Posts Tagged ‘Huckelberry’
By Inside Tucson Business staff
Published on Friday, September 17, 2010
Editorial: Convention Center faces huge dilemma The Tucson Convention Center has not been a cash cow for the city of Tucson through the years. Indeed, it has been operating in the red since its inception in 1971. This year, the expected deficit is $2.5 million.
Sept. 2, 1996
The center is considered too small with too few neighboring hotel rooms to be very competitive. While conventions have great economic impact, they only make up about 3 percent of the use of the TCC.
In February 1995, a consultant released an operational assessment of the TCC. The Stein Report had a number of recommendations to increase the bottom line. The city however, rejected the recommendation to privatize the community center. (from yesterday’s Star - TCC merging departments and may be removing director and losing millions per year.)
The city adopted some of the Stein Report’s recommendations, such as adding a ticket surcharge and eliminating free parking. Currently, the “facility fee” surcharge is $1 per ticket and parking, typically, is $8 per vehicle.
The TCC still runs at a deficit of about $3 million a year. The city’s goals to expand the TCC and build a convention center hotel are still unmet. (With the City of Tucson managing the TCC I’m bullish on the next 10 years)
GTEC assails personal-property taxes on businesses
Oct. 21, 1996
Blaming hefty personal-property taxes for dissuading companies from choosing Tucson as a prime location, the Greater Tucson Economic Council has placed the issue high on its hit list for the coming year.
A special committee dealing with the dilemma will be set up by GTEC as the organization pursues its goals of recruiting high-wage employers to the Tucson area.
“The property tax is singly the most important issue in the upcoming year,” said Bob Walkup, chairman of GTEC. “If we don’t want to fix that issue, we have to be content with low capital density.”GTEC President Robert Gonzales said two big firms—a printing company and a semiconductor company—bringing hundreds of jobs and $600 million in investment were lost this year due to property taxes.
Tucson will be forever relegated to a service economy as long as the city taxes away capital intensive industries and their well-paying jobs.
Business taxes are still an issue in manufacturing-starved Tucson and Arizona. The bottom line is that equipment-related taxes make the state and its cities uncompetitive.
Existing business taxes include assessments for signs, office supplies, communications equipment, and security systems. Office equipment (computers, desks, chairs and copiers) also are taxed along with display cases and shelves, and cash registers.
Specific to the manufacturing industry, taxes are piled on machines, tools, fork lifts, cranes, testing equipment and special tools.
At the GTEC meeting, Walkup, who became the city’s mayor in 1999, highlighted the need to eliminate the business personal-property tax. That hasn’t happened. Neither has the city reined in its appetite for sales taxes. Currently at 9.1 percent, Tucson has the nation’s 16th highest rate of combined state and municipal taxes, according to the Tax Foundation of Washington, D.C.
It might not be fourth down and long, but organizers of the Copper Bowl need a successful game plan to ensure the success of Tucson’s post seasons collegiate football game. Once again, the Copper Bowl Foundation has had to ask county and city officials for financial assistance for the Dec. 27 game.
Dec. 23, 1996
“After this, the time has come for them to make it on their own,” said Mayor George Miller, who has voted to support the bowl game with public funds. The bowl game lost its title sponsor this year—Weiser Lock withdrew after four years and about $4 million.
Insight Enterprises stepped in and kept the bowl game in Tucson until 1999 under the name of the Insight Bowl. In 2000, the game was moved to Phoenix and is now played at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium.
While most of the local political attention is focused on the new Democratic majority that takes control of the Pima County Board of Supervisors this week, just up the road, Marana is sizing up its place in the area’s development picture.
Dec. 30, 1996
Marana Mayor Ed Honea likes what he sees.
“I think Marana is going to be the golden child of Pima County,” Honea said. “Oro Valley is impacting developers, the county is about to impact and the city of Tucson is about out of desirable property. That leaves Marana.”
The impacts that Mayor Honea refers to are impact fees, a hot topic in the recent supervisors elections. It is an issue that helped Democrat Sharon Bronson unseat Ed Moore and put the Democrats in control of the board.
“I think the county is going to be in big trouble,” Honea said. “They’re going to send an anti-business, anti-development message. Marana is already in the alley where development is headed.”
Marana has an economic development strategic plan in place for its future. Marana’s location puts businesses close to the highly desirable physical assets of an interstate freeway, airport and a rail yard. The plan defines the types of commerce sectors and where they will be located within the town.
Marana does not assess a property tax and has no impact fees for commercial or industrial development, other than utilities.
With a recent history highlighted by infighting and controversy, members of the 1997 edition of the Pima County Board of Supervisors agree there is much work to be done in the coming months.
Jan. 6, 1997
That work will be done with a new Democratic majority leading the way. Sharon Bronson’s ouster of the controversial Ed Moore has given her and fellow Democrats Raul Grijalva and Dan Eckstrom an edge over Republicans Mike Boyd and newcomer John Even.
A hot issue for the supervisors is likely to be the future of County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. During the last major shift in the board’s balance of power, the Republican majority handed the job to Manoj Vyas.
Rumors persist that Huckelberry could be ousted for Enrique Serna, who was axed by the Republicans in favor of Vyas.
Since 1997, Democrats have remained in the majority. Huckelberry not only survived the replacement rumors, but has grown his authority to the point where he is one of the most powerful public servants in Southern Arizona.
Foreseeing the swing to Democratic control, Supervisor Raul Grijalva spearheaded the County’s first development impact fees in Nov. 1996. Since that time, Supervisors have put additional financial burdens on land developers and builders, demanding that they pay their fair share of growth-related expenses. (Elections have consequences folks! – Not only did impact fees hit but we spent $200m on open space, with another $500m on deck, pygmy owls added $20k to EVERY home in Pima County, mines are bad, voter approved bonds don’t get spent on the things voters agree to and Kino Hospital has become a $100m hole to treat the poor – the SHINY PROGRESSIVE COUNTY ON THE HILL.)
In 2003, Grijalva was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Arizona’s 7th congressional district. (Boycott Arizona – need we say more).
Copyright © 2010 Inside Tucson Business
Well it doesn’t happen every day but you got to give Pima County administrator Huckelberry and the controlling majority of the Board Of Supervisors qudos. They deserve major credit for actually balancing a their budget WITHOUT raising property taxes. In fact the counties tax rate has been lowered to its LOWEST IN 35 YEARS!
From today’s Citizen story by Gary Duffy – HERE.
The fiscal plan includes a decrease in the primary property tax rate from the current $3.39 per $100 valuation to $3.31 – the lowest in 35 years, Huckelberry told supervisors Monday in a budget memorandum.
Overall, it calls for a reduction in the combined property tax rate from the current $4.63 cents per $100 valuation to about $4.55 per $100 valuation.
The financial plan also notes the county will finish the current fiscal year with a balance of about $24.5 million, instead of a projected shortfall of almost $40 million.
About $6.7 million of the fund balance would go to property tax relief.
The county enacted across-the-board departmental budget cuts of 7 percent to 10 percent – except for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department – to avert the projected deficit.
“It went away because we managed it away,” Huckelberry said.
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