City leaders plan to focus funding on transportation in next week’s legislature session

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In the upcoming Arizona Legislature session, city leaders hope to work with the state government in recognizing municipal issues that once solved will not only help the cities but also the state.

“Cities are just a continuum of the state government,” says Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat. “We need to work together.”

Carlat says in the past the sessions have been about local control. For the last few years, the Department of Revenue have received $20 million from cities as a fee for collecting the city’s revenue. A collection that, according to the Peoria mayor, cities never asked the department to do. Carlat, along with Chandler Mayor and President of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns Jay Tibshraeny, hope to stop funding the department and put the highway user revenue funds toward transportation.

“We can’t let that slide,” says Tibshraeny on funding transportation. Being outside of the greater Phoenix area, transportation is something that should not be ignored, the mayors agreed.

Along with transportation, Tibshraeny would like to see funds go toward better air quality. By addressing these issues, he says, we “will move the whole state forward.”

TED SIMONS: COMING UP NEXT ON ARIZONA "HORIZON," VALLEY MAYOR'S JOIN US TO TALK ABOUT WHAT THEY WANT TO SEE FROM THE STATE LEGISLATURE THIS SESSION. ALSO TONIGHT, WE WILL LOOK AT WHAT IS BEHIND THE DEVELOPMENT BOOM IN TEMPE. AND WE WILL VISIT WITH CHEF MARK TARBELL AS HE KICKS OFF A NEW SEASON OF "CHECK PLEASE, ARIZONA". THOSE STORIES NEXT ON ARIZONA "HORIZON."

ARIZONA "HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA. I AM TED SIMONS. BRUCE HOLLY, THE FOUNDER OF SCOTTSDALE BASED DISCOUNT TIRE AND THE RICHEST MAN IN ARIZONA, DIED TODAY. HE WAS 87. HOLLY TURNED A TIRE STORE IN ANN HARBOR, MICHIGAN INTO THE LARGEST INDEPENDENT TIRE DEALER IN NORTH AMERICA. IN THE PROCESS, HE EMASED A NET WORTH OF 5.2 BILLION DOLLARS. WHICH ALLOWED HE AND HIS FAMILY TO BECOME PROMINENT PHILANTHROPISTS WITH SUPPORT FOCUSED ON ART, EDUCATION, AND CHILDREN ON HE GAVE SUPPORT FOCUSED ON ART, EDUCATION AND CHILDREN. BRUCE HOLLY DEAD AT 87. WE HAVE BEEN HEARING THIS WEEK FROM ADVOCATES FOR A VARIETY OF ISSUES ON WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR IN THE UPCOMING STATE LEGISLATURE WHICH KICKS OFF NEXT WEEK. TONIGHT WE FOCUS ON THE CONCERNS OF ARIZONA CITIES. JOINGING US NOW IS CHANDLER MAYOR AND PRESIDENT OF THE LEAGUE OF ARIZONA'S CITY AND TOWNS, JAY TIBSHRAENY. AND ALSO WITH US IS PEORIA MAYOR, CATHY CARLAT. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. WELL. MAYOR, MAYOR WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR FROM THE LEGISLATURE?

JAY TIBSHRAENY: WELL, DISCUSSION STARTS NEXT WEEK AND SO WE’RE ARE KIND OF PREPARED. WE’RE READY. I THINK WE HAD A GOOD SESSION LAST YEAR. WE’RE VERY PROACTIVE. WE WILL BE PROACTIVE AGAIN. MYSELF AS PRESIDENT OF THE LEAGUE- I’LL BE MEETING WITH THE SPEAKER MESNARD AND PRESIDENT YARBORO. I HAVE MEETINGS SET-UP WITH THEM. WE’RE TRYING TO GET IN TO SEE THE GOVERNOR JUST SO WE CAN HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF A COMMON GROUND OR ATLEAST KNOW WHERE WE’RE ALL COMING FROM. SO THAT PART, YOU KNOW, WE PUT THAT IN PLAY. THEN WE WILL SEE. OBVIOUSLY EVERY SESSION IS DIFFERENT BUT WE ARE USUALLY MORE DEFENSIVE THAN OFFENSIVE. I DON'T ANTICIPATE THAT BEING DIFFERENT, BUT WE’RE GOING TO DO IT AS WE DID LAST YEAR IN A VERY POSITIVE MANNER.

