Phoenix -- Today the Goldwater Institute called the ruling on the TIME initiatives ballot description unbelievable. In a ruling issued late Friday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Edward Burke said that including the amount of the tax increase and the corresponding percentage increase in the ballot description of the TIME initiative would confuse voters.
In essence, the ruling says that less information and less context provides more clarity, which is a logical absurdity, said Clint Bolick, litigation director at the Goldwater Institute.
Arizona law requires the state Legislative Council office to draft the short descriptions of each voter initiative and referenda that appear on the ballot. There are guidelines that the descriptions must meet: they must be objective, include relevant information, and give context to the initiative.
In this case, Legislative Council determined that voters should know that the proposed sales tax increase (one penny per dollar) would result in a 17.8 percent increase to the state sale tax. The Goldwater Institute filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club to support the ballot language description drafted by Legislative Council. The Judge said the language was drafted with the intent to mislead voters.
The Judge got this wrong, said Bolick. If anything is misleading, its requiring the ballot description to leave out the fact that this so-called one penny adjustment is in reality a 17 percent tax increase.
This tax increase would make Arizonas sales tax the fifth highest in the country.