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State Capitol News

Lawmakers deny Tusayan incorporation vote

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – State lawmakers refused this afternoon to prevent another vote in
Tusayan to incorporate.

The proposal would repeal the 2003 law which allowed residents in
the tiny community at the entrance to the Grand Canyon park to
incorporate. That vote failed on a 62-78 margin. Now foes of
another incoporation vote want to replace that law instead with a
different one allowing formation of a special district that could
levy a sales tax of up to 5 percent. Lobbyist Kevin DeMenna said
that's a good way to raise money from all the canyon-bound
tourists for community improvements.

"Once you're there, paying 25 cents more for a hamburger probably
isn't going to generate enough emphasis or enough cost to get you
to turn around and drive back to Flagstaff for a hamburger."

But lobbyist Kathy Senseman said the desire for an improvement
district fueled solely by sales taxes is designed to benefit a
few large landowners who don't want to pay the property taxes
that an incorporated city could levy.

"The bill allows an excise tax to offset property taxes paid by
these landowners. And the bill prohibits the district from
levying ad valorem taxers, special assessment and development
fees that are, again, paid by landowners."

Rick Murphy who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee refused
to put it up for a vote. If that decision holds, it means the
proposal is dead -- and Tusayan residents have another chance to
vote on incorporation.