TED SIMONS: BIGGEST AREAS OF CONCERN AS FAR AS YOUR CONCERNED?

CATHY CARLAT: WELL, IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT LOCAL CONTROL AND 1487 IS A BIG DEAL FOR CITIES ALL THE WAY AROUND.

TED SIMONS: EXPLAIN 1487.

CATHY CARLAT: 1487 IS A NEW LAW PUT INTO PLACE THE YEAR BEFORE LAST THAT ALLOWED ANY LEGISLATURE TO DECIDE THAT IF HE THOUGHT THAT SOMETHING WAS NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH ARIZONA STATE LAW THAT THEY COULD FILE SOME KIND OF A-

JAY TIBSHRAENY: CLAIM-

CATHY CARLAT: CLAIM. OKAY. THEY FILE A CLAIM. AND THEN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS TO IMMEDIATELY DROP EVERYTHING, CHECK OUT THAT CLAIM, AND IT CAN BE FROM ANY LEGISLATURE. THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE IN THAT DISTRICT. IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE ANYTHING THAT HE CAN SUBSTANTIATE. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S JOB WOULD BE TO SUBSTANTIATE THAT.

TED SIMONS: HAS THAT APPRECIATIVELY CHANGEDED THE WAY THINGS ARE DONE IN PEORIA?

CATHY CARLAT: YOU KNOW, IN PEORIA, THERE’S NOTHING THAT WE DO THAT IS IN OPPOSITION TO STATE LAW. ABSOLUTELY NOT. I THINK THAT THERE IS A CHANGE IN ATTITUDE. WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT, YOU KNOW, CITIES ARE JUST A CONTINUIUM OF GOVERNMENT- THE STATE GOVERNMENT. WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER. WE WANT A SEAT AT THE TABLE. WE WANT THE HAVE THE RESPECT THAT COMES FROM THE FACT THAT THEY MAKE THE LAWS. WE ENAC TTHEM. WE ENFORCE THEM, AND IN MANY CASES WE PAY FOR THEM.

TED SIMONS: THERE DOES SEEM TO BE A CHANGE IN ATTITUDE ALONG THESE LINES OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS. WHAT IS GOING ON THERE?

JAY TIBSHRAENY: WELL, WITH WITH-SPECIFICALLY WHAT ARE YOU REFERRING TO THEN?

TED SIMONS: 1486

JAY TIBSHRAENY: OH, 1486. WE STILL DON’T LIKE IT.

TED SIMONS: BUT WHY IS IT THAT LAWMAKERS SEEM LIKE THEY WANT TO TAKE MORE CONTROL OVER WHAT MUNICIPALITIES ARE DOING?

JAY TIBSHRAENY: THAT’S HISTORIC. BUT THEY PUT THIS LAW IN PLACE TWO YEARS AGO AND SO IT IS CREATING A PROBLEM BECAUSE THERE IS NO ACCOUNTABILITY ON THE PERSON THAT FILES THE GRIEVANCE ON THEIR SIDE. MAYBE THERE IS ONE LEGIT GRIEVANCE FILE BUT WITH 10 THAT ARENT LEGITIMANT, ALL THE TIME AND MONEY SPENT BY CITIES DEFENDING FRIVOLOUS CHARGES IS A CONCERN. WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THAT FIXED. BUT THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE LEGISLATURE IN CITY LEVELS HAS NOT CHANGED. I WAS DOWN THERE EIGHT YEARS AND THEY ALWAYS WANTED TO GET INTO THE CITY'S BUSINESS. IT BOTHERED ME WHEN I WAS A MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE AND STILL BOTHERS ME BECAUSE I WANT TO STATE, JUST LIKE I WANT CONGRESS, DEALING WITH THOSE BIG ISSUES FACING THE STATE. NOT GOING DOWN AND TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW MANY CHICKENS I HAVE IN MY BACKYARD.

TED SIMONS: WITH THAT BEING SAID THOUGH, IT SEEMS AS THOUGH SHARED REVENUE HAS BECOME A BIT OF A STICK HERE. NO CARROTS INVOLVED HERE, WE’RE TALKING STICK. AND IT DIDN'T SEEM LIKE IT BACK WHEN YOU WERE DOWN AT THE LEGISLATURE, IT DIDN’T SEEM LIKE WE WERE HEARING ABOUT IF YOU DON'T FOLLOW SUIT STATE CHAIR REVENUE GOES OUT THE WINDOW. HAS THAT CHANGED?

