Gov Ducey: Why Vote For Prop 123? Some Teachers Have More Kids Than Books​

Vote Prop 123

By: Governor Doug Ducey

This week, Arizonans will receive early ballots in the mail for one of the most important policy initiatives of this election cycle – the passage of Proposition 123 to increase funding for public schools in Arizona.

As many in our state know, there has been a dark cloud hanging over Arizona’s budget when it comes to funding education.

Our kids have needs today

Voting “yes” on Prop. 123 will settle a years-long lawsuit and put $3.5 billion into our K-12 public schools over the next 10 years without raising taxes. It’s time to stop paying lawyers and start paying teachers.

I’ve visited schools all across our state, and the message is clear. Our kids have needs today, and our educators need more resources to do their jobs.

Prop. 123 is a fiscally responsible, historic first step towards giving our students and teachers the resources they need. It puts money back in the classroom. And it doesn’t raise taxes. I know it sounds almost too good to be true: If this doesn’t raise taxes, how are we paying for it?

How it works

What many don’t know is that Arizona has a something called the State Land Trust – a fund with assets that have been set aside and invested for decades specifically to benefit education. This plan ensures we are managing the trust responsibly while putting the money to use for the purpose it was intended: funding our K-12 public schools.

So how does it work?

When Arizona became a state, the federal government granted our founders nearly 11 million acres of state land. Every time we sell a piece of that land, proceeds go into the Land Trust where the money is invested and earns interest. The trust has been growing rapidly in value – nearly doubling in the past five years. And now it is valued at more than $5 billion.

Currently, only 2.5 percent of the trust is distributed to schools every year. We can do better. A “yes” vote on Prop. 123 will increase the distribution rate to 6.9 percent for the next 10 years. That means we will be able to use more of this money for its intended purpose: funding our schools.

We haven’t ignored future needs

But this plan also takes into account the needs of future generations. An analysis done by the non-partisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee shows that even with the higher distributions if Prop 123 passes, there will be more than $6 billion in the Land Trust in a decade. That’s a billion dollars more in the trust after 10 years, even while we are increasing funding to education.

And let’s not forget: Arizona still has 9.2 million acres of land worth approximately $70 billion that are yet to be sold and fund the trust.

The bottom line is that passing Prop 123 ensures the long-term health of the trust, while injecting an infusion of resources into classrooms that have needs today.

When there are more kids than books

I’ve met with teachers and parents across the state, and they’ve made it clear — while reforms are important, right now they need resources to provide the excellent education all our children deserve.

Too often, I hear stories of teachers and parents spending part of their paychecks to ensure there are supplies in the classroom – even basic necessities like pens, pencils and paper. This is unacceptable.

Just a few weeks ago, I met a fourth-grade teacher named Maddy Sporbert who was volunteering for Prop. 123. She told me that she wants Prop. 123 to pass because right now she has 34 students in her class, but only 25 textbooks.

She was spending spring break — her vacation — getting out the vote for Prop. 123 to ensure her students have enough textbooks next year. She needs us to vote “yes.”

Good teachers are fleeing our state

Eighth-grade science teacher Paul Strauss told me that in his many years of teaching he’s seen countless dedicated teachers leave the profession because it is so hard to support a family on a teacher’s salary in Arizona.

We know teachers are fleeing our state or leaving the profession because of a continued lack of funding for education. Voting “yes” on Prop 123 will allow us to reverse that trend and start paying teachers what they deserve. In fact, school boards across Arizona have committed that boosting teacher salaries will be their number one priority if Prop. 123 passes.

Many districts even have two budgets: one if Prop. 123 passes, and one if it fails.

If it fails, that means more litigation and less certainty for our teachers and students.

Please join me, Mayor Greg Stanton, a bipartisan coalition of legislators, countless community and business leaders, teachers and parents in voting “yes” for Prop. 123 on May 17.

Christine Jones – Right for Congress

Guest Opinion

Although she has yet to announce, Republican Christine Jones would be a conservative force among a growing crowd of men in Arizona’s 5th congressional district.

The former 2014 gubernatorial candidate and Vice President/General Counsel for GoDaddy is seriously considering a bid for the congressional seat that will be left open upon the retirement of Congressman Matt Salmon.

Christine Jones

Christine Jones

Jones, who placed 3rd in the 2014 Republican Primary for governor, is no stranger to political campaigning. Not only would she bring extensive statewide campaign experience to the race against opponents lacking in the same depth, but she would also have the financial resources to wage a serious ground and media effort.

