Pinal at appeals court on transportation tax

Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents a coalition of property and business owners throughout Pinal County working to bring new transportation infrastructure to the county

By Jim Headley | PinalCentral

The Pinal Regional Transportation Authority believes it was given the authority to collect a variable rate retail excise tax when voters approved Proposition 417 in 2017.

The Goldwater Institute and even the Arizona Department of Revenue disagree.

Wednesday, lawyers from the PRTA, the Goldwater Institute and the Department of Revenue squared off before the Arizona Court of Appeals Division 1 in Phoenix. The RTA lost an earlier hearing in Maricopa County court in November 2018.

PRTA appealed the decision to the state appeals court.

Voters narrowly passed the initiative in 2017 by 901 votes, creating a new half-cent sales tax to generate funds for transportation projects throughout Pinal County.

Harold Vangilder, a Casa Grande resident, teamed up with the Goldwater Institute to file a lawsuit against the proposition soon after it passed. On Nov. 15, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Christopher Whitten ruled the proposition was “void and unenforceable.”

The RTA has been allowed to collect the tax while the legal challenges make their way through the court system. The money is collected and held in escrow.

On Wednesday, the appellate court heard an hour of statements from RTA attorneys, Goldwater attorneys and from the Department of Revenue. The court took the matter under advisement and will issue a decision at a later date.


Watch the hearing video here: