Democrats Vote in Lockstep for Higher Taxes and Fees on Arizona Families

Even with a billion-dollar budget surplus and record state revenues, Democrats in the Arizona legislature were united in their cause to raise taxes and fees on hardworking families.

How big was their tax hike push? Every Democrat in the State Senate and House voted to:

In total, the Democrat tax hike package would have cost taxpayers over $500 million dollars.

Fortunately, Republicans were successful in fending off the Democrat tax hike push by repealing the car registration fee and returning the additional tax revenue generated from tax conformity and online sales back to taxpayers.

Though taxpayers dodged a bullet, it does not appear the Democrats have been deterred from their relentless push to take more of their money. This is a fact that every voter should consider heading into the 2020 election.

City of Phoenix Wastes Billions on Light Rail & Neglects Shoddy Roads

For years city politicians, developers and contractors have misled voters on the waste and damage created by the multi-billion-dollar expansion of light rail. They have concealed the true cost of light rail from voters in previous transportation measures by tying light rail to street improvements and other popular transit projects, hoping that the facts would not be exposed until it is too late.

Currently 40% of Phoenix’s transportation tax revenue is dedicated to light rail, even though only 1% of Phoenix residents regularly use the system. And despite billions being spent on promoting and expanding light rail, ridership is in rapid decline. Last year alone 800,000 fewer people used light rail, and there will be fewer riders using the system this year.

The City’s own transportation department has determined that over 70% of Phoenix roads are in substandard condition and will require billions to repair. This street maintenance deficit can be paid for with the dollars freed up by ending the expansion of light rail.

The billions saved by stopping the expansion of light rail could be used to fix city streets and sidewalks, expand bus and dial-a-ride service, improve lighting and get Phoenix’s transportation system on the right path.

There are much better alternatives than light rail, yet Phoenix leaders seem determined to throw more money at a boondoggle that is costly, inefficient, and drains the city’s transportation budget. Phoenix taxpayers deserve better than this.

Free Enterprise Club and Buckeye Institute Release Cost-Benefit Analysis of Electric Vehicle Subsidies in Arizona

Phoenix, AZ (June 4th)–Today the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, in collaboration with the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute, released “It Ain’t Easy Being Green: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Electric Vehicles in Arizona.” The paper is a comprehensive study examining the pros and cons of electric vehicle (EV) subsidies in Arizona and whether these inducements are worth the cost to taxpayers and utility ratepayers.

The analysis was conducted in response to several proposals being considered by policymakers in Arizona to encourage more drivers to purchase EVs, including a current proposal at the Arizona Corporation Commission to require utility companies build EV charging stations, with the cost of these stations being passed along to all ratepayers through higher utility rates.

The study reveals that EVs are already heavily subsidized by taxpayers in Arizona and that creating a new mandate for the construction of charging stations would only exacerbate the status quo, distort the market for EV technology and redistribute wealth to a few affluent EV car owners at the expense of every electricity user in the state.

“After a comprehensive analysis, our research clearly shows that—in an effort to encourage the purchase of more electric cars—Arizonans are being over taxed to subsidize wealthy owners of electric cars, which disproportionately hurts those who can’t afford to purchase a new electric car.  Taxpayers are seeing little return on these subsidies, paying on average more than $6,000 more per electric car on the road than they are realizing in benefits over the course of five years,” said Andrew J. Kidd, Ph.D., an economist with the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute and one of the authors of “It Ain’t Easy Being Green.” “Furthermore, if a new proposal by the Arizona Corporation Commission is adopted, Arizonans will pay more on their electric bills to subsidize the building of more electric charging stations—even though there are currently 12 public chargers for every electric car on the road in Arizona.”

Some of the other key findings in the study include:

  • A Charging Station Mandate would act as a regressive tax on low and middle-income households to benefit more affluent EV drivers.
  • Over 83% of EV tax credit subsidies went to households earning above $100,000. Conversely, less than 1% of those subsidies were accessed by households below $50,000.
  • In Arizona, EV car owners pay on average $500 less each year than non-EV drivers for road maintenance.

“Mandating the construction of EV charging stations, paid for with an increase in utility rates, is both unnecessary and unfair,” said Scot Mussi, President of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club. “Taxpayers are already overpaying based on the benefits provided by Electric Vehicles. Instead of handing out another subsidy to EV drivers, policymakers should explore other options that avoid picking winners and losers among ratepayers.”