Glendale sales tax hike ruling could come Friday

August 23, 2012

The Arizona Court of Appeals heard arguments Thursday over whether an initiative that aims to reverse a sales tax increase by the City of Glendale can appear on the November ballot. 

Save Glendale Now Members of the group Save Glendale Now. (Photo by Carolyn Dryer/The Glendale Star)

In June, the Glendale City Council approved a 0.7 percent sales tax increase. The money will help Glendale avoid budget cuts and pay management fees for the city-owned Arena.

The group Save Glendale Now collected enough signatures for a ballot initiative. But it was rejected by the city clerk, citing election law violations … among them, that the initiative aims to reverse the council’s decision – a matter for referenda, not initiatives.

Craig Tindall Glendale City Attorney Craig Tindall. (Photo by Carolyn Dryer/The Glendale Star)

A county judge upheld that decision. Thursday, attorneys argued before the state Court of Appeals. Glendale City Attorney Craig Tindall said the language used by Save Glendale Now is misleading.

“The intent of the language in there is to suggest that if this measure is enacted that it would reverse – their word – what our current tax rate is, and it does not do that,” Tindall said.

The two sides also argued over several other issues, including whether Glendale tried to keep the measure from appearing on the ballot in a timely manner and whether a city clerk has the authority to subjectively analyze an initiative’s language.

“That’s one that’s a big concern," said Steve Tully, who represents Save Glendale Now. "Obviously we just want to win, and what the grounds are we’re not overly concerned with.”

The head of the three-judge panel said this is an important issue, and that they plan to rule by Friday.

Listen to the complete hearing.

Updated 8/24/2012 at 12:07 p.m.