May 18 – Arizona Sales Tax Ballot Question
Arizona has been hit harder than almost any other state by this recession (California being in the worst financial shape) and it is looking for many ways to fix its gigantic budget deficit. The legislature recently passed a bill, signed into law by Republican governor Jan Brewer, that would raise the state sales tax by one penny to 6.6 cents on the dollar.The tax would expire after three years. Now, voters get a chance to approve or reject this proposal in a May special election.
Proponents of the bill say that it is a necessary fix to the extreme budget hole the state finds itself in. Indeed, it got bipartisan support in the legislature. It is estimated that the tax would raise 943 million dollars in FY 2011, 968 million in FY 2012 and 1 billion in FY 2013. Opponents argue that this is an unnecessary creation of a tax and some suggest that it will be easy to make permanent once voters approve it temporarily.
Alas, this will not solve all of Arizona’s woes. The budget deficit will only be decreased by a third with the passage of this bill. The legislature and the governor will have to figure out other ways to come up with the other 2 billion dollars – assuming that voters approve this ballot question on May 18.