Mayors and Councilmembers Throughout AZ Join Coalition Against Prop. 204

Only one short week after Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane announced that he would be forming a statewide coalition of mayors and councilmembers in opposition to Proposition 204, 34 leaders from across Arizona have already signed on to support the “No on New Taxes, No on 204” effort. Coalition Members as of 10/18/2012 include:

Mayors & Vice Mayors

Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane – Scottsdale

Mayor Jay Tibshraeny – Chandler

Mayor Linda Kavanagh – Fountain Hills

Mayor Scott Lamar – Paradise Valley

Mayor Kenny Evans – Payson

Marlin Kuykendall – Prescott

Mayor David Schwan – Carefree

Mayor John Salem – Kingman

Mayor Lana Mook – El Mirage

Mayor Thomas Schoaf – Litchfield Park

Mayor Mark Nexsen – Lake Havasu City

Mayor Mike LeVault – Youngtown

Mayor Gail Barney – Queen Creek

Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch – Queen Creek

Vice Mayor Michael Hughes – Payson

Former Mayor Hugh Hallman – Tempe

Councilmembers  

Councilman Ron McCullagh – Scottsdale

Councilman Jim Waring – Phoenix

Councilman Bill Gates – Phoenix

Councilman Cody Beeson – Yuma

Councilman Don Callahan – Lake Havasu City

Councilman Jim Buster – Avondale

Councilman Sam Medrano – Bullhead City

Councilwoman Vallarie Woolridge – Florence

Councilman Victor Peterson – Gilbert

Councilman Eddie Cook – Gilbert

Councilman Jordan Ray – Gilbert

Councilman Bridger Kimball – Maricopa

Councilman Joe Hornat – Oro Valley

Councilman Scott Stewart – Wickenburg

Councilman Sam Crissman – Wickenburg

Councilwoman Cassie Hansen – Fountain Hills

Councilman Jim Brown – Queen Creek

Councilman Dean Barlow – Lake Havasu City

Councilman Bill Bracco – Sahuarita

“Municipal leaders from all across Arizona, from all backgrounds, are joining together to declare in one voice that Proposition 204 is bad for Arizona,” said Mayor Lane. “This overwhelming opposition from our elected leaders is a testament to just how poorly thought-out Prop. 204 really is.  Not only could Prop. 204 destroy job growth by causing Arizona to have the second highest sales tax in the nation, it would also rob our cities and towns of state shared revenues which could force them to either raise taxes, or cut services.  And when it is all said and done, there is still no guarantee that any of the dollars from this $1 billion permanent tax increase will ever reach the classroom.”

Few leaders have a more enduring track record of supporting education than Mayor Kenny Evans of Payson.  “As a former High School teacher, Community College Instructor, School Board President, and education advocate and supporter of education and technology, I am saddened by this poorly drafted ballot proposition,” said Mayor Evans.  “I cannot support this ill-conceived and poorly worded permanent tax grab.”

These 34 mayors and councilmembers add to a growing list of elected officials including Gov. Jan Brewer, U.S. Congressman David Schweikert, Senate President Steve Pierce, Speaker of the House Andy Tobin and many others who have already joined State Treasurer Doug Ducey in his effort to defeat this permanent tax increase.

“In only one week, Mayor Lane’s coalition has garnered a powerful and influential list of civic leaders in opposition to Prop 204 ,” said Doug Ducey, State Treasurer and Chairman of the No New Taxes, No on 204committee. “This coalition reinforces our concerns that Prop 204 is bad for local municipalities, and is especially bad for Arizona taxpayers. Passing a $1 billion blank check for special interest giveaways with almost no accountability standards and no real education reform does nothing to help Arizona’s teachers or its students.”

If passed, Prop 204 will result in Arizona having the 2nd highest sales tax in America, only behind Tennessee, a state with no income tax. This is only one of the many reasons why the State League of Arizona Cities and Towns opposes Prop. 204.  The lack of accountability and the heavy input from special interest groups make Prop 204 wildly unpredictable.  Prop 204 also earmarks hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars for programs and special interest groups that have nothing to do with public education.

Vote Yes on Prop 120

ANALYSIS BY LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL  

In 1910, the United States Congress passed the Arizona-New Mexico Enabling Act, allowing Arizona to become a state. The Enabling Act also granted Arizona approximately 10.9 million acres of state trust land, subject to certain terms for the management, operation, use and disposition of those trust lands.   Proposition 120 would amend the Arizona Constitution to declare Arizona’s sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within the state’s boundaries. Specifically excluded from this declaration are Indian reservations, lands of the United States and federal “forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings” obtained for federal government purposes, as required by Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution.   Proposition 120 also would amend the Arizona Constitution to repeal Arizona’s disclaimer of all right and title to public lands within the state (except Indian reservations) and to repeal Arizona’s consent to provisions of the Enabling Act.   Proposition 120 would declare that each state possesses full attributes of sovereignty on an equal footing with all other states, as provided by the United States Constitution, and that state sovereignty is fundamental to the security of individual rights, free government and the inherent political power of the people.

ARGUMENTS “FOR” PROPOSITION 120  

(I support Proposition 120. When the western territories became states, the federal government violated the enabling acts that incorporated them and retained land within each of the western states in violation of federal law. Federal retention of that land hurts the economy of the western states and leaves them struggling to adequately fund public education, nurture their economies, and manage their forests and natural resources. Simply put, federal control and interference in state affairs inhibits Arizona’s ability to provide for the welfare, health and safety of our people.   The EPA threatens to close coal-generating power plants with excessive regulations. Closing these plants will result in higher utility costs for everyone.   We can’t build a bridge or perform needed flood control activities because of interference from numerous federal agencies.   We experience catastrophic forest fires, loss of wildlife habitat, threats to community watersheds, and loss of jobs, all of which affect the economy everywhere in the state. When the federal government mismanages our forestlands, the state cannot intervene.   Roads are being closed and citizens denied access across federal lands.   It takes years to obtain mining permits from the federal government, and some areas are closed to mining all together. As a result, Arizona loses billions of dollars that could be used to fund education and address other budget concerns.   Meanwhile, our abundant natural resources remain under the control of unelected federal bureaucrats.   Arizona is a sovereign state, and we have a right to control the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife, and other natural resources within our boundaries. Passing Prop 120 would be a small but important step in asserting our state rights and a rejection of the archaic colonial control by the federal government. I SUPPORT PROP 120 .)

Sylvia Allen, State Senator, Arizona State Senate, Candidate for Navajo County Board of Supervisors, District 3, Snowflake  

Proposition 120/ HCR 2004   “…and they [Congress] may so exercise this power as entirely to annihilate all the state governments, and reduce this country to one single government. And if they may do it, it is pretty certain they will; for it will be found that the power retained by individual states, small as it is, will be a clog upon the wheels of the government of the United States; the latter therefore will be naturally inclined to remove it out of the way.”   This “conspiracy theory” is not from talk radio. It was written, presumably by Robert Yates in October of 1787 as part of an effort to convince Americans that this newly written document could be abused.   The Constitution of the United States allows for certain properties for the federal government.   (1) To establish Post Offices and post roads (I, §8, Clause 7), (2) the Seat of Government (3) and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature (4) for the Erection of Forts, (5) Magazines, (6) Arsenals, (7) dock-Yards, and (8) other needful Buildings (i.e. Court buildings).   Article IV, § 3, Clause 2 and the Fifth Amendment referring to “public purposes” apply ONLY to those ends. The Fifth Amendment was never meant for States, counties or cities to steal private land from one for the private benefit of another. Congress has NO authority to establish a National Forest Service or National Park Service and all land inside Arizona belongs to the citizens of Arizona.   While I urge people to take back our land and vote YES on this proposition, I also urge that citizens recoil from the selling of the forests and lands around our Grand Canyon State Park and other parks to private interest.

Glen C. Davis, Williams  

Farm Bureau Supports a “Yes” Vote on Proposition 120   Arizona Farm Bureau supports Proposition 120. Farmers and ranchers understand both stewardship and productivity of the land and our natural resources. In the last ten years, we have had devastating forest fires, followed by damaging floods. The machinery of federal bureaucracy slows and in some cases stops recovery and re-use.   Our members, along with many others have become frustrated and inflamed over the federal mis-management of our public lands. Proposition 120 draws a line and throws an anchor out to exhibit we are at wits end. It begins with our forests and federal stewardship and runs to how the government functions as a landlord. Certainly, Proposition 120 requires further action by Congress, but so does any other measure necessary for course correction. We hope this message ignites and sustains a dialogue to lead to meaningful reform in federal policies and programs.

Kevin G. Rogers, President, Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, Gilbert

James W. Klinker, Chief Administrative Officer, Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, Gilbert  

Freedom requires being sovereign. Our federal Constitution established two systems for separation of powers to preserve our liberty. Unfortunately only the separation of the three branches of government is reported. Equally important is the separation of powers between federal government and sovereign states. States gave limited authority for the federal government under our Constitution. All powers not specifically granted to the federal government are reserved for the states and the people .   Prop 120 is an Arizona constitutional amendment to re-establish this necessary constitutional separation/balance of power to protect our liberty and civil rights. It declares our public lands and natural resources, are under our sovereign control, as provided in the NW Ordinance of 1787 and SW Ordinance of 1790 for the admission of states, excluding Indian lands and lands under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.   Over the last century, the separation between federal and state powers has been eviscerated. Without Senate accountability to our legislatures we are the recipients of unfunded federal mandates and restrictions which take our civil constitutionally guaranteed rights under the guise of giving us a faux benefit we can’t pay for. This abuse is demonstrated by; the denial of century old water rights for Tombstone; denial for Arizona to manage Arizona forest lands resulting in devastating fires; denial of Arizonans to commercially and environmentally regulate our own natural resources; and denial to protect our citizens at the border . In 2009 we caught 29,000 illegals from terrorist designated countries ! What better stewards are there of our land and safety, than the citizens that live with their decisions? When the Feds screw up – they have no consequences – but we do!   The feds propose “anti-bully” rules for our schools but what we need is an anti-federal bully rule. We the people Vote for Prop 120!

Proposition 120: A measure to establish Arizona’s Sovereignty over its natural resources   If passed, this proposition will provide Arizona with the same authority over its own natural resources enjoyed by other states. It will grant the state the ability to more effectively protect and harness the economic potential stored in the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within the state.   Proposition 120 will increase Arizona’s ability to use federally held land: Currently, Arizona exercises control of only 29% of the land held in our state. This puts the state at a disadvantage compared to other states as we seek to fund public services that are essential to ensuring our economic solvency and infrastructure needs. The proposition contains a declaration of full sovereignty over lands and resources within Arizona as a new section to the Arizona Constitution, on the basis of maintaining “Equal Footing” with other states.   Proposition 120 will allow the state to improve the management of Arizona’s natural resources: Since 2001, over two million acres of Arizona’s forests have burned due to irresponsible federal management. (Recently, federal land management has threatened the future water supply and very existence of the historic town of Tombstone.) The proposition gives Arizona exclusive sovereignty over all state territories and resources, except for Indian reservations and lands ceded to the United States, such as military forts and installations.   As Arizona’s population continues to grow, it is imperative that the state be allowed to manage its own land and benefit from the wealth of its resources. The continued vitality of our state will depend heavily on our ability to exercise our authority over the natural wealth currently being denied us.

Chester Crandell, State Representative, Arizona House of Representatives, Heber  

Ranching Families Support Prop 120

The federal government has already failed Arizona…if the catastrophic forest fires have not been enough….Just watch what they have planned for the water in Arizona. The federal government claims jurisdiction over everything it desires in Arizona – the animals, the water, and the lands. Proposition 120 provides all of Arizona’s citizens the opportunity to assert their opinion of whether or not we in Arizona or the federal government bureaucrats in Washington care more about our animals, water and lands. The fact is – we in Arizona care more.   Please vote YES on Proposition 120!

Norman J. Hinz, President, Arizona Cattle Feeders’ Association, Phoenix

Patrick Bray, Executive Vice President, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, Phoenix  

Vote Yes on Prop 119

ANALYSIS BY LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL  

In 1910, the United States Congress passed the Arizona-New Mexico Enabling Act, allowing Arizona to become a state. The Enabling Act granted Arizona approximately 10.9 million acres of land, referred to as “state trust land”. The state land trust is intended to produce revenue for various public institutions (schools, colleges, prisons, etc.). The state can lease or sell trust land, and the natural products (timber, minerals, etc.) of the land, only to the “highest and best bidder” at public auction.   In 1936, Congress amended the Enabling Act to give Arizona more flexibility in managing and disposing of trust land by allowing the state to exchange trust land for other public or private lands. Arizona did not amend its state Constitution to incorporate that authority for land exchanges. The Arizona Supreme Court has determined that without amending the Arizona Constitution, the state cannot conduct land exchanges.   Proposition 119 would amend the Arizona Constitution to allow the state to exchange state trust land for other public land in this state if the following requirements are met:   1. The exchange must be in the best interest of the state land trust.   2. The purpose of the exchange must be to either assist in preserving and protecting military facilities in this state from encroaching development or to improve the management of state lands for the purpose of sale or lease, or conversion of state land to public use.   3. There must be two independent appraisals that show that the true value of the land the state receives in the exchange is equal to or greater than the true value of the trust land the state conveys. There also must be two independent analyses that detail the income to the state land trust before and the projected income to the trust after the exchange, the financial impact of the exchange on each county, city, town and school district in which the lands are located, the physical, economic and natural resource impacts of the exchange on the local community and the impacts on local land uses and land use plans.   4. A detailed public notice of a proposed exchange must be given, public hearings must be held and an opportunity for public comment must be given.   5. A proposed exchange is not effective unless it is approved by the voters at a statewide November general election.

ARGUMENTS “FOR” PROPOSITION 119  

Support State Trust Land Accountability and Transparency   Vote “Yes” on Proposition 119

Proposition 119 provides for accountable and transparent state trust land exchanges by requiring that each exchange be approved by the Arizona voters.   This proposed constitutional amendment, if passed by the voters, authorizes land exchanges between the State Land Department and the Federal Government. The land exchanges can be for two purposes: improving the management of the state lands for the purpose of sale or lease or conversion to public use or for the protecting military facilities   Any exchange will have to be referred to the ballot by the legislature and approved by the voters in order to be consummated. All exchanges must have two appraisals, an analysis, and be vetted at two public meetings. Full and up-front disclosure of the parcels involved is also required, so there will be no surprises regarding which lands are involved.   The voters have been skeptical of past land exchange measures that gave broad open-ended exchange authority to the State Land Department. This measure reigns in that authority and says there must be public involvement and review as well as public support via a vote prior to any exchange. This will help address checkerboard land ownership that hinders protection of wildlife habitat and will help protect state trust lands that are adjacent to some military facilities.   We encourage you to vote “yes” on this important measure.

John Nelson, State Senator, Arizona State Senate, Legislative District 12, Litchfield Park  

Sandy Bahr, Director, Sierra Club-Grand Canyon Chapter, Phoenix

SCR 1001 (Prop 119) – THCC POSITION: SUPPORT

Statement: The Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce supports Prop 119 and believes it is the best interest of the community to allow the state to exchange land to protect the corridors surrounding our military installations. The military provides a huge economic impact on Tucson, Phoenix and Sierra Vista and we encourage the further development of each military base. The exchange of land allows the military to be sensitive to neighborhood concerns regarding noise and traffic and provides a win-win for the citizens of our state.

