Legal marijuana swells government budgets

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) – Legal marijuana sales are pushing local government budgets to new heights. Legal sales taxes are a welcome boost to the government’s bottom line.

When proponents of plans to convince voters to make possession and use of small amounts of marijuana legal for adults, part of the sales pitch was the idea that a sales tax increase and a special tax on marijuana would channel additional funds to state and local governments. , and community colleges.

Now we have a better idea of ​​how much money.

The Arizona Department of Revenue says the first year of recreational marijuana sales raised more than $ 106 million.

The money is for public safety.

Because the city of Tucson is able to collect regular sales tax on marijuana sales as well as a share of the special marijuana tax, the city expects approximately $ 9.7 million.

It’s still barely one percent of the city’s overall budget, but it will be of great help with most of the city’s budget.

Jeffrey Yates heads Tucson’s business services department. He says, “The public security component of our budget is our biggest expense. So a big chunk of every dollar the city receives goes into this public safety effort, which includes community safety programs and all of those different things, not just law enforcement, but all of the components. “

The money will help cover the cost of pensions for police and firefighters. They are a heavy burden on the city’s budget.

Without a significant portion of the sales tax on marijuana sales, Pima County expects about $ 1.8 million in marijuana cash.

Approximately $ 314,000 of this amount will go to the budget of the sheriff’s department.

The county also expects it to be able to spend about $ 900,000 on road repairs.

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