KINGMAN – As a freshman in the state House of Representatives, Paul Mosley, R-Lake Havasu City, made it a point to become a champion of the taxpayer.
That’s why the certified public accountant and father of seven ran for office last year. And Arizona Free Enterprise Club graded him “A+” on the 2017 Legislative scorecard.
“I’m definitely representing constituents of Mohave County as the most conservative representative,” Mosley said Wednesday at the Mohave Republican Forum.
He was the only representative to vote against a bill that allows counties to levy a 10-cent increase in the fuel tax upon voter approval.
He also sponsored a bill that increases the state personal exemption for every working Arizonan from $2,100 a year to $2,150. It will increase by $50 again next year.
“It’s the first tax break Arizona taxpayers have had in 25 years,” Mosley said.
He came up with a percentage for the transaction privilege tax for gasoline, which is currently 18 cents a gallon for light vehicles and 26 cents a gallon for diesel-fueled vehicles. It hasn’t moved since 1991.
He understands the need for higher taxes to fund road maintenance, but wants the levy to be indexed so that it fluctuates with the price of fuel.
“My idea is not to raise taxes, but protect for inflation,” the lawmaker said. “It’ll be a set percentage, depending on the price of fuel.”
One of the bills he passed as part of the Banking and Insurance Committee was the choice of a defined contribution plan, similar to a 401(k) retirement plan, for new hires at the Department of Corrections.
“We need to get as many new hires on the defined contribution plan as possible. It’s good for the state and it’s good for employees. You can take the money with you from job to job,” Mosley said.
Mosley made national headlines in May when he said he wanted to repeal compulsory attendance at public schools.
He rebuked Rep. Gina Cobb, R-Kingman, at the Mohave Republican Forum when she spoke in favor of “compulsory education.”
“It’s compulsory attendance, not compulsory education,” he interjected. “You can’t force a kid to be educated.”
It’s not the state’s responsibility to educate children; it’s the parents’ responsibility, Mosley said. They’ve got to clothe their children, feed them, house them and educate them.
“I’m not against education. I’m a proponent of education, but we need parental involvement to go the next level,” he said. “We need better choices and better opportunities. There’s always going to be a few kids that don’t want to be there, no matter what you do.”
Mosley also disagreed with Cobb on Mohave Electric Co-op using unclaimed funds for scholarships. A recent interpretation of Department of Revenue policy determined the money couldn’t go to scholarships.
“We’re talking $1,700, and it did not make it by one vote,” Cobb said with a glance toward Mosley.
Mosley said the reason he didn’t vote for the bill is because the money is escheated, which transfers the property of someone who dies without heirs to the state.
“That money doesn’t belong to the electric co-op, it belongs to the people and can be claimed by heirs forever,” Mosley said.
“The people are the co-op, the people that belong to that co-op,” Cobb responded.