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Judge rejects most claims against Prop 208, Arizona Supreme Court ruling expected this summer

Prop 208.jpg
Posted at 8:47 AM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 11:47:25-04

PHOENIX — A Maricopa County Superior Court judge dismissed most of the claims against Proposition 208, a surtax on the state’s highest earners to fund education, leaving one claim to be taken up by the Arizona Supreme Court.

Plaintiffs in the case include Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and the parent company of Phoenix-based consignment stores My Sister’s Closet, called Eco-Chic Consignment Inc. The plaintiffs have alleged that the proposition violated the state constitution by creating a new tax. The group claimed new taxes can't be imposed without a two-thirds majority of each house of the Arizona State Legislature and alleges the proposition restricts the legislature’s ability to appropriate general funds.

In a ruling issued June 14, Judge John Hannah Jr. wrote that the Arizona Constitution gives voters the right to tax themselves by initiatives, and that method has been used repeatedly in the state’s history.

“The claim that that the Arizona Constitution gives Arizona’s citizens no power to tax themselves through initiative is defeated by the plain text of the document,” Hannah wrote, adding the claim that a two-thirds majority of the Legislature was needed to impose a tax has already been rejected.

In his ruling, Hannah said that the plaintiff’s argument that Prop 208 infringes on the legislature’s taxing and spending authority also fails.

“The claim rests on the premise that the Arizona Constitution somehow places the legislature on a higher or more powerful plane than the people acting by initiative,” Hannah wrote. “It doesn’t.”

The Arizona Supreme Court is expected to rule this summer on constitutional challenges to Prop 208.

Read more of this story from the Phoenix Business Journal.