City votes down renter tax

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In front of a large, cheering crowd, members of the Tucson City Council this afternoon voted not to impose a two percent tax on rents in the city and instead instructed the city staff to find new ways to raise money to prevent layoffs in the police and fire departments.

City Manager Mike Letcher had decided to propose the new tax, calling it a “landlord” tax.  Council members were met today by an overflow crowd in a ballroom at the Tucson Convention Center, many carrying “no tax” signs.  It was early in a scheduled 2-hour public hearing on the budget the council rejected the renters tax.

But the city still faces a $32-million deficit and will face challenges to find ways to raise revenue and prevent layoffs in public safety.

The council is still discussing increased fees for many other city services, including parks and recreation.  Another public hearing will be held on the subject this evening.