YUMA, Ariz. – The city council is considering a special election for an increase in sales tax.
If approved it could be on the ballot in the November general elections.
Dave Nash, public affairs coordinator for the city of Yuma, says, “The issue is whether or not to have an increase in the city’s sales tax put on the ballot for the general election this fall. In order for that to happen, first of all, it has to become an ordinance and city council has to pass that ordinance. Ordinances typically go through a two-step process. They’re introduced one meeting and voted on the next. So what happened on Wednesday night was the ordinance was introduced. They’ll probably vote on it at their next meeting in two weeks.”
Nothing is official yet. So far, the council members have only discussed and considered the topic. Some council members are requesting a better break-down of the proposed tax increase and how it will be rationed.
“It’s the general sales tax, transaction privilege tax, you pay it anytime you got to a store. Currently the rate in the city of Yuma is 1.7 percent, the proposal is to round that up to 2 percent with this new addition,” says Nash, “This 0.3 percent addition, to be specifically used for funding roads and for funding public safety.”
In fact, this proposition comes after the city’s need for extra funding for fixing roads and funding public safety services. These funds are usually available through the city budget, which is now thinning out.
Nash explains, “When we go to the gas station to fill up our cars or trucks with gas or diesel, you’re paying a tax that is then collected by the state. The state, by law, is supposed to return that tax money to the cities and counties from which the tax originated and that money is used as HURF, Highway User Revenue Fund, it’s supposed to be used for our road maintenance.Well they’ve been taking that money at the state legislature and moving it to other purposes in recent years, not giving it back to cities and counties. It’s been a problem across the state and in Yuma, in particular.”
The sales tax increase will be voted on by Yuma city council members in two weeks.