Transit Tax Increase Earned a Well-Deserved Veto

Transit Tax Increase Earned a Well-Deserved Veto

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Governor Ducey made the right decision vetoing HB2685, the Maricopa County transportation sales tax increase that was forced through the House and Senate during the final days of the legislative session.

But the reality is, it never should have gotten to his desk.

HB 2685 typified everything that is broken at the Capitol these days: a swampy political culture built around cronyism and backroom deals, legislative leadership pushing major policy through despite overwhelming opposition from their own caucus, and a complete breakdown in statesmanship, evident by the fact that most Republican lawmakers that supported the bill never actually read it or the MAG transportation plan that underpinned the legislation

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Red4ED Is One of the Most Expensive Failures in Arizona Political History

Red4ED Is One of the Most Expensive Failures in Arizona Political History

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Push a sympathetic message. Drum up a bunch of misguided support. And then aim for a ridiculous tax increase. That was the strategy from Red4ED after it launched a little over four years ago.

In that spring of 2018, the color red was popping up all over the place—from Facebook profile pictures to protests at the state Capitol. And it was supposedly all about increasing teacher salaries and funding for K-12 education. It was a movement that had great momentum, a sycophant media, and a political class that was terrified to stand up to them. Yet they figured out how to, in four short years, go from a political juggernaut to one of the largest and most expensive failures in Arizona political history.

Of course, defeating this multiyear assault on Arizona by Invest in Ed was a huge win for taxpayers, job creators, and the future prosperity of our state. And it would not have been possible without a combination of political miscalculations and blunders by the Red4ED decision makers and a consistent, sustained opposition from key organizations and elected officials willing to stand up to the bullies behind the movement…

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Red4ED Is One of the Most Expensive Failures in Arizona Political History

A New Sales Tax for Fire Districts Is Unfair and Unnecessary

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

The last thing the people of Arizona need right now is a sales tax increase. But leave it to state lawmakers to try to push one through by proposing a referral to put a tax hike on the ballot to fund fire districts.

The bill is SCR1049. And if it makes it onto the ballot—and gets approved by voters—it would create a 20-year statewide 0.1% sales tax to fund Arizona’s 144 fire districts. It would also distribute the funds proportionally to the fire district’s equalized property valuation, but not to exceed 3% to any one fire district.

To the average voter, this may not sound like a big deal. After all, firefighters provide an important service that keep people and their property safe.

But this policy would be a disaster…

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Let’s Zero Out Arizona’s Income Tax—And End Tax Day Forever

Let’s Zero Out Arizona’s Income Tax—And End Tax Day Forever

By Matt Salmon |

If Tax Day were held in early November instead of April 15th, I doubt Republicans would lose a close election again.

The financial squeeze of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) filing deadline always feels personal. But it especially hurts this year. On top of President Joe Biden’s proposal to hike taxes on everything from capital gains to married couples, families across the country are suffering from another hidden tax: historic inflation.

The nationwide Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 7.9 percent as of last month. In Arizona, where the average price of gas now exceeds $4.60 per gallon, the Phoenix area is suffering from a CPI increase closer to 11 percent. Wherever you look, workers’ paychecks just aren’t going as far as they used to.

It’s wrong.

Florida and Texas have it right. People deserve to keep the money they earn. That’s why, if I’m elected as Arizona’s next governor, I plan to eliminate our state’s income tax once and for all.

Republicans need to stay on offense. Democrats in the Grand Canyon State dream of turning us into California. They have been aggressive in their efforts to do so, from pushing a 78 percent hike on small businesses at the state level to ramping up tax and fee increases at the local level.

Conservatives cannot allow ourselves to be pacified by simply stopping these bad ideas. We should feel equally comfortable moving in the opposite direction. And so far, thanks to smart policymaking by Governor Doug Ducey and our state legislators, we have been successful in doing so.

Over the past few years, Arizona has indexed the state income tax rates to inflation; conformed the state income tax to the Internal Revenue Code after passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; exempted military retirement from the state income tax; and passed into law a 2.5 percent flat tax representing the single largest tax cut in our state’s 110-year history.

Along the way, Democrats repeatedly warned that further reductions in the income tax would plunge us into turmoil and bankrupt government services. In reality, our state budget is in better shape than ever, with $5.27 billion in projected surplus revenue this year and plenty of room to return money to taxpayers.

Our economy is booming, too. We experienced the third-fastest economic recovery in the United States coming out of the pandemic, and we are expected to add more than 720,000 jobs over the next ten years.

These are the fruits of freedom. It is well past time to go further.

By eliminating the state income tax, we will create a business environment so welcoming to new investment that we’ll be beating businesses and entrepreneurs off with a stick. These job creators won’t pay any income tax. But they will pay property taxes, sales taxes, and more—and our tax revenues, along with our economy, will continue to grow hand-in-hand.

The bottom line is that hardworking families deserve to keep the money they earn, especially in inflationary times like these when the American Dream feels so far out of reach.

Zeroing out this tax—and ringing in Arizona’s final Tax Day—is not just the smart thing to do. It’s the right thing to do. I am the only candidate for governor who has endorsed it. And, as our next governor, it’s exactly what we will do.

Matt Salmon, a former U.S. representative and co-founder of the Freedom Caucus, is a Republican candidate for governor of Arizona.

Biden’s Billionaire Minimum Income Tax Is a Dangerous Slippery Slope

Biden’s Billionaire Minimum Income Tax Is a Dangerous Slippery Slope

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

“Punish the rich” tax proposals never seem to go out of style—at least for the Democrats. In the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries, it was all the rage for Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. But after they both failed in their White House bids, they decided to double down on their wealth tax with an ill-conceived proposal on Capitol Hill in early 2021.

So far nothing has come of that. But enter President Biden.

At the end of March, Biden unveiled his Billionaire Minimum Income Tax proposal, and it’s every bit the disaster that you would imagine it to be.

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