State Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) wrote in the Arizona Republic that despite voters approving a sales tax increase to fund schools, Republicans cut school funding while “handing out tax cuts for corporations and special interests.” Sinema’s angst over the budget cuts is consistent with her longstanding position on more spending for education. But framing the budget cuts against “tax cuts for corporations and special interests” is a bit of a laugher, since she also voted for special interest tax breaks.
When a bill to subsidize film production (SB1159) made its way to Sinema’s desk, she voted yes. This was a bill that doled out *refundable* tax subsidies to only certain qualifying producers. Arizona taxpayers would have had to pay these targeted subsidies for 30 years. Thankfully, the House killed this bill.
Late in the session, a bill (SB1041) heavily lobbied by business organizations that would have dramatically reduced property taxes for some companies at the expense of others passed overwhelmingly, including with Sinema’s vote. Gov. Brewer rightly vetoed this boondoggle.
I’m well-aware that when Sinema rips the Republican-only tax cuts, she’s referring to the corporate income tax rate cut that begins in 2013. In other words, she opposes the bill that applies to all corporations, but readily votes for the ones that are targeted, which quite clearly defines the term “special interest.” I can only assume that the main reason for her differing views is the price tag. Tax cuts for all are more expensive than tax cuts for some.
Without getting into the efficacy of across-the-board vs. targeted tax cuts, for Sinema’s purposes, it should make no difference. After all, Sinema is critical of the fact that tax cuts occurred at all while education budgets were cut.
So, why would Sinema vote for tax subsidies for film producers and other big businesses? As she puts it, “So, when you voted to raise your own sales tax, is this what you were expecting?”