Pinal County was notified yesterday by a non-profit watchdog organization that Proposition 417, the proposed $640 Million Transportation tax increase scheduled for the November election, was not lawfully drafted and will likely face litigation in court.

In their two-page letter, the Goldwater Institute outlined multiple legal issues and factual inaccuracies in the approved resolution and ballot language, and asked the county to remove the proposition from the ballot to avoid a costly lawsuit if it is approved.

Although Pinal leadership has been warned for months now about the proposition’s legal problems, advocates have blazed ahead with the election.  But this newest development makes the decision for Pinal County Supervisors very clear – pull their defunct proposition or cost taxpayer’s their hard-earned money defending it in court.  Money that could be used instead for county priorities – such as roads and transportation infrastructure.

The legal issues highlighted by the Goldwater Institute include:

  • The ballot language clearly states retail is the only classification that will be taxed, yet the ballot pamphlet states they intend to tax other classifications as well. The language is contradictory, misinforms voters, and likely exceeds their lawful authority if the intent is for county administrators to tax classifications not approved by the Board of Supervisors.
  • As crafted, the tax would not apply to purchases over $10,000, an arbitrary exemption that is not allowed under state law. Earlier this year, proponents of the transportation plan introduced legislation to give them the authority to implement a $10K cap, but the bill did not pass. Supporters of the tax hike decided to include the exemption anyway.

The letter from The Goldwater Institute can be viewed HERE. Early ballots are expected to be mailed in early October, so any decision to cancel the election on the transportation plan would need to be made in the next couple of weeks.  Pinal County taxpayers should demand accountability of their elected officials and tell them to pull the plug on this illegally drafted and ill-conceived tax increase.

Pinal County residents can find the contact information for their Supervisors here: