Sales tax, Arizona style

Evening Observer
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
John D'Agostino

All taxes and fees are a problem in New York state.

In Arizona, the problem is not with property taxes — or taxes paid to multiple governments since there is one school district and one municipal entity. The Grand Canyon state, however, does have high sales taxes, which rates it second in the nation. In the top spot is Tuba City, Ariz., with a rate of 13.725 percent. That is nearly twice the amount for Chautauqua County, which is 7.75 percent.

According to the Arizona Republic, the high sales tax rate reflects the state’s decision to rely less on income taxes. "(Arizona lawmakers) have a tendency to lean toward the sales tax because they view that to be the least offensive," Kevin McCarthy, president of the Arizona Tax Research Association told the Republic. "As a result, that’s where we’ve gone and we continue to go back to the well."

Income taxes in Arizona also are much lower than in the Empire State.

But here’s the real kicker — the water rate. As municipalities here continue to pile on the fees for water — see Fredonia’s latest budget proposal — Arizona’s rates are lower than almost all of Western New York.

Don’t forget, we live near one of the five Great Lakes. Arizona is in a desert and its costs are still cheaper.

State mandate? Absolutely not. It’s another one of those poor local decisions that leave us awash in too much government.