Pima County proposes tax rate hike but would it raise your bill?

Pima County proposes tax rate hike but would it raise your bill?

By Craig Smith. CREATED May 1, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - They are words to make a homeowner's blood run cold: tax hike.  That's the proposal in the Pima County Budget.  But one more word may make things easier to swallow: rate, as in tax rate.
Think of this like a mortgage payment. Cut through the ups and downs to the bottom line and Pima County says the bottom line on your taxes might actually go down.

That house you stretched to buy has probably been cut in value.  So Pima County's income from your tax bill has been cut too.

Now the County Administrator is proposing a tax rate increase of about five percent.

"When I read that this morning, I almost fell out of my chair.  The value of my house has gone way down, and my taxes have never gone down."
That was the reaction of John Kromko of the Pima TaxPayers Association is always skeptical of any tax hike.
But County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry says a five percent rate hike does not mean your tax bill will go up five percent.

Huckelberry says, "This year they're going to be paying less."

He says because values are dropping, even with a hike in the tax rate, the average house assessed at 145 thousand dollars would see a 14 dollar drop in taxes.

You can see Huckelberry's budget explanation for yourself at this link.

The full budget proposal is here.
Some of the budget would give county workers a pay raise.

Huckelberry says, "This is the first pay increase in six years for county employees and it's a modest increase.  It's only three percent."
Huckelberry says he wants to avoid cuts that would hurt law enforcement, and devote about five million dollars to about 100 miles of street repair. 
Skeptics like John Kromko will get a chance to urge County Supervisors to reject any hike before they approve the budget in Mid June.

If the tax rate goes through, and that's still an "if",  it would reflect on tax bills you get after the new fiscal year begins in July.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press