Sunday, July 21, 2024

Maricopa County voters to decide on transportation tax extension – Chamber Business News

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Voters in Maricopa County in November will decide whether a sales tax first approved in 1985 should be extended for an additional 20 years. 

Proposition 479 

Proposition 479 asks Maricopa County voters whether the current half-cent sales tax for transportation should be extended. The measure does not impose any new taxes, nor does it mandate the use of certain types of vehicles or restrict the sale of vehicles depending on their engine type. 

Voters first approved the tax in 1985 and extended it for 20 years in 2004 when they passed Proposition 400. Unless extended by voters, the tax would terminate at the end of 2025. 

Maricopa County measure required legislative and gubernatorial action 

The extension’s appearance on the fall ballot was made possible only by a 2023 vote of the state Legislature and Gov. Katie Hobbs’ signature on enabling legislation. 

Maricopa County is the only Arizona county that requires legislative and gubernatorial approval before a transportation excise tax question can appear on a countywide ballot. 

The state Legislature in 2022 approved a bill to send an extension to voters in a March 2023 special election, but that bill was vetoed by then-Gov. Doug Ducey. 

Campaign: Passage integral to county’s economic growth 

“The passage of Proposition 479 is an integral part of Maricopa County’s continued economic growth and the overall success of the region,” said Pam Kehaly, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and co-chair of the Connect Maricopa campaign committee. “Investing in critical transportation infrastructure will allow the region to appropriately plan for future growth so residents can travel with ease and not experience the burden of long commute times. I am proud of the coalition of business and community associations that are actively supporting this effort and we look forward to sharing our message with Maricopa County voters.” 

Arizona Chamber: Funding stream instrumental in county’s development 

In a statement filed for the publicity pamphlet that will be sent to county voters, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry said the funding stream made possible by the tax has made possible the construction of new streets and freeways during a “period of incredible growth.” 

Maricopa County is the country’s fastest growing county, and the state has grown by more than 2 million residents in the past 20 years. 

“Passing Prop. 479 is imperative to ensure that these infrastructure investments continue, keeping our region at the forefront of economic growth and prosperity. Safeguards have been put in place to allow taxpayers to use their preferred modes of transportation, ensuring no single modality gets a disproportionate share of public resources,” the Chamber said. 

Strong business community support 

In addition to the Arizona Chamber, Proposition 479 is supported by the Arizona chapter of the commercial real estate group NAIOP, the Arizona Realtors Association, the Arizona Multihousing Association, the Arizona Rock Products Association, the Arizona Trucking Association, the Arizona chapter of the Associated General Contractors, the Greater Phoenix Chamber, Greater Phoenix Leadership, the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, American Council of Engineering Companies of Arizona, real estate development group Valley Partnership, and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

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