Lea Marquez Peterson, President & CEO, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Tucson  

Tannya Gaxiola, Chairwoman, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Tucson

YES ON PROPOSITION 119  

Proposition 119 is Arizona’s opportunity to communicate to the United States Department of Defense that we are serious about protecting and preserving our military bases and facilities. Please vote YES on Proposition 119.   Preserving our system of military bases in Arizona not only guarantees that many of America’s greatest heroes reside in our own communities and become part of the fabric of our future, but also that the military industry continues to be viable here – and that means keeping thousands of jobs and an economic contribution in excess of $9 billion per year.   Proposition 119 allows the Arizona State Land Department to help in preserving military bases and facilities by providing land for those uses, while, at the same time, earning money for public schools and other institutions, which own those lands in Trust.   I participated in drafting Proposition 119, and am pleased to say it honors private property rights, including our precious water rights, through independent appraisals and public hearings. Another significant benefit of Proposition 119 is that it requires all parties involved to engage in thorough and transparent public processes and hearings before any land exchange is undertaken. It is also important to note that EACH proposed land exchange would go to a statewide VOTE. These kinds of exchanges could lead to more thoughtful land use decisions in many Arizona communities.   Please vote “yes” on Proposition 119. It will lead to great things for Arizona.

Maria Baier, Arizona State Land Commissioner, Phoenix

Why you should vote YES:   1. It will HELP OUR MILITARY BASES in Arizona. This year I sponsored legislation that reinforced the legislature’s support of Luke Air Force Base and its efforts to obtain the F-35 fighter mission. It had unanimous legislative support and was recorded as part of the official public record submitted to the military. At many of the meetings I heard the same message….we need to protect the base from encroachment so that the military can do its job. This initiative will provide the necessary tools needed to protect our military bases and facilities throughout the state.   2. The military not only safeguards our state and Country, but it provides a HUGE ECONOMIC BENEFIT to our state. The military facilities in our state provide a positive economic impact of $9.1 Billion and more than 96,000 jobs.   3. Vote YES. You can help Arizona and you can help America. All it takes is your vote.

Debbie Lesko, State Representative, House Majority Whip, Arizona House of Representatives, Glendale

The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection urges you to VOTE YES on Proposition 119.   This proposition seeks to provide a means to conserve Arizona State Trust lands and create open space buffers around military bases. It includes an amendment to the state constitution to allow land exchanges of State Trust land in order to protect military facilities and properly manage, protect, and use State Trust lands.   Proposition 119 provides an avenue for accountability and transparency to the exchange process, a critical condition to ensure that the citizens of Arizona have a voice in the process. These measures include two independent analyses of lands for exchange, public hearings regarding the exchange, and a statewide vote during general election concerning any proposed exchanges.   When Arizona became a state 100 years ago, the federal government gave Arizona over 10 million acres of land for the benefit of public schools and 13 other state institutions. According to the current Arizona constitution, State Trust land must be leased or sold to the highest bidder, leaving few other opportunities for State Trust lands. Most State Trust land is currently under lease (commercial, grazing, agriculture, or mineral), although to date over one million acres have been sold and developed.   Proposition 119 is good first step to modernize the methods for planning and disposition of State Trust lands. For years, conservationists across the state have been searching for meaningful State Trust Land reform, with the goal of protecting a small sub-set of lands that contain important wildlife habitat, creeks and streams, open space, and recreational and scenic values. This proposition makes a welcomed change to the current method of State Trust land disposal and allows for a continuing discussion regarding how Arizona can best address its land ownership.   We encourage you to VOTE YES on Proposition 119.

Carolyn Campbell, Executive Director, Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, Tucson

Trevor Hare, Conservation Science Chair, Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, Tucson

Protect State Trust Lands!

Vote YES on Proposition 119

There are over 9 million acres of state trust land in Arizona and many of them are among the most scenic and environmentally important places in the state. Many of those acres are in a “checkerboard” pattern of alternating ownership, creating very difficult land management issues. Proposition 119 amends the Arizona Constitution to allow the exchange of state trust lands for other public lands with the intention of either protecting military facilities in Arizona by buffering them from development or converting the exchanged lands to public use. This last purpose would help achieve conservation goals such as removing state lands from within national monuments .   With Proposition 119, voters finally have an opportunity to implement a process whereby state trust lands can be exchanged for federal lands in a manner that ensures accountability and transparency . The exchange process will have an open and public process that: identifies all lands that will be exchanged; requires two land appraisals; includes an analysis of the impacts; and requires two public meetings.   Each land exchange must also go to the voters, so the voters have the final say to ensure that an exchange is truly in the public’s interests . This will also help limit the number of exchange proposals.   The Grand Canyon Trust supports this proposal because it is good for conservation and in the best interest of the schools and other beneficiaries of the state land trust.   The Grand Canyon Trust urges you to vote YES on Proposition 119!

Nikolai Lash, Program Director, Grand Canyon Trust, Flagstaff  

Rick Moore, Senior Director of Programs, Grand Canyon Trust, Flagstaff   Support Open and Accountable State Trust Land Exchanges

Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports Proposition 119   Few industries have as strong of a positive impact on Arizona’s economy as defense and aerospace. A 2010 Arizona Chamber Foundation policy brief found that private sector defense and aerospace manufacturers account for 37,000 direct jobs that pay average annual salaries of $85,000 (see www.azchamber.com/policy/foundation). These industries depend on the continued operations of military installations throughout the state. Arizona’s five major Army, Air Force and Marine installations and four principal National Guard operations are responsible for over 96,000 direct and indirect jobs. These facilities contribute $9.1 billion in economic output and $401 million in state and local tax revenue according to a 2008 report by the Arizona Department of Commerce.   Simply put, our state has lost almost 250,000 jobs since the beginning of the Great Recession. Although improving, the economy is still fragile. Proposition 119 will help prevent incompatible land use that could put at risk the jobs associated with military bases. For these installations to remain vibrant, they must allow for the full spectrum of military testing and training operations on the ground and in the air. Proposition 119 will ensure they are able to complete their critical missions and remain an integral part of Arizona’s economy for decades to come.   We urge voters to support Proposition 119.

Glenn Hamer, President & CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Phoenix

Doug Yonko, Chairman, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Phoenix  

Tucson Metro Chamber SUPPORTS Proposition 119

The Tucson Metro Chamber is a membership-based business advocacy organization that represents more than 1350 businesses in Tucson and Pima County. Small business makes up approximately 85 percent of Chamber membership, reflecting the overall business community.   The Chamber works to develop a climate in which businesses can create jobs in a robust economy. The Chamber supports ballot measures such as Prop 119 that will promote economic development and environmental protection. As Arizona grows, it is imperative that our State has the authority to exchange state trust lands to preserve open space, avoid encroachment on military installations and continue to benefit public education.   The diverse military facilities in Arizona operate within a physical environment uniquely suited to their mission objectives. Combined, they represent a critical component of our nation’s defense. Likewise, Arizona’s military and defense industry generates tens of thousands of jobs, more than $9 billion dollars in economic activity; and hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local tax revenue. The stability of this employment and tax base is indispensable to the fiscal health of the State of Arizona.   Prop 119 provides for a fair and open process to evaluate which state trust lands are going to be put before the voters for exchange and prescribes a narrow provision of state trust lands subject to this authority. The proposition ensures that the result of any recommended exchange shall continue to benefit public education without any diminution of value.   This measure has broad support from environmental organizations, economic development groups and other business advocacy groups.   Please join us in voting YES on Proposition 119.

Bruce L. Dusenberry, Chair of the Board, Tucson Metro Chamber, Tucson

Michael Varney, Chief Executive Officer, Tucson Metro Chamber, Tucson  

Paid for by Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

Proposition 119 creates a constitutional framework to provide future generations of Arizonans to protect the value of state trust lands and to protect Arizona’s valuable military bases from encroaching development.   Voting “Yes” will amend the Arizona Constitution to create a narrow process for state trust land exchanges only if the result of doing so would 1) provide a buffer for military installations from encroaching development; and/or 2) convert the land to public use or if the swap would improve land management, to help sell or lease trust lands.   Proposition 119 protects local communities and state land by ensuring that these land exchanges take place in an open, public and participative environment and one that requires the vote of the people.

Nicole W. Stickler, Phoenix

Statement in Support – Proposition 119   This statement in strong support of Proposition 119 is submitted on behalf of Arizona’s cities and towns, proud partners of the U.S. military and advocates of its presence in our strategically critical state.   Arizona’s cities and towns recognize the vital contributions that our major military installations make to the state and local economies. Collectively, these installations create and support over 100,000 jobs in Arizona and are responsible for nearly $10 billion in total economic output every year. Additionally, Arizona’s military industry generates some $400 million in tax revenues annually.   Even more critical than their economic impact is the role these installations play in maintaining our national security. Our unique facilities provide for unparalleled training, testing and readiness opportunities. Ensuring the mission viability of the state’s military installations remains a top priority for Arizona’s Mayors and City/Town Council members.   The long-term mission viability of a base is one of the most critical factors that the Department of Defense considers when deciding whether to preserve, expand or close a military installation. Proposition 119 helps protect the strength of military bases in Arizona by authorizing the State Land Department to participate in land exchanges to prevent encroachment on a base’s operations without harming private property rights. Proposition 119 also establishes a process to ensure transparency for all land exchanges, including requirements for legislative and voter approval, to guarantee protection of state trust land and private property rights.   The League of Arizona Cities and Towns encourages all voters to support Proposition 119.

Doug Von Gausig, President, League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Clarkdale

Mark Mitchell, Vice President, League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Tempe  

Vote YES on Proposition 119

The network of military facilities in Arizona comprises an integrated array of bases, testing and training facilities, ranges, and airspace that operate within a physical environment uniquely suited to their individual and combined mission objectives and critical to our Nation’s defense posture. The network is also an essential part of our State’s economy.   The importance of military facilities and operations located in Arizona to the U.S. military cannot be understated: Arizona is distinctively positioned to satisfy the majority of the needs of the Department of Defense for many years to come with our unique network of capabilities, training resources, research, development, test, and evaluation activities.   Arizona’s military industry generates thousands of jobs, more than $9 billion dollars in economic activity, and hundreds of millions of dollars in State and local tax revenue. The stability of employment and tax revenues produced by the Arizona military industry are indispensable to the fiscal health of the State.   Arizona leads the nation in established standards to balance private property rights and compatible land use to protect and enhance the missions and long-term viability of military facilities and operating areas. Proposition 119 further demonstrates Arizona’s commitment to that balance through a transparent exchange process that protects State Trust Land beneficiaries as well as military missions and installations.   Proposition 119 strengthens the partnership among agencies, organizations, and stakeholders at the local, State, and federal levels, with the common goal of preserving the unique and irreplaceable assets of Arizona’s network of military facilities, and ensuring their long-term sustainability as keystones in the nation’s defense and a cornerstone of the State’s economy.   Please join us in voting YES on Proposition 119.

Lisa A. Atkins, Co-Chair, Military Affairs Commission, Litchfield Park

Thomas M. Finnegan, Co-Chair, Military Affairs Commission, Sierra Vista

Support the Airmen, Soldiers and Marines Who Protect Our Freedom   We are collectively urging you to support Proposition 119 on the November ballot. This proposition includes provisions to facilitate State trust land exchanges for the purpose of preservation of the military missions of the State of Arizona. Our constituency, consisting of the citizens and businesses of Arizona, is supportive of these measures to preserve the primary economic engine in our State.   The importance of military facilities and operations located in Arizona to the U.S. military cannot be understated: Arizona is distinctively positioned to satisfy the majority of the needs of the Department of Defense for many years to come with our unique network of capabilities, training resources, research, development, test, and evaluation activities.   As the Presidents and Directors of the State’s military installation support groups, we stand ready to address any questions you may have with regard to the benefit of this change to the State or to the specific benefit to individual installations.   Please join us in voting YES on Proposition 119.

Ron Sites, President, Fighter Country Partnership, Goodyear

Mike Grassinger, President, DM-50, Tucson

Kevin Peterson, President, Huachuca 50, Sierra Vista

Cochise County, the City of Sierra Vista and the Town of Huachuca City Urge You to Vote “YES” on Proposition 119   We are the home of Fort Huachuca’s family of more than 25,000 Soldiers, civilians, contractors and their families. We, and the entire state, benefit directly from the more than $2B in economic activity generated by the Fort. Over the years, we have used all of the tools available to us to help protect the base from encroachment. Proposition 119 will provide us with yet another tool to protect Fort Huachuca’s vital missions.   The long-term mission viability of a military installation is one of the most critical factors that the Department of Defense considers when deciding whether a base is preserved, receives new missions or closes. Proposition 119 helps protect the viability of military bases in Arizona by authorizing the State Land Department to participate in land exchanges to prevent encroachment on military operations without harming private property rights. Proposition 119 also sets up a process to ensure transparency for all land exchanges, including requirements for legislative and voter approval, to guarantee protection of state trust land and private property rights.   We urge you to vote “yes” on Proposition 119.

Rick Mueller, Mayor, City of Sierra Vista, Sierra Vista

Pat Call, District 1 Supervisor, Cochise County, Bisbee

Byron Robertson, Mayor, Town of Huachuca City, Huachuca City

Vote Yes on Proposition 119   It will provide an important tool to support our national security, preserve our military bases as important economic engines, and achieve important land and water conservation objectives by securing healthy buffers around our military bases and ranges. This is a winning situation for all Arizonans.   Critical military testing and training facilities have been in operation in Southern Arizona and Tucson for decades. They have helped make our soldiers, sailors .airmen and Marines the best trained, best equipped, best led and most respected military force in the World. Protecting our ability to conduct military training and testing in Southern Arizona is in our national interest and vital to our national security.   Military assets in Arizona provide an economic impact of over $9 Billion annually and over 96,000 jobs within our State. Preserving the military installations and ranges in Arizona is an essential part of our State economy.   Environmental preservation is fostered through appropriate use of land as a buffer around our military bases and ranges. Additionally, this proposal includes the kind of transparency and accountability that is necessary to ensure that land exchanges are in the best interest of the State trust and the larger public.   Prop 119 provides a fair and open process to evaluate what state trust lands can be exchanged. It requires public involvement and review as well as public support via a vote prior to any exchange.   We are individually and collectively urging you to support Proposition 119 on the November ballot.

Eugene D. Santarelli, Lieutenant General (Retired), USAF, President, S’relli Consulting, LLC, Tucson

Robert Johnston, Lieutenant General (Retired) USMC, Tucson

Ronald E. Shoopman, President, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Tucson

Vote Yes on Prop 119

Arizona is uniquely situated because of the network of military installations and ranges that provide necessary training assets for every branch of our military. Arizona has also recognized the stable economic value of the network of military installations in our State of more than $9 billion annually. Arizona’s communities and policy leaders have invested a significant amount of time and effort in adopting policies that protect and enhance military missions so vital to our national defense.   Continued viability of the installations is largely dependent on the ability of the installations to continue without encroachment. Equally important are the test and training ranges, and the access to those ranges.   It is in Arizona’s best interests to keep the missions and installations in Arizona. The best way to protect the network of Arizona military installations and test and training ranges is by passing Proposition 119 to enable the State to use state and federal assets to protect the state and federal assets of the military installations.

R. Thomas Browning, Brigadier General, USAF (Ret’d), Scottsdale  

Vote Yes on Prop 118

ANALYSIS BY LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL  

In 1910, the United States Congress passed the Arizona-New Mexico Enabling Act, allowing Arizona to become a state and granting Arizona approximately 10.9 million acres of land, referred to as “state trust land”. The state land trust produces revenue for various public institutions in this state (schools, colleges, prisons, etc.). Proposition 118 would amend the Arizona Constitution to provide that for fiscal years 2012-2013 through 2020-2021, the annual distribution from the state trust land permanent funds to the various public institutions would be 2.5% of the average market values of the fund for the immediately preceding five calendar years. After fiscal year 2020-2021, the distribution formula would return to the current formula set out in the Arizona Constitution: average total rate of return for the previous five fiscal years, less percentage change in inflation, multiplied by the average market value over the previous five years.

