Next Friday, December 13, Judge Katherine Cooper of the Maricopa County Superior Court will hear oral arguments in Biggs v. Brewer.
In that lawsuit, the Goldwater Institute ‘s legal team is representing dozens of Arizona legislators and their constituents against the unconstitutional actions taken by Governor Jan Brewer and some legislators when they voted in June to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.This is an extremely important lawsuit.
Proponents of the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion are trying to do an end-run around Prop 108, the most important taxpayer protection in the Arizona Constitution.
Under Prop 108, it is supposed to take a two-thirds majority of the legislature to raise taxes.
But Medicaid expansion proponents want to allow an unelected bureaucrat at AHCCCS to raise state taxes (mainly hospital bed taxes) by hundreds of millions of dollars per year — without the constitutionally necessary two-thirds vote of the Legislature!
In their efforts to squeeze a giant hospital bed tax (“provider tax”) through a tiny loophole in Prop 108, Governor Brewer and others are trying to pretend that the provider tax is not a tax — even though the provider tax is a TAX under the Social Security Act. They are also trying to pretend that: the provider tax is not allocated according to formula, although it plainly is; the provider tax does not have a limit, although it is limited by federal law to six percent; and, we don’t know how much money will be raised by the tax, even though the governor and some Legislators are building budgets around the expected revenue. Gov. Brewer and her allies are also in violation of Arizona’s constitutional regime of separation of powers.
History shows that removing taxpayer protections inevitably leads to higher taxes.
If Gov. Brewer and a group of Arizona legislators are allowed to unconstitutionally delegate to an unelected AHCCCS bureaucrat the authority to impose gigantic taxes on hospital patients, that action will kill Prop 108, clearing the way for other departments and agencies to raise taxes without getting approval by legislative supermajorities.
The oral arguments in Biggs v. Brewer will be heard from 3:00 to 3:45 pm in Courtroom 514 at the East Court Building at 101 West Jefferson.
Seating will be very limited, so if you wish to attend, we recommend arriving at the court at least an hour early.