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US Supreme Court upholds Arizona rental-car tax ruling

(Facebook Photo; AP Photo)

PHOENIX – The U.S. Supreme Court has chosen not to review a lower court ruling that an Arizona car-rental tax on tourists to fund sports facilities was legal.

The ruling Monday, the first day of the new session, protected a major revenue source for Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority. The money goes to pay off bonds for stadiums and other athletic facilities.

“We are pleased that … the court has affirmed that voters in Maricopa County had full legal authority to help fund State Farm Stadium, tourism promotion, Cactus League facilities and youth and amateur sports grants when they passed Proposition 302,” Sports and Tourism Authority Chairman Doug Yonko said in a statement.

The state Supreme Court upheld the surcharge to customers in Maricopa and Pima counties in February. The law was approved by voters in metro Phoenix in 2000.

Car rental companies had challenged the surcharge on the grounds that it violated a section of the Arizona Constitution that required revenues relating to the operation of vehicles to be spent on public highways.

A lower-court judge had ruled in favor of the rental companies, saying the surcharge violated the constitutional provision and ordering a refund of the tax estimated at about $150 million to the companies.

But the Arizona Court of Appeals reversed the decision in 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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