Monthly Archives: January 2013

A permanent sales tax increase is a permanent sales tax increase.

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.

 

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Statement on Governor’s State of State Address

I was pleased to hear Governor Brewer’s renewed call for fiscal discipline in today’s state of the state message.  Nearly four years ago, the governor and legislature implemented a plan that successfully dealt with an unprecedented budget shortfall that was unlike anything we’ve experienced in our state’s history. 

Now, Arizona is at a critical juncture as we continue to maintain fiscal stability and economic growth.  Over the coming months, the legislature will face significant decreases in revenue as the temporary sales tax increase expires and federal stimulus dollars run out.  How the legislature allocates the state’s limited amount of resources will determine the course of our short-term and long-term economic future. 

Pro-growth strategies and a positive atmosphere for growth will be vital to Arizona’s resurgence.  So many of our young people are looking for satisfying careers, not just jobs.   We must make it easier for them to find fulfilling long-term professions that provide a good living for their families.  Our future depends on it.

While economic concerns are Arizona’s number one priority, our office is also exploring opportunities to enhance our system of elections.  From early ballot processing to initiative petitions, we are meeting with state legislators and the elections community to identify areas where we can make improvements.  Our goal is to have the best system of elections in the world and I’m confident we will take more steps toward that goal during the 51st legislative session.

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