New education tax again survives, high court appeal pending | Arizona and Regional News

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PHOENIX (AP) — A trial court judge on Tuesday threw out several legal challenges to a new voter approved tax on high-earning Arizonans, leaving just one additional issue raised by challengers to Proposition 208 in play while the state Supreme Court is considering whether the measure is constitutional.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah Jr.’s ruling dismissed three of four remaining legal challenges raised by business interests as well as Republicans, who control the Legislature. He said all three failed as a matter of law.

Hannah rejected a challenge to voters’ ability to raise taxes at the ballot box. Opponents claimed that only the Legislature can vote to raise taxes, that if voters did have that right the measure must get a 2/3 vote as is required of the Legislature and that a provision preventing the legislature from undoing the tax was illegal. Hannah said that argument was utterly without merit.

He then dismissed a challenge that argued that Proposition 208 should be blocked because it did not contain its own funding source. Hannah had ruled earlier that was clearly not the case and made that official on Tuesday.

Hannah also rejected the claim that the initiative usurped the Legislature’s authority to tax and spend money.

“The claim rests on the premise that the Arizona Constitution somehow places the Legislature on a higher or more powerful plane than the people acting by initiative,” Hannah wrote. “It doesn’t.”

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