By Corinne Murdock |
Legislation banning critical race theory (CRT) was switched out with a bill to offer corporations a tax break in what may be a welcome respite from the lasting effects of the 2020 pandemic. State Representative Michelle Udall (R-Mesa) championed original legislation banning CRT from K-12 schools, which passed the House last month. Then last week, the Senate Finance Committee erased it all with a strike-everything amendment to instead offer a $4 million tax break for corporations.
Now, HB2112 requires the amount of any federal deposit insurance corporation premiums that are disallowed as a deduction for federal income tax purposes to be subtracted from a corporation’s gross income in this state. Senate Finance Committee Chairman David Livingston (R-Peoria) introduced the striker.
“This will benefit small Arizona banks the most,” claimed Livingston.
Udall didn’t speak on the bill during the committee hearing after the striker was announced. Nobody offered an explanation as to why the CRT bill was done away with, or who caused its demise. AZ Free News reached out to Udall and Livingston with these questions; they didn’t respond by press time.
An Arizona Bankers Association spokesman explained that the bill was necessary because the state failed to decouple its tax cut from changes to the federal tax cut in 2019. Livingston noted that failure to establish the tax cut put Arizona at a competitive disadvantage to other states.
A previous version of the bill failed to pass the Senate Ways and Means Committee. This time around, the amended bill was approved without discussion.
Apparently, parents didn’t get the memo that the CRT ban was no longer in question. Several mothers in support of the bill signed up to speak on the bill; one mother began to speak, only to be informed by Livingston that the bill no longer existed.
A different bill may be the reason for the original HB2112’s eradication — this one, a resolution that would have voters decide whether the state constitution should ban any individual or entity from “compelling or soliciting” belief of CRT tenets, as well as imposing preferential treatment based on them. The resolution would encompass all levels of public education, from K-12 through higher education.
State Representative Steve Kaiser (R-Phoenix) introduced the resolution.
The bill, HCR2001, also passed the House last month along party lines, several weeks after Udall’s bill passed. It passed the Senate Education Committee last week, and will be considered in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.