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Prop. 101

Tucson sales-tax bump passes easily; will fund police, fire & roads

In a special election Tuesday, Tucson voters approved a half-cent increase in the city's sales tax by a wide margin: 41,000 yes ballots to 25,000 no votes. Proposition 101 was OKed by a majority of those voting in every ward.

The election for city voters featured just a single question: approval of Prop. 101, a five-year, half-cent increase in Tucson's sales tax to fund police and fire equipment, and road construction.

The numbers released Tuesday were not final; they did not include any ballots handed in or cast in person on Tuesday. A final tally may not be released until Friday, but only about 3,000 ballots remained to be added to the numbers made available Tuesday night, officials said.

About 26 percent of the city's 254,000 eligible voters returned a ballot.

Tucson's sales tax had been set at 2 cents per dollar, among the lowest municipal sales tax in the state. The town sales tax in Marana and Oro Valley has been 2.5 percent — the same rate that will be in effect in Tucson after July 1, when the proposition comes into force.

Column: Prop. 101 OKed: Council's road to redemption will now be paved

The total sales tax in Tucson, including the state and Regional Transportation Authority levies, will be 8.6 percent, after Proposition 101 is in effect. That's the same total as the two towns to the north. Combined sales tax rates in South Tucson are 10.6 percent, and 8.1 percent in Sahuarita.

The measure will raise about $250 million dedicated to those areas of the municipal budget. It would cost most residents about $3 more each month, officials have said.

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The funds will be split between road repairs ($100 million), and gear and facilities for the police and fire departments ($150 million). A citizens committee will monitor how the tax monies were spent.

The additional tax will sunset after five years, unless voters approve an extension.

A mail-in election period preceded Election Day, on which just a handful of in-person voting sites were open.

Ballots for the May 16 special election were mailed to registered city voters last month. Ballots returned by mail should've been posted by Wednesday in order to show up on time, officials said. Seven in-person voting sites were set up around Tucson on Tuesday for those who hadn't posted their ballots in time.

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Proposition 101 results


  • Yes 41,260
  • No 25,413

Ward 1

  • Yes 5,019
  • No 2,959

Ward 2

  • Yes 10,816
  • No 7,315

Ward 3

  • Yes 6,304
  • No 3,226

Ward 4

  • Yes 6,955
  • No 5,844

Ward 5

  • Yes 3,398
  • No 2,098

Ward 6

  • Yes 8,768
  • No 3,911