The Legislature has decided to give Arizona residents the option to donate more of their income to the state each tax cycle, even though many lawmakers say the whole thing is a waste of time.
H2001, which passed the Senate on April 19, would add an “I Didn’t Pay Enough Fund” to the list of voluntary contributions on the state’s individual income tax forms. That way, taxpayers could opt to donate money directly to the state’s general fund.
The bill, which was sponsored by Skull Valley Republican Judy Burges, was sent to the governor’s desk for her signature or veto.
“What we’re doing is calling people’s bluff,” said Sen. Ron Gould, a Republican from Lake Havasu City. “The people who say don’t reduce my taxes – in reality, it’s not that they want to continue paying. It’s that they want everybody to continue paying.
“People that say they don’t want their taxes to reduce will take the tax reduction anyway and won’t donate it.”
The idea is not novel.
In 2001 Arkansas created its own version, called the “Tax Me More” fund. Other states, such as Massachusetts, Virginia, Minnesota and Kansas, followed suit.
Funds in those states fared about as well as one would expect: Arkansas’ Tax Me More Fund has raised $2,419.79 since it began nine years ago, and Virginia’s fund has tallied $10,217.04 since it started in 2002.
Democratic lawmakers, such as Senate Assistant Minority Leader Rebecca Rios, said the legislation was just plain silly.
“We should be beyond gimmicks here,” Rios said.
Arizona’s income tax returns include several causes and programs to which taxpayers can donate, such as wildlife conservation, shelter for victims of domestic violence and programs that prevent child abuse.