Gammage & Burnham partners Michael King, Cameron Artigue and Christopher Hering helped protect funding for stadiums and other sports and tourism-related ventures with a recent victory in the Arizona Supreme Court. (Saban Rent-a-Car v. Arizona Department of Revenue). This victory ends the long-running challenge (this litigation lasted 14 years) to the surcharges on car rentals that have funded such efforts for decades.
The challengers–a group of car-rental companies–initially persuaded the court that surcharges on car rentals violated an obscure provision in Arizona’s Constitution, which requires taxes related to the operation of motor vehicles to be expended on highways. This ruling threatened the ability of Arizona’s Sports & Tourism Authority to retire bonds used to fund many projects, and jeopardized funding that has been used to promote tourism and economic development since 2000. Gammage & Burnham represented a consortium of convention and visitors bureaus from many local municipalities, who joined together to oppose the trial court’s ruling.
Participating as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in Arizona’s appellate court, Gammage & Burnham safeguarded the protection of this funding source. In a ruling issued on February 25, the Arizona Supreme Court concluded that the car rental tax is legal and permissible in all respects.
From Rachel Sacco, President & CEO, Experience Scottsdale:
“Through the work of Gammage & Burnham, Experience Scottsdale and the other Valley destination marketing organizations thankfully can rely on continued revenue from Prop 302. If Prop 302 funding had not been supported by the courts, the loss of revenue would have led to a devastating impact on our ability to attract visitors to the destination, which would hurt local businesses, threaten jobs, and reduce tax collections that support our City’s services for residents.”
If you have any questions about the Arizona Constitution or your rights within them, please contact Michael King, founding partner at Gammage & Burnham.