The fiscal year 2014-15 (FY 15) budget continues to dominate the landscape at the Capitol as the Executive and Legislative branches
grapple to cobble a budget capable of obtaining the necessary support to get across the finish line. The Senate took up the House's
modified budget at the beginning of the week, passing it out on April 1 largely along party lines, but not without modifications. A
comparison of the House and Senate budgets can be found
Later that day, the House refused the changes made in the Senate and sent the budget to Conference Committee for further changes. On
Thursday, the House appointed three conferees to a Free Conference Committee, but the Senate has yet to follow suit. Both chambers
stand adjourned until Monday. Budget negotiations are likely to continue, but it is unclear what the outcome will be and how close the
Legislature is to adjourning for the year.
Utility Tax Exemptions
SB 1413 (taxes; manufacturers' electricity sales; exemption)
passed out of the House Committee of the Whole (COW). Sponsored by Senator Steve Yarbrough (R-Chandler), SB 1413 exempts electricity
used in manufacturing and smelting operations from state transaction privilege taxes (TPT) and stipulates that if a city or town wishes
to provide a similar exemption it must be provided to all manufacturers and must have the same definitions as the state. The League is
neutral on the bill, which was amended in COW with a substitute floor amendment to make technical changes and to include natural gas in
the TPT exemption. The bill now awaits Third Read in the House.
Special Taxing Districts
SB 1415 (municipal elections; majority vote calculation) was
scheduled to be considered by the House Committee of the Whole. The bill became the subject of a strike-everything amendment that will
severely limit the utility of Community Facilities Districts (CFD) in Arizona by placing new and arbitrary bond limits on special taxing
districts. The League opposes the striker because it will harm Arizona's ability to move beyond the economic downturn. The bill was
ultimately retained on the calendar.
The original bill, sponsored by Senator Steve Yarbrough (R-Chandler) reformulates the majority vote threshold needed for determining
whether a municipal candidate wins an election outright during the primary or must proceed to a general election. Without this change,
taxpayers will have to fund a runoff election that otherwise may not be necessary. Although the bill and the striker did not move this
week, both issues are important enough for cities and towns to keep a close eye on. The League continues to explore alternate paths to
see the election vote calculation changes enacted into law.
Other Bills of Note
(All bills being actively monitored by the League can be found here.)
Bill Number - Short Title - Subject(s)
Legislative Bulletin is published by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
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