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Voters reject Prop 116 on business property tax

From the archive: This story is more than 10 years old.

Voters reject Prop 116 on business property tax

PHOENIX – Voters on Tuesday rejected a ballot measure to reduce taxes many businesses pay on property ranging from machinery to desks.

Unofficial returns showed Proposition 116 trailing by a narrow margin.

Dubbed the Small Business Creation Act, the measure would have raised the annual tax exemption on property used for business, agriculture and trade from $68,079 to an amount equal to the combined earnings of 50 Arizona workers – estimated at $2.4 million.

It would have applied to property purchased during or after 2013.

Supporters said the change would create an incentive for businesses to invest in equipment and add jobs.

There was no formal opposition to the measure, something that Farrell Quinlan, Arizona director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said worked against the ballot measure.

People thought it "was a no-brainer", Quinlan said.

He said only about $66,000 was raised to support the proposition and it would have taken about ten times that amount to reach voters.

It was hard to win without a well-funded 'yes' campaign, Quinlan said. Confusion, he said, was "our biggest enemy."

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimated Proposition 116 would cost homeowners $8.2 million overall to make up for the tax revenue. It said the impact would be negligible – an estimated $3 a year for a homeowner in the Mesa Unified School District, for example.

"Vote Yes on 116" had received contributions worth $57,474 through Oct. 25, of which $35,421 came from the National Federation of Independent Business.

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