JAY TIBSHRAENY: WELL I MEAN OBVIOUSLY WE LIKE PEORIA DON'T HAVE ANY ISSUES WHERE WE ARE VIOLATING OR ON THE EDGE. BUT THAT STICK OR HAMMER, MAYBE HAMMER IS A MAJOR HAMMER. AND SO I PAY ATTENTION TO THOSE KIND OF THINGS.

TED SIMONS: OBVIOUSLY MOST CITIES PAY ATTENTION TO THOSE KINDS OF THINGS, BUT THAT DOES SEE LIKE A CHANGE, DOESN’T IT?

CATHY CARLAT: THE THREAT TO STATE SHARED REVENUE IS THE BIG DEAL. THAT IS WHAT HAS CHANGED I THINK IN ALL OF THE ATTITUDES INVOLVED. THERE IS NO NEED TO SAY IF YOU DON'T DO THIS WE ARE GOING TO TAKE AWAY ALL OF YOUR -- OR THE MAJORITY OF YOUR REVENUES. THOSE REVENUES PAY FOR PUBLIC SAFETY, THEY PAY FOR PARKS, THEY PAY FOR LIBRARIES. THEY SERVE THE SAME STAKEHOLDERS THAT OUR STATE LEGISLATURES ALSO HAVE. SO THOSE ARE ARIZONA RESIDENTS.

TED SIMONS: THE RELIANCE ON STATE GOVERNMENT-THE RELIANCE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO BALANCE THE BUDGET, TO PAY FOR AGENCIES, THESE SORTS OF THINGS. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU WILL BE ADDRESSING? OR YOU HOPE IS ADDRESSED?

CATHY CARLAT: THE RELIANCE ON BALANCED BUDGET?
TED SIMONS: THE RELIANCE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT HELP THE STATE GOVERNMENTS HANDLE IT’S FINANCES.

CATHY CARLAT: OH BOY, YOU ARE JUST CUTTING TO THE CHASE AREN’T YOU? SO THERE IS HIGHWAY USER REVENUE FUNDS THAT HAVE BEEN USED – THEIR SUPPOSE TO COME TO THE CITIES- THAT HAVE BEEN USED TO PAY FOR STATE AGENCIES IN THE PAST FOR MANY MANY YEARS. THERE IS SWEEPING OF FUNDS. THERE IS ALL KINDS OF WAYS THAT SOMEBODY ELSE IS BALANCING THEIR BUDGET ON THE BACKS OF SOMEBODY ELSE.

JAY TIBSHRAENY: ONE OF THOSE AREAS IS THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE WHERE A COUPLE YEARS AGO THEY TOOK OVER THE COLLECTIONS OF THE CITIES REVENUE. WE DIDN'T WANT THEM TO TAKE OVER THE COLLECTIONS BUT THEY TOOK OVER THE COLLECTIONS. AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT, THEY CHARGED US 20 MILLION DOLLARS TO TAKE AWAY SOMETHING WE DIDN'T WANT THEM TO TAKE AWAY. WE ARE STILL FUNDING THE ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE WITH $20 MILLION A YEAR TO COLLECT OUR FUNDS. THAT WAS TO HELP IN THE TRANSITION DO THAT. WE THINK WE’VE HELPED THEM. WE THINK BUT ITS BEING DONE TO THE BEST AS IT CAN BE DONE BUT WE WOULD LIKE NOT TO NOT HAVE THAT $20 MILLION TAKEN FROM THE CITIES AND TOWNS AND COUNTIES TO FUND THAT OPERATION.

TED SIMONS: DOES IT SEEM AS THOUGH-SHE MENTIONED HER FUNDS, THE MAYOR MANETIONED HER FUNDS- THESE HIGHWAY USER FUNDS. HAVE THEY BEEN FULLY-THEY HAVENT BEEN FULLY RESTORED, HAVE THEY?

