August 8, 2012
City and Town Officials:
At a Special Meeting of the Executive Committee on July 6, a decision was made that the League of Arizona Cities and Towns take a position in opposition to the Quality Education and Jobs Ballot Initiative and in support of Proposition 119, land exchanges around military bases.
The decision on the Quality Education initiative was based solely on its impact on cities and towns. As written, the initiative does not continue the present distribution formula for shared revenue from the state sales tax which currently goes to cities, towns and counties. The estimated amount lost to cities and towns by not having the shared revenue formula apply to the new one-cent tax is approximately $84 million per year. Furthermore, if enacted, the total sales tax rate will make it exceedingly difficult for any municipality to increase its own sales tax rate to meet future local needs.
I want to make it clear that the League of Arizona Cities and Towns does not oppose proper funding for public education in the state, nor is it making any comment about the appropriateness of its funding levels. Our opposition to the initiative is based purely on the impact it will have on cities and towns, and our future revenue streams.
Although our position has been reported in some media outlets, we have not publicly announced it yet, because it is not yet officially on the ballot. The final decision on that issue will be made by the Arizona Supreme Court.
The timing of our meeting was due to the deadline for submission of statements for the publicity pamphlet on July 11th.
The decision to take this position was not made lightly, and not all Mayors in the state are in support of it.
In the attachments, you will find the statement that was submitted for the publicity pamphlet and our Talking Points on the initiative.
Also included is the statement filed in support of Proposition 119 regarding land exchanges to prevent development encroachment on the state’s military bases.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or Ken Strobeck, League Executive Director. I look forward to seeing you all at the League Conference later this month.
Doug Von Gausig, President
Mayor of Clarkdale