State Supreme Court Reaffirms Arizona’s Nation-Lowest Flat Income Tax

Arizona’s high court has pulled a ballot question from the November election that could have erased the state’s largest-ever income tax cut.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a veto initiative to repeal a gradual change from Arizona’s progressive income tax to a flat 2.5% wasn’t appropriate for the ballot process. The court didn’t immediately offer an analysis of the opinion.

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Arizona Supreme Court Resurrects Omni Resort, Arizona State University Land Court Battle

Arizona State University sign

Both sides are declaring victory after the Arizona Supreme Court released a mixed opinion that ultimately allows Attorney General Mark Brnovich to go after a deal between hotelier Omni Hotels and the Board of Regents.

The state’s high court overturned two of four charges denied in an appellate ruling in State et al. v. Arizona Board of Regents et al.

Brnovich filed the lawsuit against the governing body of the state’s three public universities in January 2019 over a 60-year lease it struck with the hotel chain to build a new location on public land near Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. The deal entails benefits for the university at the hotel and allows the company to purchase the land at the end of the lease. In the meantime, the hotel would pay no property taxes.

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Arizona Judge Strikes Down Prop 208 Tax Hike

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has struck down a tax placed on high-earning Arizona residents to fund public education.

Proposition 208, which was approved by 51.7% of voters in the November 2020 election, added a 3.5% tax on single filers earning more than $250,000 per year and joint filers earning more than $500,000 per year, with the revenue going towards public education.

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Arizona Supreme Court Explains Voids of State Vaccination, Mask Ban Laws

exterior of Arizona's Supreme Court building

Arizona’s high court has elaborated on their decision to void additions to the most-recent state budget, saying lawmakers ran afoul of provisions in the state constitution meant to simplify legislation.

Justices released their unanimous opinion Thursday in Arizona School Boards Association et al. v. State of Arizona. The ruling, initially announced in September, affirmed a lower court ruling that said the Legislature went against two parts of the Arizona Constitution.

The opinion nullifies the state’s ban on mask mandates in schools, laws shoring up local election security and other laws justices concluded had little to do with the state budget.

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Arizona Supreme Court Rules Prisoners Must Be Offered Reunification Services to Remain Legal Parents

The Arizona State Supreme Court on Friday ruled that child-welfare officials must offer reunification services to certain inmates before terminating parental rights.

The ruling states that officers constitutionally must provide services, like visitation between parent and child, to inmates facing long prison sentences.

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Arizona Supreme Court to Hear Brnovich’s Lawsuit Against Arizona State University over Its Sweet Deal to Hotel Developers

The Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to accept an appeal from Arizona Attorney Mark Brnovich in his lawsuit against Arizona State University and the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) challenging a deal they made with hotel developers letting them use school property, which allows them to avoid property taxes.

Brnovich said shortly after filing the lawsuit, “ABOR shouldn’t be subsidizing out-of-state billionaires. Worst of all, ABOR is depriving K-12 schools and community colleges millions of dollars in property tax revenue that must be made up by other taxpayers by placing the hotel on property tax exempt land.”

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Arizona Supreme Court Allows Release of State Senate’s Records of Contractors Conducting Election Audit

The Arizona Supreme Court has rejected an effort by the state’s GOP-led Senate to keep confidential records of its review of the 2020 election in Maricopa County now in possession of the contractors conducting the recount.

The court on Tuesday rejected the appeal filed after two lower courts ruled the documents are public records that must be released, according to the Associated Press.

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Arizona Supreme Court Upholds Prop. 208, Won’t Allow It to Break Education Spending Limit

Arizona’s high court didn’t strike down a voter-approved tax increase on the wealthy, but it’s not going to let the influx of new revenue break a constitutional cap on education spending, either.

The Arizona Supreme Court remanded Fann vs. Invest in Education back to a trial court Thursday morning, saying it’s too early to say whether the ballot initiative is entirely unconstitutional.

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Governor Ducey Appoints Kathryn Hackett King to Arizona Supreme Court

Governor Doug Ducey announced on Thursday that he will appoint Kathryn Hackett King, a member of the Board of Regents, to the state’s Supreme Court.

“Kate’s strong belief in the separation of powers and experience serving in all three branches of government will serve the people of Arizona well,” Ducey described in a statement.

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Court Issues Mixed Opinion on Former State Rep Shooter’s Defamation Suit: Mesnard Immunity Does Not Cover the Press Release

Don Shooter

The Arizona Supreme Court issued an opinion Wednesday dismissing part of a defamation lawsuit by expelled Arizona legislator Don Shooter against Sen. J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler) on Wednesday, while allowing the remaining part of the case to proceed.

Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale) complained in 2017 when she was in the state House that Shooter, a Republican from Litchfield Park, sexually harassed her, resulting in the legislature removing him in 2018. He sued then-House speaker Mesnard, who introduced a bill to remove Shooter, over a press release and 82-page investigative report Mesnard issued about the expulsion. Shooter accused him of defamation and materially altering the investigative report.

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