ANALYSIS BY LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
The temporary state sales tax rate of 6.6 percent enacted on May 28, 2010 expires on May 31, 2013, resulting in a decrease of the sales tax rate to 5.6 percent. Proposition 204 would permanently increase the state sales tax rate by one cent per dollar beginning June 1, 2013, to a rate of 6.6 percent. The proposition anticipates the tax increase to generate at least one billion dollars. The monies collected from the tax increase would be used for educational programs, public transportation infrastructure projects and human services programs as summarized below. Proposition 204 also would require the Legislature to annually increase specific components of the school finance formula. In addition, Proposition 204 would provide that the specified funding levels for the state’s kindergarten-through-twelfth-grade and state university systems cannot be reduced below the levels for fiscal year 2011-2012 or 2012-2013, whichever is greater, that limits on school district bonds and overrides cannot be below those in effect for 2012, that vehicle license tax and related highway user revenues cannot be diverted for any other purpose and that the sales tax base applicable to the proposed one cent sales tax increase cannot be adjusted in a way that causes the amount of sales tax collected to be less than the amount collected in the prior year, plus six per cent, unless there is a corresponding change in the tax base that results in no reduction in the amount of sales tax collected. The Legislature would not have the ability to adjust the new tax increase disbursements under any circumstances.
Proposition 204 would annually distribute the first one billion dollars of additional sales tax as follows, or, if one billion dollars is not collected, the money would be proportionally distributed as follows:
1. Five hundred million dollars into the “quality education and performance fund”, to be used to assist school districts and charter schools to comply with assessment and accountability requirements, including improvement plans for failing schools, to provide teacher and principal evaluation systems based in part on student achievement, to improve pupil reading proficiency by the end of third grade and to implement a system of testing and awarding Grand Canyon diplomas to high school students who demonstrate readiness for college level math and English.
2. Ten million dollars into the “education learning and accountability fund”, to be used by the state Department of Education to maintain a system for compiling longitudinal student level data and school finance data to meet state and federal reporting requirements.
3. Ninety million dollars into the “education accountability and improvement fund” to provide performance funding to school districts and charter schools based on performance measures to be adopted by the State Board of Education relating to academic progress, parental satisfaction and student engagement, to provide teacher training and for technology necessary to implement statewide academic standards and assessments. Monies in this fund that remain unspent for three consecutive years would be transferred to the School Facilities Board, first to pay down existing school construction debt and then to fund construction or repair of school buildings.
4. One hundred million dollars into the “state infrastructure fund”, to be used by the state Department of Transportation for costs associated with a variety of transportation infrastructure projects, the acceleration of highway improvement projects, for public-private partnerships relating to transportation projects, to fund environmentally sensitive designs and to fund transportation-related wildlife improvement projects and pay for bonding and other finance costs related to transportation projects.
5. Twenty-five million dollars into the “children’s health insurance program fund”, to be used for costs associated with the current publicly funded health care program for children under nineteen years of age whose household income is at or below two hundred per cent of the federal poverty level.
6. One hundred million dollars into the “family stability and self-sufficiency fund”, to be distributed by the Governor’s office to state agencies and private nonprofit entities as a match for federal funds for programs that provide for the basic needs of children, families and vulnerable adults whose household income is below two hundred per cent of the federal poverty level.
7. Fifty million dollars into the “university scholarship, operations and infrastructure fund”, to be distributed according to rules adopted by the Board of Regents. Between fifty and sixty per cent of the fund monies must be used to provide university scholarships to resident students based on financial need or academic achievement, and the remaining fund monies would be allocated to the three state universities for operating and infrastructure expenses based on performance in meeting goals set by the Board of Regents.
8. Up to one hundred twenty-five million dollars to the state general fund to fund the required inflationary adjustment for the kindergarten-through-twelfth-grade school system.
Proposition 204 would annually distribute the amount of additional sales tax over one billion dollars as follows:
1. Thirty-three per cent to school districts and charter schools, based on the proportion of students participating in the federal free or reduced lunch program, to improve student achievement for those participating students and to provide voluntary preschool programs.
2. Twenty-two and one-half per cent to community college districts, provisional community college districts and Indian tribal postsecondary institutions to support scholarship and career and technical training programs.
