By Linda Kor
A ruling made by the Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the decision of a lower court to allow the one percent sales tax initiative to remain on the November ballot.
The incident arose after Secretary of State Ken Bennett’s office received a photocopy of the initiative from supporters that omitted two paragraphs outlining how some of the one-cent tax will be spent. As a re-sult, Bennett had the initiative removed from the ballot, citing improper filing according to state statute. But while the paper copy was incorrect, a correct version of the initiative had also been submitted to Bennett’s office on compact disc. The correct version was the one circulated throughout the public, receiving the 290,000 required signatures to make the ballot.
A ruling in Maricopa County Superior Court overruled the Bennett’s decision and placed the item back on the ballot. An appeal by Bennett’s office brought the matter before the Supreme Court, resulting in this final ruling.
In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Bennett said, “We’re satisfied to have a decision from the Supreme Court that the plaintiff’s mistaken submittal of two versions of the initiative was not a fatal error, and they substantially complied with statute. Our office was never trying to keep the measure on or off the ballot; rather it was about being certain that state law was sufficiently followed. The error had never oc-curred in Arizona before and it was important to seek a judicial resolution at the state’s highest court.”
By Linda Kor