Tucson's mayor and council again weigh renter's tax to balance budget

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- For the second straight week, Tucson's mayor and council weighed all sorts of options to balance the city budget.

Among those options, the controversial renter's tax.

Dozens of people turned out to say "No" to more taxes.

"We just want the council to see the faces of the people they'll be impacting," said Barbara Dolan of Capitol Consulting.

The city has a tough task ahead of it, wrangling a $55 million budget deficit.

Every option remains on the table, including a 2% renters tax. That the city manager says it would raise $10 million in additional revenue.

But the same tax has failed before and this council isn't sold on it this time around either.

"It's counterproductive in the economic recovery to go against the people who cant afford to buy a house and say oh yeah we're gonna take 2 or 3 bucks from ya," said Councilman Paul Cunningham.

"I think we have to make sure we're honoring what voters have talked to us about," said Regina Romero.

Voters have clearly said no to more taxes and Councilwoman Karin Uhlich echoed that in session Tuesday.

"I just want to be sensitive to the communities suffering and its ability to absorb new taxes and fees," said Councilwoman Uhlich.

That is what Tucsonans told the council Tuesday night.

"Renters are the last people who can afford a new tax right now," said Dolan.

And some council members say there are better options out there.

"I think we'll find as the budget process moves forward that a renters tax isn't necessary," said Cunningham.

"We will make unpopular decisions, but there many other ideas that have come up where we can recover," said Romero.

And the council will weigh all those ideas, including a renter's tax, In the coming weeks as the budget process pushes forward.

The council took no official action on the budget Tuesday.  The budget process is expected to last through March or April.