ARGUMENTS “FOR” PROPOSITION 118  

Prop 118 allows us to simplify the formula for education funding, ensuring that money will be distributed to support K-12 education each year from Arizona’s Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund. Best of all, it accomplishes this with NO new taxes and NO additional general fund spending.   Right now there are about 8.1 million acres in the state’s trust fund for K-12 education. Every time the state sells a piece of state land, those proceeds are deposited into the State Treasurer’s Office to be managed into perpetuity. Today the market value of the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund is more than $3.4 billion. If that were a college endowment, it would be the twenty-first largest endowment in the country.   Upon review of an asset allocation study for the fund, it became clear that the formula used to distribute earnings was critically flawed. Its complications have resulted in uneven and unpredictable outcomes – including a year when ZERO dollars were distributed for K-12 education. If left unchanged, this current formula would likely result in several additional years – – over the next decade – – of zero dollar distributions. This is unacceptable, and must be fixed. An endowment this large should never have years of zero dollars available to benefit Arizona’s children and teachers.   Prop 118 fixes the formula and ensures consistent, reliable distributions that will protect the principal and never result in a zero dollar distribution. Prop 118 achieves this with no new taxes and no additional obligations for new spending.   As members of Arizona’s Board of Investment we support this improved formula and encourage you to vote “YES” on Prop 118.

Doug Ducey, Chairman, Arizona Board of Investment, Arizona State Treasurer, Phoenix  

Beth Ford, Member, Arizona Board of Investment, Pima County Treasurer, Tucson  

Scott A. Smith, Member, Arizona Board of Investment, Director, Arizona Department of Administration, Phoenix  

Lauren W. Kingry, Member, Arizona Board of Investment, Arizona Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Phoenix  

Harry A. Papp, Member, Arizona Board of Investment, Managing Partner, L. Roy Papp & Associates, LLP, Phoenix  

I strongly support Prop 118.   There is a special relationship between Arizona’s education community, the State Treasurer’s Office, and the State Land Department. Public education is by far the largest beneficiary of State Trust Land managed by the State Land Department. Revenues derived from the sale of State Trust Land, as well as the sale of natural products (such as sand, gravel, water and fuel wood), and royalties from mineral materials are deposited in the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund managed by the State Treasurer’s Office. Today, the State Land Department manages 8.1 million acres of land on behalf of K-12 education, and the Permanent Land Endowment Trust fund is worth more than $3.5 billion.   Earning money for Arizona’s public schools is the primary mission of the Trust’s management. In 2010 the State Land Department deposited $91.7 million in the Endowment. Because of the inadequacy of the current formula used to distribute earnings from the Endowment, K-12 education received no money in 2010. Prop 118 fixes that inadequate formula. Had the new formula been in place in 2010, public education would have received $48 million from the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund.   Vote “Yes” on Prop 118.

Maria Baier, Arizona State Land Commissioner, Phoenix  

Prop 118 Provides Reliable Education Funding in Arizona

The Friends of the Arizona School Boards Association urges your support of Prop. 118. It’s a win-win proposal – providing Arizona’s classrooms with more reliable funding and doing so through a formula change that still protects the underlying value of the account which has been derived from state trust land sales – the State Land Trust Permanent Endowment fund.   There are over nine million acres of state trust land, with Arizona’s public schools being the largest beneficiary, holding 87% of these lands. The interest earned off the sale of trust lands is deposited in the State Land Trust Permanent Endowment fund. Arizona’s classrooms are direct recipients of the interest earned from this Endowment fund.   Over a decade ago, an interest distribution formula was put in place to help curb volatility and to protect our public schools asset from inflation. Unfortunately, the formula has not smoothed out distribution volatility, making it difficult for our public schools to budget. Prop. 118 fixes this by establishing a new flat distribution percentage to allow for consistent distributions while still protecting the fund from inflationary effects.   Please vote YES ON 118 to enhance education funding to Arizona’s public schools.

Dee Navarro, President, Friends of the Arizona School Boards Association, Phoenix  

Dr. Tim Ogle, Executive Director, Friends of the Arizona School Boards Association, Phoenix  

Dear Voter,   I encourage your “YES” vote on Proposition 118. This measure is a positive change for the distribution formula of state trust funds for education.   There is currently $3.2 billion set aside in the Trust Fund to benefit education. In some years, the distribution has been as high as $80 million, and in other years there has been no funding at all. This type of swing in distribution based on the size of the fund and the current formula makes it more difficult for our schools to plan and spend accordingly. As taxpayers, we demand that schools budget efficiently and use their resources wisely to educate our children. This proposal will make that easier by ensuring that the annual Trust Fund allocation to Arizona schools is smooth, even and predictable.   A “Yes” vote on Proposition 118 is a win for our children and teachers. A “Yes” vote on Proposition 118 is a win for taxpayers and advocates of good government.

Jan Brewer, Governor, Phoenix  

Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports Proposition 118   The Arizona Chamber has a longstanding position of developing a school financing system and educational structure that improves learning outcomes in a financially responsible manner. Proposition 118 is a simple yet important change that will significantly impact K-12 funding in a way that is financially responsible and consistent with the Chamber’s education goals. This measure will result in more reliable and consistent K-12 education funding with no new taxes and no new spending from the General Fund.   Proposition 118 will restructure the distribution formula for the Permanent Land Endowment Fund, whose largest beneficiary is K-12 education. Because of the complexity of the current funding formula, the distribution of dollars is uneven and unpredictable. In fact, there are some years when there are zero dollars distributed to K-12 from this fund. The Chamber supports Proposition 118 because of its fiscally responsible and stable approach to helping fund K-12 education.   We urge voters to support Proposition 118.

Glenn Hamer, President & CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Phoenix  

Doug Yonko, Chairman, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Phoenix  

Vote YES on Prop 118 to help support Arizona public education, teachers and children.   Prop 118 fixes and improves the Arizona State Endowment distribution formula providing a safer and more reliable source of funding for education and other beneficiaries. Prop 118 protects the principle of the Trust from inflation, stabilizes distributions to beneficiaries including public education. Prop 118 will protect the trust and its beneficiaries from wild market fluctuations and guarantees there will not be another year resulting in zero dollars going to education over the next decade.   The current formula was approved over a decade ago when the Endowment was given the ability to invest in stocks. Although written with the best of intentions the old formula was never tested for the economic volatility of the past several years. Simply stated, the formula did not work properly and education funding suffered.   After the urging of current and former State Treasurers, The Arizona State Board of Investment commissioned an independent Asset Allocation Study (available online at www.aztreasury.gov ) to suggest positive change to Arizona’s Constitution. The result is Prop 118.   Arizona can be proud that our State Land Endowment has been protected while many other western states have squandered theirs. Prop 118 continues in this tradition by further protecting the Trust and providing needed stability for education funding. The Arizona State Endowment is a permanent endowment and deserves a solution that will provide permanent, long term stability for Arizona’s future.   As current and former members of the Arizona Board of Investment, we support Prop 118 and encourage all Arizona citizens to do the same. This change of the formula is good financial management. Vote YES on Prop 118.

Hon. Dean Martin, Former Arizona State Treasurer, Chairman, Arizona Board of Investment, Phoenix  

Hon. Carol Springer, Former Arizona State Treasurer, Chairman, Arizona Board of Investment, Prescott  

Hon. Tony West, Former Arizona State Treasurer, Chairman, Arizona Board of Investment, Phoenix  

As Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, I support Prop. 118 because it will bring predictability to the distribution of revenue from Arizona’s state land trust fund. The land trust fund provides vital revenue for Arizona’s public schools, and the current complex formula means that we have no way of predicting how much money will be available in future years. A predictable distribution from the trust fund will enable the state to budget its general fund dollars more responsibly, because it is less likely that we will over- or underestimate the distribution from the trust, and appropriate too many or too few state dollars.   Under the current system, we feast when times are good, and starve when times are bad. The method proposed by Prop. 118 will allow the trust to grow substantially when times are good, leaving plenty of savings to help fund our school system through difficult economic times in the future.   Please join me in voting “yes” for proposition 118, to put state land trust revenues to work for our most valuable resource, Arizona’s children.   Sincerely,

John Huppenthal, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Phoenix  

Arizona’s education community supports Prop 118. It is a good fix that helps better fund public schools. It is not the silver bullet that will solve all the problems in our state as it relates to education, but more reliable funding from the State Land Trust Fund is a step in the right direction.   In 2000, Arizona voters created the Classroom Site Fund. This fund was established to direct money to teachers’ salaries, classroom size reduction and dropout prevention programs. The Classroom Site Fund is supported by the revenue generated from the State Land Trust Fund and the State Land Department. The first $72.3 million is used in the general funding formula. Any money in excess of $72.3 million each year is deposited into the Classroom Site Fund. In 2010 and 2011, no money was deposited into the Classroom Site Fund. Had the new distribution formula being proposed in Prop 118 been in place, the fund would have received $38 million over the course of those two years.   AEA has worked closely with the State Treasurer’s Office and the State Land Department to make sure this proposition is in the best interest of Arizona’s teachers and students. Prop 118 guarantees money will be available each and every year. If it passes in November, Arizona public schools will receive more than $62 million. If Prop 118 is defeated and the current distribution formula stays in place, education will receive approximately $50 million. With the cuts that public education has endured, those additional funds can go a long way.   Arizona schools need this simplified formula. Vote “YES” on Prop 118 .

Joseph H. Thomas, Vice President, Arizona Education Association, Phoenix  

Nidia C. Lias, Treasurer, Arizona Education Association, Phoenix  

Dear Arizona Taxpayer,   Prop 118 is a fair and practical way to smooth out earnings distributions from Arizona’s $3.4 billion Land Endowment.   By avoiding the usual boom-and-bust distribution cycle, Prop 118 will help the beneficiaries of the State Land Trust Fund (mainly public education) to achieve a more predictable income stream year after year. At the same time, smoother budgeting over the business cycle will help beneficiaries during boom years to avoid developing unreasonable expectations about future spending growth. This is a common sense solution to a problematic funding formula.   Prop 118 is a rare event in Arizona politics: it’s a win-win for all of the stakeholders, whether those stakeholders are government employees providing education services, or taxpayers working hard to support their families and build our economy.   PLEASE VOTE YES ON PROP 118.   For more ideas about state and local tax and budget policy, and to help us enhance freedom and protect free enterprise, contact the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity, at www.aztaxpayers.org, (602) 478-0146, or tjenney@afphq.org.

Tom Jenney, Phoenix  

Vote Yes on Prop 117

ANALYSIS BY LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL  

Proposition 117 would amend the Arizona Constitution to cap the annual increase in the value of real property used to calculate property taxes to 5% over the value of the property for the previous year, beginning with the 2015 tax year. Currently, there is no limit on full cash value. This limitation would apply to property values used in determining all property taxes on the real property.

ARGUMENTS “FOR” PROPOSITION 117  

Vote YES on Prop 117 – Limit Growth in Property Valuations & Exposure to Tax Increases   The Arizona Tax Research Association (ATRA) urges your support of Prop 117 because it will protect property taxpayers from dramatic increases in property valuations that often lead to significant tax increases. Prop 117 will limit annual assessed value growth to 5%.   In addition, Prop 117 will simplify one of the most complicated property tax systems in the country. Currently, property in Arizona is taxed on two values: full cash, or market value (FCV) and the limited property value (LPV). The Constitution requires that FCV represent the market value, which is unlimited in the amount it can increase each year. In contrast, the LPV is required to annually increase by the greater of 10% or 25% of the difference between the current year FCV and the previous year’s LPV. That doesn’t just sound complicated – it is.   Prop 117 limits the taxation of property to the LPV and the FCV will no longer be taxable. Eliminating the tax on market value will prevent a repeat of the dramatic increases in property taxes that occurred between 2004 and 2009 when real estate values skyrocketed.   ATRA strongly believes that the 5% limit is fair for taxpayers and Arizona state and local governments. A reasonable limit will not only provide greater predictability for taxpayers, it will bring much needed stability to future local government budgets. Had the 5% limit been in place over the last decade, it would have prevented $33 billion in value from being added to the tax rolls that was ultimately removed when the market collapsed.

David L. Minard, Treasurer, Arizona Tax Research Association, Peoria

Kevin J. McCarthy, President, Arizona Tax Research Association, Gilbert  

I am in full support of Proposition 117. I have worked in the Assessor’s Office since 1977 and witnessed, first hand, the installation of the current property tax formula in 1980. At the time, it was a welcome relief from the runaway taxation that was occurring due to rising property values. However, the current system is flawed with many complicated formulas that are outdated and no longer are applicable to the times we live in. For many years I have been advocating that the Limited Value formula needed to be simplified and that property taxes needed to be more predictable. This measure does both. Having all ad-valorem property taxes calculated from the Limited Property Value and simplifying the LPV formula to a simple 5% calculation will greatly assist Arizona assessors in explaining tax bills to the property owner. Please join me and vote Yes on Proposition 117.

Joe Wehrle, Yuma County Assessor, Yuma  

Proposition 117 is good for the taxpayers of Arizona. It creates a limitation for valuations of locally assessed taxpayers. The provision would not shift tax burdens from commercial properties to residential properties (homeowners). The original two tiered system of Full Cash Value and Limited value was to protect the taxpayers from rising values and uncontrolled spending by the taxing jurisdictions. History has shown that as property tax values grow, the impulse by government to “keep the tax rates steady”, thus generate more revenue, increases. This proposal is timely as in most areas of the state; Full Cash and Limited Values are identical. Additionally, the administrative and judicial appeal systems will remain intact. I support Proposition 117 to provide more predictability and stability to the taxpayers of Arizona.

James R. Brodnax, Glendale  

Farm Bureau Supports a “Yes” Vote on Proposition 117   Prop. 117 seeks to simplify one of the most complex property tax systems in the country and provide stability to property owners and taxing jurisdictions alike. By taxing property owners on one value rather than the current method that uses two different valuations, everyone, including farmers and ranchers, will be better able to predict their property tax burden. In addition, reasonable limits on the growth of property valuations subject to taxation will ensure short term spikes in property value, like those experienced during the housing bubble, do not result in exorbitant, unsustainable tax bills for property owners.   The stability of the property tax system should have a positive effect on the economy as capital thrives on stability and predictability and attracting capital equates to attracting jobs. Passage of proposition 117 would provide clarity, simplicity and predictability for all taxpayers.

Kevin G. Rogers, President, Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, Gilbert

James W. Klinker, Chief Administrative Officer, Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, Gilbert  

VOTE YES ON PROP 117 – SIMPLIFY AND LIMIT YOUR PROPERTY TAXES

As the largest commercial real estate trade association in the state with a vital interest in reducing property taxes for all our citizens, we urge your support of Prop 117. Arizona has one of the most complicated property tax systems in the country . We believe this property tax reform proposal will simplify Arizona’s property tax system.   Arizona’s property tax system, which employs multiple sets of taxable values, has been the subject of considerable criticism for decades. The two sets of taxable values (secondary and primary) largely serve to confuse property taxpayers . For the first time in decades, these two taxable values are now almost identical due to the dramatic decline in the real estate market. As a result, Arizona citizens have a rare opportunity to limit the taxation of property to just one value without negatively impacting local government budgets.   Currently, there is no limit on the annual growth in secondary values. The lack of any limit in the growth of secondary values added considerably to the volatility that characterized Arizona’s property tax system over the last decade. Prop 117 will limit the taxation of property to one value (primary), which will be limited to 5% annual growth . This measure will not only increase the stability of Arizona’s property tax system but also provide greater predictability for both government and taxpayers.   We strongly encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to SIMPLIFY AND LIMIT this system that has been in place since 1980.

