The Arizona House Ways and Means Committee is like an extended game of tax giveaway wack-a-mole. I have lost count how many tax giveaway bills Republicans have passed since January.
This week, we heard SB1027, which dramatically increases a tax credit that currently benefits only poor children with chronic diseases or physical disabilities.
Tax credits take money out of the general fund. SB1027 would dramatically expand this tax credit from helping poor children with certain medical conditions to helping *anyone* of any age and any income who has a chronic illness or physical disability.
This bill is overly broad, and it has an unknown cost and no sunset date. Most of the committee testimony focused on one physical therapy center and gym in Tucson that serves clients with Parkinson’s disease, but there are many chronic diseases, most notably diabetes. More than 600,000 Arizonans have diabetes, and another 1.8 million have prediabetes.
The public health problem of helping people lead healthier lives with chronic disease goes far beyond what would be fiscally responsible to fund through tax credits. Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial insurance cover some services. If more is needed, the Health and Human Services Committee should look at it– instead of going to Ways and Means for a tax credit.
This bill got out of committee with all Republicans voting yes for more tax giveaways. All Dems stood with #InvestInEd and voted NO on tax giveaways.
[In the photo above are the four Democrats who sit on the House Ways and Means Committee: Reps. Andres Cano, Pamela Powers Hannley, Lorenzo Sierra (front row) and Mitzi Epstein (back row).]