Arizona Supreme Court hears arguments on road tax

(Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents a coalition of property and business owners throughout Pinal County who have worked to bring new transportation infrastructure to the region.)

By Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa | Casa Grande Dispatch

PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court heard oral arguments about Pinal County’s Regional Transportation Authority Proposition 417 tax from both sides Thursday morning.

The justices peppered attorneys from the Goldwater Institute and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which are challenging the tax, and Patrick Durbin, the attorney representing Pinal County and the RTA, with questions. The justices wanted to know the issue wasn’t objected to before it was placed on the ballot. Also, if justices asked if the county could apply a variable tax rate to a subcategory of goods within a specific tax category and the difference between a modified tax rate and a variable tax rate. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is representing the Arizona Department of Revenue in the case.

The case, Vangilder v. Pinal County, involves an extra half-cent sales tax that was narrowly approved by Pinal County voters in 2017. Funds from the tax, which have been accruing since the tax’s approval, are supposed to be used for road improvements, such as a north-south freeway connecting U.S. 60 in Apache Junction with Interstate 10 near Eloy. Other improvements would be made in Casa Grande, Maricopa and other parts of the county.

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