The Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC) shared its full support for prop 132, which is set to appear on the November ballot and would require a 60 percent majority vote of the people on any ballot measure that seeks to raise taxes.
“Today’s tax increase may not affect you, but tomorrow’s most certainly will. Allowing 51% of the population (who probably don’t have to pay the tax increase) to vote to tax the other 49% that do have to pay it, is wrong. And eventually, you will be in the minority,” said AFEC President Scot Mussi.
The Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC) analyzed the success of the Red4ED movement in Arizona since it launched a little over four years ago, and concluded that after spending over $30 million, the movement not only failed to accomplish anything, but failed to stop historic tax cuts. Red4Ed’s two initiatives and referendum were struck down by courts as “legally flawed,” resulting in AFEC labeling its efforts “the largest, most expensive failure in Arizona political history.”
Arizona Educators United launched Red4Ed in 2018 ostensibly to increase teachers’ salaries and funding for K-12 education. People and teachers showed up all over, at the state capitol and at events and protests, wearing red shirts and carrying red signs. But AFEC said “the movement was quickly hijacked by the teachers’ unions and other out-of-state special interest groups.” It soon turned into “a singular quest to double the state income tax through a ballot initiative.”
Last year, Arizona enacted historic tax cuts, changing the state’s tax code law to mostly a 2.5% flat tax rate. But opponents collected enough signatures to put an initiative on the ballot this fall, Prop. 307, that would reverse the legislation. In response, Republican state legislators are working with Gov. Doug Ducey to pass legislation that would make the initiative null and void — and maybe implement even more striking tax cuts.
State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), who sponsored legislation last year that would have repealed and replaced the historic tax cuts with an even more far reaching 1.5% tax rate, told The Arizona Sun Times, “I told the Governor’s office that the 2.5% tax rate he’s pushing for can only be the starting point. With yet another year of record budget surpluses of nearly $4 billion, the people of Arizona are being overtaxed. We must cut taxes even more during the budget process.”
Arizona’s high court didn’t strike down a voter-approved tax increase on the wealthy, but it’s not going to let the influx of new revenue break a constitutional cap on education spending, either.
The Arizona Supreme Court remanded Fann vs. Invest in Education back to a trial court Thursday morning, saying it’s too early to say whether the ballot initiative is entirely unconstitutional.
The Arizona Free Enterprise Club filed a lawsuit recently against Invest in Arizona over the organization’s attempt to get three referendums on the Arizona ballot that would reverse Arizona’s recently passed tax cuts. The lawsuit contends that since the tax cuts “provide for, and directly relate to, the generation of revenues that are remitted to the general fund and appropriated to various agencies, departments and instrumentalities of the state government,” they cannot be the subject of a referendum and are unconstitutional.
AFEC President Scot Mussi, who is one of the plaintiffs, said, “All three bills directly provide for the support and maintenance of the state, were key aspects of the state’s budget, and therefore are not referable by Invest in Arizona.”