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Ending the Deception Over a Proposed Tax Hike

Lane v. Scottsdale

Case Status

Date Filed

June 18, 2024

Last Step

Plaintiffs filed their Verified Complaint, Motion for Preliminary and Permanent Injunction, and Application for Order to Show Cause in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Next Step

The court granted Plaintiffs’ Application and set a hearing for July 2 on the Order to Show Cause.

Case Overview

The City of Scottsdale is attempting to trick Scottsdale residents into approving a tax increase by calling it a tax reduction. It other words, Scottsdale is misleading its voters to raise taxes. Not only is this wrong, it also violates Arizona law and the Arizona Constitution.

Arizona law prohibits a measure from being placed on the ballot for voters that communicates objectively false or misleading information or describes it in a way that amounts to a “bait and switch.” Measures can be described in a positive way, but they cannot mislead voters, and courts are empowered to prohibit the placement of such misleading measures on the ballot.

The Goldwater Institute is stepping up to represent Scottsdale residents in opposition to the placement of this measure on the ballot. This suit will not challenge the policy merits or demerits of the policy, but focuses instead on the misleading nature of the language of the measure put to the voters.

Under the current language, a “no” vote against lowering taxes will lead to a lower tax than a “yes” vote to reduce taxes, contrary to what the City has told voters. That is misleading. Scottsdale voters deserve better.

Case Logistics

The case is Lane v. Scottsdale. The complaint and the motion for a preliminary injunction were filed on June 17, 2024, in the Superior Court of Arizona for Maricopa County.

The Goldwater Institute represents William James (“Jim”) Lane, Yvonne Cahill, and Susan Wood, all of whom reside in the City of Scottsdale, vote in city elections, and engage in commercial transactions in the City of Scottsdale and will thus be subjected to the City’s sales tax increase.

The City of Scottsdale, Mayor David Ortega, Vice Mayor Solange Whitehead, Councilmember Tammy Caputi, Councilmember Tom Durham, Councilmember Barry Graham, Councilmember Betty Janick, and Councilmember Kathy Littlefield along with Benjamin Lane the City Clerk for Scottsdale, Maricopa County through its Board of Supervisors and the Country Recorder are all defendants and sued in their official capacity only.

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