Her conservative credentials are also proven – a criteria essential to win and represent the east valley’s 5th congressional district. On national security and immigration, Christine Jones has called for deploying National Guard troops to the border, using high tech monitoring and fortifying the wall in critical strategic places. During a 2014 RealClearPolitics interview she said on immigration, “I just know that I’m an unapologetic conservative and I think if you break the law you should have a consequence.”

On jobs and the economy, Jones is no stranger to private sector job creation. As Vice President at GoDaddy, she oversaw the creation of 4,000 jobs during her service to the internet giant. During her gubernatorial campaign she called for a focus on the “5 T’s” – technology, training, transportation, tourism and taxation. Her plan would have moved Arizona’s economy forward with an emphasis on the economic drivers taking Arizona into the next century. The plan would rely heavily on an education system that creates a world-class workforce that focuses on STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

To spur economic growth, Jones has proposed cutting taxes, streamlining and downsizing government and reducing or eliminating regulatory and legal reforms in order to create an environment that encourages private investment and job growth.

One issue extremely important to Christine Jones is education. In November, 2015, she was appointed as interim CEO of charter school giant, Great Hearts Academies. There, she has overseen the classical education of more than 13,000 students and 29 schools in Arizona and Texas. Some 98% of graduates of Great Hearts graduates go on to college and university. In her appointment, Great Hearts Chairman and co-founder Jay Heiler said , “Christine Jones has the gifts, the background, the dedication and the knowledge of our organization to advance this process as our interim chief executive.” The January, 2016 Niche rankings recognized Chandler Preparatory Academy as the top performing school in Arizona.

While at GoDaddy, Jones pushed for legislation to protect children from online predators and stopping the sale of drugs by illegal online pharmacies. She has testified before congressional committees on several occasions regarding internet threats and illegal activities.

On cultural issues, Christine Jones has proven herself conservative on such issues as religious freedom, traditional marriage and protecting the sanctity of life. She identifies as an evangelical Christian and is active in her church. She is an ardent and fierce defender of the US Constitution, the Second Amendment and eliminating Common Core.

Should Christine Jones enter the race for CD-5, it will certainly stir up the dynamics of the race. The east valley which is considered by political experts as a stronghold for Mormon candidates, has never elected a woman to congress. Since statehood, Arizona has only sent six women to the US House of Representatives with Martha McSally being the only Republican woman elected in Arizona. (Republican women represent only 5% of the current US House.) The election of Christine Jones in the east valley would set a precedent and hopefully reinvigorate efforts to elect more Republican women to Congress.

Jones will likely make an announcement very soon as urgency increases to collect petition signatures for the August ballot. Her opponents should not underestimate her ability to change the entire formula of winning in east valley politics given her tested campaign experience, her ability to communicate conservative values and voters’ anger to overthrow a system of politics as usual.

Christine Jones has challenged and overcome the status quo throughout her life. Winning the 5th congressional district may very well be her next victory.

Andy Biggs’ Fundraising Struggles in Arizona’s CD-5

By East Valley Evan

Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs has made a lot of noise about the ethics of his campaign. In the weeks since Matt Salmon announced his anointment of Biggs upon vacating his seat in the U.S. House, Biggs has claimed that he is being extremely careful in his fundraising so that no ethical questions can arise over possible conflicts with his current position as Senate President.

But that’s a pretty weak excuse for the low numbers that his campaign is posting. With only $200,000 raised so far (according to Yellow Sheets), $100,000 of which he loaned his campaign from his personal funds, Biggs is clearly struggling to find supporters to fund what will be an expensive and hotly contested campaign.

Some disagree that the number is low, given the short amount of time–a little over a month–since Biggs announced his campaign. But, if we look at the breakdown of those funds, he can only claim $100,000 from outside funds, since he gave the other half to himself. A source close to Biggs claims that this may not be the last of the cash Biggs loans himself, meaning that the Senate President doesn’t plan on increasing his fundraising efforts any time soon.

How long until his money runs out? Currently he’s self-funding 50% of his campaign with plans to keep bleeding his accounts over the coming weeks. Regardless of his personal wealth, achieved by winning a sweepstakes contest, that’s unsustainable. Furthermore, it might be a bad move to brag about the amount of money he is willing to spend to buy the race from money he did not earn.

