Arizona has a $400 million love/hate relationship with tax credits

The Arizona Republic
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Alia Beard Rau

When it comes to state-government finances, Republican and Democratic lawmakers agree on one thing: They hate tax credits.

You would never know by watching them.

Over the past two decades, the Legislature has created dozens of income-tax credits, starving the state's general fund of more than $400 million a year that instead goes directly to taxpayers' favorite schools, charities and business ventures.

State leaders agree the piecemeal handouts are destroying Arizona's tax system — by overcomplicating it, some say, and by removing too much from the state coffers, others argue.

Still, lawmakers continue to pile on more credits.

It's a bad policy that feels good.