Tim Lawless, President, Arizona Chapter of NAIOP, Commercial Real Estate Development Association, Phoenix

Keaton Merrell, Vice Chairman of the Board, Arizona Chapter of NAIOP, Commercial Real Estate Development Association, Phoenix  

Keep Your Home Affordable – Yes on 117!

Keeping home prices affordable is essential to the recovery of Arizona’s housing market. A key variable impacting affordability is the property taxes paid by a homeowner. For every dollar of new taxes the ability of a buyer to afford a home is diminished. Prior to the recent downturn, Arizona homeowners experienced dramatic increases in their property tax bills because of the major increases in their property values. Supporting Prop. 117 will prevent these dramatic increases from happening in the future, by placing a reasonable limit on the increase in property value that the government can use, while ensuring the tax revenues are stable for necessary government services. Keeping your property taxes more predictable and stable will help ensure that you will not be taxed out of your current home or priced out of buying your next home.   Please Vote YES on 117!

Connie Wilhelm, President, Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, Phoenix

Spencer Kamps, Vice-President of Legislative Affairs, Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, Phoenix  

Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry Supports Proposition 117  

The Arizona Chamber supports a tax system that is globally competitive, fair, consistent, and equitable. Proposition 117 moves Arizona toward such a system by capping the annual growth in locally assessed property values at 5% and simplifying one of the most complicated property tax systems in the country.   The 5% cap will protect taxpayers from dramatic increases in tax bills due to real estate market volatility. This is especially important during a real estate bubble such as the one Arizona experienced during the last decade. Had the 5% cap been in place during that time, over $30 billion in property value that was added during the bubble and subsequently lost during the recession would never have been added to the tax rolls in the first place.   In addition to providing taxpayers with greater property tax stability and predictability, the 5% cap also provides greater stability and predictability to governments. Highly volatile revenue streams make it difficult for elected officials to consistently match revenues with expenditures. Proposition 117 will enhance the ability of governments to confidently budget and plan for the future by increasing the stability of property tax revenues.   Finally, Proposition 117 greatly simplifies Arizona’s property tax system by using one value to calculate all property taxes. Instead of using one value to determine the tax that funds maintenance and operations of local governments and another that funds voter approved bonds and overrides, Proposition 117 creates a system where one value is used for all purposes.   We urge voters to support Proposition 117.

Glenn Hamer, President & CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Phoenix

Doug Yonko, Chairman, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Phoenix  

Sensible property tax reform is not a partisan issue

I am proud to have sponsored the legislation, SCR 1025, that referred Proposition 117 to the ballot for consideration by Arizona voters. Furthermore, I was pleased by the bipartisan support the measure received at the Legislature. Legislators from both sides of the political aisle recognized the need to simplify and restrain our current property tax system.   Proposition 117 will have real benefits for Arizona homeowners and businesses. This measure will provide predictability to a system that has been extremely volatile. This volatility has placed significant burdens on homeowners who have experienced significant tax increases and businesses seeking to plan for new investments in hiring and capital. Proposition 117 will also simplify the property tax system by using a single limited value for the calculation of all property taxes. Now is an ideal time to remove some of the unnecessary complexity from our property tax system.   Please join me in supporting Proposition 117.   Thank you,

Steve Yarbrough, State Senator, Arizona State Senate, Chandler  

Agriculture supports a simpler and more stable property tax system

As farmers in Arizona we have enough challenges without having to deal with the rollercoaster ride of our state’s overly complex property tax system. Proposition 117 would simplify our current property tax system and smooth out some of the bumps. Farmers will still have to deal with weather, changing market conditions, and pests; but at least we will know what to expect when it comes to our property taxes.   Proposition 117 will cap annual increases in the assessed value of property to 5% and use just one value for the calculation for all property taxes. These are good things and are welcome changes to our current property tax system.   With one less thing to worry about we can focus more attention on the success of our farms, the people we employ, and the food we bring to your table.   Please support Proposition 117.

Velma Wright Townsend, Yuma

YOUR PROPERTY TAX IS ABOUT TO SKYROCKET UP , and only you can stop it.   Your property value on average has dropped more than 30 percent. Has your tax dropped that much? No, it has not. Here is why:   GOVERNMENT HASN’T GIVEN YOU THE WHOLE TRUTH. Read on… If nothing changes in Arizona tax law and/or government behavior, you can expect another expensive property tax shock on your family home and small business – and very soon.   You haven’t been told the truth about property taxes. Government in Arizona quietly raised the tax rate as values plummeted, taking a higher percentage of your equity. OUR MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES are about to be hit with yet ANOTHER PROPERTY TAX INCREASE, one that will pain those on fixed incomes and seniors the most.   As values start rising again, so will your tax bill, and now based on newer rates that in most cases are the highest they have been in years.   We must stop this before our families and in particular seniors once again have to choose between paying rising mortgage costs and daily staples like food and medicine, and the middle class has a greater burden imposed.   PROPOSITION 117 WOULD PUT A 5% CAP ON THE GROWTH OF LOCALLY ASSESSED PROPERTY. It would limit government from gorging on property owners in times of rapidly increasing valuations, which we might be facing again. It will limit government to more sustainable growth levels.   If you want predictable, reasonable and limited property tax increases, vote for Proposition 117.

Sal DiCiccio, Phoenix City Councilman, Phoenix  

Please Vote Yes on 117!

As a homeowner on a fixed income, I can’t wait to vote Yes on 117! When the real estate boom occurred, property values skyrocketed and tax bills increased. When the real estate crash occurred most of us did NOT see a decrease in our property taxes despite considerable reductions in our property value. That’s just not right!!! With the real estate market starting to turnaround, we should not forget the hard lessons learned from the recent recession. We need to protect against unreasonable increases in our property taxes from happening again. As I read it, that’s what Prop. 117 will do – it will protect homeowners from dramatic increases in their tax bills. Homeowners should vote Yes on Prop. 117!

JoAnne Sandquist, Retired, Sierra Vista  

Vote YES on Prop 117 to Protect Taxpayers

Prop 117 will protect taxpayers from exorbitant increases in AZ property values. As most tax payers are aware, Arizona’s property tax system is highly complicated for the average property owner. Our government’s tax system uses two sets of value to tax, one is supposedly reflective of the market value of property (full cash value or FCV) and the other value (limited property value or LPV) stems and grows annually from a complicated technical statutory formula, typically no less than 10%.   When property values grow dramatically and local governments keep tax rates the same, taxes increase by the same rate as the growth. This is what happened to a majority of property taxpayers during the 2001-2008 real estate boom. During that time, 150 taxing jurisdictions tricked taxpayers into thinking our government was not increasing taxes because tax rates remained the same. Yet what happened was that as each property value grew the result was a tax increase.   Property values grew nearly 50% in the City of Phoenix between 2001 and 2008, and overall in the state, property taxes collected grew at an even greater rate of more than 60%. Why did the City of Phoenix stick to its policy of continuing the fixed combined tax rate of $1.82 while ignoring the explosive growth in values? Because the City of Phoenix received extra-ordinary cash windfall simply by doing nothing (certainly not protecting the good business sense a city government should have towards its taxpayers). Prop 117 will protect taxpayers against dramatic increases in their property tax bill and require sensibility and business acumen for each jurisdiction entity.   Vote for Prop 117 which will help property owners limit the growth in taxes when they choose to keep tax rates the same during growth times.

Kurt Schneider, Phoenix  

Ranching Families Support Prop 117

If only nature gave us rain like our government gives us property tax increases-we would be awash in green grass. Ranching families and all property owners should not have to be subject to such wide swings in values from one year to the next. Proposition 117 will provide for a more stable tax system without wide swings in property values from one year to the next. It’s bad enough just waiting for the rain…   Please vote YES on Proposition 117!

Norman J. Hinz, President, Arizona Cattle Feeder’s Association, Phoenix

Patrick Bray, Executive Vice President, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, Phoenix  

(Under Arizona’s complicated property tax system, homeowners have seen unpredictable increases of 95 percent in property taxes between 2004 and 2009. To everyone’s dismay, many of these unexpected increases in property taxes actually occurred during a time when the market value of homes was decreasing . Under Prop 117, the amount that the tax can increase will be limited to 5 percent per year. Tax rates will stabilize. Property tax rates for new construction will be calculated to harmonize with the rates of existing homes. Local governments will be able to reliably anticipate future tax revenue. Taxpayers will be shielded from the alarming increases in property taxes that have occurred in the past with real estate bubbles. There is no effect on state aid to schools. It somewhat limits the bonding capacity of local governments – not a bad thing. There is no downside to Proposition 117. It’s a win-win for everyone. VOTE “YES” ON PROP 117 .)

Sylvia Allen, State Senator, Arizona State Senate, Candidate for Navajo County Board of Supervisors District 3, Snowflake

Lester Pearce, Former Justice of the Peace, Candidate for Maricopa County Board of Supervisors District 2, Mesa  

Arizona’s current property tax system is too complex for the average property owner to understand. An ideal system is one that is simple, predictable and easily understood.   Under our current property tax system, property is taxed on two values: 1) the market value, which is unlimited in the amount it can grow each year, and 2) a statutorily set value that can increase each year based on a complicated formula. Both values are subject to tax and fund a wide variety of government services.   Prop 117 will limit the taxation of property to only one value and that value will be limited in annual growth of 5% (currently there is no limit). No longer will property be taxes at its market value.   Narrowing the taxation of property to one value that has a reasonable limit will simplify Arizona’s property tax system and will provide greater predictability for both government and taxpayers.

Gary M. Gitlin, Paradise Valley  

Vote NO on Prop 204

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  

Vote NO on Proposition 121

 

ANALYSIS BY LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

Beginning with the 2014 elections, Proposition 121 would amend the Arizona Constitution by eliminating the longstanding primary election that allows each recognized political party in Arizona to select its own nominee for the general election.  In its place would be a primary election system in which registered voters may vote for candidates regardless of political affiliation.  A funding source has not been identified that will pay the cost of the open top two primary election that will replace the current system.  Additionally, the number of candidates who appear on the general election ballot would be limited to only the two who receive the most votes and any qualified write-in candidates, except that, for any office to which more than one candidate shall be elected, the number of candidates who will compete in the general election shall be the number of candidates to be elected times two.  Currently, all candidates who receive the most votes in their party primary appear on the general election ballot.  This often results in more than two candidates appearing on the general election ballot.

Proposition 121 would not apply to the election of United States President, nor to any office for which political party affiliation may not appear on the ballot.

Under Proposition 121, the signature requirement for candidates wishing to run in the open primary election for an office would be based on the total votes cast for all candidates for that office at the previous general election and would be the same for all candidates regardless of party affiliation or lack of affiliation.  Each candidate who declared a party preference on their voter registration form would have that preference listed, up to twenty characters, on the nominating petition and on the primary and general election ballots.  If no party preference is declared on a candidate’s registration form, no preference would be listed on the petition and ballots.  All government-issued voter education materials and ballots would contain a notice that any political party registration listed for a candidate is not an indication that the candidate has been nominated or endorsed by that political party.

Proposition 121 provides that individuals may organize or join political parties and that political parties may elect party officers, support or oppose candidates and otherwise participate in all elections, if the party activity is not paid for or subsidized using public funds.  All voters, candidates and political parties must be treated equally, regardless of party affiliation or lack of affiliation.  hen registering to vote, voters would be allowed to state any party preference in their own words and would not be limited to selecting from a list of recognized political parties or affiliations.

The proposition leaves to future Legislatures and governing bodies a number of issues, including who will have access to the statewide voter database, how vacancies will be handled, what percentage of votes will be set each year as the number of petition signatures required by each candidate for each office to qualify for the ballot, how to pay for the two tier election and how to pay for the cost of implementation and conforming legislation.  The Department of Justice must pre-clear any changes.

Vote No on the Prop 121 – Open Government

ARGUMENTS “AGAINST” PROPOSITION 121

The Home Builders Association of Central Arizona respects the opportunities for all the citizens of Arizona to engage in the political process which encourages participation by the voters of Arizona. This encourages a debate that ensures that issues that are important to the citizens of Arizona are addressed through their informed vote at the ballot box.   Unfortunately, we believe Prop 121 may have the opposite effect.   Prop 121 will allow all Arizonans, regardless of party affiliate, to vote in a single primary election for the candidates of their choice with the top two vote getters advancing to the general election. This ballot measure eliminates the current system of party affiliation and leaves third party candidates struggling to compete with major party candidates to advance to the general election.   Candidates may chose to leave their party affiliation off the ballot leaving the voters uninformed as to a candidate’s basic fundamental beliefs. This may result in candidates who voters know little about with respect to their underlying beliefs or agendas advancing to the General.   Arizona has had a number of ideas over the years that will “fix” our political problems like clean elections, restricting contribution limits, and redistricting, yet we still have them. Prop 121 is another ill advised political experiment that will damage Arizona and further reduce voter turnout.   Vote No on Prop 121

Connie Wilhelm, President, Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, Phoenix

Spencer Kamps, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, Phoenix   

Open Elections/Open Government has good intentions, in the minds of its proponents, but has too many unintended negative consequences for this voter to support it.   Under our current primary and general election system, the election departments of county government handle balloting and counting with no direct charge to the participating political parties in the primaries.   With OE/OG , the government is not allowed to assist with those party primary elections at any net cost to the taxpayers. It remains to be seen whether the parties can contract with the county elections offices to provide ballots and counting due to the outright ban in the proposition language, including any form of subsidy (such as use of high speed ballot scanners).   That really bothers me because it leaves parties to figure out how to nominate their candidates, and without the readily available tools at county election departments to do it fairly and above suspicion. At the May 2012 Arizona Republican Party state convention, balloting for delegates to the Republican National Convention was a disgrace, with all kinds of irregularities, and they did not even complete the election of National Committeewoman. Maybe they’d eventually get their act together, but recent performance is not encouraging. For that reason alone, I oppose OE/OG .   In my opinion, it is also unfair to a party that does conduct its own nominating process that someone who did not win the party’s nomination can still run in the open primary as a member of that party, despite not being that party’s chosen nominee. That is too confusing to voters in the primary.

Scott H. O’Connor, Paradise Valley  

The fact that the Arizona Republic has unleashed its liberal brigade in a united effort to obstruct voter’s choices is the clearest indicator of the importance of this initiative to the left. It is, in fact, a very bad idea. We recommend a NO vote.   The country is suffering through one of the greatest Constitutional crises in our history because our representatives in congress passed the Health Care Act while not knowing what was in it. This initiative is similar in that regard.   A great number of United States citizens call ourselves political conservatives because we believe in preserving that which is good in our culture and welcoming the new when we are convinced that the new policy will truly advance the common good for all citizens.   That is why we cherish our Constitution so greatly and are dismayed at how ill-conceived new ideas have so disabled the founding principles our forefathers enshrined in the Constitution to direct us. Likewise, we are gravely concerned about the problems inherent in this initiative. For example, how will partisan precinct committeemen be elected in non-partisan elections? Will another unelected committee decide?   The game is in the initiative’s name “Open Election/Open Government.” Names chosen for their appeal to focus groups i.e.: Independent Redistricting, Judicial Merit Selection and Clean Elections, do not consider the electorate’s best interest – rather the proponent’s special interests. Our free and Constitutional elections should not be undermined by zealots seeking to revamp the process put in place by our nation’s Founders.   We have an excellent system now for electing our candidates which has stood the test of time for a hundred and fifty years. It would be foolish to throw it all away on a whim from someone’s political grab bag. Please vote NO .