If Biggs continues to lack support from grassroots donors in the state of Arizona, he may have to continue to self-fund. While it is admirable that Biggs’ message is that he wants to keep clean from donor influence, it seems less like the truth and more like a desperate attempt to save face under the light of such small fundraising success. If he’s really concerned about being connected with outside interests, why not push funding from more private citizens? If ethics is his aim, why not take a pledge to not take money from lobbyists at all?

Sheriff Touchy Can’t Handle Mockery of his Pansy Logo

Guest Opinion by Sam Stone

Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos is running for re-election after taking office a little over a year ago when his 79-year old boss – Clarence Dupnik – handed him the keys to the castle after 35 years at the helm. It was a apt promotion: Nanos had been reportedly running the office for his aging Sheriff for a number of years – proving conclusively that he could effectively maintain the bureaucratic bloat, insider favoritism, and mediocre results his predecessor had become known for.

Since taking office, Nanos has overseen at least one scandal: giving almost $20,000 to the niece of one of his detectives so she could buy the equipment to run for-profit cafes at their headquarters and the county jail.

He also defended the actions of deputies when they shot and killed decorated Marine veteran and father Jose Guerena – actions that resulted in a $3.4 million dollar settlement against Pima County.

All that, of course, while his Deputies get stiffed.

But none of that makes Sheriff Nanos mad. What really gets Chris Nanos mad? People mocking his pansy ass logo.

ChrisNanosFB1

After the first few, more people chimed in, including yours truly…

ChrisNanosFB2

That’s when Sheriff Touchy stepped in to regulate!

ChrisNanosFB3

I mean, good advice, I thought…

ChrisNanosFB4

And he did “like” it….

ChrisNanosFB5

But, no, Sheriff Touchy couldn’t let it go at that.

A couple of points:

  1. I think he’s referring (one sided-story) to the café. Maybe they had really, really good sandwiches. Or something.
  2. I wasn’t actually referring to his website, just his Pansy logo.
  3. If I was running his campaign, I’d probably be running for the hills right about…now…

Let’s hope Pima County voters do the same in November.

(In case you were wondering, Mark Napier, who narrowly lost to Sheriff Touchy’s boss in the last election, is vying for the office again.)

Cruz’s Path to Victory After Wisconsin

Ted-Cruz-WI

By Rachel Alexander
(Reposted from Stream)

The Wisconsin Republican presidential primary takes place today, and it is looking like Ted Cruz will come in first. He is leading in all the polls there, although the lead is narrow, averaging 6.5 points ahead of Trump. John Kasich, the only other Republican candidate left in the race, is far behind both. If Cruz wins the state, it will give him more momentum and increase the likelihood of him winning upcoming primaries — although it’s too late at this point for him to acquire the 1,237 delegates to ensure a primary win. Trump’s vast lead has greatly shrunk since the other candidates started dropping out of the race.

Trump claims that if Kasich were not in the race, he would win. However, the type of Republican who supports Kasich tends to be more moderate, not the vocal anti-establishment type that supports Trump. Also, polls between just Cruz and Trump have consistently shown Cruz ahead of Trump; the only reason Trump is still ahead is because Kasich is still in the race. Many conservatives who support Cruz are furious about that, and have called for Kasich to drop out. Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, said he is “running a delusional vanity project masquerading as a presidential campaign.”

Trump’s lead nationally has shrunk to an average of 7.6 points in the polls. Last week was bad for him; his campaign manager was charged with allegedly assaulted a female reporter, he retweeted attacks on Cruz’s wife, and flip-flopped on abortion, saying he’s pro-choice while simultaneously saying women should be criminally punished for getting abortions. He is polling terribly with Republican women.

The politically astute site FiveThirtyEight has analyzed the polls and done the math in the remaining primary states. A block of Northeastern states have primaries at the end of April, and Republicans in those states tend to be more moderate, which doesn’t help Trump. At best, FiveThirtyEight predicts Trump will end up with 1,185 delegates after the final primary, short of the 1,237 necessary to win the nomination, which means it will be a contested convention. There are over 100 unbound or uncommitted delegates. He would need to  convince 52 of them to vote for him in the first round of voting at the contested convention to win.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The types of Republicans who serve as delegates are the party faithful types, not the disillusioned types who support Trump.[/pullquote]

If he doesn’t win on the first round, he probably won’t win. At that point, if no one wins the first vote, it becomes a brokered convention and the delegates are free to vote for whoever they want on subsequent rounds of voting. The types of Republicans who serve as delegates are the party faithful types, not the disillusioned types who support Trump. The GOP establishment and conservative base are converging to stop Trump from getting the nomination, and they will do everything they can to persuade delegates to change their votes away from Trump. It is already starting, as some of the delegates Trump thought he had won are being lured over the Cruz ground operation.

