The Phoenix City Council voted on Wednesday to begin phasing out a portion of the city’s food tax on Jan. 1, 2014.
The vote will eliminate half of the tax, 1 percent, in January and the other half would go away, as planned, in 2015.
The council has been gridlocked over whether to repeal the food tax early for months since City Councilman Sal DiCiccio has been outspoken about the need to get rid of the food tax. In a meeting with Councilwoman Thelda Williams and Councilman Michael Nowakowski they were able to reach a compromise.
The group has decided to ask City Manager David Cavazos to find $12 million in efficiencies to make up for the lost revenue of the tax, without cutting city services or any public safety. Cavazos must present his plan to the City Council by Oct. 1.
Council members argued about the motion for nearly two hours Wednesday. Many agreed the real discussion will take place once Cavazos has identified where the $12 million will have to come from.
“They did all they could to try and confuse the vote — to make sure nobody could follow through on the pledge to repeal the tax,” DiCiccio said in a statement. “Politicians use these tactics so they can be for the tax and at the same time be opposed to it — real lack of leadership.”
Still, DiCiccio called this vote a small victory for taxpayers.
The city’s 2013-14 budget calls for an increase of some city services. City staff and council members have been taking part in public meetings across the city, explaining the budget and the need for the food tax to remain until 2015.
The council is expected to vote on the 2013-14 budget on May 21. For more information, visit phoenix.gov/budget.
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