Medicaid Posted on September 12, 2017 | Press Release

Arizona Supreme Court Will Hear Case on Unconstitutional Medicaid Expansion Tax


Phoenix—The Arizona Supreme Court has decided to hear a case on whether the legislature illegally enacted the state’s Medicaid expansion tax when it failed to comply with the Arizona Constitution’s supermajority requirement.

In 1992, Arizona voters enacted a constitutional requirement designed to shield themselves from one of the most widely abused government powers: the power to tax. Prop 108 to the state constitution requires lawmakers to enact bills providing for net increases in state revenues only by a two-thirds supermajority vote.

In passing the state’s Medicaid expansion bill, the legislature fell well short of the two-thirds requirement, and the Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit representing legislators who voted against the bill. The lower court, however, held that a narrow exception to Prop 108 essentially guts the supermajority provision and allows simple majorities to authorize unelected bureaucrats to impose new levies on Arizona’s taxpayers.

“We are pleased that the Arizona Supreme Court has decided to hear the lawsuit and clarify the Prop 108’s supermajority provision,” Goldwater Institute Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur said. “At issue is the fate of a critical voter-approved constitutional protection, which was put in place to ensure responsible and accountable lawmaking. If the lower court’s decision is allowed to stand it has disastrous consequences for future revenue-raising measures.”


About the Goldwater Institute

The Goldwater Institute drives results by working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the constitutions of the United States and all 50 states. With the blessing of its namesake, the Goldwater Institute opened in 1988. Its early years focused on defending liberty in Barry Goldwater’s home state of Arizona.  Today, the Goldwater Institute is a national leader for constitutionally limited government respected by the left and right for its adherence to principle and real world impact. No less a liberal icon than the New York Times calls the Goldwater Institute a “watchdog for conservative ideals” that plays an “outsize role” in American political life.     


Jennifer Tiedemann is Communications Manager at the Goldwater Institute, where she shares the Institute’s work with audiences across the country. Most recently, Jennifer was a Senior Associate in the Public ... Read

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