Sen. Ken Cheuvront, D-Phoenix, has plenty of political courage in breaking with Gov. Janet Napolitano and the rest of his party to support a permanent repeal of a statewide property tax that finally passed the state Senate Tuesday.
Cheuvront has emerged as a libertarian voice from an unusual corner at the state Legislature, championing economic freedom and fair treatment of all business owners. Cheuvront recognizes this property tax, first suspended in 2007, is an undue burden on smaller businesses that pay far higher property tax ratios than homeowners and also don’t benefit from tax-break zones established to recruit large employers.
But Cheuvront’s willingness to vote for a permanent repeal raises an interesting dilemma for Napolitano. The governor had been counting on Democrats to stand united behind her while internal disagreement among Senate Republicans kept the permanent repeal from coming to a final vote this year. Napolitano desires to be known as a tax-cutter but also wants to limit possible spending reductions to her political priorities during the state’s current fiscal crisis.
Still, it’s an open question whether Napolitano actually will veto a permanent repeal when it reaches her desk, and risk her legacy being saddled with a tax increase. Cheuvront’s convictions gave us a chance to find out.