Backers of the Rio Nuevo Tax Increment Financing District have been intensely lobbying the Arizona Legislature for months in hopes of extending the life of Rio Nuevo beyond its current end date of 2025.
Reps. Mark Finchem and Todd Clodfelter have proposed HB2456 which would extend Rio Nuevo to 2035. In its current form, Rio Nuevo and development in the downtown district are controlled by the Arizona Legislature. The Rio Nuevo Board is appointed by the Governor, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, and all Rio Nuevo deals are approved by those three.
What’s wrong with this picture? The people of Tucson created Rio Nuevo with our vote back in 1999, but under the control of the Legislature, the people have no voice in Rio Nuevo and no say in what is built in our city’s core. That’s a problem. Our town does not belong to the Arizona Legislature. Where is our local control?
Last week the Arizona Daily Star published my guest commentary on Rio Nuevo: Is It Time for the Sun to Set on Rio Nuevo? The article gives some historical background on Rio Nuevo and raises questions about the financing behind the deals. At the end are some suggestions.