Speaker, Ducey at odds over tax conformity

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler)

 

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Gov. Doug Ducey wants to boost the taxes paid by Arizonans by $180 million ‑or more – when they file their tax returns this spring.

But he insists it’s not a tax hike.

Instead, it’s part of the governor’s plan to conform Arizona’s tax code to changes enacted in federal law.

Those changes took effect last year. More to the point, they are reflected in the new federal income tax forms that people across the country will be filling out between now and April 15.

Conforming to those changes, like what’s deductible, makes it easier for Arizonans to prepare their own taxes so they don’t have to make additional calculations.

And that extra cash? Ducey proposes to add it to the state’s “rainy day fund,” a special savings account for emergencies and for lawmakers to tap when there is an unexpected drop in revenues.

That account now stands at about $460 million, less than 5 percent of the state general fund budget.

Gubernatorial press aide Patrick Ptak said the funneling the new tax revenues into the state’s bank account would be an “elegant solution.”

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, said that’s a poor choice of words.

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