Arizona AG Brnovich says tax cut ban lawsuit could reach Supreme Court

Mar 29, 2021, 1:00 PM

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich...

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (YouTube Screenshot/Arizona Attorney General)

(YouTube Screenshot/Arizona Attorney General)

PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich believes his lawsuit over a tax cut ban in President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief law could reach the Supreme Court.

Brnovich on Thursday sued the U.S. Treasury Department over a provision in Biden’s coronavirus relief law that bars states from using the cash they get to directly or indirectly cut taxes.

The Republican contends the provision is unconstitutional because it is ambiguous and imposes on Arizona’s sovereignty by attempting to control state budget decisions.

Ohio’s attorney general filed a similar lawsuit last week.

“Hopefully, federal judges will do the right thing and say this is clearly unconstitutional and this is a violation of the spending clause and it undermines state sovereignty,” Brnovich told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Monday.

The lawsuit came despite Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen telling Brnovich in a Tuesday letter that nothing in the law prevents Arizona from cutting taxes. What it does bar is using the $4.8 billion Arizona is getting from the American Rescue Plan Act to backfill those revenue cuts with the federal money.

Gov. Doug Ducey told reporters last Monday that his plan to enact a massive tax cut this year will not be affected by restrictions in Biden’s $1.9 trillion virus funding law.

Brnovich called Yellen’s assurances “ambiguous” and in direct conflict with statements by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has publicly said that states shouldn’t be cutting taxes when they need money to combat the coronavirus and insisted on the no tax cut provision as a condition of his key vote.

“We believe it would be an incredible encroachment on state sovereignty and it would really continue this road we’re on where everything continues to be nationalized,” Brnovich said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona AG Brnovich says tax cut ban lawsuit could reach Supreme Court