Costs and Tax Increase are a Train Wreck for Phoenix Transportation Plan

MBQF

Sticker Shock Drives Phoenicians Opinions Over Proposed Light Rail Expansion – Voters Favor Other Public Priorities

(Phoenix, AZ) — MBQF, a public opinion survey consulting firm, announced today the results of a recent public opinion survey conducted on March 5, 2015.  Although the results from the automated telephonic survey show likely Phoenix City voters give initial grudging support toward a light rail and transportation expansion plan – Phoenix voters quickly reverse course once educated about the potential costs and a tax increase.  Voters appear to remain skeptical over light rail for other priorities.

In the most recent automated telephonic survey of 580 likely Phoenix City voters, the survey calculates a 4.04% theoretical margin of error, plus or minus in percentage points, 95% of the time.  54.4% of respondents were women while 45.6% were men.

Almost two-thirds of respondents believe their tax-money should be prioritized elsewhere when asked,  “NOW, do you feel the city of Phoenix should prioritize transportation and spend $33 Billion dollars over the next 35 years that includes a proposed light rail expansion or do you believe the $33 billion dollars could be best spent in other areas such as education, public safety, police and fire, and health and disability services.”

Press 1 if you believe that the light rail and transportation is the best investment    34.83%

Press 2 if you believe that the money would be best used for other public needs      65.17%

Michael Noble concluded, “When 2/3 of voters agree on a spending issue, policy makers ought to take heed.  They are the type of numbers that are usually followed by a voter initiative.”
For more information about this survey, or a summary of topline data and wording, please contact MBQF Consulting. The margin of error for this survey is +/-4.04%.

Script

Hello, we are doing a brief survey on current issues within the City of Phoenix.  Some elected officials are considering spending tax dollars on transportation and we would like to ask your thoughts on these important issues.  Your name was selected at random and your responses are completely confidential.

1. Are you aware that the City of Phoenix has proposed spending $33 billion dollars over the next 35 years to triple the ridership of the current light rail and expand the transportation system?

Press 1 if you are aware     71.9%
Press 2 if you have never heard of it      22.24%
Press 3 if you are unsure    5.86%

2. Supporters of this potential light rail expansion argue that the plan would also expand bus services and improve or fix the city’s aging street system. Do you agree or disagree with these priorities?

Press 1 if you agree        53.79%
Press 2 if you disagree    46.21%

3. Are you aware that if the proposed light rail transportation expansion is approved it would increase Phoenix sales taxes by 15% and cost $161 Million per mile to build and operate? Would this information make you more likely or less likely to support the transportation expansion?

Press 1 for More Likely                  26.72%
Press 2 for Less Likely                   63.45%
Press 3 if it makes no difference     9.83%

4. NOW, do you feel the city of Phoenix should prioritize transportation and spend $33 Billion dollars over the next 35 years that includes a proposed light rail expansion or do you believe the $33 billion dollars could be best spent in other areas such as education, public safety, police and fire, and health and disability services.

Press 1 if you believe that the light rail and transportation is the best investment    34.83%
Press 2 if you believe that the money would be best used for other public needs    65.17%

5. If you were running the City of Phoenix, please tell me what you personally believe is the most important public priority as a taxpayer.   Would you invest tax dollars in Public Safety, Education, Disability services, expansion of the light rail or improvement of freeways/roads?

Press 1 for Public Safety   18.97%
Press 2 for Education        33.97%
Press 3 for Disability services   4.14%
Press 4 for expansion of the light rail    13.28%
Press 5 for repairing and improving current freeways and roads    19.48%
Press 6 if you are unsure   10.17%

6.  Leading the charge for the light rail transportation expansion is current Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, while the primary opponent of the light rail transportation expansion is Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio. Based on this, whose leadership do you most trust with your tax money?

Press 1 for Greg Stanton      35.17%
Press 2 for Sal DiCiccio        37.59%
Press 3 if you have no opinion at this time      27.24%

7.  Press 1 if you are Male          45.6%
Press 2 if you are Female      54.4%

Thank you for your time.

Phoenix Earns High Marks From NFIB

City judged one of five best in nation for welcoming small business

In an e-newsletter to its more than 330,000 members nationwide today, including 7,000 in Arizona, the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s voice of small business, ranked Phoenix as one of the top five cities in the country “Opening Their Doors to Small Business.”

