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Flat-tax proposal appears dead for now

The proposal to change Arizona’s tax structure to include a flat income-tax rate is not going anywhere, said one of its supporters in the Senate.

“It is just too massive, too much policy, and too short a period of time,” said Sen. John Huppenthal.

The Senate Education Accountability and Reform Committee, which Huppenthal chairs, approved the flat-tax proposal with the rest of the budget package on June 29.

The proposal for a 2.8 percent flat income-tax rate on individuals was part of the budget deal reached by Gov. Jan Brewer and legislative leaders last week.

The proposals for a flat tax and a 1-cent sales tax hike are supposed to be viewed as a trade-off.

Huppenthal had said he would support referring a sales tax increase to the ballot only if the budget package included the flat tax.

“It’s key that it’d be an entire package,” he said earlier this week.

Huppenthal told the Arizona Capitol Times the flat tax idea at least became an engine to get the budget packet moving.

“By pairing them (sales tax and flat tax proposals) together, you had something to move the debate forward,” he said.

With only about two hours to go before the end of the fiscal year, the chances of passing Brewer’s proposal for a 1-cent sales tax increase also appear slim.

The Senate Rules Committee finally approved the ballot measure at 8 p.m. June 30, but it appears leadership still doesn’t the votes among Republicans to move it forward.

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