Arizona taxpayers are tired. It’s bad enough that our state has been getting crushed by the highest inflation rate in the country, but during this past November’s election, the government tried to swoop in and take more of your hard-earned dollars out of your wallet. This time, Arizona voters said enough is enough. Not only did they reject several tax increases, but they ensured victory for one key protection against future tax increases.
Arizonans Reject Prop 310
Prop 310 aimed to increase the statewide sales tax by 0.1% to fund fire districts throughout Arizona, and its proponents used the oldest trick in the book. Just like we’ve seen with past education or transportation tax increases, they tried to convince voters that Prop 310 would only cost them a penny when they buy coffee or a dime when they buy dinner.
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…
State taxpayers should not be bailing out a broken Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) plan. But that’s exactly what lawmakers are doing in the recently enacted Arizona state budget. That’s right. Your elected leaders just passed a budget that includes hundreds of millions of dollars for road projects—all being paid for with your tax dollars. (You can see for yourself on pages 9-11 right here.)
At first glance, that probably doesn’t seem like a big deal. After all, it makes sense for tax dollars to go toward necessary road projects. But the problem is that these road projects are supposed to be paid for by the Maricopa County Prop 400 regional plan that was assembled by MAG…
And while it’s disappointing that taxpayers were forced to pay thousands of dollars to defend this illegal tax scheme in court, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors will now have to end the collection of this tax and issue refunds to aggrieved taxpayers.
A tax on retail sales below $10,000
This all started in 2016 when Pinal County officials began turning the political wheels to send a $640 million tax increase to voters to fund a wide array of transportation projects throughout the region.
It’s not every day that one political party would seek to find a way to get more of its opponents to vote. But this is 2022, and apparently some Republican lawmakers just can’t help themselves.
Earlier this week, the Senate Transportation and Technology Committee unanimously approved SB1356. This bill is a tax increase that follows the expiring Proposition 400, a transportation tax of half a cent that was approved by voters in 2004. The plan itself is a complete boondoggle. If passed and signed into law, most of the money would go to transit and pet projects. (You can read more about that here.)
But one part of this bill is a total disaster. And anyone who considers themselves to be conservative should be outright concerned that Republican lawmakers not only approved the bill, but two of them actually sponsored it.