Arizona taxpayers have had good reason to celebrate over the past few months. Not only did Republicans deliver historic tax cuts earlier this year, but the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Prop 208 is unconstitutional.
This should be a time of rejoicing for the people of Arizona who will get some much-needed relief while still trying to recover from COVID shutdowns.
But the backers of Prop 208 won’t give up. They are angry and upset that their unconstitutional tax hike was struck down. Now, their latest move is to target the $1.8 billion tax cut that would establish a flat tax and provide a tax cut to all Arizonans.
Last week, Invest in Arizona, a political committee sponsored by the Arizona Education Association and Stand for Children, submitted a referendum to put the historic tax cuts on the ballot for voters to decide its fate.
And not surprisingly, this effort has a few similarities to last year’s Prop 208 campaign.
Let’s start with the signature collection effort, which was bought and paid for by the teachers’ union and Stand for Children. During the final weeks of their signature collection campaign, these two special interest groups flooded the streets with hundreds of paid circulators in an attempt to buy their way onto the ballot. In total, they employed 619 paid circulators, many of which likely have criminal records and were not properly registered with the Secretary of State.
Then, there’s the lies.
In the case of Prop 208, voters were consistently lied to about how the tax wouldn’t affect small businesses. But it did, which resulted in several small businesses leaving the state.
And the lies didn’t stop there. Prop 208 backers also said that the tax did not try to skirt the constitutional expenditure limitation. Thankfully, this lie ultimately doomed the measure in the Arizona Supreme Court.
Now, with this referendum, the lies continue.
Invest in Arizona is telling voters that the legislature cut education funding, which is blatantly false. Conservative leaders passed the historic $1.8 billion tax cut while spending a record high amount for education with hundreds of millions in new funding for K-12 and universities.
And to top it all off, Invest in Arizona is telling the people of Arizona that signing the referendum will restore over $1 billion in education funding. But this is a total lie! The referendum has nothing to do with education!
More than likely, this entire effort is just as unconstitutional as Prop 208. That’s why the Club filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of referring the tax cuts to the ballot. Right now, our case is currently awaiting a hearing in Superior Court, and we are optimistic that it has a high chance of success.
After all, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has decided to remain neutral, despite being named in the lawsuit. And Attorney General Mark Brnovich field a motion for leave, along with an amicus brief urging the court to rule in our favor.
But regardless of what happens at the Superior Court, we are committed to pursuing our legal challenge all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court, if necessary. And as the process for reviewing the validity of the referendum signatures begins, you can rest assured knowing that the Club will be watching to ensure that all illegal and fraudulent signatures are removed from the petition total.
Invest in Arizona may not like it, but the people have already spoken. The tax reform package was voted on and approved by 90 lawmakers who were duly elected by the people of Arizona. And it was signed by Governor Ducey who was also duly elected by the people or Arizona. That means it should be here to stay.
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