JAY TIBSHRAENY: THEY HAVEN'T. I MEAN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, THEY’VE GIVEN US BACK A GENERAL FUND APPROPRIATION. THEY’VE TAKEN HERB(7:33), BUT THEY HAVE REDUCED IT BY 20-30 MILLION DOLLARS WHICH IS GOOD BUT ITS NOT PERMANENT. MAYBE EVEN ON A BIGGER SCALE THEY NEED TO BE LOOKING AT HOW ARE THEY GOING TO FUND TRANSPORTATION IN GENERAL IN THIS STATE AND TRANSPORTATION NEEDS . ONE OF THE BIG DRIVERS OF OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS IN THE STATE- AND THEIR FANTASTIC RIGHT NOW- IS TRANSPORTATION. AND WE CAN'T LET THAT SLIDE. SO THAT’S A BIG ISSUE THAT WE’RE GOING TO BE WATCHING AND WE’LL PARTNER WITH THEM ON IF THEY WANT TO LOOK AT LEGISLATIVE WAYS TO FUND TRANSPORTATION SO WE CAN CONTINUE TO ATTRACT THE KIND OF INDUSTRIES AND BUSINESSES’ WE HAVE.

TED SIMONS: AS WITH CHANDLER, I WOULD IMAGINE IN PEORIA, TRANSPORTATION, ESPECIALLY GROWING CITY OUT THERE THAT’S NOT NECESSARILY CLOSE TO THE HUB OF CENTRAL PHOENIX-THATS HUGE.

CATHY CARLAT: THAT IS HUGE AND SO WE HAVE THE 303-WE HAVE PHASE ONE OF THE 303. BUT A HUGE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AREA IS THE 303 AT THE I-10 CORRIDOR. AND SO WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE CAN FUND THE RELIEVER FOR I-10 SO THAT TRANSPORTATION CAN CONTINUE TO MOVE ALONG THERE. AND OF COURSE THERE IS THE I-11 THAT’LL COME THROUGH THERE. SO THOSE TRANSPORTATION CORRIDORS ARE KEY AND WE ARE GROWING AND GROWING AND GROWING.

TED SIMONS: LAST QUESTION. I AM A LAWMAKER. EXPLAIN TO ME, CONVINCE ME THAT MUNICIPAL ISSUES ARE IMPORTANT AND MAYBE A MORE SYMPATHETIC VOICE IS NEEDED DOWN THERE AT THE CAPITOL.

CATHY CARLAT: THEY ARE ARIZONA RESIDENTS , ARIZONA CITIZENS. THAT IS WHO WE TAKE CARE. WHO WE SERVICE ON A DAILY BASIS. ALL OF THERE CORE SERVICES-MAKING SURE OUR STATE THROUGH EACH OF OUR COMMUNITIES IS SAFE-THAT WE HAVE THE AMENITIES THAT ARE GOING TO DRAW NEW RESIDENTS HERE. TAKE CARE OF THOSE MASTER PLAN COMMUNITIES AND THOSE HOMEBUILDERS AND THOSE DEVELOPMENTS THAT ARE HAPPENING IN OUR STATE, ALL OF THOSE THINGS, AS WE GROW AND GROW AND GROW ARE HANDLED ON A DAILY BASIS THROUGH CITIES.

TED SIMONS: MAKE YOUR CASE. WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN YOU BUTTON HOLE SOMEONE ON THIS?

JAY TIBSHRAENY: WHAT I SAY IS WE’RE TAKING CARE OF THE CITY ISSUES AND THE LOCAL ISSUES. YOU, MR. LEGISLATOR, MR. LEGISLATOR ARE THERE TO DO STATE WIDE WORK AND STATE WIDE ISSUES THAT WILL MOVE THE STATE FORWARD-NOT WORRYING HOW MANY CHICKENS I HAVE IN MY BACKYARD. LET THE CITY COUNCIL FIGURE OUT HOW MANY CHICKENS WE’RE GOING TO HAVE IN OUR BACKYARD. BUT LET'S WORK ON TRANSPORTATION ISSUES, AIR QUALITY ISSUES, THINGS LIKE THAT THAT WILL MOVE THE WHOLE STATE FORWARD AND HELP US AS CITIES CONTINUE TO BE THE ECONOMIC DRIVERS WE ARE.

TED SIMONS: ALL RIGHT, ITS GOOD TO YOU HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. WE APPRECIATE IT. AND COMING UP ON ARIZONA HORIZON, THE MAYOR OF TEMPE TALKS ABOUT WHAT IS BEHIND HIS CITY'S DEVELOPMENT BOOM. THAT’S NEXT.

Jay Tibshraeny: Chandler Mayor
Cathy Carlat: Peoria Mayor

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