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Legal marijuana puffs up government budgets

Tax take exceeds $106M statewide
Posted at 7:35 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 11:31:05-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Legal marijuana sales are pushing local government budgets to new highs. Taxes from legal sales are a welcome boost to government bottom lines.

When backers of the plans to convince voters to make it legal for adults to have and use small amounts of marijuana, part of the sales pitch was the idea that increased sales tax, and a special marijuana tax would channel extra money to state and local governments, and to community colleges.

Now we have a better idea of how much money.

The Arizona Department of Revenue says the first year of recreational marijuana sales has raised more than $106 million.

The money is earmarked for public safety.

Because the City of Tucson is able to collect ordinary sales tax on marijuana sales as well as a share of the special marijuana tax the city is expecting about $9.7 million.

That’s still barely one percent of the overall city budget but it’ll be a big help with the biggest part of the city budget.

Jeffrey Yates heads Tucson’s Business Services Department. He says, “The public safety component of our budget is our largest expenditure. So a large portion of every dollar the city gets goes to that public safety effort, which includes community safety programs and all those different things not just law enforcement, but all the components.”

The money will help cover the cost of police and fire pensions. They’ve been a big drag on the city budget.

Without a large share of sales tax from marijuana sales Pima County is expecting about $1.8 million in marijuana money.

About $314,000 of that will go to the Sheriff’s department budget.

The County is also expecting about $900,000 it can devote to road repair.

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