Arizona House to reconsider 2 rejected bills

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

 PHOENIX (AP) -- A proposal to reduce income taxes is one of two Republican bills that will be reconsidered Tuesday after being voted down last week by the Arizona House.

Legislators are scheduled to again vote on House bills 2465 by Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, and 2541 by Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa.

The bill by Mesnard would reduce income taxes once the state is allowed to collect Internet sales taxes. Democrats say the taxes already are owed, so the change only closes a loophole.

The bill would require state tax authorities to determine how much in new sales taxes were collected in online sales in the first year and reduce the next year's income tax rate by the same amount. Estimates of revenue from Internet sales tax vary from $100 million to more than $700 million in additional state and local sales tax dollars per year.

However, the proposed federal law that would allow states to collect Internet sales taxes awaits action in the U.S. House. The U.S. Senate passed the bill, known as the Marketplace Fairness Act, last year. It has support from business groups and state governments.

Townsend's bill would allow Arizona cities and towns to enter restricted federal land without permission in emergencies.

Townsend says she brought back her measure because she thinks she can get the votes needed this time around. Several members were absent when it first came up March 4. The bill was defeated on a 28-27 vote. It lost support because House attorneys said it was in conflict with federal law and likely unconstitutional.

Townsend says she was inspired by the battle between the city of Tombstone and the federal government over access to repair its water supply system in the Coronado National Forest. She says local authorities should have the right to go in where needed without being granted approval first in cases of emergency.