Tag Archives: Ruling

GPEC position aligned with WTO ruling on tariffs

A ruling by the World Trade Organization earlier last week affirmed the position the Greater Phoenix Economic Council held in 2012, opposing the countervailing duties placed on Chinese-manufactured solar panels.

The ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) counters the position taken by the International Trade Commission (ITC) in 2012, which imposed tariffs on Chinese-manufactured photovoltaic cells and modules. In a formal letter to the US Department of Commerce, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) strongly opposed the tariffs on the grounds the duties would have a detrimental effect on the existing solar and renewable energy industry in the Greater Phoenix region.

“We are encouraged by the decision of the WTO, and are optimistic the US will move quickly to reverse its course on these tariffs,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “Our state leaders have enacted sound pro-business policies, including renewable energy tax credits, which have resulted in significant investment to the region. The 2012 decision by the ITC was completely antithetical to those efforts.”

The ITC is currently considering additional rounds of countervailing duties on solar goods from China; however the recent announcement from the WTO suggests bringing the US measures in line with the ruling offered by the WTO.

For additional information on GPEC’s previous statements regarding this issue, please visit www.gpec.org/tariff.


Arizona allows law students take early bar exams

Law students in Arizona who are nearing graduation will have the chance to take the bar exam early in an experimental program approved by the state Supreme Court.

The experiment will run from January 2013 through December 2015 and would be available to students who are expected to graduate within 120 days of the test date and have satisfied all but eight semester hours of their course requirements.

Law students have traditionally taken the exam in July and get their results in October.

Students at Arizona’s three law schools would have the option of taking the test in February and would get back their results in June.

Proponents of the change say early tests would allow law school graduates to find work as lawyers faster.


Ruling allows sales tax hike to go on ballot

An initiative measure for a sales tax increase can appear on Arizona’s ballot this November despite a paperwork error that threatened to kill the proposal before it reached voters, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The brief order issued by a three-justice panel said it was enough that supporters of the initiative “substantially complied” with laws on initiative applications.

Supporters mistakenly filed an incorrect paper copy of their proposal with the state when they launched the initiative petition drive in March. They submitted a correct version on compact disc and attached correct copies to petitions circulated to voters.

The initiative technically hasn’t been certified yet for the ballot, but ongoing checks have already determined that supporters turned in enough petition signatures.

The initiative proposes a penny-on-the-dollar increase to take effect in 2013 upon the expiration of a same-size temporary increase.

The money would be directed to education, transportation projects and programs for children, but the two paragraphs omitted from the paper copy filed with Secretary of State Ken Bennett’s office affected how some of the money would be divided among those purposes.

Public school groups, business alliances, university students and others who support the initiative urged the justices to let the initiative go on the ballot. They said a minor paperwork mistake that was caught in time to prevent confusion shouldn’t thwart voters’ right to use the initiative process to set public policy.

Top Republican legislative leaders, a business-backed taxpayer organization and a conservative advocacy group joined elections officials in saying the initiative should be kept off the ballot because supporters didn’t follow rules that protect the integrity of the initiative process. They argued that the error caused confusion over how the sales tax would work.

Initiative supporters said the paper copy was an outdated version that lacked two paragraphs spelling how some of the sales tax revenue would be spent. They said a worker in the office of a lawyer who helped prepare the initiative printed the wrong copy to be filed.

The error wasn’t noticed until months later, before the circulated petitions were filed but after Bennett’s office posted the incomplete version on its website.

Initiative supporters sued after Bennett in June declared all the petitions invalid because the copies of the initiative attached to petitions didn’t match the paper filing with his office.

A trial judge overturned Bennett’s decision, ruling that the initiative petitions circulated to voters had the intended version of the initiative. Bennett appealed to the Supreme Court.

With the omitted two paragraphs, there would be bigger increases in funding for universities and transportation projects. Without the paragraphs, there’d be larger funding increases for K-12 education and community colleges.

The legislative budget staff said $650 million was at stake over 17 years, out of a total of $25 billion of sales tax revenue during the same period.