| #180DayPlan Last week I took a trip to the State Capitol to meet with leadership in the House and Senate, Governor’s staff, Southern Arizona legislators and other Arizona mayors. You can hear KUAZ’s coverage of my trip here.Democratic and Republican mayors alike delivered the message to our State Legislature that cities and towns are leading the way in job creation, and it is critical the state not stifle those efforts with legislation to preempt local control and create new, unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape.Calling some of this session’s bills “Orwellian … that aim to reduce regulatory burdens by creating more regulations” for cities and towns, a recent Arizona Republic editorial asked the question: “Do Republican legislators love bureaucracy?”
Arizona’s mayors hope the answer to that question is no.
In addition to preserving local control and avoiding needless bureaucracy, mayors unanimously agreed the state needs to stop sweeping HURF funds – Highway User Revenue Funds.
Local governments depend on HURF, which comes from highway user taxes and fees, to repair and maintain roads. But in the last 11 years, state sweeps have taken $204 million of HURF funds from cities and towns. The state uses HURF to fund the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Motor Vehicle Division – agencies that should be funded out of the state’s general fund. In fiscal year 2012, 28% of DPS’ budget is projected to come from local governments’ share of HURF funds.
HURF sweeps have left local governments with a backlog of road repair and maintenance projects for which there is no funding. And the longer road repair and maintenance is delayed, the costlier it becomes. HURF sweeps have taken their toll on the condition of our roads, as anyone in Tucson knows all too well. Our message to the State Legislature: Stop using money for potholes to fix budget holes.
This session is expected to be a short one, so legislators can devote time to campaigning. I plan to continue conversations with legislative leadership, the Governor’s office, our Southern Arizona legislators and others in the House and Senate before the Legislature adjourns. It’s important Tucson’s interests be represented.
Meeting with elected officials and advocating on behalf of Tucson are part of the Mayor’s 180 Day Work Plan.