3. Nine per cent to joint technical education districts to support career and vocational training.
4. Two per cent to the state Department of Education to fund adult education programs.
5. Twenty-two and one-half per cent to the “university scholarship, operations and infrastructure fund”.
6. Eleven per cent to the “state infrastructure fund”.
Proposition 204 would also require that an independent third-party audit of fund distributions be conducted every five years for all distributions, except there is no state audit required for the children’s health insurance program fund, the family stability and self-sufficiency fund, the state general fund and to Indian tribal postsecondary educational institutions.
ANALYSIS BY THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE BUDGET COMMITTEE
State law requires the Joint Legislative Budget Committee Staff to prepare a summary of the fiscal impact of certain ballot measures. Proposition 204 would enact a 1 cent per dollar transaction privilege and use tax (“sales tax”) and allocate those monies to specified programs.
The 1 cent tax is projected to generate $971 million in revenue in its first year. Of that amount, $753 million would be distributed to education, $97 million to transportation and $121 million to human service programs.
The proposition would also have the following fiscal impacts:
1) Specified funding levels for the state’s kindergarten through 12th grade and state university systems cannot be reduced below the levels for fiscal year 2011-2012 or 2012-2013, whichever is greater.
2) Specific components of the K-12 school finance formula would be annually adjusted for inflation. This increase would initially be paid from the 1 cent sales tax. Given the proposition’s allocation formula, the 1 cent sales tax is projected to fully cover the cost of the cumulative increases through approximately 2018 and partially cover the cumulative cost after that time.
3) The limits on school district bonds and overrides cannot be below those in effect for 2012.
4) Vehicle license tax and related highway user revenues cannot be transferred to any other fund. Highway user revenues may continue to fund the Department of Public Safety’s Highway Patrol.
5) The sales tax base cannot be adjusted in a way that causes the amount of sales tax collected to be less than the amount collected in the prior year, plus six per cent, unless there is a corresponding change in the tax base that results in no reduction in the amount of sales tax collected.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST 204
TEMPORARY -def : not permanent, lasting for a limited time . Arizona voters approved an additional 1% temporary sales tax to end in 2013. At that time, there was a state financial crisis caused by such factors as a lackluster economy, falling tax revenues, a weak-willed legislature and spendthrift governor. The crisis is over. An improving economy with a more fiscally responsible legislature & governor have even created a budget surplus or rainy-day fund. Continuing this tax is unnecessary & potentially damaging to the economy 1. A sales tax of any sort is regressive hurting those with lower, middle or fixed incomes. 2. High sales taxes stifle “big ticket” discretionary spending. Currently, Arizona has the 10 th highest state sales tax, and 11 th highest state/local sales tax average. 3. High sales taxes encourage out-of-state & internet purchases resulting in zero-tax revenue. 4. This measure earmarks half of the first half-billion collected to fund education ( without strings)?? Other funds are earmarked for roads, universities, and misc. construction. We have a voter elected legislature to determine spending priorities as they are needed. Saddling ourselves to a rigid pre-determined spending policy could have dire consequences in the future.
Finally, keep in mind that many in government, construction & education are licking their chops at the prospect of this multi-billion dollar windfall. Let’s keep some control of the state’s purse strings in our hands, as well as more money in our pockets. VOTE NO ON THIS IRRESPONSIBLE TAX INCREASE.
Tom Vana, Tucson
Farm Bureau Supports a ” NO ” Vote on Quality Jobs and Education Act Arizona does not need more budgeting by the ballot box, nor do we need to further hamstring our legislature. We will hold them accountable at the ballot box. Our governor and legislature are constitutionally required to balance the budget. Every permanent earmark makes that job harder. AZFB supported the temporary [emphasis on “temporary”] sales tax as an emergency measure, but the time for the sales tax increase has passed and it is time for the legislature to continue to do the things necessary to get our state’s fiscal house in order. The twelve earmarks are more like the twelve days of Christmas…year after year after year.
