FLORENCE — The Pinal Regional Transportation Authority has another lawsuit on its hands.
The Home Builders Association of Central Arizona is suing the county over Proposition 417, arguing that the pamphlet provided last year to voters was inconsistent with the text of the actual language of the ballot initiative.
Supporters of the proposition said it would bring more than $640 million in revenue for road projects throughout the county over the next 20 years.
The Goldwater Institute is also suing Pinal County RTA over the legality of the tax.
The plaintiffs allege that while the pamphlet states that the tax will be applied to a wide range of business classifications, the actual proposition levies a tax of only one-half percent on the gross income from selling tangible personal property, applying only to the first $10,000.
Those classifications include transportation, utilities, telecommunications, pipeline, private car line, publication, commercial printing, prime contracting, amusement, restaurant, personal property rental, retail, transient lodging, online lodging marketplace and mining.
They also allege that the revenue forecast provided in the pamphlet ($640 million total revenue and $17,105,074 in 2018) is inaccurate, since it was calculated presuming that the tax would be levied on all classifications listed in the pamphlet and not just on the sale of tangible personal property, as is stated in the actual proposition.
“We’re not questioning the legality of the county’s authority to impose the tax. We’re questioning the wording in the referendum that was approved by the voters about whether the tax increase applies to the prime contracting classification. Based on legal advice we have gotten, we don’t think the tax applies to us," legislative vice president Spencer Kamps.
The Home Builders Association argues that taxpayers were misled when they voted and that businesses are harmed as they are unclear as to whether they will be taxed. They argue that the court should put an end to the confusion.
“Because we are uncertain, we're asking for a declaratory judgement,” said Kamps. “Make a ruling, are we taxed or not.”
Pinal County spokesman Joe Pyritz said in an email to PinalCentral, “We disagree with that interpretation.”