“Phoenix’s rebounding economy, favorable climate and entrepreneurial culture attracts many transplanted residents,” said the NFIB article. “Two years ago, the Phoenix City Council implemented reforms that shifted a significant portion of city permitting and inspection functions to the private sector and created 24-hour turnarounds for projects such as city and building permits that used to take four to six months. With quicker turnarounds, doing business in Phoenix has become faster and more convenient.”

Noted Farrell Quinlan, NFIB’s Arizona state director, “The majority of people starting small businesses and prospering here were born somewhere else. That kind of new blood and vitality means opportunities in Phoenix aren’t encumbered by an old-boys network.”

In a news release issued by Mayor Greg Stanton, he said, “This ranking is a testament to the actions we’re taking to lift small and local businesses. We’re moving in a new economic direction – one that creates real opportunity for business owners and entrepreneurs.”

sal diciccio council chambers

Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio

City Councilman Sal DiCiccio added, “This puts Phoenix in a position to compete in the global economy, making us faster, smarter and better than our competitor cities. Getting 24-hour permitting and the ability to submit plans online allows businesses to open today, not months from now. The Mayor and Council recognized that it grows our economy faster when we help businesses take off quickly.”

DiCiccio, a longtime NFIB member, led the 125-member Ad Hoc Development Task Force that produced the reform recommendations for how to streamline the city’s permit process.

Phoenix has also been helped by a better state climate, Quinlan pointed out. “The state has been a leader in low tax rates and regulatory reform. For instance, Arizona simplifies the process state agencies must follow when creating rules and regulations they impose on Arizona businesses. That leadership ensures government serves as a facilitator of economic dynamism rather than a frustrator of job creation.”

Other cities making the top five list were Caspar, Wyoming; Jackson, Mississippi; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Orlando, Florida.

For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.

It All Comes Down to One Person – Greg Stanton

A special message from Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio:

Due to my efforts fighting for the elimination of the food tax, pension reform and other government reforms, a liberal group with a secret donor list, is attacking me and the accomplishments we’ve made over the past few years. Unfortunately, this group has chosen to attack me with mailers and emails full of half-truths and some outright lies. Sadly, but not surprisingly, the members of this liberal group tie directly to Mayor Greg Stanton. View the infographic below to learn more about their operation. It’s time to blow their cover!

One Person Stanton 1

One Person - Greg Stanton

 

Arizona Corporation Commission reference link: http://starpas.azcc.gov/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=wsbroker1/corp-detail.p?name-id=18291457

Phoenix Business Owner Says Mayor Needs To Keep Campaign Promise Regarding Food Tax

(Phoenix, AZ) It seems there were a lot of questions directed at Mayor Stanton at a community meeting held at the Mayo Clinic on April 23rd. But it wasn’t zoning laws or the need to fix our streets that was on most people’s minds, it was the food tax. In fact some of the residents that attended wanted to know why Mayor Stanton isn’t keeping his campaign promise that he made to repeal it like he did during his campaign. While Mayor Stanton continued to tell residents that the tax is needed to keep fire and police services operating, Phoenix business owner and city resident Nohl Rosen reminded him that he needs to keep his promise to the people.

“As a business owner when I make a promise to a customer, I honor it as that is what your supposed to do because it’s good service. I simply reminded the Mayor that he made a promise to the citizens of Phoenix and that he needs to keep it,” Rosen said.

However, during the meeting which was also attended by City Council members Jim Waring and Bill Gates, it was revealed that the food tax was used to give pay raises to city employees and also fund golf courses.

“When the food tax was put into affect 3 years ago, the citizens were told that it was to keep fire and police services going. Now we find out that the money wasn’t used for its intended purpose. Still, Mayor Stanton during his campaign said he would repeal the food tax and hasn’t done it. That would be the honorable thing to do and also sets things right. Just what is the Mayor waiting for?” Rosen further asked.

Rosen says he’s considering doing more of his shopping in Scottsdale and other neighboring cities to fulfill regular household needs until the food tax is repealed and encouraging others to do the same.

