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Elections 2012

Auto Dealers Association Funding Anti Penny Tax Initiative

Did you buy a car or truck last year? If so you may have helped fund the campaign to kill Proposition 204.

The Arizona Automobile Dealers Association asked members to donate $2 for every vehicle they moved in 2011. The result was nearly $339,000 to the anti-204 campaign to create a permanent one-cent surcharge on the state sales tax, effective the day the temporary levy approved by voters in 2010 expires. Organization president Bobbi Sparrow said dealers are sensitive because they sell pretty much the most expensive taxable items in Arizona. Sparrow said there already is a problem with people buying vehicles elsewhere because of the state's high vehicle license tax.

"Now our sales tax is going to be the highest besides Tennessee," Sparrow pointed out. "And they have no income tax. So, yes, it is a competitive issue. I just don't think they're going to come back and register. We're not only going to lose the sales tax but we're going to lose the VLT. You can get a P.O. box in Oregon and do it, for God's sake."

But initiative organizer Ann-Eve Pedersen said the fears ring hollow.

"They had a great sales year last year with the one cent in place already," Pedersen said. "So nothing's changing. And so I don't see why if they had a great sales year last year with the one cent in place, and all we're doing is maintaining that same one cent, the car dealers would be taking issue with this."

Pedersen said those who support 204 should find out which dealers did not contribute and shop there when they need a new vehicle

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