In 2010, Arizona voters approved a temporary 1 percent sales tax increase. It will expire May 31, 2013. But Proposition 204 would make the increase permanent and apply the additional revenues to K-12 education.
The ballot language calls the proposition a tax increase. This week the Arizona Supreme Court rejected a motion by initiative supporters to delete that language, claiming it was misleading.
Their argument was that since the sales tax would remain the same as it currently is, the tax increase isn’t an increase.
Prop 204 backers can’t be faulted for worrying that voters might think they’re proposing an additional tax on top of the 2010 tax. They can be faulted for forgetting the meaning of the word “temporary.” If you raise taxes after a temporary increase expires, it’s a tax hike. Similarly, when a temporary tax increase expires, it’s not a tax cut.