Thursday, October 18, 2012
Tucson Weekly's cover story delves into Tea Party Republican Ally Miller's tendency to get the facts wrong when discussing Pima County.
Miller, who is facing Democrat Nancy Young Wright in the race to replace the retiring Ann Day on the Pima County Board of Supervisors, responded to an editorial by Thelma Grimes of the Explorer newspaper saying that Miller had a "Hulk Angry" attitude when dealing with people who point out that she's wrong on the facts.
Miller tries to defend her misstatements on county road spending by saying:
Let’s talk about the condition of the roads and the funding sources. I have researched the disposition of road repair (HURF) funds for the last 5 years. More than $80 million dollars was transferred out of the Department of Transportation during this time to pay bonds. (reference: Pima County finance reports). It appears the money went to pay bonds.
Miller is right that the money went to repay bonds—as the county is legally obligated to do voters approved a bond package in 1997 that would be repaid with HURF funds. We don't know how much "research" was required to uncover this obvious fact, but it's downright bizarre that Miller continues to harp on this as if there's something scandalous about it.
Here's the larger point: When Miller first started talking about county transportation spending, she didn't say that she was upset about using HURF funds to pay back bonds. She said that $345 million could not be accounted for. The Weekly looked into her claim and determined she was wrong. Miller then said we were dishonest and she would no longer talk to us. Then she stopped making her preposterous claim and switched over to inventing a scandal about HURF funds being used to pay back bonds—which she was also wrong about.
In her letter to the Explorer, Miller adds:
I tell the truth as I see it and I have a track record of advocating for sound fiscal policies. This scares those who simply want the status quo to continue. However the status quo of overspending, increasing taxation and poor results is no longer sustainable.
Miller doesn't tell the truth; she makes stuff up. Overspending is a matter of opinion, but "increasing taxation" is not; most county residents have seen their residential property taxes go down in recent years, as I report here:
So in recent years, as property values have deflated, county supervisors have raised the rates. But many people are still paying less in county property taxes—including most of the Republican candidates who are complaining about their high taxes.
All four Republicans in District 1 are today paying less in property taxes than they did last year.
State lawmaker Vic Williams' 1,950-square-foot home, valued at $170,000 in 2012, had a Pima County tax bill of $921. That's down from $1,020 the previous year.
Williams also saw minor decreases in the county property taxes he owed on various rental properties around Pima County.
Tea Party activist Ally Miller's county property tax has also dropped. She paid $2,304 to Pima County in 2011 on her 3,500-square-foot, custom-built home, which is valued at $455,000. That's down from $2,586 the previous year, which equals a tax cut of $282, or more than 10 percent.