Gov. Ned Lamont said he is proposing a package of legislative proposals that would provide for $336 million in tax relief for state residents.
The governor announced the first package of tax aid comes as the state has a projected $1.48 billion surplus in its operating budget. The surplus, Lamont said, enables the tax cuts to be built into the budget and will ensure the state’s Rainy Day Fund remains strong.
Buffeted by a Russia scandal that proved false, Donald Trump ended the first year of his presidency on a high note with passage of historic tax cuts. In contrast four years later, Joe Biden’s first year in office is ending with a stunning rebuke from a senator in his own party.
On Sunday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) gave a resounding “No” to Biden’s signature Build Back Better legislation, leaving an uncertain path for the Democrats’ ambitious agenda despite the fact they control the Senate, House and White House.
Arizona has recovered all jobs that were lost during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO).
The data shows that the state’s economy has gained 101 percent of jobs lost during the initial months of the economic shutdowns associated with the pandemic.
Democrats have argued that the tax reforms implemented through the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) only benefited the rich, and that the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) will help middle-and working-class Americans the most.
But several nonpartisan groups found that the TCJA reduced the tax burden for the middle- and working-class by up to 87% and, they argue, the $2.4 trillion BBBA – before the U.S. Senate this week – would increase taxes on the middle- and working-class by up to 40%.
A new analysis published by the Heartland Institute found that the TCJA reduced the average effective income tax rates for taxpayers in every income tax bracket – but the lower- and middle-class saw the greatest benefits – with the lowest-income filers receiving the largest tax cuts.
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.”
A coalition of progressive groups filed a request with the Secretary of State’s office on Friday for a voter referendum that would block historic tax cuts that were passed by the state legislature and enacted by Governor Doug Ducey.
The groups will now have 90 days to collect a minimum of approximately 120,000 valid signatures from residents of the state — a move that would prevent the tax cuts from taking effect until all voters could decide on the measure in November 2022.
The Arizona Legislature wrapped up this year on Wednesday with a nearly record-long session, reaching 171 days. Lawmakers came to an agreement on most of the budget last Friday that contained historic tax cuts. Governor Doug Ducey signed that bill, HB 2900, also on Wednesday.
During the last few hours, the legislature approved the education budget bill, HB 2898, which included an expansion of the school voucher program. It reduces the length of time children must attend a public school before they are eligible for vouchers to use at a private school. Low-income children who live near poorly-rated schools will be eligible immediately, and others will only have to spend 45 days in the school, down from 100 days.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is expected to sign a budget bill the Arizona Legislature sent to him on Friday that includes a historic tax reform package. HB 2900 implements the lowest flat tax in the country, 2.5%. The average Arizona family will see a 13% income tax reduction, about $350 per year. According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, Arizona previously had one of the highest marginal income tax rates in the country.
The budget bill also eliminates taxes on veterans’ retirement pay and prevents a 77% increase on small business taxes. It reduces property taxes by 10% on small businesses and job creators by 10%, capping the maximum tax rate on businesses at 4.5% and reducing commercial property taxes. According to a report by Ducey, 43% of Arizonans in the private sector work for small businesses. HB 2900 increases the homeowner’s rebate so the state covers half of homeowners’ primary property taxes.