By Terri Jo Neff
Positive reactions continue to come in from business groups in response to the Arizona Legislature’s passage this week of a Fiscal Year 2022 budget package which includes more than $1.3 billion in tax cuts, $1 billion in payments toward state debt, and a transition of the state’s multi-tied income tax system to a flat rate.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan Arizona Tax Research Association called passage of the FY2022 budget “a watershed moment” for Arizona, while Scot Mussi, president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, commended the Legislature for passing what he called “historic” tax cuts.
“Every single taxpayer in Arizona will now get a tax cut,” Mussi said. “This is great news for the future of our great state!”
The National Federation of Independent Business, which advocates for small and independent businesses across the country, gave a shout out to the Legislature via Twitter for adopting “landmark property & income tax reforms” which support small businesses. “Your work will allow small businesses to grow our state economy and create more jobs #ForArizonans,” the message said.
On Friday, Gov. Doug Ducey issued a video statement celebrating passage of the 11 bills which make up what he calls the state’s “fiscally conservative, forward-looking budget” that starts July 1.
“Here in Arizona our economy is booming,” said Ducey, thanking House Speaker Rusty Bowers, Senate President Karen Fann, and all the legislators. “New people and businesses are moving here every day. And at the state level that’s resulted in record revenue. With this budget we’re investing those dollars in the things that matter: schools, universities, community colleges, and new roads and bridges, just to name a few.”
Ducey added that “most importantly we’re giving a bulk of the surplus dollars back to the people who earned them.”
A budget signing ceremony must wait until at least Monday when the Senate returns from recess to formally transmit the budget bills to the governor.
Meanwhile, supporters of the voter initiative known as Proposition 208 are promising a court fight over a bill Ducey is also expected to sign next week.
Prop 208 passed last November by a slim margin of 51.75 to 48.25 percent. The purpose of the initiative was to provide additional funding for public and charter school by way of a new 3.5 percent income tax surcharge for many Arizonans.
Among those subject to the new tax surcharge would be thousands of small business owners who currently report business profits on their state personal income tax return. SB1783, however, provides a small business alternate income tax as an option for those who operate as sole proprietors, LLCs, professional partnerships, and S Corporations.
Under the alternate tax, income derived from small business can be reported on a special small business income tax form. This will ensure the income is not added into personal income for purposes of calculating the amount of Prop 208 surcharge a taxpayer owes.
Critics contend SB1783 is a way to unlawfully circumvent the taxation provision of Prop 208. Proponents of the bill point to the many statements made prior to the 2020 General Election which assured business owners that “business income” would not be subject to the surcharge.