Can the state legislature raise taxes with a simple majority?

by David Safier
Eight people from Arizona's universities got together to look at various ways Arizona can deal with our budget crisis. The group calls itself the Fiscal Alternative Choices Team — FACT. Clever acronym. So the 65 page paper they just released is called The FACT Report. Who can argue with FACTs?

By the way, the FACT group is the result of an invitation from the legislature:

On January 26, 2009, Senate President Robert "Bob" Burns sent a letter of invitation to the Arizona Board of Regents and University Presidents, inviting their assistance in examining options for closing Arizona‘s widening budget deficit. At the same time, at a meeting with House Speaker Kirk Adams, the Speaker made a similar request of the University System. This report is a response to their request.

Among their recommendations is one that could be a game changer. They propose it might be possible for the legislature to raise taxes with a simple majority vote by creating a "net tax cutting bill." The idea is, the legislature writes a bill that raises taxes now, then creates a permanent tax cut five years from now.

There is not a lot of legal guidance in this regard, but it is certainly worth debating the merits of such an approach whereby a simple majority of the Legislature could establish a reasonable approach to balancing the budget that smoothes the collections of revenue across the business cycle.

As the saying goes, it's so crazy, it just might work.

There are lots of other suggestions in the 10 page executive summary, which I'll try to wade through later. I'll leave the rest of the report to better, and more patient, minds.

0 responses to “Can the state legislature raise taxes with a simple majority?

  1. This sounds like a claim that a proposal which on its face doesn’t respect the spirit of the law trying to hornswaggle someone into believing that that this proposal will pass muster.

    Clinton 1998: There is no relationship.
    Hoffman and Co 2009: There is no tax increase.