Kevin G. Rogers, President, Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, Gilbert
James W. Klinker, Chief Administrative Officer, Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, Gilbert Paid for by Arizona Farm Bureau Federation
Dear Voter, I urge you to vote No on Proposition 204. We don’t need this type of California, union-style budgeting in Arizona. Two years ago – during some of our state’s toughest times – Arizona voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 100, a three-year tax increase needed to stave off drastic cuts to education. I was proud to lead that effort, and I have continued to fight for measures that provide additional funding for critical education reforms that increase student achievement. Unfortunately, Proposition 204 is not one of those. Proposition 204 only pretends to fund the reforms we desperately need. Proponents of this measure, mostly unions and their supporters, want you to commit to permanently pay 18% more in state sales taxes – without requiring any reforms or guaranteeing any results. And all of this before the current sales tax has even expired! They want to treat failing schools the same as successful schools. They want to claim that funds will be used to increase teacher pay and implement higher academic standards while, in fact, neither of those things is actually required. Proposition 204 is overly-complicated and confusing. Even experts cannot agree what happens to the tax dollars collected. A school funding proposal shouldn’t require a degree in high finance in order to follow the money. We can do better than Proposition 204. Let’s fund the results we want, starting with the resources we have. Let’s couple any new revenues with meaningful reforms that will actually improve student achievement and graduation rates. Let’s reward our star teachers and principals with pay that recognizes their outstanding performance. Otherwise, we will look back and see billions more of our tax dollars spent without any clear improvements for our children. Be wise with your money and vote No on Proposition 204!
Jan Brewer, Governor, Phoenix
Why you should vote NO : 1. The citizens of Arizona were PROMISED that the sales tax increase would be TEMPORARY, NOT PERMANENT . 2. The Governor and legislature have ALREADY SET $450 MILLION ASIDE , just in case we need it when the temporary tax expires. 3. Citizens CAN’T AFFORD this. Combined sales tax rates in many Arizona cities are already HIGHER than in New York City and Los Angeles. The current combined sales tax rate in Phoenix is 9.3%; Glendale’s is 10.2%, and Buckeye is at 10.3%. 4. This initiative has DEVASTATING consequences. It will effectively STRIP AWAY the right of Arizona Citizens to provide input on future budget decisions. Right now the state legislature and Governor are required to balance the state budget. The public and agencies are able to testify and give public input. Instead of public input, this initiative puts huge portions of the state budget on auto-pilot driven by formulas. Between this and the Feds forcing us to spend more and more on free healthcare, our state will have little to no money left over for other important services to our public. Agencies, like state parks, may very well be left to hang out and dry. 5. Just like other well-meaning initiatives in the past, this initiative will COST TAXPAYERS EVEN MORE MONEY than the sales tax increase. The nonpartisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimates the sales tax increase from this initiative will cover the automatic inflation index tied to it until 2018. Where are we going to get the extra money needed to fund this thing in 7 years and beyond?
Debbie Lesko, State Representative, Majority Whip, Arizona House of Representatives, Glendale
Education sales tax – Vote NO
The legislature will not adequately fund public education. Unfortunately they have the votes to cut taxes on those most able to pay and to increase vouchers and tax credits for private schools if we impose an education sales tax.
The legislature made revenue cuts as soon as the last temporary education tax passed. This time they promised to cut income taxes by an amount equal to the revenue from the sales tax if it passes. And they will give other tax breaks to the wealthy and divert more money to private schools.
BEWARE! Tax cuts would be forever because it requires a super majority to impose taxes.
Passing this sales tax would shift taxes from those most able to pay to a regressive sales tax that hurts low-income people. Higher sales taxes cut retail sales that are vital for our economic recovery.
If we refuse to bail out the legislature with this sales tax, they will have to face the public outrage (and not be elected) if they make destructive cuts in education funding.
The revenue would not cover all critical education needs. Unfortunately the proposition dictates which items to fund. This would prevent using the money for more critical needs that are not on the list. Voters are not qualified to decide how to allocate all this money.
Many supporters admit that they do not understand the important details of this proposition. So they depend on what the promoters say. Before you vote, meet with others who want quality education and are willing to pay for it with appropriate taxes. Study the issues. Listen to arguments for and against this tax.
