OPINION: Sales-tax collection in Pinal County

Richard Dyer

The sales taxes we pay for goods and services in Apache Junction and Gold Canyon are to go up in April. Voters in November overwhelmingly approved two propositions including a half-cent sales tax increase.

Approved were Proposition 416, which will create a network of new roads and freeways throughout Pinal County; and Proposition 417, which funds these projects through a half-cent increase in the sales tax.

Proposition 416 was approved with 26,399 yes votes (56.96 percent of the ballots cast). The no votes totaled 19,944 (43.04 percent). Proposition 417 received 23,635 yes votes (50.97 percent) and 22,734 no votes (49.03 percent), according to final numbers approved by the Pinal County Board of Supervisors.

A list of the projects to be built by Proposition 416 are at http://yeson416and417.com/projects. They include the 36-mile North-South Parkway between Apache Junction/Gold Canyon, Florence, Coolidge, Casa Grande and Interstate 10. The estimated cost of the design and construction of the principal arterial is approximately $326.4 million. Pinal County is slated to contribute $30 million in additional funding towards the project.

Local reader June Ribbing e-mailed me Feb. 3 and asked if Pinal County had begun collecting the taxes. She wrote: “Hello, I am from Gold Canyon and I am trying to get an answer about whether or not they are taxing us already on this prop?”

After scouring the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent’s previous coverage of the election, I discovered that the date was not mentioned.

I spoke to Pinal County Supervisor Todd House at the steps of the Apache Junction Performing Arts Center prior to the Apache Junction State of the City on Feb. 7. He said the sales tax is to begin April 1, depending on the outcome of a lawsuit from the Goldwater Institute.

The Goldwater Institute is asking the Arizona Tax Court to strike it down. Jennifer Tiedemann of the Goldwater Institute writes that the tax unfairly and illegally targets everyday residents while exempting politically connected businesses, unfairly hurting taxpayers while also hindering economic development, according to “Goldwater Institute takes on Pinal County sales tax” at https://apachejunctionindependent.com.

The sales tax in Apache Junction is presently 9.1 percent. With the additional half-cent from Proposition 417, it will be 9.6 percent.

The sales tax in Gold Canyon in unincorporated Pinal County is presently 6.7 percent. With the additional half-cent it will be 7.2 percent.

Keep your questions coming. E-mail me at rdyer@newszap.com.

Editor Richard Dyer can be reached at rdyer@newszap.com

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