Education groups lack signatures in referendum on tax cuts


PHOENIX (AP) – Education advocates haven’t collected enough valid signatures to give voters a chance to repeal a new state law exempting some business owners from a tax increase on the rich to increase funding for schools, an attorney for Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said on Friday. .

The measure is one of two tax cut bills signed this year by Gov. Doug Ducey that school funding advocates try to refer to in the 2022 poll. County election officials reviewing a sample of 123 500 signatures submitted found too many signatures to be invalid. The petitioners needed 118,823 valid signatures.

However, not collecting enough signatures probably won’t matter much, as the Arizona Supreme Court reported that the entire tax increase, approved by voters last year as Proposition 208, is subject to cancellation.

In addition to the tax exemption for business owners, education groups want voters to have their say on a new 2.5% flat tax rate, which would cut taxes by about $ 2. billion dollars a year, mainly benefiting the rich. They produced many more signatures to refer to this measure.

Lawyers for the Free Enterprise Club, a conservative rights group, argued in court on Friday that the constitution does not allow referrals for measures that provide for “the support and maintenance” of the state government and that tax cuts fall into this category.

Lawyers for the coalition of education groups, Invest in Arizona, said the constitution blocks a referendum only for bills that raise taxes, not those that lower taxes.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper has not rendered a decision.

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