Bill Eliminating Food Tax Sent To Hobbs
By Daniel Stefanski |
Arizona Republicans continue to advance solutions to improve the financial situations of their constituents, and Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs will soon be faced with a decision on enshrining that relief into law.
This week, the Arizona House passed SB 1063, sponsored by Senator Sonny Borrelli in the Senate and Representative Leo Biasiucci in the House, which would repeal the food municipal tax across the state. The 31-29 vote to clear the bill from the Senate chamber featured another party-line standoff between Republicans and Democrats, as it did earlier in the year when the Senate voted on this legislation.
The bill sponsor in the House, Majority Leader Biasiucci, celebrated the passage of his legislation after votes had been cast, saying, “Removing the grocery tax would save hundreds of dollars per family. All the Democrats voted NO because they stated saving a family pennies would mean nothing. Proud to stand with my Republicans to remove the tax on groceries.”
In the aftermath of the bill’s successful outcome, the Arizona House Republican Majority Caucus wrote, “House Dems voted against eliminating the tax on your groceries, saying it cuts $160 million to cities. The truth is cities will gain $700 million in shared income taxes alone from last year to next year. It’s not about the $ or public safety; they’ve prioritized city bureaucracy over Arizona families who are struggling in this time of record inflation.”
After the Senate passed this legislation in late February, President Warren Petersen gave an exclusive quote to AZ Free News on why it was so important for legislators to take this action on behalf of their constituents: “Over the past year, prices have skyrocketed between 15% And 45% on basic grocery items like eggs, butter, lettuce, coffee, bread and poultry. Senate Republicans believe that everyday necessities should not be taxed, especially when inflation is at historic levels and our Arizona citizens are struggling to make ends meet. This bill provides broad-based relief to those who need it most and can save families hundreds of dollars annually. We’re happy this bill passed the Senate, but we’re disappointed that all Senate Democrats continue to play political games with lives and livelihoods of our taxpayers by voting against the measure.”
When asked by AZ Free News on why he supported the bill, Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope replied, “As a former grocer, the tax on food has always troubled me. I can’t count the amount of times I had people ask me to place a necessary item back on the shelf because they were just a dollar or two short. We provided much-needed relief to people, and I was proud to vote yes.”
Though there has been much pushback against this bill from Arizona cities and towns, at least one municipal councilmember, Jack Hastings from Surprise, appears to be in support of this proposal.
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimated that SB 1063 “would reduce municipal transaction privilege tax by up to $195.6 million in fiscal year 2026. Many Arizona cities and towns opposed this legislation. The League of Arizona Cities and Towns listed the preservation of food taxes as one of its legislative priorities “to ensure that municipalities may continue to provide vital services to their population, now and in the future.”
SB 1063 will soon be transmitted to Governor Katie Hobbs, who has already made quite the hobby of vetoing reasonable Republican initiatives sent to her office on the Ninth Floor of the Arizona Executive Tower. Her previous words, however, are already being used to hold her accountable – even before the legislation reaches her desk. An Arizona-based researcher tweeted a reminder of a months-old Hobbs’ statement to a local media outlet on this issue, where she stated that she was “not going to say no to anything if there’s a way to provide relief for Arizonans.”
The governor will have the opportunity to put those words into action in the very near future.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.