By Terri Jo Neff |
Three consumer taxes should be immediately suspended to help Arizonans deal with post-pandemic inflation, and two of those taxes should be abolished altogether, State Sen. Warren Petersen argues.
On Tuesday, Petersen (R-LD12) called for a temporary halt to Arizona’s 19 cents per gallon gasoline tax. He also wants to see the food tax and the residential rental tax not only suspended, but also eventually abolished.
Petersen doubled down on his proposal Wednesday, telling KFYI’s James T. Harris there is “no reason” his proposal cannot be implemented in light of Arizona’s more than $1 billion budget surplus. Especially with a Republican-controlled Legislature and a Republican governor.
“People are absolutely reeling from inflation right now but we have state and local governments that have more cash than they’ve ever had before,” Petersen said, adding that his proposal would bring “immediate relief to some of the people that need it the most.”
Suspending the gas tax until the end of 2022 would help Arizonans at the pump, Peterson explained. He added that the move could bring even further relief for consumers due to high gas prices being integrated into the cost of everything else people buy.
The state’s huge budget surplus is more than enough to supplant the $300-$350 million in gas tax revenues needed to fund transportation projects across the state, Petersen said.
While a gas tax holiday would be temporary, Petersen is calling on his fellow lawmakers to support a permanent end to the food tax in Arizona.
“That just hurts the poor more than anybody, and only some cities charge it,” Petersen told Harris.
As to his third suggestion of the abolishment of residential rental taxes, Petersen questioned why a special consumer tax is charged of those living in a rental unit.
“Nobody should charge this,” he argued. “People don’t pay a tax every single time they pay their mortgage, but yet tenants every single time they pay their rent they pay a tax on their rent.”
Petersen believes the time is right for Gov. Doug Ducey to call a special session so that lawmakers can provide immediate relief through the huge budget surplus.
“Let’s give it back to the taxpayers,” he said.