Millions of these education dollars would be diverted to fund Arizona roads. Outrageous!
|Ruth Stokes, Tucson|
Vote No on Prop 204 – The Quality Education and Jobs Act
The Home Builders Association of Central Arizona has supported the funding of Arizona’s education system to ensure that we have an educated and qualified work force to ensure a vibrant economy for Arizona. Unfortunately, Proposition 204 does nothing to achieve those goals. We oppose Prop 204 for the following reasons: • It is a permanent one percent sales tax increase that is not a comprehensive approach to improving education in Arizona. • It lacks the ability to change the use of the funds if Arizona’s priority changes. • It allows for rewards to be distributed to schools regardless of performance level without specifying new programs or alternatives for failing schools to improve. • Was drafted in secret without public input or discussion with those who were elected by the voters to decide how the state budget is funded. • Allows a few groups to determine how funding for education, healthcare and transportation are determined while tying the hands of those who were elected to make such decisions. Let the temporary sales tax increase expire as the voters desired when they approved the tax increase in 2010. Now is not the time to raise taxes as mandated by this ill advised plan. Vote No on Prop 204
Connie Wilhelm, President, Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, Phoenix
Spencer Kamps, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, Phoenix Paid for by Home Builders Association of Central Arizona
I strongly oppose Prop. 204. Placing a permanent tax on a state still under economic duress is not good public policy. While it may sound like a solution for funding education and creating jobs, it circumvents the mechanisms that the public relies on to ensure that their hard earned dollars are well spent. This sales tax will hinder job creation. With the temporary tax in place, impact studies found that in the private sector, over 4,000 jobs were lost. Multiplier effects estimate a reduction of approximately 7,383 jobs. The unemployment rate in this state has not dropped significantly to demonstrate a strengthened economy. The rate has only decreased 2% in two years. That is hardly encouraging. This proposed tax, coupled with freezing the current tax rate, is a job killer. The tax can never be lowered. Any effort to reduce it is virtually impossible. Consumer confidence has guided our recovery, and in my estimation, they are not buying it. We are not there yet. Hiding behind its title, Prop. 204 creates new funds for infrastructure, healthcare and welfare. There is no spending flexibility whatsoever. While the proponents could have given excess revenue back to the citizens, they chose not to. That is simply offensive. Funding education is a wise investment. However, when it goes unchecked, and there are schools that do not perform to a competitive standard, the people will have no input. Like the sales tax, funding is frozen in time. There can be no change in spending priorities. You can’t be all things to all people. Prop. 204 attempts to do so by casting a large net to lure in more votes. It will fail the public by overreaching in its mission and not allowing any budgetary discretion. Please oppose Prop. 204.
Steve Pierce, President of the Arizona State Senate, Phoenix
Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry opposes Proposition 204 The Arizona Chamber has long championed the development of an education system that prepares our state’s workforce for tomorrow’s economy. Such a system may require increased funding, but it also needs greater accountability, more tools to help struggling schools and students, and clear, measurable goals. Unfortunately, Proposition 204 fails in this regard. In recent years, the Chamber supported reforms that help get more science, technology, engineering and mathematics educators into the classroom; increase accountability measures to ensure better school performance; assign easy-to-understand letter grade assessments of schools; increase school choice; increase funding to ensure third graders can read; and allow high achieving students to get a jump start on their college careers. The Chamber recognizes that a high-performing education system requires the financial resources necessary to produce a highly qualified workforce. To that end, the Chamber strongly supported Proposition 100 in 2010, which established a temporary one cent per dollar sales tax that, among other things, helped prevent deep cuts to the K-12 system during the economic downturn. Despite what proponents of Proposition 204 might say, it is not an extension of the current sales tax that is set to expire on May 31, 2013. This is an entirely new permanent tax with new implications for policymakers and our state. This new permanent tax does not increase accountability nor does it demand increased achievement from our education system. Arizona voters, who will commit around one billion dollars annually, deserve more. We urge voters to oppose Proposition 204.
Glenn Hamer, President & CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Phoenix
Doug Yonko, Chairman, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Phoenix Paid for by Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Proposition 204 (1-16-2012) – Earmarking at its worst
The Arizona Tax Research Association ( ATRA ) encourages a NO vote on Proposition 204 (1-16-2012). ATRA has long opposed ballot-box budgeting , where special interests use the initiative process to earmark revenues outside the state’s budgeting process. This initiative is arguably the most egregious earmarking effort ever placed before Arizona voters and it should be rejected. This permanent sales tax increase locks in place an estimated $25 billion in spending over the next 17 years that can never be changed. Regardless of one’s perspective on the adequacy of education or transportation funding, putting spending for 12 different earmarks on auto-pilot is simply irresponsible. The Great Recession taught us a number of lessons regarding budgeting mistakes that aggravated Arizona’s chronic budget deficits. The biggest lesson was to avoid making permanent budget decisions that tie up billions of taxpayer dollars on the belief that neither the economy nor the state’s priorities will ever change. In addition to a permanent sales tax rate increase in a state with the second highest combined rates in the nation, the initiative also takes the extraordinary step of freezing the current sales tax base. Freezing the sales tax base will undermine the growing momentum to reform Arizona’s antiquated state and local sales tax code and demonstrates not even a modicum of consideration for the taxpayers saddled with complying with this tax increase. Lastly, funding for K-12 schools has always been the largest state expenditure. K-12 appropriations are driven by many complicated formulas that account for differences across Arizona schools. Prop 204 (1-16-2012) handcuffs policymakers’ ability to change these funding formulas. Presuming there will never be a legitimate reason to modify these statutes is shortsighted and an abuse of the initiative process.
