A state judge ruled Tuesday that Secretary of State Ken Bennett was wrong to refuse to process initiative petitions seeking to make the one-cent sales tax surcharge permanent.
Backers turned in more than 290,000 signatures for the plan. But Bennett noted the language on the petitions is different than what initiative organizers prefiled on paper with his office in March. Assistant Secretary of State Jim Drake said it was that prefiled language that Bennett put on the office's web site so voters could review it.
Governor Jan Brewer said today she's opposed to the ballot measure to permanently extend the one-cent surcharge on the state sales tax.
It was Brewer who promoted the original voter-approved levy in 2010 to help balance the budget, with the idea it would disappear in three years. Now a group is pushing an initiative to make the extra tax permanent, with the proceeds specifically earmarked for K-12 education, university scholarships, health care and road construction. Brewer said this is a bad idea.
Backers of extending the state's temporary 1-cent sales tax submitted more than 290,000 signatures Monday to put the issue on the November ballot. But at this point all they've really done is guaranteed a court fight.
Retailers are demanding that Governor Jan Brewer negotiate a deal with the nation's largest online retailer to get it to start collecting state sales taxes.
The complaint by the retailers is that they have to collect state and local sales taxes while online operations like Amazon.com do not. Gayle Shanks, one of the owners of Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe said that's not fair.
Current law says companies with a retail presence in Arizona have to levy the tax. Efforts to expand that definition to include firms with only warehouses here were beaten back in the Senate by Amazon lobbyists -- twice. The proposal approved Wednesday by the House Commerce Committee seeks to sweeten the deal: The tax would be prospective only, meaning Amazon could escape having to fight a $53 million assessment from the state Department of Revenue for what it says are uncollected prior taxes. Mesa Republican J.D.