Arizona Supreme Court will hear case on unconstitutional Medicaid expansion tax

By Jennifer Tiedemann / Goldwater Institute

The Arizona Supreme Court has decided to hear a case on whether the legislature illegally enacted the state’s Medicaid expansion tax when it failed to comply with the Arizona Constitution’s supermajority requirement.

In 1992, Arizona voters enacted a constitutional requirement designed to shield themselves from one of the most widely abused government powers: the power to tax. Prop 108 to the state constitution requires lawmakers to enact bills providing for net increases in state revenues only by a two-thirds supermajority vote.

In passing the state’s Medicaid expansion bill, the legislature fell well short of the two-thirds requirement, and the Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit representing legislators who voted against the bill. The lower court, however, held that a narrow exception to Prop 108 essentially guts the supermajority provision and allows simple majorities to authorize unelected bureaucrats to impose new levies on Arizona’s taxpayers.

“We are pleased that the Arizona Supreme Court has decided to hear the lawsuit and clarify the Prop 108’s supermajority provision,” Goldwater Institute Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur said. “At issue is the fate of a critical voter-approved constitutional protection, which was put in place to ensure responsible and accountable lawmaking. If the lower court’s decision is allowed to stand it has disastrous consequences for future revenue-raising measures.”


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