It took two tries, but Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposal to cut taxes in 2018 was approved by the Arizona Senate.
The chamber voted 18-11 to approve a tax break for certain military veterans, days after the same measure failed on a 15-13 vote — one shy of the 16 needed in the Senate for approval.
Sponsored by Sen. Gail Griffin, SB 1167 would increase a tax exemption for military retirement pay to $6,250 in 2018 and $10,000 by 2019, up from the current $2,500 exemption. It would have applied to approximately 52,000 veterans out of roughly 600,000 veterans in Arizona.
The bill still needs the approval of the House.
Sen. Warren Petersen, who voted against the bill twice, made a motion Monday afternoon to reconsider the bill, despite the Gilbert Republican’s opposition to it. That allowed his colleagues another chance to vote yes.
It only would have taken one more “yes” vote to approve SB 1167, and that was supplied by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, who was absent during the first floor vote on Feb. 1.
But Sens. David Farnsworth, R-Chandler, and Sean Bowie, D-Phoenix, switched from “no” to “yes,” allowing the bill to easily pass.
If approved by the House, the bill would fulfill Ducey’s campaign promise to lower taxes every year he’s in office. Budget analysts estimate the tax break would cost the state $15 million.s