Of course, there is still a chance the delegates could be persuaded to vote for another candidate, such as Kasich or even someone not in the race. Kasich has said he thinks the GOP establishment would support him at a contested convention, and fully admits even though he hasn’t won a single state except his home state of Ohio, that he’s staying in the race because he could still win at a contested convention. He did so poorly in Arizona’s primary that he came in fourth, behind Marco Rubio who had dropped out of the race a week earlier. However, he is beating Hillary Clinton in general election polls by a decent margin. Trump is losing to her in polls and Cruz comes in very close.

However, as Lowry observed in his article calling for Kasich to drop out, “The delegate game at a convention would be, in part, an organizational contest, and Kasich’s organization is all but nonexistent. He’d make an electability case based on his good head-to-head poll numbers against Hillary Clinton, although they are elevated because no one has bothered to attack him.”

The prediction market Betfair puts Trump’s chances of winning the nomination at 56 percent, down from 70 percent last week. Betfair also puts the chance of a contested convention at 63 percent. If one of Trump’s former close advisers is right, he only wanted to come in second and doesn’t really want to be president, so it may not be a big deal if he loses.

Mormon Voters Really Don’t Like Donald Trump. Here’s Why.

An interesting read by BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins on the relationship between Utah’s LDS population and the Trump campaign. Given Arizona’s active LDS population does that same sentiment translate here?

It’s not just Mitt Romney.

By McKay Coppins

Speaking before one of his smallest crowds this campaign season, Donald Trump declared Friday night at a rally in Salt Lake City that he loves the Mormons.

The feeling does not appear to be mutual.

So far in 2016, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have proven to be one of the most stubbornly anti-Trump constituencies in the Republican Party — a dynamic that will likely manifest itself in Utah’s presidential caucuses next week.

National polling data focused on Mormons voters is hard to come by, but the election results speak for themselves. Even as Trump has steamrolled his way through the GOP primaries, he has repeatedly been trounced in places with large LDS populations.

(Continue reading at BuzzFeed)

Sean Noble: Trump, the greatest hoax played on the American people

Here is a great assessment by my political consultant peer Sean Noble regarding the current state of the Republican Party and what is driving the Trump faction in the GOP.

Sean recently appeared on Carey Peña Reports which is available on iTunes podcasts.

Although the interview was recorded on this last Tuesday with the prediction that Marco Rubio would mount a comeback in Florida, the rest of the assessment is spot on when it comes to what is driving the frenzy around Trump and how it will redefine or even destroy the Republican party.

I agree with Sean on this assessment and its one of the reasons why I cannot sit back and allow the GOP to be hijacked out of emotion and without a good dose of critical thinking.

Another point I agree with Sean on is that it is only about 20-25% of the population that is driving the Trump movement – a very loud and angry vocal minority.

Here’s the interview and be sure to subscribe to Carey Peña Reports via Inspired Media 360 available on iTunes.

 

Guest Opinion: Demand-based rate strategy makes sense

Media coverage of the electricity rate case filed by UniSource Energy Services (UES) has promoted dire predictions from California-based rooftop solar leasing companies that oppose the proposal. We encourage every utility customer to consider the facts of the UES case.

UES has proposed residential rates that reflect both total energy use and peak energy use, or “demand.” This makes sense because utility costs are driven by the need to satisfy customers’ energy demands during peak periods. Arizona business owners have been paying demand-based rates for years and have found them to be fair, simple and easy to use. They include a basic service fee, a relatively low usage-based charge and a demand charge that’s based on their highest monthly power use.

Critics claim demand rates are “too confusing.” As smart thermostats and app technology grow ever smarter, this claim falls short. Demand rates give consumers a new way to save money by managing their use of electric appliances during peak usage periods. Smart technology can help customers take advantage of demand rates to lower their bills significantly. At the same time, reducing energy usage during peak times helps ensure the stability of the power grid statewide.

Because demand charges would be offset by lower energy use charges, most residential customers would see little impact from the proposed change. In fact, the UES proposal protects customers by reducing the generous subsidies handed to rooftop leasing companies at the expense of the 98 percent of consumers who don’t have solar. That’s why we’re hearing the loud voice of protest from the solar industry’s PR machine. UES’s proposal will create a sustainable free market for clean energy and send the right price signals to encourage future energy innovation. That’s important to every Arizona business. All of us want our state to stay at the forefront of the clean energy movement and to continue to create jobs in that growing sector.

