Tag Archive for: ScotMussi

Ballot Initiative to Reform Arizona Election Laws Allegedly Gathered Signatures Illegally

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A ballot initiative that would significantly change how the state’s electoral campaigns are funded and conducted is facing allegations of illegal signature gathering.

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club filed a lawsuit challenging an initiative that it calls “radical” and argues will weaken the state’s election integrity laws. 

The AFEC complaint alleges that many of the signatures turned in to support the initiative were invalid for various reasons and should not have counted. 

The organization argues that some signatures were gathered by paid circulators who failed to register with the Secretary of the State’s office and that others included incorrect information.

In all, the club estimates that over half of the signatures on the election initiative were illegally gathered.

“After analyzing over 45,000 petition sheets and 420,000 signatures, it’s clear that well over half of the signatures on this election initiative were collected in violation of state law,” President Scot Mussi said in a statement. “That should be more than enough to invalidate this initiative.”

The club also expressed these concerns with the initiative, if it were to pass, in a press release:

  • Upend Arizona’s election administration and voter registration laws.
  • Sharply reduce candidate contribution limits while channeling more taxpayer subsidies to so-called “Clean Elections” candidates.
  • Curtail safeguards governing the initiative and referendum process.
  • Impose new taxes.

The defendants in the case are Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and the political committee Arizonans for Free and Fair Elections.

The initiative in question is called the Arizona Fair Elections Act.

Among other provisions, the initiative would mandate automatic voter registration for everyone who obtains a state-issued ID, allow for same-day voter registration, and expand early voting.

Hobbs’ office and Arizonans for Free and Fair Elections could not be immediately reached for comment.

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This article was published by Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

State Supreme Court Reaffirms Arizona’s Nation-Lowest Flat Income Tax

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Arizona’s high court has pulled a ballot question from the November election that could have erased the state’s largest-ever income tax cut.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a veto initiative to repeal a gradual change from Arizona’s progressive income tax to a flat 2.5% wasn’t appropriate for the ballot process. The court didn’t immediately offer an analysis of the opinion.

Lawyers representing the Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC), a taxpayer advocating nonprofit, argued before the court that the state’s constitution bans government functions such as tax cuts from being challenged at the ballot box.

“Today’s decision from the Arizona Supreme Court is a big win for taxpayers in our state,” said AFEC President Scot Mussi. “The legislature passed historic tax cuts last year that benefit all Arizona taxpayers. It’s time for Invest in Arizona and out-of-state special interest groups to accept this reality and stop making a farce of the referendum process.”

Invest in Arizona, a union-sponsored nonprofit based out of Phoenix and affiliated with Portland-based Stand for Children, was primarily responsible for gathering signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

Passed in 2021, the law reduced individual income tax rates for all taxpayers by gradually reducing the state’s four income tax rates to one 2.5% rate by 2022. With the court’s opinion, the rate is now in effect.

David Lujan, president of the Arizona Children’s Action Alliance, said the court is protecting the state’s ultra-wealthy.

“Let’s be clear about who wins with these tax cuts – the richest 1 percent of Arizonans who will get an average tax cut of more than $19K,” he said. “Household making $64K annually gets avg tax cut of $47 and our state loses billions for education and other needs.”

Republicans hailed the opinion as relief for taxpayers facing the nation’s most severe inflation.

“This ruling is another big win for our state’s taxpayers and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” Gov. Doug Ducey said. “With inflation hitting Arizonans hard, this decision ultimately means more of their hard-earned dollars can stay in their wallets.”

House Majority Leader Ben Toma, R-Peoria, said the ruling means surety for taxpayers.

“In 2021, Republican legislators provided historic tax relief to all Arizona taxpayers. The Supreme Court’s decision provides clarity and certainty that Arizonans will get this relief at a time when they need it most,” he said.

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This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.