Rob Haney, Precinct Committeeman, Phoenix  

Mary Haney, Precinct Committeeman, Phoenix  

Why you should vote NO :   1. Under this initiative, candidates will be able to SCAM the voters. Long-time election officials confirmed to me that if this ballot measure passes, a candidate can register with any 20 character description and it will have to be printed on the ballot. A liberal candidate could identify themselves as a “Reagan Republican” in a Republican-leaning district and a conservative candidate could identify themselves as “Endorsed by Gabby” in a Democrat-leaning district. A candidate could even identify themselves as “Veteran” or “Fire-fighter” even if they aren’t.   2. This initiative could PREVENT whole blocks of voters from voting for someone from their own party in the general election. Many legislative districts are heavy Republican or Democrat leaning. In a heavy Republican-dominant district it is likely a registered Democrat wouldn’t even make it to the General election. Conversely, a registered Republican likely won’t make it to the General election in a Democrat-dominant district, leaving thousands of voters with no one from their party to vote for in the general election.   3. Third party candidates, like Libertarians and Green Party candidates, won’t even have a chance. Now at least, they make it to the general election ballot.   4. The non-partisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee has determined that, if passed, this ballot measure will cost the counties an additional $440,000 to $2 Million. That means counties will likely have to raise taxes or cut services to pay for it.   5. This proposal hasn’t worked well in any state where it has been tried. Which leads me to wonder why the backers of this initiative spent nearly $1 million just to get it on the ballot and will likely spend millions more just to convince you this is a good idea.

Debbie Lesko, State Representative, Arizona House of Representatives, Glendale  

The Maricopa County Republican Party, through its elected leadership, formally opposes the Open Elections/Open Government initiative. The Open Elections/Open Government initiative would effectively abolish political parties in Arizona by prohibiting them from organizing and nominating candidates for virtually all public offices.   By preventing political parties from presenting their duly nominated candidates to the voters at election time, this initiative undermines freedom of choice for the voters and freedom of association for the people of Arizona.   The Republican Party does not agree with all the principles of minority parties such as the Libertarian and Green Parties, yet believes that their voices are important and if this initiative became law, minor party candidates would not finish in the top two positions and would clearly be cut out of the election process.   The Open Elections/Open Government initiative will make it more difficult to determine a candidate’s position because of the lack of party affiliation and is widely viewed as an incumbency protection act.   Open primary elections in other states did not live up to their promises and, in fact, lowered voter turnout, and other feel-good initiatives such as the Independent Redistricting Commission in Arizona have not taken politics out of redistricting as promised, but vastly increased the political partisanship, gamesmanship and bureaucracy.   A general election with two candidates from the same faction with similarly held beliefs would diminish voter turnout through lack of interest. We urge all voters who value choice and diverse points of view at election time to vote against this initiative.

Robert B. Haney, Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee, Phoenix  

Dear Voter,   I urge you to vote NO on Proposition 121. The proponents would have you believe that Arizona does not currently have an “open primary” system. This is categorically false. The truth is, Independent voters in Arizona have the right to vote at any election for any candidate by choosing a party ballot in a primary election. Proposition 121 repeals that important piece of our Constitution, passed by the voters in 1998, and further proposes sweeping changes to over 50 different election laws – the impacts of which have just begun to be understood. For example: Do you like to know a candidate’s political party before casting your vote? This proposition would eliminate the requirement that candidates for partisan elective office specify their party affiliation on the ballot, opening the door to widespread voter deception.   As Arizona’s former Secretary of State, I know well the importance and value of increasing voter participation in our elections. But this proposition is not the way to do it. This measure is an attack on Arizona’s political parties and an attack on our election process itself. Most disturbing, it threatens to create new opportunities for `sham’ candidates whose sole purpose is to mislead voters and fraudulently impact the outcome of Arizona elections.   This is not “open elections, open government” at all. Proposition 121 may have a “catchy” title, but it will usher in a selection process that threatens the voice of Arizona voters.

Jan Brewer, Governor, Phoenix  

Fairness? If you embrace fairness do NOT vote for this initiative. Top-2 (so-called `Open Primaries’) has been strongly opposed in Washington, Oregon and California by many Independents, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens and other smaller parties. Some may benefit strategically, but not most of us.   Major parties . Top-2 can create ONE-PARTY controlled general ballots (November election) with only one party represented on the ballot. In the primary, the major parties have suffered in other states from `spoiler effect’ by running multiple candidates (splitting votes). To avoid this they have pressured candidates not to run, thereby reducing our choices. Big parties can totally lose their big voice after primaries.   Small parties lose ANY platform to voice their opinions and advance their ideas in the general election. In Washington State smaller parties (and larger) are suing over this issue, claiming it will (or has) almost destroy(ed) their party.   Independents will not make it onto the general ballot (except possibly if they are very wealthy). More money will be needed in the primary than ever before and they are without financial support from a party. As Top-2 has been described as an `incumbency protection plan’, Independents are still left out. Arizona should simply ease the ridiculously unfair burden on Independents for ballot access (such as reducing the required-signatures needed).   The current system has flaws but Top-2 is even worse. Luckily, there are REAL SOLUTIONS to problems posed by promoters.   In contrast to Top-2, Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) would elect the overall favorite of the people, treating all equally. RCV eliminates spoiler effects, tends to increase turnout and it encourages less polarization. RCV treats everyone fairly and can be used either IN primaries or to REPLACE primaries (ultimately saving money).   Consider BETTER SOLUTIONS and REJECT TOP-2 . Join FairVote AZ in voting ` NO .’

Barbara Klein, Chairman, FairVote Arizona, Scottsdale

Joe Cobb, Treasurer, FairVote Arizona, Glendale

Linda Macias, Secretary, FairVote Arizona, Mesa  

Frustration. This proposition has sprung up from frustration over `extreme’, embarrassing or ineffectual government. Many well-meaning Arizonans support `Top-2′ (labeled `open primaries’) as an answer, stating it will elect more `moderates’ but what we need is government representing MORE people and removing stumbling blocks to civil cooperation.   Frustrations are understandable, but NOT this Top-2 answer. Better answers exist .   Negative results are a sure-thing and claimed promises have not materialized in other states. Some major concerns are below (background report at www.lwvaz.org).   1. General elections in some areas will have NO CHOICE of a different party – meaning ONE PARTY control.   2. Top-2 will keep all minor party candidates (and probably Independents) off the general election ballot – no voice, no platform to even discuss ideas.   3. Voter turnout will DECREASE for November election-especially with only ONE PARTY options. Supporters suggest it will increase turnout in primary, but the first California Top-2 primary in June showed the opposite, resulting in dismal turnout (worst presidential primary since early 1950s).   4. The Arizona proposal is the worst of available models. It is not a true `open primary,’ which might have some advantages.   5. The `spoiler effect’ remains. Supporters claim having only two candidates advance to the general election; ensures a majority vote without spoiler effect from third candidates. However, as the California election just showed, `spoiler effect’ in the primary would be alive and well – and devastating.   6. There ARE solutions to election structure in Arizona. Just not this! Some might include: easing independent-candidate ballot access; repealing `sore loser’ laws; allowing cross-filing, a true open primary, and ultimately using Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) as our election system. RCV solves many of the stated problems and gives voters more voice – instead of less.   Vote NO on this painfully WRONG APPROACH .

Barbara Klein, President, League of Women Voters of Arizona, Scottsdale

Robyn Prud’homme-Bauer, 1 st Vice President, League of Women Voters of Arizona, Clarkdale  

I have run for public office five times in Arizona. Each time I have run as a third party candidate with very little chance of being elected to office. Yet I have run. Why? Because the election process isn’t just about winning and losing office. It’s about a marketplace for ideas. In each of those elections I have debated my opponents, both Republicans and Democrats. In those debates my opponents have been observant. They’ve watched the public response to new ideas. When I have proposed new ideas that voters have responded favorably to, my opponents have taken notice. Next thing you know, those ideas have been picked up and included in their platforms.   That’s the way the process works. Third-party candidates insert different and sometimes better ideas into the political debate.   This process is not bad. It’s good. This is a fusion of ideas. All of the ideas come together. This is what Libertarians and Greens and other third party candidates consider ‘winning’. The election process is a marketplace of ideas; and winning is about more than just being elected to office.   The adoption of the proposed initiative would effectively eliminate third-party – Libertarian, Green, and Americans Elect – participation in this fusion process. It would be the worst thing that could happen to the incorporation of new ideas and solutions into the political process.

Warren Severin, Phoenix

“TOP 2” PRIMARY: HARMFUL TO THE FUTURE OF ARIZONA’S ELECTORAL PROCESS

If passed, the “Top 2” Primary will adversely and irreparably alter Arizona’s electoral process to the detriment of the citizens of our state.   It will limit choices. Under the current system, political parties are free to field as many candidates as they wish with the understanding that only one of them will proceed to the general election. Under the new system, only one candidate will be nominated for fear that support would be split preventing any of their candidates from making it to the general. This will effectively exclude a significant amount of potential candidates from seeking public office which will leave voters with fewer options when selecting their representatives.   It will hurt ethnic minorities . Under the current system, Arizona’s ethnic minority voters may join whatever party best represents their political leanings, thus assuring representation in the general election. Under the proposed system, minority voters will be at a disadvantage when trying to advance their candidate of choice to the top two. In Arizona, the effect will be an institutionalized suppression of Latino candidates and votes.   It will decrease voter turnout . As we saw the “Top 2” Primary dramatically reduce voter efficacy in California, it has been proven that this system yields a remarkably lower turnout. This makes logical sense as the first and second finishers are likely to have similar or even indiscernible political platforms. With no significant policy or philosophically based differences between the two candidates, the desire of voters to participate in the general election will be considerably diminished.   Respectfully submitted by:

Reymundo Jiménez Torres, President, The Arizona Latino Republican Association (ALRA), Mesa

Jose N. Borrajero, Communications Director, The Arizona Latino Republican Association (ALRA), Mesa  

The supporters of Prop 121 say that this initiative will solve all of Arizona’s political problems. Here’s what they won’t tell you:   Prop 121 gives power to political operatives and special interests

Because Prop 121 sends the top two vote recipients to a general election, political operatives and special interests will likely run `sham’ candidates to split the other candidates’ votes.   Prop 121 limits your choices

Prop 121 would lead to general elections in which the two candidates are both members of the same political party, denying voters of other political parties a choice. Third-party and small-party candidates will be shut out of the general election process entirely.   It removes transparency

By allowing candidates to run for office without designating their party preference, Prop 121 makes elections more confusing, not less.   It defeats the purpose of the redistricting process

States are required to create new legislative districts every ten years to ensure that the state legislature accurately represents the voters of the state. Prop 121 would allow a political party with a small number of voters in a legislative district to win a seat by running one candidate while the other parties run several, splitting their party’s vote. Thus, a heavily Republican district would be represented by a Democrat, or vice versa.   It disenfranchises voters

Prop 121 removes the statutory requirement that legislative vacancies be filled with a member of the same political party, disenfranchising those voters who successfully elected a member of their preferred political party.   It creates opportunities for identity theft

Prop 121 will make your personal voter registration information available to anyone.   It increases the likelihood of election fraud

Prop 121 allows polls to be staffed by one party only, making it easier for that party to tamper with ballots or election results.

Andy Biggs, State Senator, Majority Leader, Arizona State Senate, Gilbert  

DO NOT BE MISLED!

This proposal has many very bad consequences:   1. It greatly limits your choice of candidates. In some districts Republicans will either have to vote for one of two Democrats or not vote in a race at all and vice versa. Third party candidates will be shut out of the general election process entirely.   2. Campaigns will be longer and more expensive because this proposal effectively requires candidates to run in a preliminary general election to be one of the top two to run in the regular general election.   3. “Ringer” or “spoiler candidates” will be used by political insiders in order to split the other party’s vote in the primary and manipulate the election outcome.   4. Because the proposal is not an open primary, back room party endorsements and big money donors will have greater influence over candidates who will need more money to run.   5. If this passes, the requirement that vacancies in state and legislative offices be filled by a person of the same party will be gone.   6. ID theft is likely to increase because personal voter registration list information will no longer be limited to recognized political parties. Anyone will be able to get it.   7. For many years Arizona election law has wisely required that both major political parties be represented by poll workers and election observers in order to avoid election fraud. If this proposal passes that requirement is gone.   8. A decrease in voter turnout has resulted in the two states that have recently adopted this proposal and Louisiana is the only state to use this approach for more than a few years.

Steve Pierce, President of the Arizona State Senate, Phoenix  

Join Arizona Voters and SAVE OUR VOTE! VOTE NO on the Top Two/Jungle Primary Initiative!  Seems ironic that the Top Two Primary initiative is being promoted as Open Government/Open Elections. Who doesn’t want Open Government and Open Elections? But like many initiatives, titles are chosen carefully to confuse and deceive voters and this title does just that.   Here are some things you need to consider. The initiative states…  • It will provide “more choice to all voters.” FALSE. It actually decreases YOUR choice . The two top vote getters in the primary will advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation. So in the general your choice may be between two Republicans or two Democrats. This limits the debate of ideas and disenfranchises voters.  • Will increase voter turnout. FALSE. States that have implemented this have actually seen a DECREASE in voter turnout.  • Will not diminish our current political parties. FALSE. Candidates would be permitted to list ANY description of their choosing as their official party, which would be very confusing to voters.  • Will make it easier to vote out incumbents. FALSE. In states that have the top two structure incumbents are rarely replaced.  • It’s a grassroots effort. FALSE. Special interests have spent nearly $1 Million to gather the signatures to get this initiative on the ballot.   When failed politicians and special interest can’t win at the ballot box they work the system to try and change it to their advantage. This is exactly what this group is trying accomplish. It’s up to us, the voters of Arizona, to say NO we will not tolerate these types of shenanigans.   SAVE OUR VOTE. VOTE NO! Visit www.SaveOurVoteAZ.com and www.StopTopTwo.org for more information.

Lisa Gray, Chairman, Legislative District 21 Republican Committee, Sun City   The Open Primary Initiative is an open invitation to disaster. It will not do what it promises, but will, instead, make matters worse. First, we are told it will increase voter participation. False. No state with an open primary has seen increased voter turnout because of open primaries and who are they to tell me how or when to exercise my right to vote? Second, we are told we will see better candidates to choose from in a General Election. That has not proved true. In Egypt, extremist candidates from the Muslim Brotherhood and a former official from the last dictator’s regime made it to the General Election out of an Open Primary. Think it can’t happen here? In Louisiana, voters got to choose between a Grand Wizard of the KKK and a crook later indicted for racketeering. So much for the wonders of an Open Primary. What this will do is take away our right to vote for whom we want in a General Election. It guarantees third party candidates and Independents will never appear on a General Election Ballot because the initiative mandates that only two candidates can appear on the ballot. What we will see is the cost of a primary campaign go up because candidates will have to send mail or make phone calls to every voter and not those who share their philosophy of government in their particular political party. When costs to campaigns go up, who gets to choose who the candidates are? – Those who have the money and the organization to influence voters. Yet we are being told that this initiative will reduce the influence of special groups. Even though it will also make it easier for incumbent officials to win, I’m still voting NO and encourage you to do the same.

Bill Montgomery, Maricopa County Attorney, Gilbert  

SAY NO TO TOP TWO!

