By Ben Giles | Arizona Capitol Times
A law that allows the state to withhold the revenues from communities that don’t do as Arizona lawmakers please has been called illegal coercion.
Sen. Steve Smith wants to expand it.
The Maricopa Republican sponsored SB1210, which expands on a bill approved in 2016 that punishes cities, counties or towns by withholding their portion of state-shared revenue if they passed ordinances or policies that violate a state law or the Arizona Constitution. Smith’s bill would dramatically expand the law to apply to all political subdivisions, which he broadly defines as “any agency, board, commission or political subdivision of this state that has a governing body,” whether they’re comprised of elected or appointed members.
The implications to various local and statewide institutions are nearly endless, as it appears to apply to anything from the Arizona Corporation Commission to a local school board, or even the Central Arizona Project and other quasi-municipal organizations. The bill also suggests controlling the purse strings at the county level to withhold dollars from political subdivisions that legislators consider to be bad actors. It adds county treasurers to those with authority to restrict the flow of funding to an erring political subdivision.
If there’s money pouring in from anywhere in the state or county coffers, Smith wants to shut that off if any legislator complains to the attorney general and the latter finds that a political subdivision is violating a law or the Arizona Constitution.