Closing Tax Loopholes

Closing Tax

“’Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes.”

~ Daniel Defoe


They say that taxes are unavoidable. But our political leaders in Arizona have defied this fact of life, in service to a small elite.

They have enacted billions of dollars of tax giveaways – benefiting the rich and harming public education. Our upside-down tax code is filled with loopholes that sink low-income families deeper into poverty and shortchange the state’s general fund.

Let’s end the litany of exemptions, deductions, credits, and exclusions that steal billions of dollars from public education and don’t actually reduce taxes for everyday Arizonans.

It’s no joke. In Arizona, private jets are exempt from sales tax. This amounts to a $5 million per year subsidy to the super rich, which even conservative commentators have called “ludicrous”.

It’s not just jets. There are multiple ways that our sales tax hits low-income Arizonans the hardest. Let’s close existing sales tax loopholes that suck money from our general fund and benefit only the elite and corporate interests. For example, taxes related to recreational show horses, and art gallery purchases, and mining equipment purchases. The list goes on.

Do you have a country club membership? No tax. Do you hire a caterer for your annual holiday party? No tax. Do you hire a financial advisor? No tax.

But if you buy gas, clothing, or over-the-counter drugs, you will be charged taxes. Everyday household products are taxed, while luxury services that only the wealthy consume are tax-free.

How can we be sure that Arizona’s tax structure helps the wealthy at the expense of low-income families? Because special corporate interests recently invested $10 million to maintain the status quo. Despite a broad coalition of Arizona Democrats and Republicans who wished to expand taxes to luxury services, the corporate interests won out. In the process, they succeeded in denying adequate resources to public education and other basic government services.

It’s time to oppose corporate special interests and join the growing number of states (including deep-red states) that are seeking to tax luxury household services.

In Arizona, a family can receive a $2,200 tax credit by donating to a private k-12 school. In roughly half the instances, this government-subsidized donation becomes a private-school scholarship benefiting children from affluent backgrounds who would have attended a private school regardless (this tax credit is distinct from the school voucher system).

At the same time, an Arizona taxpayer can receive only a fraction of the tax credit for donating to a poverty-fighting charitable organization ($2,200 vs. $800). There is no reason for our tax code to take public dollars from the public schools and hand it to predominantly wealthy families with ample means of providing a private school education.

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