Sal DiCiccio: Phoenix Food Tax, Broken Promises

Sal DiCiccio

Follow me on FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/DiCiccioSal
Follow me on TWITTER: http://twitter.com/PhxDistrict6

Mayor Stanton made an announcement on Thursday that he would not fulfill his campaign promise to repeal the food tax.  Along with many Phoenicians, I am very disappointed in his decision.  The citizens have relied on this commitment and, once again, their city is letting them down.

The middle class and the poor are the ones who will be impacted the most.  What makes this decision even more unfortunate is that over $106 million in pay raises have been doled out to city employees while Phoenix citizens have not seen one penny of relief.

You have my commitment to protect you and your family.  I will continue to push for the repeal of this tax that was passed deceptively with barely 24 hour notice.

The credibility of the City of Phoenix has been damaged.  The ability of people to trust the word of Phoenix officials has further diminished.  As I continue my fight to repeal the food tax, I will also strive to restore people’s faith in government.

AZ Republic columnist Laurie Roberts’ article on Stanton’s announcement

My best to you and your family,

Sal DiCiccio
City of Phoenix Councilman, District 6
602-262-7491
council.district.6@phoenix.gov

*Any e-mail you send to council.district.6@phoenix.gov will be subject to the Arizona Open Records Law and may be reviewed by the Arizona Republic.

Thoughts on the City of Phoenix LGBT Ordinance

A few thoughts on today’s culture war battle at the City of Phoenix.

I attended the meeting for the purpose of testifying against the tax on food. I signed a card for that specific agenda item having no intention of testifying on the LGBT ordinance.

My position on this has been very clear. I simply do not believe that the City of Phoenix should inject government policy into the personal and private lives of any Phoenicians except when a crime is committed. Some liberals and libertarians would say “keep government out of our bedrooms.” OK, so how about a little consistency by keeping government to a minimum in our private business matters? What the City of Phoenix did tonight was invite a huge conflict between Constitutional rights and individual sexual identity.

By now social conservatives should realize they have lost the culture war on issues related to sexual identity and behavior. The most reasonable position social conservatives can now take is to hold back any level of government from the power position of  picking winners and losers in the conflict between sexual identity and free speech, religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

Locally, social conservatives did not lose the culture battle in Phoenix tonight. Social conservatives lost the culture battle in November of 2011 when it failed to elect conservatives to the Phoenix city council.

We knew this was coming. The signs were there in 2011 when mayoral candidate Greg Stanton made wide overtures to the LGBT community and efforts to align Phoenix with San Francisco values. Anyone who dared to point it out was labeled a bigot. So goes the spirit of tolerance on the left.

(Too often, both sides fail to see this as a debate over public policy rather making it about personal attacks on individuals and their sexual identities.)

Tonight’s meeting was a reflection of the very intolerance those pushing for tolerance decry. Anyone who dared to oppose the ordinance was booed and jeered. No respect for human dignity and certainly no respect for the public policy process.

Social conservative did turn out at the meeting – certainly not in number. And those who did engage were speaking a different language to the huge LGBT majority who did turn out (probably with plenty of advance notice). Two different languages because there are two different worldviews – one based on faith, the other clearly sexual and secular in nature. There were translators in the testimonials – individuals who know the difference and can communicate between the two worldviews – Cathi Herrod from the Center for Arizona Policy, an attorney from the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Rev. Jarrett Maupin spoke. These individuals are bilingual on issues that tangle logic and emotions.

And there was a tremendous amount of emotion – mostly from the LGBT – about living with a sexual identity that conflicts with traditional societal norms. Who was going to argue with the dozen of transgendered individuals who gave personal stories of rejection, anger and sympathy?

Which brings me to my personal feelings on the whole matter.

My pastor, my church, my Jesus preaches love. The Word commands us to love God first and to love our neighbor as ourselves second. There are two commandments in the New Testament. That’s it – pretty simple. My pastor (who happens to oversee five campuses in Phoenix Metro) reminds us to look past a person’s self-identity and love them no matter what. We are to love them like Christ would love them – regardless of their sin(s) (I’m not going to name them here. You can look them up.) But most important, we are to bring others into a real and living relationship with Christ allowing Christ to work in their lives toward God’s glory.

This is where I separate matters of faith from the role of the state (in this case the City of Phoenix).

