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Bender quoted in 'Arizona Capitol Times'

April 17, 2009

Professor and Dean Emeritus Paul Bender of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law recently was quoted in the Arizona Capitol Times in an article about the possible elimination of state tax credits to help resolve Arizona's financial problems.

The April 10 article, "Hands tied by Prop 108) Arizona lawmakers want to eliminate tax credits, but authority is in question," by reporter Luige del Puerto, questioned whether such a move would be constitutional. A 1992 constitutional amendment, Proposition 108, makes it more difficult for the Legislature to raise taxes or fees, because a two-thirds majority vote for any act that results in a "net increase" in state revenues is required, Puerto reported.

It's easy to amend the Arizona Constitution, compared to the U.S. Constitution, Bender said, and that may result in ill-advised amendments. "I think that's what happened here," Bender said. "You know all the people who were in favor of this thing - (saying) we got to keep taxes down - are all of a sudden saying we got to find a way to get around this."

He also responded to a budget-balancing option, developed by a group representing Arizona's universities that would structure a tax increase over the first few years and a tax decrease in the following years. Under this plan, the overall fiscal impact would be a reduction in state revenues several years down the road, Puerto reported.

But people might change their minds several years from now, when the tax reduction is supposed to take place, Bender pointed out. "I think the idea of lumping a number of years together and netting that won't work," he said.

To read the full article, click here.

Janie Magruder,
(480) 727-9052
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law