State Capitol News
Tue April 28, 2009
Republicans target impact fees to balance budget
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – Republican lawmakers have come up with a way of plugging part of
the hole in the state budget -- take the money from others.
The proposal unveiled late Monday would take about $210 million
that cities have collected from developers in what are called
impact fees. These are dollars designed to pay for the costs to
cities from new homes and businesses, ranging from roads and
sewers to new fire stations and parks. House Majority Whip Andy
Tobin said lawmakers have to deal with the reality of a $3.3
billion gap between anticipated revenues and expenses.
(We're trying to be very meticulous in making sure we go through
everything that's out there. There's some funds that are on the
table that we were unaware of only a few weeks ago. The idea is
that if these funds are available we're going to go and take a
look at them and see if we can go get them and bring them in to
help us balance the budget.)
But Ken Strobeck, executive director of the League of Arizona
Cities and Towns, said taking that money is wrong.
(These fees are collected once a new development is under
construction. And they are specifically targeted by statute to go
only for infrasture to serve that development. So that means the
roads, the water lines, the fire stations, those kinds of things.
And that money is collected and can only be used for that
Strobeck said if the state takes those funds, then the burden for
paying for new developments falls on existing city residents,
something he said is not fair.