ARIZONA LEGISLATURE MUST PUT FAMILIES AND CHILDREN FIRST IN TAX POLICY
On Tax Day, we’re asking the Arizona State Legislature to pass tax policies that prioritize the needs of families. The strength of our society and economy depends on public investments in services and needs, like paid family medical leave, childcare, affordable housing, healthcare, and senior care, that help families thrive. In the last two years, the Arizona legislature has passed $2.5 billion in tax cuts that primarily benefit wealthy Arizonans and corporations. This year, the legislature is once again prioritizing tax cuts that would put very little back into the pockets of everyday Arizonans. Instead, the tax cuts being considered would mean fewer funds available to support Arizona’s families and children.
Budgets are not simply a financial matter; they are also statements about what our society values and what we believe are important priorities. However, in Arizona, the current budget proposals seem to be sending a message that does not reflect our values and priorities. Rather than prioritizing investments in our communities and families, the state legislature appears to be more interested in short-term tax cuts that benefit a select few. This approach feels particularly concerning given the many challenges facing families and children in our state today. If we want to build economic prosperity for everyone in Arizona, we need to have a budget that reflects our shared moral values and priorities. Therefore, the AZCenter sent a letter to the Governor requesting that she prioritize the needs of Arizona’s families and consider opposing the following bills in her budget negotiations with the Arizona State Legislature:
- HB2003 – Corporate income tax rate reduction – $669 million ongoing
On the heels of enacting the 2.5% flat individual income tax, HB2003 now proposes to reduce the corporate income tax to 2.5% over a four-year period.
- SB1577/SCR1035 – Income tax rate; reduction – $254 million ongoing
Undoubtedly the most dangerous of the tax cut proposals, these bills would permanently reduce the individual income tax rate when past revenues meet certain benchmarks. This is a one-sided proposal – there are no provisions to reverse the tax cuts when revenues inevitably fall. Economists agree that future recessions are inevitable – the only question being “when.”
- SB1281 – Income tax rebate - $936 million one-time
This proposal would give a one-time tax rebate to taxpayers who filed an income tax return for tax year 2022. Single filers and those filing separate but married would receive $200; married couples filing jointly, and head of households would receive $400. This proposal would provide nothing to individuals and families who do not have enough income to require them to file an income tax return, including many seniors. Instead, the one-time funds that are available should be used to address the many needs within the state, such as maintaining public schools and highways.
Without fair tax contributions from big corporations and the wealthy, these necessities simply can't be funded at the level we need them to be. These are essential needs that should be accessible to everyone, and with a little help from the top earners and companies, we can make it happen. Imagine the possibilities if the wealthiest companies did their part in supporting the greater good. We could create a society where no one has to choose between caring for their family and earning a living. Arizona’s legislators need to recognize that year after year of tax cuts isn’t meeting the critical needs of those they represent, nor is it advancing our goal of creating economic prosperity and security for all Arizonans.