Main image
15th May
written by JHiggins

Dear Editor, Your headlines seemed like a dream come true:  “Lower tax, few cuts in county budget” [Arizona Daily Star 4-28-09], declaring a “drop in property taxes” for a “total budget … down $6 million…”

Not explained is that the $6 million dollar “reduction” is offset by an increase of almost $22 million in the total property tax levy amount, from $399 million in 2008-09 to $421 million in 2009-10.  A more accurate headline could have read “County to collect over $15 Million more from the taxpayers!” 

This is because increase assessed values counters any real reduction in taxes.  This year’s current tax rate is based on $746 Million in increased primary property assessments for 2007 — figures derived before the recession hit.  Our property is being over-valued and over-taxed.  Last year, Supervisor Ann Day and I submitted an alternative budget to the Board majority.  In our introduction we explained:

“[W]hile the Primary tax rate decreased from $4.072 to $3.602 between 2002 to 2007, the amount of revenue collected by the county increased by over $70 million dollars…”

Your newspaper had clarified this in an article [10/22/08] with the headline: “Though tax rate dips, we’re all paying more.”  The article explained how, even with the drop in tax rates:” taxpayers are paying twice as much in property taxes as they did a decade ago.” 

Equally ominous is the hidden long term and ever increasing debt. Our debt service has jumped this year by $10 million to a total of $110 million dollars, which currently makes up over 37% of our primary property taxes.  And Pima County’s debt is going up with non-voter approved debt through “Certificate’s of Participation.”  In fact, Pima County’s current outstanding principal debt is almost twice as large as all other Arizona counties debt combined ($757.6 million vs. $339.7 million).  Next year the county wants a $500 million dollar bond sale next year for our Wastewater Department.  Who do you think gets to pay these debts?


And speaking of other debt obligations, University Physicians at Kino Hospital is now asking for an extra $30 Million dollar subsidy, with up to $39 Million in each of the next five years (even though the original agreement assured decreased payments and self-sufficiency).  But as the county reduces support for the cost of health screenings, the County Administration increases its budget by $2.7 million.  While we increase fees for our children to play in county parks, this same budget increases Economic Development subsidies by an extra $14 million.   


This raises the question of “sustainability” – a term used often with regards to the environment, but which should apply to our taxpaying citizens. 


Because as we continue to bleed our taxpayers dry by continuing to raise taxes and fees on everything without a mandatory cap, the number of homeowner’s facing foreclosure remains at record levels in Pima County.  We need to learn to live within our means rather than attempting to instill false impressions about “rate reductions.”  But to do so, we need to have an honest accounting of our revenues and expenses.


There are three steps that could be taken immediately to help in the process:


1.     We need the majority on the Board to stop refusing to appoint their representatives to the outside Citizen’s Budget Advisory Committee.  Other people without a vested interest in the growth of government need to make an objective review of the Pima County budget.  Since 1997, the Board has never allowed this committee to have a quorum.


2.     There needs to be at least three public meetings on the budget, preferably at night – not just one meeting, scheduled for Tuesday morning, May 19th, when most working people can’t attend, in which all departments are superficially reviewed and a tentative budget is quickly adopted. 


3.     Finally, the county budget should be posted in both the Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Citizen for the general public to be able to review.  We paid TNI over $600,000 last year; we can afford to have their readers see our budget.


There are no legitimate reasons why Pima County government can’t be more transparent with the use of taxpayer funds.  Perhaps, with a more informed public, deceitful declarations regarding property taxes will be subjected to a bit more scrutiny.  One can only hope.



Ray Carroll

Pima County Supervisor


Op-Eds are published in their entirety here on Tucson Choices at the request of the author.

Candidates (from both parties), elected officials and news makers:

 If you have an op-ed that you may find of interest to our readers, email them over.











  1. allytoo

    As usual, Ray is right on point!

    WHEN and WILL the voters in Pima County rid the Supervisor Board of the Glazed-eyed threesome whose only focus is on Chuck-the-Boss and his heavy-handed decisions? We have a one way street with DEEP potholes!!

  2. 07/06/2015

    Really informative post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

  3. 07/06/2015

    say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it smart.

  4. 15/06/2015

    We stumbled over here from a different web page and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking over your web page again.

  5. This was actually discussed a while ago and I was for it initially. Over time though it became apparent that the total community was getting involved with this project. Archiving this would be best for everyone.

  6. 17/06/2015

    I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thanks , I’ll try and check back more often. How frequently you update your website?

  7. 18/06/2015

    I just could not depart your site prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard information an individual supply to your guests? Is going to be again often in order to check out new posts.

  8. I truly appreciate this post. I¦ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thank you again

  9. This is the correct weblog for anyone who needs to find out about this topic. You realize a lot its almost onerous to argue with you (not that I truly would need…HaHa). You undoubtedly put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, simply nice!

  10. Keep it up!. I usually don at post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful A rise in An increase in An increase in.

  11. 21/06/2015

    I do not even know the way I finished up right here, however I believed this post was once good. I don’t recognize who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you happen to are not already ;) Cheers!

  12. I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal blog now ;)

  13. 25/06/2015

    Thanks for that, I really appreciate the help. We have 20+ years’ experience in the IT industry especially in e-commerce and Marketing and this will help tremendously.

  14. 25/06/2015

    When it comes to business you want ot be sure that you’ve got all your bases covered. More importantly it seems like you’ve covered the basics in this post.

  15. 25/06/2015

    Life can be tough at times, you put in the hours of work and only end up with blank stares. You know what I mean? That’s the time posts like this keep me motivated.

  16. 26/06/2015

    With responsive web design for your website, you will be able to represent a distinct image of your brand from the rest of the crowd. Our team has required expertise and experience of handling simple to the most complicated web design projects.

  17. Hi there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to take a look.

  18. 29/06/2015

    Enjoyed looking through this, very good stuff, regards. “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” by Mother Theresa.

  19. 01/07/2015

    Be sure to preserve your life force, chi. This practice is absolutely essential. Be sure to respect the power of words. Don’t engage in vulgar language or activity.

  20. 01/07/2015

    WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..more wait .. …

  21. Thanks again for the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

  22. They will provide you with a free diagnostic of your problem and a recommended solution. But you are under no obligation to have us do the repairs.

  23. I was recommended this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re amazing! Thanks!

  24. 02/07/2015

    This was actually discussed a while ago and I was for it initially. Over time though it became apparent that the total community was getting involved with this project. Archiving this would be best for everyone.

  25. Businesses must carefully manage their business and be mindful of how to leverage technologies that provide maximum productivity, security and ease of use.

Leave a Reply

  • Pages

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • May 2009
    M T W T F S S
    « Apr   Jun »
  • Should We Build The Downtown Hotel?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Tags