From the onset, PLEA has stood with and by our community partners at Citizens for Phoenix in addressing public safety staffing, fiscal responsibility, and care for the vulnerable in our city. The food tax was a temporary stop-gap measure to address a budget shortfall that would have had a direct impact on the quality of life and police services within Phoenix. PLEA and our partners proposed a two year food tax that carried with it an 8% tax burden.
The Council adopted a 5 year food tax that generated a 10% tax burden. In line with Citizens for Phoenix, PLEA believes if a Council repeal of the current food tax is in line with the needs of tax-paying citizens, does not put public safety and community care at risk, and avoids further costs to front-line rank-and-file police officers, retraction of the tax is reasonable. PLEA’s concern with a repeal of the food tax is that it will create an immediate multi-million dollar shortfall in the City’s budget with no immediate follow-up plan in place. This could have the unintended consequence of further reductions to the pay and benefits of public safety employees as well as potential layoffs at a time when we are already over 600 positions short. In addition, it could have further negative impact to other city services such as parks, pools, libraries and community centers that many in our communities rely upon. Hopefully the repeal is not politically motivated at the expense of vulnerable people in our neighborhoods. Please take the time to read the following statement from Citizens for Phoenix.