Kevin J. McCarthy, President, Arizona Tax Research Association, Gilbert
Lori Daniels, Board Member, Arizona Tax Research Association, Chandler Paid for by Arizona Tax Research Association
Ranching Families Oppose Proposition 204
Proposition 204 is a bureaucratic boondoggle. It is a permanent tax for a temporary problem. It is an inflexible program that increases taxes forever and ties the hands of any future policies to properly adjust Arizona’s Sales Tax Code. It just doesn’t work and we will not be able to fix it. Our schools in rural Arizona are very important to us – but our children and our future are even more important. Proposition 204 pretends to know and direct the needs of our schools tomorrow through a flawed policy they present to us today. We support education and the continued funding of our schools – we just need to make sure we can adjust and direct these resources to better learning priorities in the future. Proposition 204 ties our hands and will not allow us to adjust the spending of these tax dollars to the learning priorities of parents and children in the future. Please vote NO on Proposition 204!
Norman J. Hinz, President, Arizona Cattle Feeders’ Association, Phoenix
Patrick Bray, Executive Vice President, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, Phoenix Paid for by Arizona Cattlemen’s Association
Vote “No” on the Quality Education and Jobs Act
The Quality Education and Jobs Act will raise your taxes without a plan to improve our schools. 1. The Quality Education and Jobs Act does not provide a roadmap for better schools, just a higher sales tax. $500 million will be awarded to schools without any new requirements to increase test scores, make sure children graduate from high school, or reduce class sizes. Another $100 million will go to schools based on unclear guidelines including parent and student “engagement.” The other $400 million will be spent on highways and a mix of special programs. 2. There is no guarantee this money will be used in the classroom. The initiative does not promise that the money will make it into the classroom. We’ve seen this before. Twelve years ago we raised the sales tax to fund schools and taxpayers were promised the money would be spent in the classroom. Earlier this year, the state auditor said only 55 cents of every education tax dollar makes it to the classroom. Since 2004, the percentage of education dollars spent in the classroom has decreased each year. 3. More money will not improve learning. Arizona has doubled inflation-adjusted school spending in the last 40 years, but student test scores have stayed the same. In Washington, D.C. and New York taxpayers spend double and triple what Arizona spends. Yet Arizona students outperform students in Washington, D.C. in math and reading, and perform as well as New York students in math–all for less money. Every Arizona child should attend a school that challenges him and prepares him for the future. Simply spending more without requiring that schools improve won’t work. We need reforms that lead to achievement, not higher taxes to pay for the same system.
Jonathan Butcher, Goldwater Institute, Phoenix
Statement in Opposition – Quality Education and Jobs Initiative Arizona’s elected Mayors and city/town council members care deeply about the quality of our school system and they understand how important a good education is to the future of our children and the success of our communities and state. Education is so important that many cities contribute significant local tax revenues to pay for school facilities, resources and activities such as after-school programs. Local officials recognize that educational standards need to be high, that teachers should be well-trained and that schools need to be funded appropriately. Unfortunately, the League of Arizona Cities and Towns does not believe the Quality Education and Jobs initiative is the right mechanism to accomplish those goals. While well-meaning in its intent, the ballot proposition has a number of flaws that make it the wrong tool to accomplish education reform and improvement, and the wrong way to make tax policy. The proposition: • Permanently locks in an additional one-cent state sales tax, making Arizona’s sales tax one of the highest in the nation. The combined rate in many parts of the state will be well above 10%, potentially discouraging retail sales and hurting our already-fragile economy. • It effectively closes down a city’s ability to use future local sales taxes, limiting their capacity to provide vital local services to citizens. • Does not maintain the distribution of sales tax shared revenue funds to cities and towns, a longstanding principle authorized by Arizona voters. • Dedicates only small percentages of total proceeds to higher education and transportation “infrastructure.” These amounts do not come close to meeting current and future needs, but give the impression that funding is “taken care of” in those areas. The League of Arizona Cities and Towns strongly urges a NO vote on the Quality Education and Jobs initiative.
