Republican legislative leaders and the Republican governor finally agreed to a budget.
One provision calls for an election asking the people of Arizona to approve a one cent hike in state sales taxes for three years. Many Republicans oppose this, claiming the "no new taxes" pledge most signed precludes passing the choice to voters. Democrats oppose the sales tax provision, claiming sales taxes are regressive and "unreliable," favoring the income tax which the GOP plan converts from progressive to flat.
The Republican problem is that most who took the "no new tax" pledge claim it also precludes passing tax decisions on to the public, but they also voted to force Pima County to have an election to decide if sales taxes here may be increased to fund a sports authority's construction of a new stadium primarily for baseball spring training. Why one and not the other?
Casa Grande voters this May turned down a sales tax increase to build a similar stadium by a margin of 77 percent, which should be a hint to those proposing one here. Pima County baseball taxes would be spread over several items, including hotels and restaurants with various fractions going on other things. Two questions arise.
If as claimed by proponents this would generate $15 million a year in "easy money" aren't there more pressing needs for it like cops and fixing roads? And the bigger one — why is it wrong to allow voters statewide to vote on the governor's proposal, but OK to make local voters decide stadium taxes? Only fair to mention that some Democrats are waffling on that regression thing because 10 percent of stadium taxes will go to youth sports.
If Republicans border hypocrisy on sales tax votes, Democrats approach psychosis about taxation in general. While constantly condemning inequities in the sales tax, jurisdictions with Democrats in charge consistently both raise it and add new items to it. Check the Democrat-controlled Tucson City Council, who recently expanded sales tax categories and almost passed a rental tax, a move which some Democrat state legislators called "courageous" even though it wasn't referred to the voters. They then condemned the governor's sales tax election plan.
The ultimate in Democrat economic illiteracy appeared last week. Responding to the GOP budget, they again attacked the sales tax applauded by them when increased by fellow Democrats because "the income tax is one of the state's few reliable revenue streams."
Huh? This quote appeared in the same daily newspaper that three days before reported the state's income tax collections were down 57 percent! Democrat dogma is blindly favorable to the income tax not for fiscal reasons but as a tool for wealth redistribution.
An excellent source for tax information is one of Arizona's genuine fiscal experts, Pima County CEO Chuck Huckelberry. Please note he works for the Democrat majority on the Pima Board of Supervisors. In case I missed something, I asked him if there was some form of taxation that stayed constant, i.e. "reliable," in an economic downturn. Sales and income tax revenues obviously decline when people have less income and spend less. Property taxes decrease more slowly as values take longer to decline on tax rolls, but decline they will. If there is a mythical "reliable stream" of revenue, Chuck would have found it by now. He hasn't. No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus.
Legislators from both parties should control their blatant contradictions, sometimes occurring on the same day. Voters of all stripes would be better served if mainstream media would report them.
Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy on their new frequency, 1030AM KVOI, Saturdays 1-4 p.m.