If I were Mayor of Phoenix I would have rejected the idea of injecting my sliver of government into the personal and private lives of individuals. To do otherwise is asking for the wailing and gnashing of teeth. This seems to be the only position a reasonable community of people can hold without forcing a cultural conflagration to take place.

Entangling sex and politics is a messy business as we learned tonight. Hopefully our politicians will take note and keep social engineering to a minimal melodramatic level in the future. Political social conservatives lost tonight but true Christianity continues to love on.

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Phoenix City Councilman Speaks out on Phoenix Food Tax Repeal

Sal DiCiccioPolice and fire cuts were a hoax.

Budget and research numbers released this week show $107 million doled out for pay raises and bonuses.

Not one police officer was hired.

Pay raises could have hired 272 more police officer protecting your family. Average total compensation jumps to over $105,000 per person for over 14,500 employees. Yes you read that correctly. The average cost per employee is over $105,000 for more than 14,000 employees. Mayor Stanton must follow through on his promise to abolish food tax by April, 2013.

No more scare tactics. No more delays. No more phony and tired stories about how police and fire will be cut. I’m not going to let this go.

Promises must be kept.

Read more by Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts – “Is Greg Stanton waffling on food tax repeal?”

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton featured in Best of Capitol Video

This is hilarious! Well done Arizona Capitol Times and Mayors Smith and Stanton!

Mark Mitchell police investigation report still not released to the public

Voting for the next mayor of the City of Tempe continues at a frenzied pace as election day rapidly approaches on May 15th. One thing that is clearly not moving fast is the release of the report by City of Phoenix Police investigators regarding alleged behaviors by the Democrat candidate in the race, Mark Mitchell.

Meanwhile, Tempe Police who supposedly handed the investigation over to Phoenix investigators to avoid a conflict of interest, have come out in support of Mitchell. Signs started appearing last week courtesy of the political action committee, “Public Safety for Better Government – E.V.”

One would expect that law enforcement officials would reserve any form of advocacy for a candidate – especially one who has been accused of despicable acts – until any police investigation report is released to the public. That doesn’t seem to be the case in Tempe.

This all goes back to our earlier request in which we urged the Mayor of Phoenix, Greg Stanton, to release any report surrounding his endorsee, Mark Mitchell, so the voters would have the opportunity to make up their own minds regarding the allegations.

Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell

Strangely enough, “Arizona Police Officers” have already made up their collective mind and appear to be protecting their investment despite  any potentially damaging revelations being stonewalled by mayoral leadership.

Tempe voters deserve to know as they head to the polls. The simple solution is to disclose the findings and come clean and let the voters decide based on the facts.

It’s Time for Mark Mitchell and Greg Stanton to Come Clean

With the Tempe runoff election rapidly approaching, talk amongst Tempe’s political insiders is that Democrat mayoral candidate Mark Mitchell has lawyered up pretty heavily. Mitchell’s dive into a legal bunker may very well have something to do with what’s actually not happening in Tempe’s western neighbor, the City of Phoenix.

Recently elected Mayor of Phoenix, Greg Stanton, an endorser and high dollar fundraiser for Mitchell, may be stalling on the release of a report revealing a police investigation of the mayoral aspirant that was triggered by an anonymous victim’s email to the entire Tempe Council. The report is rumored to contain damning allegations that junior engaged in behavior so vile and disgusting that it would likely end his political career if not result in legal action. That investigation was handed over to Stanton’s top law enforcer in order to avoid a conflict of interest.

Early voting is already underway in Tempe. One would expect local media would be hot on the trail of any police investigation especially one that involves a mayoral candidate. Or better yet, that the candidate himself would feel obligated to disclose to the voters whether or not he is under any type of investigation.

And what does this say about the character and political motivations of Phoenix Mayor Stanton who appears to be dragging his political feet on an investigation of his political peer and ally?

Something has to give. We just hope it’s not the trust and confidence of Tempe and Phoenix residents who deserve better from their candidates and elected officials.

Both Mark Mitchell and Greg Stanton should stop this political game of avoidance and obfuscation and make an effort to show some real leadership. Mayor Stanton should step aside and allow Phoenix detectives to acknowledge and even release any findings. But even more important, if there really is no there there, Mark Mitchell owes it to his fellow Tempeans to publicly denounce any such allegations if he truly wants to exonerate his name.