Arizona’s democracy is under attack by the so-called “Open Elections/Open Government” initiative, sometimes called the “Top Two Primary.” The fact is that this initiative is just another political scheme calculated to take over Arizona government by making it harder and, for voters in many areas, impossible to elect the candidates of their choice.   This initiative will turn Arizona’s elections inside out by requiring candidates to run in third-world style “jungle primaries.” This system will wreak havoc on Arizona voters. For example:  • The most extreme candidates (left and right) will win. Under this system, voters in Louisiana sent former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke to the general election. Political parties, candidates, and special interests will run sham candidates to help elect extremists.  • Independents and third parties will be statistically prevented from advancing to the general election. Current law allows independents and third parties to appear on the general election ballot. Because political parties will dominate the “jungle primary,” independents, libertarians, greens, and other third parties will most likely never advance to the general election. Voters will have fewer choices in the general election!  • Minorities will lose the right to elect minority candidates . Fifty years of progress under the Voting Rights Act will evaporate under this proposal. It will be harder for voters in minority districts to elect minorities to office because several minority candidates will dilute and split the vote, allowing one or two non-minorities to advance.   The Top Two “jungle” primary will result in fewer choices where it matters the most, in general elections, and allow the most extreme candidates to win. Say no to this election scheme . Vote NO on Top Two!

Michael T. Liburdi, Attorney, Scottsdale  

In Opposition to the “Open Elections/Open Government Act”

Division 1 College Football relies on the BCS poll to decide the top two teams for the Championship Game. Fans have decried the lack of a playoff system for decades and would prefer a Division II type of playoff system. In politics, Arizona’s Primary elections are the “Playoff” for the General Election “Championship”. This change to the Arizona State Constitution would replace our political “Playoff” system with the equivalent of the BCS System, a step backwards!   Furthermore, the General Election would offer ONLY two candidates; all others will be EXCLUDED ! Wealthy donors will back the two most similar candidates from the dominant party in the new Open (Primary) Election, leaving voters without any choice of meaningful distinction in the General Election. For Example, a dominant Republican district (like CD 6) would promote David Schweikert and Ben Quayle to the top two positions for the General Election. How will Democrats feel, if they have only two Republicans from which to choose and no Democrat? Similarly, if David Shapira and Kyrsten Sinema are promoted to the General Election, how will Republicans in that District feel about their lack of choice? Other parties, such as Libertarians and the Green Party will NEVER see one of their candidates emerge as a choice; whereas, candidates from EVERY Party may appear in our current General Election!   Freedom of Choice. It’s what Americans possess in abundance over every other nation on earth. We have more TV Channels, more brands of cars, Fast-food restaurants, and even catsup than anywhere else.   Why would anyone want to change our AZ Constitution to REDUCE our number of choices at the Ballot box?   Please vote NO on this most UN -Democratic of measures!

Daniel J. Grimm, Mesa   Ranching Families Oppose Proposition 121

Proposition 121 is another failed election reform. It will require Arizona to conduct elections like they do in California. It will remove your opportunity to vote in your selected primary for your selected candidate. In rural Arizona we work hard for the leaders we support – no matter which political party they belong to. Our current election system only needs more active and hardworking voters – it does not need another failed California reform.   Please vote NO on Proposition 121!

Norman J. Hinz, President, Arizona Cattle Feeders’ Association, Phoenix

Patrick Bray, Executive Vice President, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, Phoenix

“Open Elections” is Anything But

Another quick-fix scheme for everything that supposedly ails us is on this year’s ballot. Its proponents call it “Open Elections.” Detractors call it the “jungle primary,” because it’s dark, scary, and dangerous.   Fortunately, we don’t have to guess at the consequences. California adopted this scheme and had its first “open primary” this spring. It was a disaster. California’s experience suggests that a more truthful name for this proposition would be:   The Choice Suppression Act : In the general election, voters get only two choices, no matter how many candidates want to run. Many times they will be from the same party. In California this November, in one of every five elections both candidates come from the same party, meaning no real choice for voters.   The Incumbent Protection Act: No surprise that incumbents with high name identification fare well in the first round. As a result, in California every single incumbent advanced to the November election, all but four placing first in the opening round.   The Abolish Independents and Third Parties Act : Only 7 candidates who are not Democrats or Republicans will be on the California ballot this fall–compared to 125 two years ago. Want to vote for an independent, Libertarian, or Green Party candidate? Forget it.   The Political Manipulation Act : Powerful and well-funded candidates scam the system by aiding the primary candidate who will be their weakest opponent in the general election.   No one loves our current electoral system. But everyone treasures our democracy and the fact that every November, in most elections we have a choice among Democrats, Republicans, independents, and third-party candidates. If we junk that system in favor of this latest utopian scheme, we will regret it. Let’s keep this bad idea on the California side of the border: vote no .

Clint Bolick, Goldwater Institute, Phoenix  

The Arizona Republican Party strongly opposes this proposal to amend the Arizona Constitution.   The existing party nomination process is the best way to hold politicians accountable for the jobs they are doing. Today, each of Arizona’s parties nominates the candidate their voting members choose, and these candidates then compete against each other in the General Election. It is the best way for candidates to fully share their views with voters, it is the best way to ensure politicians keep their promises, and it’s the only way to make sure voters have truly different candidates to choose from in the General Election.   The current party primary system is good enough to elect the President of the United States, and it’s good enough to elect Arizona’s representatives.   If there were only two candidates on the ballot, elections would become more about ego and personality and less about good ideas and the important issues that affect us all. And it is likely that the incumbent officeholder would always be on the General Election ballot, giving voters only one other choice   This amendment would encourage mischief by allowing candidates to hide their position on the issues from the public, ruining every voter’s chance to learn more about candidates they prefer. And candidates could potentially switch parties at the last minute, or even conceal their party affiliation, further alienating voters. This proposal demeans the rights of people to associate with and select candidates who share their views, and tramples upon the rights of all voters to nominate the leaders of their choice.

Tom Morrissey, Chairman, Arizona Republican Party, Phoenix  

I urge voters to see through the myths of the so-called Open Elections, Open Government or “Top-Two” measure. It’s more accurately described as creating a “Jungle Primary.” Focus on the facts. The facts are that the Jungle Primary initiative is nothing more than a series of empty promises that will decrease voter choice and increase the influence of special interests, among other devastating and even unknown consequences.   Myth: Jungle Primary will increase voter turnout.   Fact: The 2012 California election with the same open primary system resulted in the lowest voter turnout in decades. To claim Jungle Primary will increase voter turnout is simply not true.   Myth: Jungle Primary will increase voter choice.   Fact: In California’s Congressional District 31, a district where Democrats hold a voter registration advantage, the recent primary election saw four Democrats and two Republicans on the ballot. The result? The four Democrats split the Democratic vote and the two Republicans advanced to the General Election. The Jungle Primary actually limited voter choice because two Republicans will be the only choice in the General Election. Many voters in that district won’t have the choice to vote for someone who shares their values. Jungle Primary is no choice at all.   Arizonans are smart enough to see through the empty promises of Jungle Primary. Say NO to Jungle Primaries. For more information, visit azvoterguide.com.

Cathi Herrod, Esq., President, Center for Arizona Policy, Phoenix

NOT GOOD FOR ARIZONA

THIS IS NOT A GRASS ROOTS EFFORT but rather politics as usual by those that can’t win straight-up elections, so they resort to manipulating the system. With nearly one million dollars spent gathering signatures by paid out-of-state solicitors, please don’t tell voters this is a grass roots initiative. In fact, big business , big labor , academia, and big money injected huge amounts of cash into this effort with plenty more on the way.   In 2008, in the heavily Democrat State of Oregon, voters soundly REJECTED their own top-two initiative 66% to 34% because the truth was revealed by the media. With an initiative so soundly defeated in Oregon why would big business , big labor , academia , and big money even try to introduce it in Arizona? Interesting question, interesting answer… follow the money.   VOTE NO to big money interests.

Beth Jamison, Chairperson, Arizona Citizens for Honest Elections, Phoenix

Here’s a preview of the “new and better” way to conduct primary elections in Arizona. This same scheme of primary elections has been tried in various states with the same disastrous outcome – confusion, exclusivity and failure.   In California, the initiative was recently passed and employed for the first time in 2010. The outcome was 6% of the ballots cast were disqualified because voters were confused with the process. California experienced the lowest voter turnout in its’ entire history.   Washington state has fallen prey to this gimmick and has resulted in the transformation into the second most partisan election in the country – second only to California! In Washington, as a result of (123) state legislative races, (8) state office races, and (8) U.S. House races, only (1) incumbent lost!   Oregon has also dabbled with the prospect of this shrewd destroyer of popular vote, but the voters refused to be duped and DEFEATED the ballot measure.   Given the startling outcome of this contorted scheme in ALL other jurisdiction in which it was instituted, can it not be fairly inferred that the same tragic outcome awaits Arizona if it adopts this system? Is it not a telling story that all of the former candidates who have shoveled huge sums of money into this disaster in the making have, in fact, LOST an election under the current system? Apparently, they feel if you can’t win the elections governed by current rules – CHANGE the RULES !   I could go on endlessly about the travesty which this un-needed change promises to bring to the great state of Arizona, but it is clear from the tried-and-failed history of this system that it should be STOPPED in order to ensure that fair and legal election procedures continue to be followed here.

Roger Hesketh, Arizona Vietnam Veteran, Scottsdale  

Open Primary: The Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing   The claims sound appealing but let’s check under the hood before we buy.   The legislative analysis C-03-2012 is revealing. ( http://azleg.gov/alispdfs/Council/2012BallotMeasures/Adopted_C-03-2012.pdf )   The number of candidates who appear on the general election ballot would be limited to the two who receive the most votes. In order to win, candidates would have to put forward only those views that appeal to the middle of the road voter. Candidates representing a wide spectrum of ideas enrich the American political debate and the all deserve representation in the general election. The Top Two system denies these candidates a place in the general election, diluting the promise of free speech for all.   A funding source hasn’t been identified. States using this system have experienced increased cost for primary elections.   If no party preference is declared on a candidate’s registration form, no preference would be listed on the petition and ballots . Party preference may or may not appear on the ballot. Party affiliation tells us something about the candidate; voters deserve to have this information.   When registering to vote, voters would be allowed to state any party preference in their own words and would not be limited to selecting from a list of recognized political parties or affiliations. This is a recipe for chaos! If we make a change let’s be sure it’s for the better.   The proposition leaves to future Legislatures and governing bodies a number of issues, i.e. access to the voter database, handling vacancies, percentage of votes that will determine the number of petition signatures required to qualify for the ballot. These items need to be settled before we vote on it.   The Department of Justice must pre-clear any changes. “We the people” would not have much power to change the system once in place.

Cherie Scott, Avondale  

OPPOSE Proposition 121 The so-called “Open Elections/Open Government Act” Initiative   Don’t be fooled. This initiative effectively blocks candidates who are not Republican or Democrat from making it onto your General Election ballot. Smaller parties and Independent candidates will not have the votes needed to make the “top two” and will not have the opportunity to win. Even worse, they won’t even have the opportunity to try to win. Americans love choices and we ought to have lots of them, especially in our politics and candidates. Telling Arizonans that they are only allowed to have two candidates to choose from is un-American. This initiative discriminates against smaller parties and Independents. It actually will discriminate against Republicans and Democrats too. Because most districts are very Republican or very Democrat, voters in those districts will have two candidates from the same party to choose from. In roughly 20 of Arizona’s 30 legislative district, you won’t even have two parties to choose from, so Democrats in Republican districts will only have two Republicans to choose from and Republicans in Democrat districts will only have two Democrats to choose from.   This initiative will decrease voter turnout. Arizona already has very high turnout relative to other states. Arizona’s 2010 primary turnout was more than 30% while California’s first primary under these new rules was 15%. And it makes sense. If you offer voters fewer choices they will be less interested. Our system is not perfect, but it is far superior to this new scheme. Supporters of this initiative say they want to change the rules because they want to change the type of candidate who wins, but rigging the rules to ensure that only a specific type of candidate can win is un-American and very dangerous for Arizona.

Hon. Russell Pearce, Former President of the Arizona State Senate, Mesa  

(This proposition was brought to the ballot by those who are frustrated by the outcome of past elections. They think if they can change the system, they can manipulate voters into electing candidates more to their liking.   This is an attempt to deceive voters and cause chaos. Backers of this proposition want to make it more difficult for voters to determine which candidate they politically and philosophically align with. All non-party-designated voters in Arizona can already vote in the Primary by requesting the ballot they want.   This proposition will weaken parties because it will obscure party affiliation and candidate values. The purpose of the primary is for people with common philosophies to come together and elect their choice of candidate for the general election. This results in a general election that offers a variety of candidates with different philosophies. But with a wide-open primary, you could very well end up with candidates from the same party and the same ideology, leaving no choice for the voter.   The main claim of proponents is that this would take the politics out of the process. That’s what they said about the Independent Redistricting Commission, and how has that turned out?   A nonpartisan primary system has been tried in only a few states and has not demonstrated any substantial success as a way of electing good candidates for office. It has, however, achieved low voter turnout. What this proposition guarantees is that the candidate with the biggest political machine behind them will be the winner. I OPPOSE THIS PROPOSITION .)

Sylvia Allen, State Senator, Arizona State Senate, Candidate for Navajo County, Board of Supervisors District 3, Snowflake

Vote YES on Proposition 116

Prop 116 Text 

ANALYSIS BY LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

The Arizona Constitution currently provides that all property in Arizona is subject to property taxation unless it is specifically exempted from tax as authorized by the Constitution.

Proposition 116, known as the Small Business Job Creation Act, would amend the Arizona Constitution to allow the state to exempt from taxation the “full cash value” of equipment and machinery or “personal property” used in agriculture or in a trade or business, up to an amount equal to the annual earnings of fifty workers in this state. This exemption would apply to equipment and machinery initially acquired beginning in the 2013 tax year. To determine the amount of the exemption, the state would designate a national measure of employee earnings, which would be adjusted annually.   Under current Arizona law, the first $50,000 of full cash value of a taxpayer’s equipment and machinery used in agriculture or in a trade or business is exempt from tax. The amount is adjusted annually for inflation, and is currently set at $68,079. The current exemption would continue to apply to equipment and machinery initially acquired before the 2013 tax year.   “Full cash value” refers to the market value of property unless a specific formula for valuing property for tax purposes is set out in law.

“Personal property” refers to property that is not part of real estate and includes such things as machinery, equipment and store fixtures.

ARGUMENTS “FOR” PROPOSITION 116  

Vote YES on 116 Let’s bring Arizona out of the recession! History shows that small businesses are the source of two-thirds of all new private sector jobs when we come out of an economic downturn. I believe it’s the responsibility of government to do what it can to help our small businesses lead us to growth and prosperity. That doesn’t mean government should pick winners and losers and it certainty doesn’t mean spending taxpayer dollars on outright subsides. No, our small businesses succeed in spite of government intervention not because of it. A highlight of my legislative service has been working with small business job creators to write the referendum you see as Proposition 116, the Small Business Job Creation Act. It’s a straight-forward proposal designed to get government out of the way by rolling back the unwise policy Arizona adopted a century ago that punishes private sector investment in the equipment and machinery essential to creating jobs. This tax is something small businesses incur the moment they acquire new equipment and machinery and before they hire one worker or make any product to sell. Proposition 116 will create thousands of new jobs in Arizona by removing one of the heaviest drags on our small businesses. It does so without creating a new bureaucracy or foolishly spending the taxpayers’ money. The new investment spurred by passage of Proposition 116 will be 100% financed by the private sector–precisely where it ought to be financed from.  It’s a testament to the public policy soundness of Proposition 116 that it was unanimously adopted by our lawmakers who all too often cannot agree on much of anything substantial. I urge you to join me, our small business job creators and leaders from across the political spectrum to vote “yes” on Proposition 116.

