According to the Arizona Supreme Court, describing a permanent sales tax increase as a permanent sales tax increase is appropriate.
Arizona’s Supreme Court has confirmed the Secretary of State’s office correctly summarized Proposition 204, a 2012 ballot measure which would have permanently increased state sales taxes to fund education and infrastructure projects. The initiative was defeated by voters last fall 64% to 36%.
State law directs the Secretary of State to provide, and the Attorney General to approve, a description of the measure to appear on the ballot. In the latest lawsuit, the Quality Education and Jobs Committee sued the Secretary of State’s office insisting the description “falsely characterizing the Act as a tax increase.”
The most recent ruling comes on the heels of a decision issued by the Court last month which also affirmed Secretary Bennett acted properly when the office initially rejected the measure because the petitions signed by voters did not match the official language filed in the office.
As I’ve said before, we follow the laws, policies and procedures which guide the ballot measure process from beginning to end. Our office is required to provide the public an accurate description of what ballot initiatives actually do. Unfortunately the Committee disagreed with our characterization of the initiative which said ‘a yes vote shall have the effect of permanently increasing the state sales tax by one cent per dollar.’ Simply arguing we inaccurately described the initiative as a permanent tax increase doesn’t make it so, and we are pleased that the Court was not persuaded otherwise.