Supreme Court rules ruling deals major setback to Prop 208, ruling vital provisions are unconstitutional. Sends case back to trial court.

(Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents Ann Siner of My Sister’s Closet and Judge John Buttrick in their litigation efforts against 208.)

By Jeremy Duda | AZ Mirror

The Arizona Supreme Court refused to block a voter-approved tax hike on the state’s top earners, rejecting a challenge brought by Republican lawmakers and a local business, who argued that the tax violated the state constitution.

But the justices ruled that Proposition 208’s spending on teachers and school operations is subject to constitutional restrictions on spending. But because there was no evidence that the spending will exceed those restrictions, they ordered the lawsuit return to the trial court to determine whether it does.

Prop. 208 imposes an additional 3.5% income tax surcharge on individuals who earn more than $250,000 per year or couples who earn at least a half million. The additional money, which legislative budget staff estimated to be about $827 million annually, is earmarked for K-12 education spending.

Opponents of the law argued in court that the Arizona Constitution prohibits voters from imposing new taxes on themselves, as voters did with the approval of Prop. 208 in November. They also argued that a constitutional provision requiring a two-thirds vote of the legislature to raise taxes applies to any voter-approved tax, and that the law infringes on lawmakers’ spending authority by dictating how the additional funding must be spent.


Jordan Rose, Rose Law Group founder and president, gives the decision a thumbs up. “This is really good news for Arizona.”