Arizona governor vetoes Maricopa County transportation tax
July 13, 2022
The Arizona governor has vetoed legislation to continue a transportation excise tax in the state’s largest county.
Proposition 400 has been in place in Maricopa County since 1985. Revenue from the half-cent sales tax is routed to a regional road fund. In 2004, county voters approved a 20-year extension.
Without an extension approved by voters, the tax will sunset at the end of 2025.
House Bill 2685
The Arizona Legislature acted this year to approve a bill, HB2685, to extend the sales tax for transportation funding. Voter approval is required.
Gov. Doug Ducey has vetoed the bill that also called for lengthening the time period of tax collection from 20 years to 25 years.
One of the reasons cited by the governor for his veto is rising costs for Arizonans.
“Now, with inflation higher than it has been in 40 years, is not the time to ask voters in Arizona to tax themselves,” Ducey wrote in his veto letter.
He also said that extending the time period of the tax collection is a tax increase and should not be perceived as a tax continuation.
Another point of contention for the governor is that tax revenue distribution for state highways, local roads and public transit would be revised from the current plan.
“HB2685 reduces the amount of funding being distributed to the regional freeway systems and fails to provide a clear framework on how these assets will be maintained as they continue to age,” he wrote. “This is not the appropriate financial stewardship to preserve the investment from previous generations.”
Additionally, Ducey said that HB2685 would create a statewide special election in spring 2023 that “would not only require unnecessary costs to administer, but would come at a time when voter turnout will likely be low.”
‘Out of touch’
Mayors throughout Maricopa County supported the legislation.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said the veto shows how much the governor is “out of touch” with Arizonans.
“By killing the bill, the governor seems to think Arizonans love sitting in traffic jams, giving up time with family, and further damaging air quality,” Gallego posted on Twitter.
Governor says state will help address Maricopa County’s transportation needs
Ducey said the state must make sound and strategic investments in transportation infrastructure, “especially during this high inflationary period and while governments are experiencing surplus tax revenue.”
He said the state has a $4.5 billion surplus to help cover transportation infrastructure needs.
“Under the current budget, Arizona will invest $1 billion in transportation infrastructure while simultaneously cutting taxes to provide relief to families.” LL
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