By Jenna Bentley
December 5, 2019
On December 18, the Phoenix City Council is scheduled to take a re-vote on the controversial implementation of a 200% fee increase imposed on ride-sharing service to and from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. As we have previously written, the City of Phoenix wants to pass these fees on ride-share users to pay roughly 80% of the costs to operate the Sky Train.
Earlier this week, we sent a letter to the Phoenix City Council and Mayor Kate Gallego informing them that such fees would violate Arizona’s Constitution. In 2018, Arizona voters overwhelmingly passed Prop 126, which prohibits cities from adding or increasing any new tax or fee on services provided in Arizona. Under Prop 126, both the addition of a new drop-off fee at Sky Harbor and the increase in the fee to be picked up there, are impermissible. If the Phoenix City Council continues to pursue this exorbitant fee, they will open the City up to litigation for this unconstitutional action.
Today, Representative Nancy Barto issued a statement regarding the City of Phoenix’s proposal, also observing that the City’s proposed fees on ride-sharing services violate the Arizona Constitution.
“If the Phoenix City Council moves forward with its current support for this plan, I intend to file a SB 1487 complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office,” Representative Barto said.
“Arizona has a thriving economy. If we want to keep it that way, we must be vigilant in ensuring that government stays in its limits and creates a friendly environment for businesses to operate,” Barto said. “Raising fees on popular ride-sharing services at our airport will have the opposite effect, discouraging these services from continuing to operate in Phoenix and robbing Arizonans of work opportunities as drivers and convenient, affordable services as passengers. Most importantly, the voters have already spoken. Phoenix’s action would be unconstitutional, and I intend to push back.”
Under SB 1487, any state lawmaker who believes a city is violating the state constitution can submit a request to the Attorney General for an investigation. If a violation is found, the City of Phoenix would have 30 days to come into compliance, or would lose any state shared monies it would have otherwise received.
The Phoenix City Council has now received notice that this proposed money-grab is bad-business for the City, unconstitutional, and could result in litigation and the loss of state funds.
We urge the Council members to vote “no” at their December 18th hearing.