Tax Conformity actions raise questions about Ducey’s values

OPINION

doug ducey

Am I the only one who is exasperated with our legislature, or at least those members on the “side of the aisle” who purport to be opposed to tax increases when they are on the campaign trail?

The “backstory” on a couple of recent bills has me questioning those espoused values.

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Much has been made of Gov. Ducey’s veto of SB1143, the Tax Conformity bill, intended to pass along to Arizona citizens the relief from President Trump’s tax reforms signed in December 2017. Our legislators  now feign outrage that the bill was vetoed.

The reality is that tax conformity bills are very routine bills. The Legislature sends, and this governor has signed, tax conformity every year – that is until this year.

The last time the Arizona Legislature did not pass full tax conformity to Internal Revenue code was 2009. Generally the bill is passed in the next session for the prior tax year i.e. 2017 conformity passed during the 2018 session.

However, given the magnitude of the tax reform, this bill could have and SHOULD have been sent to the governor’s desk last session. If the legislators were committed to ensuring the tax relief to which Arizona citizens are entitled, then the bill should have been sent to the governor during an election year when it would have been much harder to justify a veto.

Now we must hold our breath waiting to see what will happen if SB1001, the bill to repeal the new $32 vehicle registration tax, makes it through both houses of the legislature and lands on the governor’s desk.

Legislators are justifying the repeal as “$32 is too high” or “more than they were told when voting” or “there wasn’t a public process when setting the higher amount” for the new tax, excuse me, “fee.”

With all due respect, that is not the point. It doesn’t matter whether it was .18/.32 cents or $18/$32 – regardless of the amount the point is it was the legislators who sent a bill to the governor granting an unelected bureaucrat, who serves at the pleasure of the governor, unfettered authority to impose unlimited taxes on Arizona citizens.

In one case it was lack of action; in the other it was direct action on the part of the legislature (arguably to circumvent the required 2/3 majority???) that imposed new and higher taxes on the citizens of Arizona.

In either case, in my opinion, both are in direct opposition to the pledges and promises we heard during legislative campaigns. Again with all due respect, in both cases the blame lies as much at the feet of the legislators as the governor, if not more so.

About Diane Douglas, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction 2015-2018 15 Articles
Diane Douglas is an American politician and educator expert, who served as Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction from 2015-2019. She was elected on November 4, 2014. Douglas succeeded then-incumbent John Huppenthal, whom she defeated for the party's nomination in the Republican primary on August 26, 2014.