Recently, an opinion piece appeared in the Explorer, authored by Oro Valley Councilmember Mike Zinkin. This piece was a reaction to the majority of Council defeating his proposal to consider a new rental tax for apartments, rental homes, and perhaps retirement homes in our community.
To support his position on the need for a rental tax, Mike goes on to state that Oro Valley has no monies in the budget or available funds (other than from the Reserve Fund) for improvements to existing parks, development of Naranja Park and Steam Pump Ranch, and investment in arts and culture.
Unfortunately, Mike is incorrect in his assertions.
Although he did admit he was unaware of the details of our funding for the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance, which is a key component of Oro Valley’s arts and culture, the rest appears to have been a mystery or an excuse to raise taxes when they aren’t justified.
At last week’s Council meeting, I pointed out the very items that Mike referenced and explained in detail how they are actually funded, as documented in the Town’s budget.
I also reminded him that Oro Valley had a surplus of $1.7 million for fiscal year 2012-13, which just closed June 30—a fact reported accurately by the Explorer.
I then suggested that if Mike thought those items should be funded in greater amounts, he was free to bring that up for discussion. In fact, the $400,000 that a rental tax could potentially garner would have still left us with a $1.4 million surplus as we enter the new fiscal year!
While Mike called the majority “short sighted,” I suggested that he was “blind” to the facts as presented in the budget. From a personal standpoint, I do not believe any segment of our community should be singled out for a tax. We all share in the burden, or we don’t do it.
It is ironic that Mike is now proposing a new tax, when he funded a failed recall signature attempt against me and Councilmember Mary Snider for being a party to raising our utility tax (a tax burden that would not have singled out any particular group).
It is important to point out that the utility tax increase was necessitated by a projected deficit of $3 million. The sitting Council, sans Mike Zinkin, addressed this deficit by cutting $1.5 million before any tax was implemented, and there was no operating surplus at that time to carry us forward.
Mike got his facts wrong, and he has completely ignored the truth of our spending in the upcoming budget year. Unfortunately, I see a pattern emerging. He tends to build accusations with inaccurate facts, and then issues apologies later, after learning the truth of the situation.
My advice? Get it right, Mike…the first time.