Arizona Supreme Court Could Find New Phoenix Uber/Lyft Airport Tax Unconstitutional

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Posted by Margaret Mire on Friday, January 17th, 2020, 4:38 PM PERMALINK

Phoenix’s onerous airport ride-sharing fee increase could soon be overturned by the Arizona Supreme Court.

State Representative Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) asked Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) to see if it violates a provision of the state Constitution – which was put in place by voters in 2018 – that prohibits both new and increased taxes on service. "It [the new airport ride-sharing fee increase] is such a blatant disregard of the will of Arizona voters who passed Prop. 126 in 2018," said Barto.

General Brnovich wants the court to issue a decision on the constitutionality of this Uber and Lyft fee increase. “Our office will promptly file a special action with the Arizona Supreme Court to strike down Phoenix’s unconstitutional rideshare fee and prevent the ordinance from taking effect,” tweeted General Brnovich.

“This is going to be a long-running fight with greedy politicians who want to tax transportation and take advantage of a monopoly – in this case access to an airport – to raise taxes. The attorney general did the right thing in noting this was unconstitutional. Every state should have constitutional protections against these abuses, but until then we are going to have to be vigilant and fight these tax hikes one after the other. They are coming to an airport near you,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

The airport ride-sharing fee increase to $4 – a rate that is among the highest in the country – for both pickups and drop-offs at Sky Harbor International Airport is set to take place on February 1 of this year. Adding insult to injury, the fee will increase by 25 cents per year until it reaches $5 in 2024. Under previous law, the airport ride-sharing fee was $2.66 and charged only on pick-ups.

The fee increase was imposed last month by a 7-2 vote of the Phoenix City Council, despite Uber and Lyft saying it would cause them to end their airport services. Councilman Jim Warring and Councilman Sal DiCiccio were the two no votes.

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