Monday, April 5, 2021

BREAKING: AZ AG Brnovich Seeks Injunction Against Biden Administration/American Rescue Plan Provision (READ Motion)

UPDATE, 4/8 at 2:30pm: The AG's office informed the court this afternoon that they have, in fact, completed service of the Complaint upon Janet Yellen/Treasury Department and the U.S. Department of Justice. (Side note: can you imagine how much certified mail those agencies have to sign for each and every day?)

This paves the way for Judge Diane Humetewa to set a hearing on the injunction requested on Monday.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed for an injunction this afternoon to knock out a provision of the American Rescue Plan which would prevent states from cutting taxes with Covid-19 relief funds received from the federal government. Calling the no-offset provision "patently unconstitutional", Arizona is asking federal judge Diane Humetewa to stop the feds from any plans to enforce it.

Today's pleading states that Arizona stands to receive approximately $4.7 billion of the $270B pot of funds. While noting that Arizona state government was hit hard by the pandemic, the AG wants the court to grant the injunction so that Governor Doug Ducey can pursue his $600M in permanent income tax cuts or the Legislature can confidently vote on measures that would offset the revenues raised by the voter-passed Invest In Ed proposition.

The federal law does have some ambiguity, which has been exemplified by conflicting interpretations by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The motion for injunction focuses on the words "directly or indirectly" in the following section of the law: 
A State or territory shall not use the funds provided under this section or transferred pursuant to section 603(c)(4) to either directly or indirectly offset a reduction in the net tax revenue of such State or territory resulting from a change in law, regulation, or administrative interpretation during the covered period that reduces any tax (by providing for a reduction in a rate, a rebate, a deduction, a credit, or otherwise) or delays the imposition of any tax or tax increase. (emphasis added)
The lawsuit was filed two weeks ago, and there is no indication on the docket that the federal government has been served yet. Briefly, the case was assigned to District Court Judge Susan Brnovich - the AG's spouse.

The Motion also comes on the same day that (AG) Brnovich went on Fox News to invite Vice President Kamala Harris to tour the U.S./Mexico border with him.
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BREAKING: AZ AG Brnovich Seeks Injunction Against Biden Administration/American Rescue Plan Provision (READ Motion)

UPDATE, 4/8 at 2:30pm: The AG's office informed the court this afternoon that they have, in fact, completed service of the Complaint upo...