Andy Biggs, State Senator, Majority Leader, Arizona State Senate, Gilbert  

Statement: The Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce supports the increase of the personal property tax exemption and believes it will encourage businesses to grow and expand. Business owners are slowly recovering from the economic downturn. This is a necessary initiative to stimulate reinvestment in their business machinery for growth.

Lea Marquez Peterson, President & CEO, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Tucson

Tannya Gaxiola, Chairwoman, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Tucson  

Vote for JOBS – Vote YES on 116

Proposition 116, the Small Business Job Creation Act , will unleash our small business job creators to not only put Arizona back to work but also forge a stronger, more diversified and growing economy. Proposition 116 will make Arizona better able to compete globally and overcome the uncertainties that still challenge our economic security.   When our small businesses invest in new equipment and machinery they also must hire new workers to operate those machines. The Small Business Job Creation Act rolls back Arizona’s heavy equipment and machinery tax that’s owed before any new workers are hired or any new production is realized. This burdensome equipment and machinery tax makes it much harder to attract new businesses to Arizona and discourages our home-grown small businesses from taking the risk of expanding and creating more jobs.   Proposition 116 anchors an annual tax exemption on newly-acquired equipment and machinery to the average annual wages of 50 Arizona workers. This means Arizonans can vote with confidence that only those employers who put their money to work building stronger small businesses that create jobs will see a benefit from passage of Proposition 116.   Proposition 116 is championed by the 7,500 small business owners who make up the National Federation of Independent Business in Arizona. Our members tell us that if Proposition 116 passes, 56% would acquire new equipment and machinery and 46% would hire new workers .   In addition to creating jobs, Proposition 116 gets government out of the way and signals to America’s entrepreneurs that Arizona is open for business and ready to get back to work.

NFIB , the Voice of Small Business in Arizona, urges you to vote “yes” on Proposition 116.

Vote for JOBS – Vote YES on 116

Farrell Quinlan, Arizona State Director,

National Federation of Independent Business, Phoenix

Andy Delph, Leadership Council Chairman, National Federation of Independent Business, Phoenix  

Farm Bureau Supports a “Yes” Vote on Proposition 116

The Arizona Farm Bureau supports the Small Business Job Creation Act. Farmers and Ranchers are small business owners who create jobs and contribute to the overall economy. In these tough economic times we believe the best public policy is to promote job creation and capital investment.   Prop. 116 reduces one of the barriers for small businesses to invest and purchase equipment necessary to create jobs and put people back to work. Currently Arizona farmers and small businesses incur a heavy tax burden on their equipment and machinery before they harvest their first crop or make their first sale. This mandated tax on equipment is paid on an annual basis regardless of the business’ ability to pay or the equipment actually being used. A tax on equipment is a tax on growth and a barrier to producing new jobs.   Making Arizona prosperous begins with getting Arizonans back to work. Vote yes on Prop. 116 and help Arizona’s small businesses get the job engine running again.

Kevin G. Rogers, President, Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, Gilbert

James W. Klinker, Chief Administrative Officer, Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, Gilbert  

Dear voters,

I support the Small Business Job Creation Act, Proposition 116   As a small business owner in Arizona for over 20 years, I support the Small Business Job Creation Act. Please vote yes on Proposition 116.   This tax incentive would allow Businesses to upgrade their old equipment, and purchase high tech equipment without paying additional personal property taxes on the new equipment. This incentive creates manufacturing jobs and incentives to lower small business energy costs.   Please vote yes on Prop 116.   Please sign up to support this at www.YesOn116.org

Thank you,

Mark Lewis, Executive Director, Water Resource Institute, Phoenix  

Virtually all of the business growth in Arizona comes from small businesses and a long term strategy for economic growth requires us to make more of them successful. Small business is most vulnerable in its first few years of operation. Prop 116 provides a tax break on the purchase of new equipment and machinery that are large upfront costs that often become unbearable for new businesses. Improving the success rate of new businesses is critical to providing the jobs we so badly need.   When I travel the state visiting with business leaders, they commonly site the high tax rate that small businesses pay on their machinery and equipment as a major challenge to new job creation. With the phased enactment of Proposition 116 by the voters, 95% of all small businesses with fewer than 50 employees will pay no personal property tax.   This will help to give Arizona a competitive advantage for recruiting start-up companies and retaining existing small businesses.   Proposition 116 received a bi-partisan endorsement in the Legislature and deserves a similar bi-partisan support at the ballot.

Fred DuVal, Former Commissioner, Arizona Commerce and Economic Development Board, Phoenix  

Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry Supports Proposition 116

One of Arizona’s great strengths as a state is the entrepreneurial spirit of its citizens. In fact, the Kauffman foundation recently ranked Arizona as the top state for entrepreneurship in the entire country. The tax, legal and regulatory reforms enacted at the state capitol in recent years have created an environment in which these entrepreneurs can succeed. The Arizona Chamber supports Proposition 116 because it continues to improve the tax environment for small businesses and makes it easier for them to grow and create jobs.   Proposition 116 encourages job creation by reducing the tax burden on equipment and machinery. This is especially beneficial to small businesses and startups because the tax on equipment and machinery is owed regardless of profitability or whether a new company has actually sold any products.   The impact of the current policy is that a company’s resources are allocated to a tax on their equipment and machinery rather than being allocated to hiring new workers and making capital investments that will support future growth. By reducing the damaging impact of the current tax, Proposition 116 will further strengthen Arizona’s climate for entrepreneurship by enabling small business owners to allocate more of their resources toward job creation and investment.   We urge voters to support Proposition 116.

Glenn Hamer, President & CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Phoenix

Doug Yonko, Chairman, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Phoenix  

Ranching Families Support Prop 116

Ranching and raising food is a property intensive business. High personal property taxes force ranch families to continually pay for our fences and equipment-once when we first purchase them and again each year as government levies its personal property tax on these same items. Proposition 116 will provide for fairness and efficiency by increasing the exemption for personal property taxes on agriculture and business equipment and machinery.   Please vote YES on Proposition 116!

Norman J. Hinz, President, Arizona Cattle Feeders Association, Phoenix

Patrick Bray, Executive Vice President, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, Phoenix  

I support Proposition 116: Small Business Job Creation Act. As a business woman running a hot air balloon company in the Arizona for 21 years, personal property tax exemption is important. My company, Hot Air Expeditions, is an equipment-based company. I am continuously buying new equipment and machinery. The current heavy tax burden placed on my small business is self-defeating and anti-growth because it punishes the very investment needed to grow the company. Proposition 116 provides for further encouragement to expand the company and hire more employees with a personal property tax exemption for new equipment purchases.   The Proposition 116 referendum seeks to amend the Arizona Constitution to reset the personal property tax exemption for new equipment and machinery purchases to an amount equal to the earnings of 50 Arizona workers, approximately $2.4 million. Personal property purchased on or before December 31, 2012 would remain subject to the current indexed amount which for Tax Year 2012 is $68,079.   I ask for your support. Proposition 116 must garner 50 percent plus one vote of those voting on the measure on or before November 6, 2012 General Election ballot. If passed, the new provisions will affect personal property purchased in 2013 and thereafter. Personal property already on the tax rolls will remain unaffected.   Bipartisan support is the hallmark of the Proposition 116 (Small Business Job Creation Act). It received unanimous bipartisan support from state legislators. The strong support speaks well to the soundness of this public policy proposal that both sides of the aisles voted for it.   Please vote YES on Proposition 116.

Margie Long, President, Hot Air Expeditions, Phoenix

Ramon E. Torres Jr., Corporate Officer, Hot Air Expeditions, Phoenix  

Dear Arizona Taxpayer,

Thanks to the trillion-dollar federal “Stimulus” spending programs (paid for with your tax dollars, and with debt imposed on our children and grandchildren), the economy of Washington, DC — the home of Big Government — is booming. In Washington, there is very low unemployment, and there are building cranes as far as the eye can see.   But out here in Arizona, in America’s real economy, families and businesses are still hurting and many people are without good jobs. We need to enact smart policies that will help Arizona’s economy.   One of the biggest problems facing the Arizona economy is that our current property tax system punishes job creators who would otherwise invest in the equipment and machinery necessary to creating productive and well-paid jobs. Because Arizona’s existing tax system punishes small businesses when they acquire new equipment and machinery, many of those businesses choose to locate their new plants in other states.   Proposition 116, the Small Business Job Creation Act, will help to create thousands of new jobs in Arizona — the kind of capital-intensive, highly productive jobs that build our economy and create prosperity for our families.   PLEASE VOTE YES ON PROP 116.

For more ideas about state and local tax and budget policy, and to help us enhance freedom and protect free enterprise, contact the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity, at www.aztaxpayers.org, (602) 478-0146, or tjenney@afphq.org.

Tom Jenney, Phoenix

Vote YES on 116 – Small Business Job Creation Act

Small businesses need government off our backs so we can do what we do best–create the jobs Arizonans need to secure their families’ economic security. Arizona’s small business job creators bear a heavy tax burden whenever we invest in new equipment and machinery–the necessary building blocks for good-paying jobs–and this tax liability is incurred even before we hire a single new worker, make our first sale or see a dime of profit.   As the owner of Arizona Hi-Lift, a Phoenix-based small business that rents and sells aerial, boom and scissor lift equipment, I know firsthand the depth and pervasiveness of this recession. In Maricopa County where 85% of our state’s equipment and machinery is located, we’ve seen a breathtaking 56% drop in new equipment acquisitions. Not coincidently, Arizona has nearly stopped creating good-paying, private sector jobs.   Proposition 116 is written to push back on this unacceptable “new normal”.   Arizona’s equipment and machinery tax is a serious impediment to economic growth, investment and job creation. Passing Proposition 116 will reduce this burden and make it easier for local businesses to expand while simultaneously making us far more attractive to employers seeking escape from high-tax and high-regulation states like California.   Proposition 116 will also enable our small businesses to be more competitive in the unforgiving global marketplace. By passing Proposition 116, Arizona will boldly announce to the world that we are open for business and are ready to get to work!   Proposition 116, the Small Business Job Creation Act, will unleash our small business job creators to “do their thing” and build a stronger, more prosperous Arizona in the process. But first it’s up to voters to “do their thing” and Vote YES on 116 this November.

Doug Click, Chairman, Vote YES on 116 Committee, Phoenix  

I’m voting “yes” on Proposition 116 (The Small Business Job Creation Act) because its passage will directly and immediately lead to new job creation and stronger small businesses throughout Arizona–small businesses like mine.   EnVision Flexible Packaging produces pre-made pouches for the food, beverage and personal care markets. Currently, our pouches are made in Wisconsin rather than in Arizona. On numerous occasions we have tried to bring home to Arizona our production facilities but have been frustrated by the serious initial costs to doing so prior to even producing one pouch or hiring one new employee.   A major driver of this expense is the heavy equipment and machinery tax liability that comes with such an investment in Arizona. Manufacturing machinery is very expensive and the equipment and machinery tax has made it prohibitively expensive to afford acquiring it while simultaneously being able to afford hiring the people needed to run the machinery.   By passing Proposition 116, EnVision would be able to invest in the necessary new machinery and immediately add about a dozen new, good-paying manufacturing jobs in Arizona. We would then be positioned to create an additional 50 new jobs at a new state-of-the-art pouch filling facility that would make EnVision the only American company able to make and fill the pouches as well as the product. However, without passage of Proposition 116 we may have to go elsewhere due to Arizona’s punishing equipment and machinery tax.   Hundreds, if not thousands, of Arizona small businesses share dreams similar to ours at EnVision for expansion and creating new jobs. Passage of Proposition 116 can help make these dreams a reality for everyone, especially for the Arizonans filling these new jobs.   Vote YES on 116

Liesl Harder Kielp, Phoenix  

The AMIGOS PAC , an association of small and mid-sized Arizona businesses supports proposition 116 for one important reason…jobs. The less Arizona businesses have to spend on taxes on their equipment, the more they can spend buying new equipment and hiring new employees. That creates good jobs for all Arizona families. We urge a YES vote on 116!

Sydney Hay, Treasurer, AMIGOS PAC, Phoenix  

A YES vote on Proposition 116 – the Small Business Job Creation Act – means more jobs for Arizona.   As an Arizona employer and chairman of the Arizona Manufacturers Council, I hear from employers that Arizona’s annual tax on equipment and machinery is holding back businesses from growing and employing more Arizonans. This annual tax is owed even before a company makes its first sale and even if the company is unprofitable.   A YES vote on Proposition 116 will eliminate this tax on equipment and machinery equal to the annual average wage of 50 Arizona workers. This means companies can more readily afford to buy new equipment, and equally important, hire the people to operate this new equipment.   Because most other states do not tax equipment and machinery as Arizona does, a YES vote on Proposition 116 will act as an incentive for companies to move or expand in Arizona.   Please join me in voting YES on Proposition 116, the Small Business Jobs Creation Act, and please join the Arizona Manufacturers Council in encouraging others to vote YES on Proposition 116.   Proposition 116 means more jobs for Arizona.

Steve Macias, Phoenix  

Vote YES on 116

One of my long-term goals as a state legislator has been to rollback the self-defeating equipment and machinery tax that makes it harder for small businesses to expand and hire more workers. That’s why I urge all Arizona voters looking to strengthen our economic recovery to vote “yes” on Proposition 116, the Small Business Job Creation Act.   Proposition 116 will immediately create new jobs in capital-intensive sectors like manufacturing, hi-tech and the biosciences. Such investment will help diversify our economy and stabilize and bolster revenues that fund critical education budgets and social service programs.   The equipment and machinery tax is mostly paid by small businesses and unlike income taxes, must be paid regardless of how good or bad a year the employer had. It’s a tax liability owed before a single product is manufactured or sold. It’s essentially a punishment on business owners for investing in the growth of their enterprises and creating more high-paying jobs for Arizonans.   I am proud to have sponsored legislation nearly identical to the Small Business Job Creation Act and was eager to join the unanimous bipartisan coalition that supported putting Proposition 116 on the ballot. Proposition 116 deserves to be supported by Democrats, Republicans and independents alike.   Please join me in voting “yes” on Proposition 116.

Chad Campbell, State Representative, Minority Leader, Arizona House of Representatives, Phoenix  

Voting for the Small Business Job Creation Act – Prop 116 – is critical to job creation in Arizona. I believe that my company will be able to hire more people if Prop 116 is approved by Arizona voters. That is why I’m voting YES on Prop 116 and hope you will too. Every year, our company is charged a tax on the equipment and machinery we use. We pay this tax annually even though we already paid a sales tax when we purchased the equipment. This tax must be paid whether we actually sell anything or make a profit.   Arizona is one of the few states with this kind of tax, because other states know that annually taxing equipment and machinery kills jobs.   Please vote YES on Proposition 116, so my firm and others like it can hire more Arizonans.

Alan Heywood, Mesa  

Vote YES on Proposition 115

Proposition 115 Text

ANALYSIS BY LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

Proposition 115 would amend the Arizona Constitution to make the following changes relating to the selection and retention of state judges and justices:

1.  The terms of state Superior Court judges would be extended from four years to eight years; the terms of state Court of Appeals judges and state Supreme Court justices would be extended from six years to eight years.

