State Capitol News
Tue July 24, 2012
AZ Sec. of State Not Giving Up on Sales Tax Initiative
The legal fight over whether voters get to extend the state's one-cent sales tax is not over.
Last week Judge Robert Oberbillig ruled that Secretary of State Ken Bennett was wrong to refuse to put the question on the ballot. The judge said Bennett was being arbitrary in saying the initiative measure was invalid because the paper copy of the plan prefiled in April was different than the one signed by 290,000 Arizonans. Bennett said he wants that reviewed by the state Supreme Court.
"To leave the lower court ruling in place I think risks huge voter confusion, huge confusion with our offices and other filing offices as far as how we're supposed to process these initiatives," Bennett said. "We believe very strongly that we followed the law precisely. And it's frustrating to have in response a ruling that says we were arbitrary and didn't perform our duties."
But initiative organizer Ann-Eve Pedersen said her group filed a correct electronic version which complied with exactly what the Arizona Constitution requires for initiatives.
"So the Legislature can't enact laws, bureaucrats can't enact procedures that supersede the Arizona Constitution," Pedersen said. "How do you get around that?"
Bennett said he believes the laws he is enforcing are in line with the constitutional requirements. And he said it is up to the state Supreme Court to say otherwise.