Group seeks to repeal future education tax
Capitol Media Services
Jan. 8, 2008

By Howard Fischer
Tucson, Arizona | Published:
PHOENIX Arizona's largest statewide business organization is trying to engineer a $250 million tax cut even as Arizona faces a potential $1 billion deficit.
Despite the red ink this fiscal year and potential $1.7 billion gap in revenues for the next one the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry has made the repeal of the state's special property tax levy for education its top priority for the 2008 legislative session. The group's legislative agenda is being formally released today the same day lawmakers begin debate on plugging the deficit for the current budget year.
The idea is being criticized by Gov. Janet Napolitano. But the political push could work if lawmakers believe the money won't be needed more than a year from now.
That's because the tax is not being collected now. Instead, Napolitano and lawmakers agreed two years ago to a three-year suspension of its collection.
That, however, was when the state's economy was red-hot and there was more money coming in than needed. In fact, that same year legislators enacted a 10 percent across-the-board cut in individual income taxes, phased in over two years.
But the governor insisted and lawmakers agreed to have that property tax reinstated automatically in 2009.
Technically, that means there is no need for legislative action this year: A vote to make it permanent or at least extend it could take place a year from now.