All posts in "Budgets, Spending & Taxes"

Arizona Business Leaders Pushing To Increase Education Sales Tax

Via tucson.com

PHOENIX — A plan by business leaders to ask voters for a 1.5-cent sales tax increase for education on the 2020 ballot could set the stage for an expensive battle with Gov. Doug Ducey and his Koch brothers allies.

The plan’s newly disclosed specifics include $660 million to extend the 0.6-cent sales tax that voters first approved in 2000 to fund education. That levy will self-destruct in 2021 unless specifically reauthorized.

Ducey has already said he supports making that tax permanent.

 

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Economic Buzz About Tucson May Be Right, Despite Lackluster Numbers

 

Via tucson.com

That was the unexpected message UA economist George Hammond delivered in his 2018 economic forecast.

An economist telling us to ignore data and trust our feelings?! Well, it wasn’t that simple, but Hammond noted that the preliminary survey data delivered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and used by state of Arizona in its employment reports don’t seem to add up. For some of the months in late 2017, they’ve shown job losses in the Tucson area compared to the same time last year, at a time when we were supposed to be growing steadily.

“Before you get too concerned about that, I think that those estimates are way too pessimistic,” Hammond told us Friday during a luncheon at the Westin La Paloma. “I think that data, which is preliminary data, is going to be revised up significantly. Once it is revised up, that’s going to square a lot better with the buzz around town about how Tucson is doing.”

 

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Tax Money To Be Used For Legal Fees Of Lawmakers Accused of Ethics Violations

 

Via azdailysun.com

PHOENIX — Arizona taxpayers could be on the hook for up to $18,000 to pay the legal fees of lawmakers accused of ethics violations.

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard has authorized up to 20 hours of legal work on behalf of Reps. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, and Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix. All three were named in complaints and became the subjects of an internal probe to see if there is truth to allegations against them. That inquiry is the first step in determining if any House rules were violated and whether lawmakers should face a disciplinary hearing.

Each attorney is being allowed to charge up to $300 an hour.

 

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How Gov. Ducey’s $1 Billion Bonding Bill Will Be Spent

 

Via azbigmedia.com

Strategic investments by both the public and private sectors over the years has proven to be successful in creating new jobs and innovations, producing meaningful and lasting economic development impacts that will span generations.

For instance, a $500 million strategic investment in 2003 by the state for university infrastructure began an era of industry growth that has reportedly resulted in a 7:1 return on investment or $3.5 billion. In turn, Arizona’s Bioscience Industry increased its number of jobs in bioscience related fields by 49 percent, which is nearly four times the national average.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey aims to build on that success after signing a landmark $1 billion investment plan in May to accommodate the growing long-term needs of Arizona’s higher education system in order to best serve future generations and provide the workforce of tomorrow.

 

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Pima Assessor Sues More Than Two-dozen Businesses In Tax Court

 

Via tucson.com

The Pima County assessor is suing 30 businesses in Arizona Tax Court, a number of cases without recent precedent. The number of suits is also raising concerns among other county officials, one of whom questioned the ethics of filing so many.

Last year, Assessor Bill Staples was the plaintiff in three State Board of Equalization decisions appealed to the court, which is a part of Maricopa Superior Court and handles tax-related disputes, according to a Star review of online court records.

As of Wednesday, the current year’s total exceeds the total number of cases since 2007 and appears to be the largest number of such appeals filed by any Pima County assessor since at least the early 1990s. Staples filed nine cases — the second highest figure — in 2005, the year after he was first elected. The state board hears secondary appeals of property valuations in Pima and Maricopa counties.

 

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Pima County Breaks Ground On Seniors And Veterans Housing Projects

 

Via azbusinessdaily.com

The Pima County Housing Center has recently broken ground on a $2.85 million project for a pair of senior and veterans housing projects.

District 5 Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothchild, and other local and state officials recently broke ground on the project, which will include 20 apartments to accommodate low-income seniors who live with a caregiver or family member.

The complexes, which will be built adjacent to the TMM Family Services main campus on North Country Club Road, was funded by $545,000 in voter-approved bond funding and $708,000 in HOME funds federal grant money.

 

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Fewer Tax Audits Has Decreased Tax Revenue

 

Via azcentral.com

As Arizona leaders have built budgets that leave little room for teacher raises and other popular spending priorities, the state has cut back on efforts to ensure taxpayers — especially businesses — pay what they owe.

The Arizona Department of Revenue, the state’s tax collector, has instead emphasized customer service and collecting sales taxes on behalf of cities statewide.

The effect? Revenue from audits fell from $155 million in 2016 to $80 million in 2017.

 

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The Highest-paid Employees Of The State

 

Via bizjournals.com

Paul Matson and Ryan Parham are working hard to see that their fellow State of Arizona employees have enough gold when they reach their golden years.

Matson, the director of the Arizona State Retirement System, took home $285,230 for his work in 2016. Parham, the chief investment officer for the state’s Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, pulled in $268,000 for the same time period. They were the two most-highly paid state employees for 2016, according to the Arizona Department of Administration.

In making a public records request with the state, the Phoenix Business Journalasked for total compensation for the year, not including health or retirement benefits.

 

read more at bizjournals.com

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Understanding How AZ Creates Property Tax Bills

 

Via flagstaffbusinessnews.com

The Coconino County Treasurer’s Office has now printed and mailed out tax bills for 2017.

While some of us might grudgingly pay taxes, most of us probably understand that taxes are the price of living in our society. We know taxes pay for roads, public education, law enforcement, safe buildings, fair elections and much more. And we expect that taxes will be assessed and collected in a fair and equal way.

What might be a surprise to you is to know how much work, time and expertise went into the creation of your tax bill, and what it takes to ensure fairness. Here is how that process works:

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ASU Price Tag Jumps $7 Million For North Phoenix Center

Via kjzz.org

 

ASU plans to build its Health Solutions Innovation Center (HSIC) near the Mayo Clinic, off the Loop 101.

When it was pitched over the summer, ASU wanted to be reimbursed $1.3 million for initial infrastructure costs, like street paving and water and sewer lines. At that time, Councilwoman Thelda Williams said it amounted to pennies and nickels compared to what the city spends.

There were no comments during Wednesday’s council meeting when members unanimously approved an extra $7 million for public infrastructure. A city report said it will cover a public pedestrian-bicycle bridge and public street and sidewalk improvements. ASU will be reimbursed after improvements are made.

 

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