By Scot Mussi
If you only listened to supporters of Proposition 104, it would be difficult to know what the 30 billion dollar transit tax initiative is really about. Even the ballot language written by the city tries to hide the fact that Prop 104 nearly DOUBLES the transit sales tax over the next 35 years, a multibillion dollar tax hike to fund light rail expansion that Phoenix residents can ill afford.
But the massive tax hike is only one of the reasons why Prop 104 should be rejected by Phoenix voters. As written, Prop 104 is a blank check for City Hall that allows insiders and politically connected special interests to cash in on the new transit tax. In fact, the dirty secret about this initiative is that they are not required to build any of the projects they are promising in the transit plan.
For example, the city could decide after its passage to cancel all new road projects and use the money to construct more light rail. Or City Council could approve a costly new trolley or train system that leaves the road you take to work under construction for the next five years. Entire sections of the city could lose out on transit funding to politically connected insiders at City Hall. How the money is spent will be up to the politicians to decide, not you.
The lack of transparency and accountability tied to this tax increase was by design. They could have included protections on how the money was spent or oversight to prevent waste, fraud and abuse. They chose not to, because the City wants your money but with no corresponding strings attached.
Phoenix residents should oppose this giveaway and vote NO on Prop 104.