AG Brnovich Determines City of Phoenix Rideshare Ordinance Likely Violates Arizona Constitution

AGO Will File Special Action with Arizona Supreme Court to End Illegal Tax Scheme

PHOENIX – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced today that he believes the City of Phoenix violated the Arizona Constitution when it imposed new rideshare fees for companies operating at Sky Harbor. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) released an investigative report concluding that the Phoenix City Council very likely acted in violation of Article IX, § 25 of the Arizona Constitution.

"The Phoenix City Council is placing its policy preferences above the rights of the people to whom the government must always answer," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Arizona voters clearly spoke when they overwhelmingly approved Proposition 126. We will now take this matter to the Arizona Supreme Court and seek an expedited ruling. This is the most definitive way to provide clarity on the law, protect Arizona taxpayers, and hold the City of Phoenix accountable.”

In 2018, Arizona voters passed Proposition 126 with over 64% of the vote. It amended Arizona's constitution to prohibit a city from increasing or imposing any new tax or fee on a person or business for providing a service in Arizona.

The AGO will promptly file two actions with the Arizona Supreme Court to strike down the City of Phoenix’s unconstitutional rideshare fee and prevent the ordinance from taking effect. If the high court agrees with the AGO’s determination, Phoenix’s ordinance will be void.

Copy of the AGO investigative report.

1487 Investigations Background

Since the legislature enacted SB1487 in 2016, the AGO has conducted 13 investigations of cities or towns that allegedly violated state law or the constitution by enacting illegal ordinances or taking illegal actions. To date, the Attorney General's Office has determined four ordinances "may violate" state law (including Phoenix’s rideshare ordinance), two ordinances "do violate” state law, and four ordinances “do not violate” state law. Three requests for investigations were withdrawn by lawmakers. Six ordinances were ultimately repealed or amended by cities or towns as a result of AGO investigations.

In 2016, the AGO determined the City of Tucson's ordinance allowing for the destruction of confiscated firearms "may violate" state law. That case went to the Arizona Supreme Court, and the City of Tucson was forced to reverse its illegal gun destruction policy.