/ Modified jan 24, 2015 1:25 a.m.

METRO WEEK: State Budget May Cost Pima County $10M

Ducey budget proposal impacts counties, cities to balance state budget

The Governor's budget proposal calls for once again using some local tax money to balance the state budget.

For years, the state has taken some transportation funding, which is supposed to be distributed to cities and counties, and put it into a different part of the budget to pay for other expenses, such as the Department of Public Safety.

While Gov. Doug Ducey's proposed budget does not call for the state to take more from the local transportation funding pot for the fiscal year that begins in July, it would move $30 million in the same way about 18 months from now.

It is one example, said Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, of the state relying on local governments to fill state budget shortfalls.

"We're probably a lot more concerned about the proposed budget than cities and towns because this is a budget that asks the county to contribute almost an additional $10 million to support the state," Huckelberry said.

That adds up when taxpayers are on the hook, he said.

"I think people don't really realize that a third of the property tax bill they get from the county goes to the state, and that trend continues and it looks like it's going to increase," he said. "We have nowhere to go except the people who pay their property taxes, and people are going to wonder why their property taxes go up and the answer is the state shifted programs and costs."

The city of Tucson is less affected by the state budget, said Kelly Gottschalk, the deputy city manager.

"Actually we were pleased with the recommended budget at this point," she said. There is a reduction in state funds coming to the city.

In the context of a $500 million to $1 billion shortfall in the state budget next fiscal year, Gottschalk said the city expected to fare worse.

"At this point we're looking for about $1.2 million reduction worst case, and the governor has projected that some of that would be made up by increased revenues," she said.

Pima County is concerned about a proposal to ask all counties to pay for 25 percent of the cost of juvenile incarceration in the state's juvenile correctional facility. That could cost Pima County about $1 million, Huckelberry said.

Tucson is concerned about changes to how the city sales tax is collected. It used to be collected in the city, but now the state is collecting it and transferring back to the city, Gottschalk said. Tucson lobbyists are watching the proposed changes to tax collection this year to ensure city revenue is protected, she said.

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