2021 Legislative Update
On the 171st day of the 55th Legislature, 1st Regular Session, the Chambers officially adjourned sine die. This marks the end of one of the longest legislative sessions in Arizona’s history. Generally speaking, the Session is a 100-day period which is normally extended an extra 20 days at a maximum. On the same day, the Governor signed the State’s budget, right before the deadline of the new fiscal year starting on July 1st. (We thankfully avoided a government shutdown!)
Arizona Tax Reduction Package
One major policy initiative that was contained in the budget is Arizona’s tax reduction plan. The tax package would cap Arizona’s highest income earners at 4.5%, with the rest of Arizonans eventually being at a flat 2.5% rate. Additionally, there will be a business property tax reduction which will lower the rate from 18% to 16% over a five-year period.
Another win for the business community that is expected to be signed by the Governor is SB 1783 (small businesses; alternate income tax), which would create a tax bracket for “Arizona small businesses.” The legislation would place the small business tax rate at 2.5%.
Throughout the past few weeks, many of the bills that the Legislature has been focusing on were “pet projects,” likely a part of the negotiations to garner more votes for the budget. There were a number of legislative attempts throughout the Session to limit the power of the Governor and ensure election integrity.
For example, bills like SCR 1003 (executive orders; emergencies; reauthorization; termination), which failed on the Senate floor yesterday, would have directed the 2022 general election ballot to carry the question of whether to amend the state Constitution to terminate a state of emergency declared by the Governor 30 days after the date on which the state of emergency is proclaimed, unless the Legislature extends the state of emergency by concurrent resolution.
A piece of Legislation that was successful, but still awaits a signature from the Governor, is HB 2905 (early ballots; request required). The bill prohibits a county recorder, city or town clerk, or other election officer from delivering or mailing an early ballot to a person who has not requested an early ballot for that election, with certain exceptions. Classifies an election officer knowingly providing an early ballot to a person that did not request an early ballot for the election, with exceptions, as a class 6 felony.
Senate’s Election Audit of Maricopa County Ballots
The audit of the Maricopa County ballots is still underway. The audit team’s lease of the Coliseum lasts until the end of this month, so stay tuned for any updated timelines for ballot counting. The political tensions surrounding the audit have creeped their way into the activities of the Legislature, and are likely party to blame for an extended session.