Brewer signs sales tax reform bill

The Arizona Republic
Friday, May 10, 2013
Jeremy Duda

Gov. Jan Brewer signed her sales tax reform bill, bringing closure to an issue that has lingered since the governor’s days in the Legislature nearly two decades ago.

At a signing ceremony at the executive tower, Brewer signed HB2111. The bill streamlines several aspects of Arizona’s complicated transaction privilege tax system, eliminating the multiple audits business must submit to and the need to file TPT paperwork with multiple jurisdictions, as well as simplifying the way that service contractors such as plumbers and electricians pay sales taxes on their materials.

Brewer said the new law, which passed with near-unanimous support after an acrimonious, session-long fight with the cities and their allies, will allow small businesses to spend less time on paperwork and more time creating jobs.

“By now, we all know that the Arizona sales tax code is the most complicated in the nation,” Brewer said. “I don’t know how many times I said over and over and over again in the last six months. Well, today is the last time. Thirty years of waiting is long enough.”

Numerous legislators, business officials and others stood behind Brewer as she hailed the passage of her number-two priority of the session. Rep. Debbie Lesko, who sponsored the bill and shepherded it through the House of Representatives, thanked the people who played key roles in its passage, including Sen. John McComish, who carried the bill through the Senate, Sen. Steve Yarbrough, who ran a key amendment that completed the reform package, Brewer aide Michael Hunter, who led the Ninth Floor’s efforts on the issue, and members of the Arizona Tax Research Association and Arizona Department of Revenue, who put in extensive work on the plan.

Lesko also thanked the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, which, along with many of the cities it represents, battled with her and Brewer over the proposal. Ultimately, the league agreed to the final version of HB2111, allowing it to move forward with just one opposing vote at the end of the legislative session.

“I also want to thank the League of Cities and Towns for hanging in there. There were some tough times. I especially appreciate that you kept your promise that once we reached a deal that you had the mayors reach out to our legislators and tell them so,” said Lesko, R-Glendale.

McComish, R-Phoenix, said the legislation will make it easier for people to do business in Arizona.

“They will be able to concentrate on what they do best and spend time playing the game and not so much time keeping score,” McComish said.