Doug Von Gausig, President, League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Clarkdale
Mark Mitchell, Vice President, League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Tempe Paid for by The League of Arizona Cities & Towns
I-16-2012 Quality Education and Jobs Act 201200362 As President of the Arizona Senate I made sure we balanced Arizona’s budget and we did it the right way – in accordance with our Constitution, by holding the line on spending, and without tax increases. Why? Because that was our job and that was the right way to do it. Our families and our businesses cannot spend more than they have, and while the Federal Government can just print money to pay its bills, the state of Arizona cannot. Plus, our families and businesses are already overtaxed, and increasing taxes will only hurt our economy and cost us more jobs. In 2010 the voters of Arizona supported a TEMPORARY sales tax increase that the politicians and groups supporting it promised would be temporary. They gave their word. That three-year long tax increase has not even expired yet and they are already breaking their promise. Shame on them! Enough is enough. I hope that the taxpayers and freedom loving citizens of this great state will make themselves heard loud and clear. A deal is a deal, a promise is a promise, and No New Taxes! Government already takes too much, and in these tough times we must reduce the burden that taxes place on working families. We have 17 million Americans out of work, record foreclosures and yet the special interests want even more of your money to pay for their pet projects. This same idea was defeated in California. If even California can figure out that it is a bad idea, then I trust the message will be sent loud and clear from the good citizens of this state. Vote No on this permanent, job-killing, multi-billion dollar tax increase!
Hon. Russell Pearce, Former President of the Arizona State Senate, Mesa
Proposition 204 bad for Arizona’s Economy and Fiscal Health The proponents of this initiative would like you to believe that this proposal is a simple extension of the sales tax increase passed in 2010. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, this initiative is a stealth proposal that will make it impossible to balance our state budget without massive tax increases or draconian cuts to other vital services. How does proposition 204 do this? The drafters included language that prevents future adjustments to spending levels for education, even if the money is being wasted or misspent. Even worse, it locks in automatic increases for future spending, regardless of whether the money is available or not. As experience has taught us, Arizona needs the ability to manage its budget during hard times, and this initiative takes that ability away. It does away with transparency and accountability of billions in taxpayer dollars. Everyone supports education, but guaranteeing an endless stream of revenue will be a disaster for our budget and for Arizona. We just got done navigating through our last fiscal crisis, yet if Prop 204 passes this will put us right back in our budget mess. Please vote NO on Prop 204.
Gary Pasquinelli, Yuma
Vote NO on Proposition 204 If it passes, Proposition 204 will go down as one of the most destructive initiatives in Arizona history. For starters, the proposition PERMANENTLY increases the state sales tax to among the highest in the country. When the sales tax was increased less than two years ago, voters were promised that it was a temporary increase to deal with the economic crisis our state was facing. It was never meant to be a permanent tax hike, and now the proponents of Proposition 204 are hoping voters have short memories. But the permanent tax increase is only half the story. If passed, this proposition will trigger an additional massive tax increase the next time there’s a downturn in the economy. Why will this happen? Because when the proponents drafted Proposition 204 in secret, they included language that locked in current levels of spending and earmarked the sales tax increase for new programs. There is no ability to make adjustments in the budget, even if we experience another economic downturn. The only option will be massive tax hikes to cover the difference. Whether you supported the increase or not, the tax hike was suppose to be temporary. This initiative, however, makes the tax increase permanent and locks in permanent increases in spending; the proverbial double-whammy. The added revenues from the tax hike will only go to certain programs with little accountability and can never be altered. This is not the way to balance a budget. This is not the way to run a state. Vote NO on Proposition 204.
Steve Voeller, Chairman, Arizonans for a Responsible Budget, Phoenix
Scot Mussi, Treasurer, Arizonans for a Responsible Budget, Phoenix