By Terri Jo Neff |
The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Thursday that implementation of the state’s new single or “flat” income tax rate will move forward without a voter referendum in November. But one Phoenix area media personality seemed to suggest that the justices were in on the fix.
Longtime ABC15 anchor Steve Irvin took to Twitter within hours of the justices denying the attempt by Invest In Arizona, a political committee sponsored by Arizona Education Association, to put last year’s income tax reform provisions of Senate Bill 1828 up for a vote by the people. Two provisions of SB1828 replace Arizona’s current four income tax rates (between 2.59 to 4.5 percent) with a singular 2.5 percent rate effective January 2025.
The Court’s decision cited the fact the Arizona Constitution bars a voter referendum on legislative revenue acts involving “the support and maintenance” of the state government. As a result, the lower one-rate-for-all will become the law in 34 months.
Yet despite the $1.9 billion tax cut expected from the reduced tax rate, Irvin used Twitter to question the qualifications of the supreme court’s justices and went on to disparage them for ruling against Invest In Arizona and Arizona Education Association based on the same wording that has been in the Arizona Constitution the last 110 years.
Irvin was recognized in February by the Arizona Education Association for his coverage of education issues. He contends the income tax reform opposed by the group would have also been rejected by voters in November, even though there is no evidence that Arizona voters under pressures from inflation and other economic challenges would have agreed to continue paying more income taxes than needed to sufficiently cover appropriations.
Irvin’s tweets also ignored the fact all Arizona income taxpayers will see their tax rate decrease as a result of SB1828. Instead, he focused on the fact “rich people” will benefit from the rate change.
For the last few years, Arizona has experienced large budget surpluses (currently in the billions of dollars). State budget officials have confirmed that an across the board 2.5 percent income tax rate will be enough to fund state operations while leaving more money in the pockets of taxpayers.