Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Phoenix City Council Approves Tax on Meat, Vegetables and Milk

Remember how we appear to be rebuffing efforts in New Mexico to reinstate a tax on basic groceries?  

That doesn't seem to be the case in the largest city in our neighhboring state of Arizona.  According to the Arizona Republic, the Phoenix City Council approved a 2% sales tax on basic groceries for a period of five years.  The tax is due to take effect on April 1 and expire after five years. 

Phoenix has not taxed food items since the 1960s. But authorities claim the revenues from the tax are needed to fund police, firefighters and other city operations.

Here's an excerpt from a recent article
The tax on milk, meat, vegetables and other food purchased by shoppers will generate an estimated $12.5 million for the fiscal year that ends June 30. It will raise another $50 million for fiscal 2011.
Read full article

The proponents attempted to reduce public opposition to the tax by including a clause that exempts food purchased with food stamps.

And there is still a small chance that the Phoenix food tax could still be reversed.  Mayor Phil Gordon said the City Council has the option of reversing its decision after it hears from the public during 15 budget hearings planned for February.

Thanks to Cathy Brechtelsbauer of Sioux Falls, S.D.,for the heads up on this article.  Cathy has been a leading voice in the effort to repeal the food tax in South Dakota.

Cathy doesn't think there should be a food tax anywhere because it has a disproportionate impact on low-income families.  Here's what she says about the Phoenix effort. 
Please urge people to contact folks they know in Phoenix and ask them to speak up at the public meetings and to the city council asking for a reversal of this decision to tax food. They could ask for tax on non-essentials.

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