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County supervisors review newly passed state legislation

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In addition to high-profile bills and appropriation proposals that gained attention in the Arizona Legislature this spring, some lower-profile items had considerable impacts on Maricopa County.

The leader of the state’s main inter-county agency, regarding state legislation, told the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors about some of those items at a meeting this week.
Craig Sullivan, the executive director of the County Supervisors Association of Arizona, also talked about strategic goals going forward.

One of the first big changes Sullivan mentioned, in recapping 2021 state legislation that affects counties, was creation of a flat tax rate, if certain triggers are net.

“That is not so much a direct impact on counties, but it will have an impact on overall state revenue, and that will eventually roll downhill and affect some money that flows to counties,” Sullivan said. “And if that flat tax gets on the ballot for voters to decide on, that could create some volatility as well.”

The state legislature passed a plan that eventually would lower the state income tax to 2.5% for all tax brackets. The total amount of the cut equals about $1.9 billion. The Invest in Arizona group is aiming to get it on the ballot for 2022.

A tax change that will have a direct impact on Maricopa County was the elimination of county payments to the Arizona Department of Revenue. That will save Maricopa about $2.4 million this year, and possibly as much as $4 million annually in ongoing savings.

Another tax revenue shift will be the reduction in the state’s Class 1 commercial assessment ratio. In phases, that ratio will drop from 18% to 16%.The change reduces the value of a property that can be used for tax collection purposes.

A bill to repeal the $8.5 million fee that Maricopa and Pima counties pay to the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections did not make it to the governor’s desk this session. Sullivan said that repeal will be a priority during the 2022 legislative session.

Sullivan pointed out the legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey approved a budget that includes $223 million in total state transportation projects and $140 million in broadband infrastructure spending.

The most expensive item that affects Maricopa and at least one other county will be the $50 million expansion of Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Casa Grande. That project has been on the drawing board for years and is one of the few sections between Phoenix and Tucson where I-10 is still two lanes.

Two West Valley projects that are part of those transportation funding measures are the $8.5 million drainage improvements along 67th Avenue in Glendale and the $8 million widening of Camelback Road between Litchfield Road and State Route 303.
There also is $90 million allocated in the state’s transportation budget this year for pavement preservation.

The broadband funding mainly will go toward a grant program for rural and underserved areas. Sullivan said that includes some areas within Maricopa County.

Two of the four bills that included CSA-adopted policies were passed and signed into law by Ducey. One of those bills involved what Sullivan called a small technical change to military leave pay; the other signed bill affects the timetable for write-in candidates.

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