November puts significant changes to Tucson voters

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The November ballot will have two key issues important to the City of Tucson, whether to raise the city sales tax to fund core services, and whether to make some major changes to the city charter.

Raising taxes to pay for core services, and raising the salaries of the Tucson mayor and council by making the positions full-time.

The ideas weren't all that popular with people who attended Wednesday night's council meeting.

"I think we've suffered enough. And as a business owner and as people in the business community have to tighten the belts, I'm sorry, but everybody else does too," says resident  Rick Grenell.

"I don't have any problem with people getting a raise as long as they earn it, thank you," says resident Duke Schecter.

Yet even with the opposition, the mayor and council put both the tax increase and the charter change on the November ballot. By having both divisive issues on the ballot, opponents hope they both fail.

"For somebody like me I think that's wonderful. Because that weighs it down enough it should sink it," Former State Legislator John Kromko was on the citizens committee that studied the core services tax -- he is not a fan of either ballot measure.

"This is not like the state one. Where people saw the need for education. They know the city is doing a terrible job of managing its own money," says Kromko.

Former University of Arizona President Dr. Peter Likins is a member of the Tucson Charter Change Coalition -- he says the negative perception of the city has to change in the minds of voters, "And they need to be persuaded, they need to understand, that if the charter's changed as we've proposed, with these 4 elements combined as a package, we will reduce the cost of government in Tucson."

But whether he can get that word out will be the next hurdle to clear as November approaches.

Members of the Tucson Charter Change Coalition say a change is necessary to make the city government run more efficiently. The proposed changes include giving the mayor more power, eliminating civil service protection for department heads, and shifting city election cycles.