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You might not have to pay the new TUSD tax --- yet

Pima County cites conflicts in tax law
Posted at 7:55 PM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 12:26:05-04

A last minute law by the Legislature meant people who pay taxes to TUSD were looking at a big tax increase.

Now, Pima County's planning a move that could kill, or at least delay that tax.

While teachers swarmed the state Capitol to push for a raise, state lawmakers were trying to shake loose money to pay for it.

They passed a law saying instead of the state paying millions of dollars to support TUSD's desegregation programs, that TUSD would raise the money through what's called a secondary tax.  That tax would hit property owners who live in the district and add about 250 dollars to the bill for a hundred thousand dollar house.

Pima County collects property taxes for TUSD.  The County says under the State Constitution it's only legal for the county to collect secondary tax for budget overrides voters approved or to pay off bonds and the property tax for desegregation does not qualify.

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry says the county just will not collect that secondary tax unless Arizona's Attorney General says that's okay.

Huckelberry thinks the county's unlikely to get any ruling in time to charge the tax this year.

“I think our first goal is to get the Attorney General to agree with our conclusion that to do otherwise would be inappropriate."

That's inappropriate, as in if the county collects a tax it shouldn't it'll get sued.

So if the state's stopped giving TUSD millions of dollars for desegregation, and Pima County's not collecting the tax, how will TUSD pay for the program?

TUSD superintendent Gabriel Trujillo says the district needs to work out a way to comply with the desegregation order even if it does not get the tax money.

"Obviously we would be crippled by a 17 or 18 million dollar deficit in that budget, and we would work collaboratively with the parties to make sure that we work together on a plan to try to work in the face of such cuts if it came to that."