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Potential border fee could affect local economy

City leaders around the state are worried about the possibility that the Department of Homeland Security will have it’s way and implement a border crossing fee.

Mayor of Nogales, Arizona Arturo Garino, said it would have a tremendous impact on their local economy.

“We oppose it, of course,” Garino said.

He said 65 percent of their total sales tax revenue comes from Sonoran shoppers who travel to Nogales, AZ to buy goods and services.

“I can’t put a number or figure on it, because we haven’t faced it yet. But if it’s like what we have lost in the past with the Peso devaluation, the 65 percent could drop to half of that,” Garino said.

Another Arizona city that would be affected by the proposed border fee is also weighing in.

“With approximately 22,000 people crossing our closest border ports with Mexico, the impact of a crossing fee on our local economy, if applied across the board, would be significant,” said Dave Nash, Public Affairs Coordinator for the City of Yuma. “A great number of those crossing are farm laborers, so it’s not hard to imagine that something like a per-person, per-entry fee would have a noticeable impact on the price of lettuce or winter vegetables grown here and sold all over North America.

“And the mom and pop shops that cater to those who cross would no doubt suffer as well. Of course, “the devil is in the details,” so we would want to see and review any legislation in this area before commenting further. We would hope that if Congress was serious about such a fee that they would seek input from border communities and take that input seriously.”