Apache Junction City Council continues discussions about use tax

Logo city of Apache Junction
The Apache Junction City Council is moving forward with plans to add a 2.5 percent use tax to the city’s Municipal Tax Code.

At its Sept. 1 meeting, the council voted unanimously to discuss the use tax further at its Sept. 14 work session and Sept. 15 regular meetings, which were to begin at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd.

All council members were present at the Sept. 1 meeting. They were: Mayor John Insalaco, Vice Mayor Robin Barker and council members Gail Evans, Christa Rizzi, Jeff Serdy, Dave Waldron and Chip Wilson.

There are 76 cities in Arizona that have a use tax, Apache Junction City Clerk Kathy Connelly told the council during the meeting.

Apache Junction is one of 15 cities that does not, according to information from the Arizona Department of Revenue that was included in the council packet for that night’s meeting.

The use tax is an excise tax on purchases made outside the state or a city; it protects local retailers from competition from outside who are not subjected to the taxes, Lee Grafstrom, tax policy analyst for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, said during a phone interview Sept. 10.

“If I buy something in Apache Junction, I have to pay a sales tax rate but if I’m a resident I could buy it from wherever — like the Internet or a catalog — and would not have to pay the local tax. That puts the local vendor at a disadvantage. The use tax levels the playing field. In effect it’s the same as the sales tax,” Mr. Grafstrom said.

The council heard a presentation from Mr. Grafstrom about use tax at its Aug. 3 work session.

Having a use tax in place does not add a new tax to Apache Junction, Councilman Waldron said during the meeting.

“It’s pretty apparent if we don’t have a use tax in place, any tax money that comes into the state that’s distributed to use-tax cities, we get none of it,” he said at the meeting.

He noted he recently purchased an item online that he could not purchase locally and paid a use tax on it.

“That’s money that goes through the state and is distributed and we don’t get our fair share of the distribution,” he said. “In light of the state taking money, I think it would be nice if we were to get some.”

The public may view online the language provided by the state of Arizona and Municipal Tax Code Commission to create a use tax in the council packet by visiting the city’s website. Videos of the Aug. 3 and Aug. 31 work sessions during which the use tax was discussed also may be viewed on the city’s website.

During the same meeting, the council also unanimously voted to approve sending the following recommendations to the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control:

•an application for a new license, partnership, series 12 liquor license for Apache Creek Golf Club/Restaurant, 3401 S. Ironwood in Apache Junction.

•an application for a special event liquor license for Community Alliance Against Family Abuse for a fundraiser on Oct. 17 at Dolce Vita, 3301 S. Goldfield in Apache Junction.

•an application for a special event liquor license for Superstition Mountain Rotary Club for the second annual Ranch Rodeo on Oct. 24, at the Apache Junction Rodeo Grounds, 1590 E. Lost Dutchman Blvd.

The Apache Junction City Council in general meets in work session on the first and third Monday of the month and in regular meeting on the first and third Tuesday of the month. Both meetings are held at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd.

Reach staff writer Wendy Miller at wmiller@newszap.com

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