Unfortunately, jobs have become a political pawn for the rooftop leasing companies. In Nevada, these companies fired their own workers and fled the state as punishment after policy changes took the brunt of subsidy payments off the backs of non-solar customers. They’ve threatened the same punitive behavior in our state. This “take our toys and go home” approach will hurt Arizona families and our economy. As reputable case studies and testimony explain in detail, rooftop leasing companies can continue to make ample profit under a demand rate structure should they elect to compromise, rather than litigate and flee to other states where generous profits are still to be had on the backs of non-solar customers.

Using employees’ paychecks as a bargaining chip is wrong. So is intentionally disrupting the businesses of local installers – the very people the California-based national giants once claimed they wanted to help.

Arizona needs an energy policy that encourages a broad array of technologies and the highest degree of freedom and fairness for all power users. The more control consumers have – absent subsidies paid by the vast majority of power users to fund technology for the few – the better off our state will be. To hear the rooftop solar leasing companies tell it, you would think the goal of energy policy should be whatever helps them sell the most systems at the largest profit.

We take a broader view. We sincerely hope the Arizona Corporation Commission will take that broader view as well.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Lea Marquez Peterson is the president and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Utility ‘Demand Charges’ Offers Best Solution to Utility Costs Problem

In a prior post I provided a primer on the economics and politics of the rooftop solar industry in Arizona. Net metering was essentially a solution to the initial introduction of rooftop solar into the residential consumer market. The rooftop solar industry took advantage of the political process by carving out a government-sanctioned incentive in the market that allowed them to operate and profit despite harsh economic realities in the renewable energy market.

Rooftop solar companies lease their solar panel system to consumers because the vast majority of consumers cannot afford a system that costs tens of thousands of dollars.  They needed an effective marketing message to “sell consumers” on leasing their product – an incentive to overcome the objection of cost. Thus net metering was offered as an incentive.

Here’s how it works. Most consumers do not use all the electricity generated by their rooftop system throughout the day. Net metering allows any excess electricity to be “sold” back to the main electrical grid. Consumers effectively build up a credit for the excess power they provide back to the grid. The amount of that credit is based on a retail rate that is higher than the wholesale market rate offered on the grid.

That difference between retail and wholesale electric rates is what has become the center of dispute between the rooftop solar industry and utility companies. It adds up to millions of dollars.

Utility companies argue that the cost to repair, maintain and upgrade the main power grid has not been taken into account as the market for rooftop solar has expanded. As utility companies continue the practice of net metering and purchasing back electricity at a rate higher than market value, it is negatively impacting the cost to maintain our electrical infrastructure. These costs ultimately get passed on to ratepayers, especially those who cannot afford to install and lease expensive rooftop solar systems. The result is that rooftop solar customers are paying less than non rooftop solar customers for the maintenance and improvement of our power grid.

This is where the idea of a “demand charges” becomes an economic and equitable solution for all users of the grid.

Rather than continuing an unfair solar net metering policy that gives wealthier ratepayers an advantage over lower income ratepayers when it comes to maintaining the grid, why not charge individuals for the demand that they actually place on the grid?

Most electricity consumers put most of their demand on the system during the early morning and early evening. It’s part of our daily routine: wake up, eat, prepare for work and head off to work. In the early evening, we come home, cook, clean and entertain ourselves before repeating the same routine the next day. Now aggregate that across millions of households and its easy to see how residential demand on the grid spikes twice a day.

Demand charges are determined by the maximum amount of electricity demanded by a consumer during a specific measure of time such as a day, week or billing period. This is the cost or strain placed on the grid when turning on appliances, air conditioning, etc. and is especially prevalent here in Arizona during summer months. Consumers who run all their appliances at the same time every day place a higher demand on the grid than those who spread their use of their appliances out over the same 24 hour period.

Here is a video put out by a South African utility company explaining the concept of energy demand charges:

Here in Arizona, the Arizona Corporation Commission is hearing a request from Tucson’s Unisource Energy Services – the utility that provides power to rural and southern Arizona. In its request it is seeking a rate increase and structure for ratepayers in Mohave and Santa Cruz County in order to alleviate the burden on the power grid and non-rooftop solar ratepayers. The request includes adjusting the net metering rates to current market values and implementing “demand charges” that allow it to compensate for the demand on the grid.

