Of the 22 bills vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer this session, 16 were part of the budget package passed by the Legislature on July 1. The six others covered a variety of issues.
• H2258 – Consumer fireworks
The bill would have lifted a ban on certain types of “consumer fireworks,” such as sparklers, cones and spinners. Brewer wrote in her veto message that she has long been a supporter of responsible fireworks use, but worried that the bill did not adequately address the fire risk posed by such items. Numerous elected officials, as well as the U.S. Forest Service, contacted the governor to express their opposition to the bill or the fire risks, Brewer wrote.
• H2341 – Renewable energy production tax credit
Under the bill, new income tax credits would have been established for the production of renewable energy, including wind, solar, biomass and others. Tax credits are already in place for renewable energy production, but the bill would have created a new tax schedule that provided a 10-year tax credit, with the monetary amount for solar energy peaking in the sixth year with a tax credit of four cents per kilowatt hour. Brewer said she supports tax credits for renewable energy, but vetoed it over concerns about a lack of a cap for the tax credits. A single 100 megawatt solar facility, which is smaller than several planned facilities, could claim tax credits of more than $88 million over 10 years. Brewer urged lawmakers to revisit the issue, and said she would amend her recent call for a special legislative session to include the issue.
• H2369 – Legislative appropriation of non-custodial federal monies
Introduced on a near yearly basis, the bill would have granted the Legislature control of federal funds that are currently appropriated by the executive branch. Brewer wrote in her veto message that subjecting the federal funds to legislative appropriation would unnecessarily complicate the use of the funds and would divert the Legislature’s attention away from creating “real solutions to our state’s fiscal problems.”
• S1007 – Multiple sclerosis awareness special plates
The bill would have created four new specialty license plates for multiple sclerosis awareness, the Arizona Masonic Fraternity, childhood cancer research and hunger relief. Brewer said she shares the goals of the bill, which would provide funding for those causes, but was concerned about the legality of a provision stating that the “person or entity” that provided the $32,000 to design the license plate would dictate to the Department of Health Services director how the funds should be allocated. The problem, she wrote, is that the bill gives a non-governmental entity the power to control decisions of a state agency.
• S1022 – Political signs; tampering
The bill would have prohibited the removal of political signs from public rights-of-way by any person for 45 days before an election or seven days afterward. Exceptions are made for the candidates themselves, their authorized representatives or people who have had signs placed on their property without permission. Brewer vetoed, writing that the bill was “a preemption of local citizens’ preferences to regulate such signage in their own communities and allows a political candidate to post signs virtually anywhere.”
• S1464 – State treasurer reports on financial condition of state
The state would be required under the bill to give the governor, Senate president and House speaker a report on the financial condition of the state at the end of each fiscal year. Brewer wrote that her five-point plan calls for reform of the state’s revenue-forecasting process, but said the bill falls short of creating a comprehensive , collaborative solution. The executive and legislative branches already have forecasting processes, and the treasurer would be reliant on the Department of Revenue and Department of Administration for information. “Transferring the responsibility of forecasting revenues to the Treasurer’s Office would not be an efficient solution and would not encourage collaboration between the executive branch and the legislative branch to reach a consensus revenue estimate upon which sound budgets can be passed,” Brewer wrote.