Taxes and Benefits

Our community has expressed a desire for a “fair and stable tax rate that adequately pays for necessary services.” We face a challenge in determining how we might best represent these values and concerns. For example, in our 2011 community survey, we noted that 40.2% of our respondents said they would rather rather have “regional public goods primarily paid for by those who are most likely to use” those goods. A slightly smaller proportion (38.8%) said they would rather have those public goods paid for by tax dollars. However, when asked to choose between “quality K-12 education” and “lower school-related taxes for residents and business,” only 15.7% chose lower taxes, although for many respondents, education is a public good that relatively few respondents were likely to use. No doubt it matters how beneficial we think those public goods actually for the community as a whole, if we are being asked to finance them through taxes.

Because of the importance of real estate taxes to education budgets in our counties, the differences in amount and in rate of increase in these taxes may be suggestive of factors shaping the performance of our schools.

Tucson Regional Indicators Project (TRIP)