California-based rooftop solar companies are lined up in opposition to the changes and have even threatened to pull out of Arizona cutting hundreds of local jobs. These are the same companies who are profiting off the artificially-priced subsidy set in net metering. If UNS wins approval of the market rate adjustment in its net metering rate request, only new solar installations will receive the market-adjusted subsidy.

The UNS request also includes approval for a “demand charge” meant to cover the costs associated with peak demand. This charge would be optional for residents and small businesses but would be mandatory for any new rooftop solar installations which “create new cost burdens and reliability concerns for utilities and their customers.”

If approved, such changes will begin the process of correcting manipulations in the market and reducing special subsidies for residential rooftop solar industry.

As someone who opposes government sanctioned subsidies, it’s time that solar users finally help cover the cost of the grid that non-solar users have been paying for without receiving any benefit. Implementing “demand charges” and adjusting the net metering rate are necessary decisions to restore a free market solution to a corporate cronyism problem. It’s the fair and economically sound thing to do and maintain the reliability of our power grid to the benefit of all consumers.

ATRA: AG Audit Harshly Critical of GPLET

ATRA

By Jennifer Stielow

A recent audit by the Arizona Auditor General (AG) revealed many critical flaws surrounding the calculation, collection, distribution, and reporting of the Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET).

According to the AG’s review of 268 leases, nearly half are currently under eight-year abatement; and therefore, no revenue is being collected. Forty-five percent of the leases examined are paying GPLET under the rate structure that existed prior to 2010 that imposes a dramatically lower tax burden than the current GPLET rates. Of all the leases audited, only 16 (6%) are subject to the new GPLET rates. As a result, the AG found that the 2010 GPLET revisions have not resulted in increased revenue as expected because so few leases pay tax under the new rate structure.

Additionally, the AG found many examples where the incorrect GPLET was calculated because either the wrong rates were used and/or not all of the property subject to GPLET was included. In fact, in certain instances lessees failed to remit GPLET payments altogether.

The audit also found that the distribution of GPLET revenues by county treasurers was done incorrectly by using the distribution percentages for property tax rather than GPLET, which are different. Furthermore, although county treasurers are required to assess penalties and interest on delinquent payments, none did so.

There are several reporting requirements under GPLET, one of which requires county assessors to annually report the value of all GPLET property, which includes properties under abatement, to the Arizona Department of Education (ADE). The AG found that only three of the seven counties that have GPLET deals reported the valuation of GPLET properties to ADE. This is a major cause for concern since underreporting GPLET values to ADE requires the state general fund to pay more in state aid payments to school districts than otherwise required. Overall, auditors’ interviews with city, town, and county officials indicated a general lack of understanding of GPLET requirements and recommended the Legislature modify statutes to address GPLET deficiencies.

This special audit was a requirement of the 2010 legislation that enacted several revisions to GPLET. The purpose of the audit was to determine if the revisions resulted in a viable revenue source in lieu of an ad valorem property tax on possessory interests for counties, cities and towns, community colleges, and school districts.

Originally enacted in 1996 as a successor to the possessory interest tax, GPLET allows government to enter into lease agreements with private entities to use government-owned property for private use and be subject to an excise tax in lieu of a property tax. By 2010, cities had dramatically expanded their use of the eight-year abatement. Additionally, the tax liability under the existing GPLET rate structure was not only considerably lower compared to the property tax, but the entire tax obligation disappeared at fifty years.

In an effort to address some of the inequities with GPLET, the 2010 legislation limited the size of Central Business District (CBD) boundaries for leases who qualify for the eight-year abatement. A new rate structure was implemented that nearly doubled the existing rates, and while rates under the old structure dropped 20% every ten years until reaching zero by the fiftieth year, the new rates are adjusted annually by the producer price index for new construction indefinitely. Finally, the legislation prospectively limited GPLET deals to a maximum of 25 years, including any abatement period, at which time the government lessor is required to convey the property to the prime lessee and the property is then placed on the property tax rolls.

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The Arizona Tax Research Association (ATRA) is the only statewide taxpayer organization representing a cross section of Arizona individuals and businesses. Organized in 1940, ATRA is the largest and most respected independent and accurate source of public finance and tax policy information. ATRA represents taxpayers before policy makers at the state and local level. ATRA’s fundamental belief is that every governmental expenditure is directly related to a tax. ATRA’s goal is efficient statewide government and the effective use of tax dollars through sound fiscal policies.