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Phoenix City Council Faces Investigation Over Illegal Ride-Share Fees

December 19, 2019

December 19, 2019
By Jenna Bentley

Passed just yesterday by the City Council, Phoenix’s unconstitutional plan to impose a massive fee increase on ride-sharing services to and from Sky Harbor Airport is already facing legal challenge.

True to her word, Representative Nancy Barto has filed a complaint with the Attorney General against the city of Phoenix’s illegal increase on fees for ride-sharing services at Sky Harbor. The Attorney General’s office will now launch an investigation into the constitutionality of the enacted fee increase from yesterday‘s hearing.

Yesterday’s vote came after the City Council received notice from the Goldwater Institute that such a fee increase would be in direct violation of Proposition 126. Overwhelmingly adopted by voters last November, Prop 126 amended the Arizona Constitution to prohibit any city from enacting any new fee or increasing any existing fee on services performed in Arizona.

Shortly after the Goldwater Institute notified the city of Phoenix of its illegal ride-sharing proposal, Representative Barto sent the city a letter stating that she would request an investigation by the Attorney General if the city passed the measure. Under SB 1487, any state lawmaker who believes a city is violating the Arizona Constitution can submit a request to the Attorney General for an investigation. Despite these warnings and the plain language of Prop 126, which prohibits exactly what the city did here, the City Council ignored the law and passed the fee increases.

The Attorney General now has 30 days to investigate this complaint. If the city is found to be in violation of the Arizona Constitution, it have 30 days to come into compliance, or risk losing significant funding from the state. The Attorney General can also send the matter directly to the Arizona Supreme Court for expedited review. 

The city was informed that its increase on ride-sharing fees at Sky Harbor was illegal. The city persisted in passing those massive increases anyway. It will now have to answer for that decision. 

To see a list of all pending 1487 claims, you can visit the Attorney General’s website here.

Jenna Bentley is the Director of Government Relations at the Goldwater Institute.



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