 14 who mostly represent Cochise County, Sen. Gail Griffin and the “Two Davids,” Gowan and Stevens.

Should the state of Arizona lose this case in court, does anyone really expect that our lawless Tea-Publican Arizona legislature is going to pay a money judgment to Pima County any more than they are paying the money judgment currently owed to the state’s school districts?


  1. When Ducey was treasurer, he was bragging how “he” balanced the State budget, with no tax increases and no gimmicks, even though the State Treasurer had nothing to do with the State Budget. This rhetoric is carried over to his unfortunate stint as governor. And this budget nonsense had to be approved quick like a bunny, before Cities, counties and school Districts could mobilize opposition to the massive cost shifting. All those local governments stated the truth, the Tea party/Koch Brothers State government shifted tax increases to local governments. And the premise that the tax cuts paid for by these cost shifts are good for business actually do nothing to improve the Arizona economy. And if anyone mentions the emperor, Il Duce, has no clothes, they are fired.

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