2.  The mandatory retirement age for state judges and justices would be extended from seventy to seventy-five.

3.  The appointment authority for the five attorney members of each commission that nominates applicants to fill judicial vacancies would be amended as follows:

(a)  The Governor would appoint four attorneys to each nominating commission and the president of the State Bar of Arizona would appoint one attorney to each nominating commission.  Currently, the State Bar of Arizona nominates and the Governor appoints all five attorney members of each commission.

b)  The five attorney members would be required to have resided in and been licensed to practice law for ten years in Arizona and must not have any formal complaints or sanctions with the State Bar of Arizona.  Currently, the attorney members must have resided in and been licensed to practice law for five years in Arizona.

4.  The minimum number of judicial nominees to be submitted by a nominating commission to the Governor for a judicial vacancy would be increased from three to eight, and the limitations on the number of nominees from a particular political party would be repealed.  An applicant who receives a majority vote for nomination shall be nominated for the vacancy.  By a two-thirds vote, a nominating commission may reject an applicant and submit fewer than eight nominees for a judicial vacancy.

5.  If more than one vacancy exists in the same court at the same time, the nominating commission would be required to submit at least six judicial nominees for each vacancy, and could not submit the same nominee for more than one vacancy.  The Governor would be allowed to appoint any of the nominees submitted for any of the vacancies in that court.

6.  The Supreme Court would be required to make opinions and orders of state judges and justices available electronically on the Supreme Court website, unless the opinion or order is sealed or confidential pursuant to law.

7.  Sixty days before the general election for the retention of state judges and justices, a joint legislative committee would be authorized to meet and take testimony on the state judges and justices who are up for retention.  A copy of the judicial performance review of each state judge or justice that is conducted under current law would be required to be transmitted to the Legislature prior to that meeting.

ARGUMENTS “FOR” PROPOSITION 115  

Prop. 115 is a consensus measure that strengthens Arizona’s method of selecting and retaining judges.

The State Bar of Arizona, the Arizona Judicial Council, the Arizona Judges Association, and the Arizona Legislature worked together to craft Prop. 115.

Prop. 115 is designed to make the judicial nomination process turn on the individual merit of the candidates. Ensuring that each and every candidate will be considered on the basis of merit means Arizona will continue to have excellent candidates apply to be judges.

Prop. 115 also extends the terms of sitting judges, and allows judges to serve to the age of 75. Currently, all judges in Arizona must retire at the age of 70. That’s way too early. In fact, four of the nine Justices on the United States Supreme Court are already older than 70. Arizona will be well served by allowing judges to serve with excellence beyond the age 70.

Finally, Prop. 115 gives voters more information about the judges that are on the ballot. Everybody wins when voters are equipped with information.

To learn more about Prop. 115 please visit: www.YesOnProp115.com .

Eddie Farnsworth, State Representative, Chairman, Making Merit Selection Stronger, Yes on Prop. 115, Chairman, Judiciary Committee, Arizona House of Representatives, Gilbert

State Bar of Arizona’s Ballot Pamphlet Statement in Support of Proposition 115

Fair and impartial courts are necessary to assure liberty and justice for all. Making sure that we have the best judges is a critical part of keeping our courts fair and our scales of justice balanced. In Arizona, judges for superior court are selected through a system that uses elections in smaller counties (where people tend to know the candidates well) and a non-partisan Merit Selection System for larger counties, including Maricopa, Pima and Pinal. Judges for the Supreme Court, as well as the Court of Appeals, also are appointed through Merit Selection.

Because of Arizona’s Merit Selection system our courts are fair and impartial. Our merit selected judges are among the most highly regarded in the United States and around the world.

Since the current Merit Selection system is not broken, the question has arisen: why should we amend our State Constitution to fix it? No system is perfect. There are improvements that could be made. Some provisions of Proposition 115 would make improvements. The retirement age for judges would be increased from 70 to 75, and the term between judicial retention elections would be increased to eight years (from the current four years). Also, while the State Bar would no longer make nominations to the Governor for all attorney members of the Commissions, the State Bar would be given direct authority to select one of the 15 members of each Merit Selection Commission.

In an effort to protect Merit Selection, the State Bar of Arizona supports Proposition 115.

Amelia Craig Cramer, President, State Bar of Arizona, Tucson

John F. Phelps, Executive Director, State Bar of Arizona, Phoenix

The Arizona Judges Association supports a YES vote on Proposition 115. This proposition is a compromise which preserves the essence of Arizona’s Merit Selection and Tenure system for appellate judges and for superior court judges in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties.

Arizona’s system of selecting judges has led to a judiciary which is nationally recognized for its excellence. Proposition 115 preserves judicial independence and impartiality while insuring accountability through a Judicial Performance Review System.

Among the benefits of this proposal is the increase of the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 years of age to 75 years of age.

The Arizona Judges Association joins with the Arizona Judicial Council, the Arizona Bar Association and the Center for Arizona Policy in urging a YES vote on Proposition 115.

Kyle Bryson, President, Arizona Judges Association, Tucson

 David Cunanan, Immediate Past President, Arizona Judges Association, Phoenix

 Pete Dunn, Esq., Counsel to Arizona Judges Association, Peoria

Dear Voter,

With their rulings and decisions, judges have a direct impact on the lives of Arizonans. For this reason, it is important that the Governor be presented with as many qualified applicants as possible to pick from in making judicial appointments. Similarly, it is critical that voters have adequate access to judges’ decisions and performance ratings in order to make an educated decision about which judges to retain at election.

Proposition 115 accomplishes three important reforms to Arizona’s judicial nomination process. First, it requires more choices and greater transparency regarding the selection and retention of appointed judges. Because the judiciary is the least directly accountable branch of government, it is essential that as many qualified individuals as possible be presented to the Governor for consideration; and you, the voters, should be provided with as much information as possible about those judges in advance of retention elections. Second, it minimizes the influence of the State Bar of Arizona in selecting the lawyer members of the judicial nominating commissions. Third, the retirement age for judges will be increased from 70 to 75, allowing seasoned and experienced judges to remain on the bench and avoid forced retirement.

Proposition 115 is a common sense reform measure jointly supported by the Arizona Judicial Council, the Arizona Legislature, and the State Bar of Arizona. Please add your vote to the diverse list of supporters and make the existing judicial selection and retention process more transparent and effective.

 I encourage you to vote YES on Proposition 115.

 Jan Brewer, Governor, Phoenix  

Arizona’s merit selection system for appointing judges in urban counties is touted as one of the best systems in the country. The United States Chamber of Commerce named it a “best practice” in 2010.

Arizona’s merit selection commissions operate transparently, by doing business in public meetings, posting applications for all candidates online, and soliciting comments from the public. Merit commissions check references and screen candidates extensively before nominating applicants to the Governor for appointment. Once appointed by the Governor, merit-selected judges must go through periodic judicial performance evaluations and stand for retention elections.

As with any system, however, there may be room for improvement. Proposition 115 is the result of a compromise that was reached after extensive negotiations among the Governor’s office, the then-Speaker of the House of Representatives and then-President of the Senate, the State Bar of Arizona’s Board of Governors, the Judges Association, and the Arizona Judicial Council.

Changes to the system contained in Proposition 115 will extend the terms of judges to eight years, which will provide greater independence for judges; raise the retirement age of judges to 75, permitting experienced judges to remain on the bench longer; allow the judicial nominating commissions greater flexibility when deciding which applicants to forward to the Governor by not constraining the choices by political party; give the Governor more choices by requiring the commissions to send more names to the Governor for consideration; and provide the State Bar President the unfettered discretion to appoint a representative to sit on each commission.

It is for these reasons that, on balance, the Arizona Judicial Council, the administrative policy board of the Arizona Judicial Branch, has voted to support this measure.

 Rebecca White Berch, Chairperson, Arizona Judicial Council, Phoenix

 David K. Byers, Council Member, Arizona Judicial Council, Phoenix  

Judicial integrity is important to me, and that’s why I support Proposition 115. In Arizona’s largest counties, a system based on merit is used to select superior court judges. Appellate judges go through a similar process aimed at insuring quality for our higher court judges. This system has been in place since 1974, and hasn’t been updated for 20 years. Prop 115 accomplishes a much-needed update of the judicial selection process so that it can better meet the needs of Arizona citizens today.

First and foremost, Prop 115 gives more applicants an opportunity to be considered for judgeships. Currently, there could be dozens of applicants for a single position, yet only 3 names would have to be forwarded to the Governor for consideration. This is an unreasonably low number, and could deter very qualified people from even applying. Prop 115 fixes this problem by increasing the minimum number to 8, giving more applicants an opportunity to be considered.

Prop 115 increases the qualifications for attorney members of nominating commissions; more qualified people screening applicants for judgeships just makes sense. It also requires judicial opinions to be published online, increasing transparency and accountability to the public.

Prop 115 recognizes the value of seasoned jurists by raising the retirement age to 75 years old, instead of the current 70. Judges will have longer terms in office, allowing them to focus on cases in front of them, not elections.

Prop 115 was crafted through a stakeholder process that included legislators, the Center for Arizona Policy, the Arizona Judicial Council, the Arizona State Bar and the Arizona Judges Association. It is a common-sense update to our current judicial merit selection system, I urge you to vote “yes” on Prop 115.

 Steve Pierce, President of the Arizona State Senate, Phoenix  

Please vote YES to support improvements to our merit selection system.

This merit selection improvement proposal is a well thought out compromise that will bring more openness and accountability to our judicial selection and retention process. It will give the people greater access than ever before to decisions written by our courts of record.

The Governor will have more choices to pick and that will result in more qualified applicants offering themselves to be considered. And the Governor as a consequence will also be more accountable to the people for the appointments that are made.

The people should have more information about the decisions of our courts of record and this amendment will further the goal of transparency by requiring that decisions be published in a more accessible manner.

All these good things are accomplished within the merit selection system. Please support the sensible and fair improvement to our current law.

Please vote YES.

Steve Twist, Scottsdale  

Vote “Yes” on Proposition 115! This measure is a step forward to improve the accountability and transparency of how judges are selected in Arizona.

It’s important to note that the measure is supported by judges and attorneys. Proposition 115 is a consensus measure agreed to by judges at every level, the State Bar of Arizona, and legislators from both major political parties. As an attorney and longtime advocate of judicial reform, I support Proposition 115 because it offers reasonable and necessary changes to the current system.

Proposition 115 improves judicial selection by making these needed changes:

– Removes the requirement that the judicial nominees be selected according to party affiliation. Party affiliation should not be a factor in evaluating the qualifications of judges. This requirement has often resulted in limiting the number of qualified individuals who apply for and who are nominated for judicial positions.

– Increases the number of qualified, meritorious judicial nominees sent to the Governor. The current system, whereby the selection commissions often limit the number of nominees to three, unnecessarily limits the nominees available to the Governor who is duly elected by the people. Using commissions to limit those they deem “meritorious” is one of the biggest concerns about the current system. Proposition 115 fixes this issue.

-Expands the process for nominating attorney members to serve on the commission thereby making the process more accountable to the people.

Whether you favor the current merit selection process, election of judges, or a different federal model to select judges, I urge you to vote YES on 115. For more information on judicial selection in Arizona, visit azvoterguide.com.

 Cathi Herrod, Esq., President, Center for Arizona Policy, Phoenix  

When you vote on judges, how do you know if the judges on the ballot have done a good job? Prop. 115 gives you more information about how the judges perform in office so you can make an informed decision when you cast your vote.

As for selecting new judges, competition produces excellence. Prop. 115 improves our system of selecting judges because it presents the Governor with multiple qualified candidates for each appointment. Choosing the men and women who preside in our courts of law is a difficult and important task. The more qualified candidates sent to the Governor the better.

Prop. 115 makes “merit selection” stronger. That is why the State Bar of Arizona, Arizona Judges Association, and the Arizona Judicial Council have endorsed Prop. 115.

Please join me in voting YES on Prop. 115.

Andy M. Tobin, Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, Paulden  

Courts of law play an important role in our constitutional system of government. Judges do more than just decide legal disputes between parties. They rule on the constitutionality of the laws your elected representatives enact. And they are sometimes called upon to enforce the separation of powers mandated by our Constitution.

Clearly our method of selecting and retaining judges is very important. That’s why when I was Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives I worked closely with The Arizona Judges Association, the Arizona Judicial Council, the State Bar of Arizona, and other stakeholders, to improve and strengthen the “merit selection” system. Prop. 115 is the result of that cooperative effort. And I’m deeply grateful to all the participants.

Prop. 115 improves the selection process to make sure that each and every judicial vacancy is filled based on merit, not politics. Prop. 115 also empowers you as a voter by giving you more information on the judges on the ballot.

Please consider voting yes of Prop. 115. For more information please visit www.yesonprop115.com.

Kirk Adams, Congressional Candidate, former Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, Mesa  

Vote YES on Proposition 114

Prop 114: Crime Victim Protection From Liability For Damages
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING ARTICLE II, SECTION 31 AND ARTICLE XVIII, SECTION 6, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; RELATING TO CRIME VICTIM PROTECTION FROM LIABILITY FOR DAMAGES.

Arguments For:

Here is a simple and good idea. Let’s stop the bad guys from suing their victims. Do you believe a criminal should be able to sue you, after assaulting you, robbing you, and/or raping you? An unrestricted constitutional “right to sue” exists, which even permits criminals to sue those they victimize.” A person’s home is their castle”, however our Arizona Constitution allows anyone to sue for any reason and offers little protection to a property owner who defends his family, or his property from violent criminals (home invasion, burglary, arson, etc.). For example, a burglar breaks into your home and your dog bites him, you can be successfully sued for any injury sustained by the burglar!

Here is one true story – – a burglar fell through a kitchen skylight of a home, landing on a knife that was left on the kitchen counter. The burglar impaled himself on the knife, and then sued the homeowner for an “unsafe condition”; the court awarding him damages for his injuries. That is not justice!

Those defending the rights of criminals to sue will argue state statutes already protect property owners from such travesties of justice. If that were true, then why would they try to defeat this Proposition? The fact is the Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled our statutes are insufficient, therefore a constitutional amendment is needed to stop criminals from suing victims of crime. A criminal should not be able to victimize their victim twice and this amendment is necessary to protect victims of crime.

Please vote yes on Proposition 114, the Crime Victims Protection Act, and let’s ensure that a criminal is never able to sue the very person they victimized.

 Hon. Russell Pearce, Former President of the Arizona State Senate, Mesa

SUPPORT Proposition 114 – The Crime Victims Protection Act of 2012

The Arizona Constitution protects an unrestricted right to sue for damages, and, for the most part, that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, that protection also allows a criminal to sue you if he gets hurt while committing a crime.

Arizona has a long history of leading the nation in legislative reforms. When we wrote our Constitution, we included the initiative and referendum process so that voters could approve changes to it. In 1990, we became one of only six states to protect the rights of crime victims in our Constitution. Now, we have the opportunity to protect the rights of crime victims again, by voting for Proposition 114, the Crime Victims Protection Act, which would limit the ability of criminals to sue their victims.

The legislature attempted to fix the problem by passing a law protecting crime victims from lawsuits, but the courts have largely nullified it because of the unrestricted right to sue guaranteed by the Constitution. Therefore, the only remedy available to us is to amend the Constitution, through Proposition 114, to protect the rights of crime victims. To allow felons to be able to collect large sums of money from their victims for injuries sustained during the commission of their crimes is not reasonable, and it’s not just.

Help ensure that victims of crime aren’t victimized twice. Join us in supporting Proposition 114, the Crime Victims Protection Act.

 Dave Kopp, President, Arizona Citizens Defense League, Inc., Glendale

 John Wentling, Vice-President, Arizona Citizens Defense League, Inc., Glendale