Along with other Arizonans, the leaders of Pima County Interfaith welcome the easing of the
COVID pandemic and rejoice in the hope that we can finally begin to repair, renew, and create
new possibilities. However, we see that the wounds left by this scourge are deep and grievous
and apparently unacknowledged by the state’s political leadership.
Consider the recent flat tax-based budget proposed and pushed by Governor Ducey but not yet
passed by the Arizona legislature. According to an estimate by the Joint Legislative Budget
Committee, individual families making under $50,000 a year would pay $4 to $39 less per year
under the flat tax, while families making $5 million a year would pay a whopping $350,000 less
per year. Does that sound reasonable to you?
Perhaps even worse, our region, including the cities of Tucson, South Tucson, Marana, Oro
Valley and Sahuarita, would lose $42,486,291 in state revenue sharing because of reduced state
revenues under the tax. A 1972 agreement provided for this revenue sharing while prohibiting
cities and towns from implementing their own income taxes. This huge revenue cut to cities
and towns under the flat tax cannot be made up with local legislation, and our state legislature
will never rollback these tax increases since our state constitution requires a 2/3ds
supermajority vote to raise taxes.
Where would you prefer the budget cuts to your city, necessary under this plan, be made?
Another cut in library hours? Under-maintained parks? Roads we cannot afford to fix? Less
money for public safety? Increased emergency response times? The list is endless, and
Arizona is experiencing a short-term windfall increase in revenues due to pandemic relief, not a
long-term structural revenue increase. Cutting taxes right now is shortsighted and immoral. The
flat-tax proposal is among the worst ways to cut them out of many bad options.
A recent poll by Higher Ground found there is not much support for the flat tax idea among
cities and the people polled. Polltakers thought the state underfunds education and that
investing in education is much more important than a tax cut. We all know that schools and
other public services are struggling to make ends meet and provide the services we all need.
We all complain about potholes. And we want our region to be a safe and clean.
We all should know that the pandemic has affected those least fortunate among us to a greater
degree than the rich. Lowering income tax brackets across the board will handcuff future
generations of Arizonans as they attempt to deal with inevitable future recessions, or as they
try to invest in long-starved public programs like education, safety nets, and infrastructure.
Pima County Interfaith strongly opposes this tax cut. It’s an immoral and economically
The Rev. Michael T. Bush, Senior Minister, Casas Adobes Congregational United Church of
The Rev. Robert Hendrickson, Rector, St Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church.
Pastor Michael Lonergan, Church of the Painted Hills United Church of Christ
Deacon Leah Sandwell-Weiss, St Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church
Ms. Nancy Smith, Leader, PCI & parishioner, St. Pius X Catholic Church