City of Tucson Base Expenditure Limit Increase, Proposition 401 (November 2013)
This measure authorized the city of Tucson to permanently increase its budget by $50 million. The most recent budget base expenditure increase was approved in 1987. This measure did not increase taxes or authorize a tax revenue increase, but merely authorized the city to spend $50 million more, without specifying from where this money would come.
The 2013 full city budget was $1.3 billion. Subtracting grants, voter approved bonds and revenue from the Regional Transportation Authority, which do not count towards the spending limit, the city's spending limit was $662 million prior to prop 401. With Prop. 401 having been approved, this increased to $712 million.
The city of Tucson's spending growth, making this base expenditure increase request necessary, came from quickly increasing pension fund expenses, water system capital projects, streetcar expenses and transit service expenses. One other measure proposed for Tucson's November ballot was an initiative seeking to reform the pension fund of Tucson, but it was removed from the ballot because of a lawsuit over petition circulator qualifications and technicalities.
- These final, certified results are from the City of Tucson elections office.
Text of measure
Proposing a permanent increase of $50 million in the City of Tucson’s base expenditure limit, pursuant to Article IX, Section 20, Subsection 6 of the Arizona Constitution.
Permanently increasing the base expenditure limit of the City by $50 million, beginning with the fiscal year immediately following voter approval. The most recent voter-approved permanent increase of the base expenditure limit was in 1987.
The question on the ballot:
| The City’s base expenditure limit will be permanently increased by $50 million.
A “YES” vote shall have the effect of permanently increasing the City’s base expenditure limit by $50 million.
A “NO” vote shall have the effect of not allowing the City to increase its base expenditure limit.
The full text of the ordinance adopted by the council and mayor on July 9, 2013 is available here.
Councilman Steve Kozachik said: "This is not at all about the city wanting to raise taxes. This is about capitalizing on our successes. We put in place incentives to allow for private-sector growth. Now that we're seeing the fruit of that, increasing our spending limit allows us to use those new dollars for providing services to the public. Without a spending limit increase, new tax revenues will sit on the counter until the next fiscal year and we will have effectively gained nothing from our economic development progress."
Finance director Kelly Gottschalk said: "We have significant capital improvements, required by federal (mandates), to provide the safest and cleanest water. And that's an expensive thing in a city this size. We wouldn't be able to make those improvements [without a spending-limit increase]."