Arizona Supreme Court Rejects Pima County Lawsuit, Huckelberry Demands Tax Increase

The Arizona Supreme Court has rejected Pima County’s request for a Special Action against the State of Arizona. The Court was silent on the merits when it declined to take jurisdiction, but ordered the County to pay the costs of the lawsuit.

Supervisor Ally Miller was the lone “no” vote last month when County Administrator asked the Board of Supervisors to support his lawsuit scheme.

As the Arizona Daily Independent reported earlier, because the County has been unwilling to live within its means for years, Pima County filed suit in June asking the Court to order the State to continue to pick up the tab for its recklessness.

The Pima County administrator is unhappy that the 35-year-old constitutional amendment caps counties’ property taxes at 1 percent.

Previously, the state backfilled money when the cap was ignored. With the state facing financial issues, it is now only able to pay up to $1 million per county in additional state aid.

Supervisor Miller said after the decision, “I think it’s very unfortunate Pima County decided to file a lawsuit against the State. It would have been more productive had we worked to come to a resolution that did not involve litigation. Now taxpayers are faced with paying for outside counsel the County hired for this case as well as the legal fees incurred by the State.”

Undaunted, Chuck Huckelberry has instructed attorneys to proceed with the suit in Maricopa County Superior Court. In a memo delivered just hours after the decision, Huckelberry wrote, “… the County will now be required to adopt the new tax rate approved at the Final Budget Hearing, which includes an increase in the tax levy….”

Already Pima County residents pay some – if not the highest- tax rates in the State.

Marla Closen, who has entered the Republican Primary against Supervisor Ray Carroll said on Thursday, “It is unfortunate for all of us that the County Board of Supervisors decided in a 4-1 vote to sue the State: All because the County is incapable of controlling decades of taxing and spending. As a result of losing this frivolous lawsuit, the County now has to pay the court costs. Who pays yet again? The Pima County taxpayers.”

“I am pleased to see that the Court chose not to intervene in an issue the taxpayers spoke so clearly on in 1980. Pima County’s recalcitrance over taxation is the reason we need a total replacement of leadership. Except for Supervisor Miller the entire cadre refuses to reduce spending and live within the taxpayers’ means; it’s a toxic, co-dependent mix of tax and spend,” stated Arizona State Rep. Mark Finchem.

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