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Goldwater Institute trying to put the brakes on rideshare fee hike

Posted at 5:26 PM, Dec 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-04 20:46:29-05

PHOENIX — Increase fees to take a rideshare to or from the airport? Tim Sandefur is advising the city to hit the brakes. Sandefur, Vice President of Litigation at the Goldwater Institute, said the city can't legally do that.

"Unfortunately elected officials approved new taxes without considering whether or not what they're doing satisfies the legal restrictions on their power," Sandefur said.

In a letter, the Goldwater Institute firmly reminded Phoenix city leaders about Prop 126, which prohibits state and local governments from enacting any new or increased tax on services.

Sam Stone, the chief of staff for Councilman Sal Diciccio said it wasn't something council considered before the vote.

"There wasn't a single person, even us, who caught that, so thank you Goldwater Institute for doing that," Stone said. "It's a new law and this is the first test of it at the City of Phoenix."

Diciccio voted against the measure, but it was still approved 7-2.

"I think they went against what most people would vote for," Stone said. "Voters were clear when they passed Prop 126 by an enormous margin."

In two weeks, city council has to vote again on the measure because it didn't properly notify the public the first time.

Starting January 1, it would mean $5.34 more per round trip. The fee will increase annually eventually charging $5.00 for each direction in 2024.

But if they approve it again, the Goldwater Institute is prepared to file a lawsuit."We at the institute make it a practice not to send demand letters if we are prepared to back it up with litigation," said Sandefur.

Mayor Kate Gallego's spokesperson told us today they received the letter and the city attorney is reviewing it.