Voting results showed the two propositions that needed to pass to allow for a tenth-of-a-cent sales-tax increase to benefit the Reid Park Zoo had their main support in central Tucson, with voters closer to the city limits rejecting the measures.
While support for both was strong in the city’s core, the propositions in tandem generally failed in a wide swath of eastern Tucson, east of Kolb Road from Tanque Verde Road to south of Interstate 10. Where voters differed on the two propositions were generally on the south and southwest sides, with Proposition 202 seeing more overall support there than Proposition 203.
It was a close call for Prop. 203, which passed by just over 600 votes. The proposition was losing after results were released on election night, Nov. 7, but passed when all the uncounted ballots were tabulated two days later. Its sister proposition, Prop. 202, passed fairly easily — 53 percent to 47 percent.
Figures released by the Pima County Elections Department suggest some voters may have been confused about the two separate propositions, which both needed to pass for the city sales tax hike to go into effect.
Prop. 202, which amended the city charter to allow for the sales tax increase, received fewer overall votes than Prop. 203, which increased the city’s sales tax rate. Both propositions received roughly the same amount of “yes” votes — more than 41,000 each.
However, there were 3,812 ballots in which voters rejected Prop. 203 but left the ballot blank when it came to the more technical Prop. 202, indicating why that proposition had an easier time passing.
City Councilman Steve Kozachik said the citizen-run group behind the two propositions got bad legal advice when it decided to split the issue into separate questions and confused some voters, who decided against voting on the more technical of the two questions, Prop. 202.
When the Tucson City Council referred a half-cent sales-tax question to the ballot in May, it merged the charter amendment and tax increase into a single measure — Prop. 101, which easily passed.
The measure to pay for upgrades at the zoo is expected to raise between $8 million and $10 million a year for the next decade while the tax increase is in effect.