There are several key business-related items that may appear on Arizona’s legislative calendar in 2006 including:
Business property tax
In 2005, business property taxes were levied at 25% of the full cash value of a business. This was in comparison to 10% for homeowners. This year, the rate will drop to 24.5% and will continue to drop each year by a half-percent until in reaches 20% in 2015. Many believe that the tax rate should be lowered further to facilitate a more competitive business environment. . However, the estimated $350 million in tax revenues would be lost or possibly translated into a rise in taxes for homeowners.
Increase in Minimum Wage
The Arizona Minimum Wage Coalition is trying to get an initiative on the Fall 2006 ballot which would raise the hourly minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.75 in 2007. After that, it would be adjusted annually for inflation. Businesses earning less than $500,000 in yearly gross revenues would be exempt and remain at $5.15.
In the Summer of 2005, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that laws denying compensation to workers who tested positive for drugs or alcohol at the time of an on-the-job injury were unconstitutional. They concluded that while alcohol consumption and drug use “undeniably increase the chances of being injured on the job,” it cannot be said that they always are the cause of an injury. Business associations that oppose the ruling are pushing for a constitutional amendment to make it legal to deny benefits where drugs or alcohol were present.
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