AZ Supreme Court validates part of Pinal RTA tax, strikes down other; ‘Disappointing’ says Jordan Rose, Rose Law Group founder and president

(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 | Pinal Central

CASA GRANDE — A split ruling from the Arizona Supreme Court has some local officials feeling hopeful about the future of a voter-approved road tax that would fund major transportation projects throughout Pinal County, while opponents are also claiming victory.

The court released its decision Tuesday that while the Regional Transportation Authority sales tax increase was legal, an amendment that would eliminate the tax on any payments in excess of $10,000 turned it into a two-tier tax, which is invalid under state law. That provision of the tax was included to appease car dealers and homebuilders.”

After considering the resolution, ballot provision and the publicity pamphlet circulated to voters, we hold that Pinal County complied with state law in adopting the transportation excise tax,” the ruling stated. “However, we hold that Arizona law does not permit Pinal County to adopt a two-tiered retail transaction privilege tax on tangible personal property as part of a transportation excise tax. Therefore, Pinal County’s two-tiered retail transaction privilege tax is invalid.”

The confusion over what the ruling means comes from the last paragraph of the majority ruling which references the decision made by the Arizona Court of Appeals. The paragraph in the Arizona Supreme Court ruling vacates two parts of the appeals court ruling. In the first part vacated by the Supreme Court, the appeals court ruled that the tax was valid because the amendment to create the two-tiered portion of the tax did not change what voters had approved in November 2017. In the second part vacated by the Supreme Court, the appeals court ruled that the tiered rate did not violate state statutes. County staff and supervisors were discussing what the ruling means for the tax and how to move forward. 


Rose Law Group founder and president Jordan Rose, who represents stakeholders says, “This is a highly disappointing result given the people who live in Pinal County voted to fund these roads now.  That said, the Court does provide a roadmap to implement the tax for future success.”

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March 2022