In November, voters in the City of Tucson will be asked to approve a half-cent increase in the sales tax. That so-called core tax will go to help the city pay for things like fire and police as well as other functions considered part of the core mission of the City of Tucson. A committee made of area residents spent part of the summer looking at two scenarios, one if the tax passes and one if it does not. In all, $56 million dollars must be made up in the next budget. If the tax passes, $40 million will be covered. If the tax does not pass the city must make cuts in order to balance the budget.
The Tucson Mayor and Council will look at the two proposals at their meeting, but Council Member Steve Kozachik has two plans of his own. Kozachik says one of the first things that must happen is an increase in bus fares, he says Tucson cannot continue to operate the bus system on the current model. He also agrees with the Core Tax committee that the City of Tucson should cut its subsidy of Sun Tran by 6.5%. Additionally, Kozachick is proposing a 2% pay cut for employees who have a midrange salary of more than $96 thousand, he also wants complimentary cars gotten rid of for the Mayor, Council, and department heads. The Ward Six Republican is also calling for a 15% across the board cut for all non-core services and a 3% cut for police and fire.