It has often been said that 2018 was the year of the woman because so many women were elected) to public office. Using the same logic, it may be said that 2019 will be the year of the tax increase for Arizona because legislators, mostly Republicans, are tripping all over themselves to see who can introduce the largest tax increase.
This week, we experienced the advancing in committees of several tax increase bills and a very significant full senate victory for a university tuition bill that will ultimately lead to substantial tax increases.
First let us examine three tax increase bills that advanced through committees.
HCR2024 – UDALL. This bill is related to Proposition 301, which in the year 2000 added 0.6 percentage point to the state’s TPT tax, which is AZ’s euphemistic term for sales tax. In 2018 the legislature extended by several years the original expiration of that 0.6 percent tax. If enacted, HCR2024 will send to the voters, promote and recommend a 1.0% percentage point addition to our sales tax. This will entail an increase of about 12% to our sales tax. The Republicans that voted for this were Shope (LD), Townsend (LD16), and Udall (LD25).
HB2536 – CAMPBELL. Rumor has it that the song California Dreaming was piped through the committee room PA system as legislators voted on this horrible bill, because it seeks to emulate California style fuel taxes. This bill more than doubles our gasoline tax. This is on top of the huge increase in vehicle registration fees approved in 2018. Republican representatives that voted YES on this were Payne (LD21), Thorpe (LD6), Biasiucci (LD5), Dunn (LD13), Toma (LD22), and Campbell (LD1).
HB2109 – SHOPE. Republican legislators were not happy with only increasing taxes on fuel and registration. They had to bring the counties on to the gravy train. HB2109 doubles the limit on county’s transportation excise tax from 10% to 20%. The vote in favor of this tax increase was unanimous, except for one Democrat that voted NO, namely Powers-Hannley (LD9).
How they voted:
|Committee Ways and Means 02/20/2019 Vote: 9-1-0-0-0|
|Andres Cano||Y||Regina E. Cobb||Y||Timothy M. Dunn||Y|
|Mitzi Epstein||Y||Travis W. Grantham||Y||Joanne Osborne||Y|
|Pamela Powers Hannley||N||Lorenzo Sierra||Y||Shawnna Bolick||Y|
The last bill we are highlighting is SB1217 – CARTER. For a full analysis of the vote on this bill, check a recent ADI article. [Related article: Arizona senate passes bill setting in-state tuition rate for DACA students] . Here we will concentrate on answering the obvious question of how can the state give in-state tuition to illegal immigrants when it is strictly prohibited by Proposition 300. The answer comes in two parts because SB1217 amends two state statutes, ARS 15-1809 and ARS 1-502.
Portion of SB1217 amending ARS 15-1809. Proponents of this bill point out, truthfully, that the bill does not deal with in-state tuition for illegals. In fact, a word check reveals that no where on this bill do we see the terms illegal aliens, DACA, or in-state tuition. This bill creates a new tuition level that is neither in-state nor out-of-state. Since technically it does not deal with in-state tuition, the provisions of Prop 300 do not apply. This scheme may or may not survive a court challenge.
Portion of SB1217 amending ARS 1-502. This statute deals with the requirement that for anyone to receive “state or local benefits” they must prove “lawful presence” and lists 11 documents that can be used to satisfy that requirement. This statute also lists three common sense exemptions. SB1217 adds one more exemption, “POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION”. So, if the university that provides postsecondary education does not have to ask for proof of lawful presence, how would it be determined if the recipient is or is not here legally?
This is a provision of SB1217 that no one is talking about. They are not violating the letter of Prop 300, but certainly are violating the spirit. Most likely they will get away with it even if challenged in court.
How they voted:
|Sylvia Allen||N||Lela Alston||Y||Sonny Borrelli||N||Sean Bowie||Y|
|Paul Boyer||Y||David Bradley||Y||Kate Brophy McGee||Y||Heather Carter||Y|
|Lupe Contreras||Y||Andrea Dalessandro||Y||David C. Farnsworth||N||Eddie Farnsworth||N|
|Sally Ann Gonzales||Y||David Gowan||N||Rick Gray||N||Sine Kerr||N|
|Vince Leach||N||David Livingston||N||Juan Mendez||Y||J.D. Mesnard||N|
|Tony Navarrete||Y||Lisa Otondo||Y||Tyler Pace||N||Jamescita Peshlakai||Y|
|Frank Pratt||Y||Martin Quezada||Y||Rebecca Rios||Y||Victoria Steele||Y|
|Michelle Ugenti-Rita||N||Karen Fann||Y|