Arizona Legislature Must Act to Protect Employee Paychecks from Political Abuse

The Arizona Senate is ready for floor debate on a ballot referral critically important to gaining lasting control over our state and local budgets — SCR 1028 on Paycheck Protection.  The below letter was delivered Wednesday to all Republican lawmakers.

 

Coalition to Protect
Employee Paychecks from Politics

February 23, 2011

The Honorable Russell Pearce
President of the Arizona Senate
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

The Honorable Kirk Adams
Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

RE: SCR 1028 & HCR 2032 on Paycheck Protection

Dear President Pearce and Speaker Adams:

The on-going protests in Madison, Wisconsin should sound the alarm here in Arizona regarding the danger of indulging special interests to the point where they threaten to close down state government and disrupt our political processes.  As representatives of conservative, grassroots and small business organizations, we urge you to take proactive steps to ensure that Arizona never becomes as beholden to these special interests as the Badger State has.

Therefore, we request that you use your considerable influence and institutional powers to give Arizonans the opportunity to vote to enshrine in the Arizona Constitution their fundamental right to protect employee paychecks from politics.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 1028, introduced by Senator Frank Antenori and 43 co-sponsors, and House Concurrent Resolution 2032, introduced by Representative Judy Burges and 44 co-sponsors, state: 

An employee in this state shall be free from any employer deducting or facilitating the deduction of a payment from an employee’s paycheck for political purposes, unless the employee annually provides express written permission to make the deduction.

The language is fair, reasonable and straight-forward—precisely the qualities of a constitutional amendment that the Arizona electorate rewards with their votes.  This referral does not discriminate between political money deducted by labor unions or corporate political action committees.  Both are treated equally.  Moreover, this construction places the focus where it belongs, on the fundamental rights of all workers to control their paychecks.

A 2010 poll of 400 likely Arizona voters found 76 percent favor such an amendment and 20 percent oppose.  The poll also found that 64 percent were “definitely yes” while only 14 percent were “definitely no” voters.

The time is now to seize the initiative and provide voters this opportunity to affirm their rights through a constitutional amendment.  We urge you to schedule a floor vote on a paycheck protection ballot question during the 2011 Regular Session so the conservative, grassroots and small business supporters of paycheck protection can use the full year-and-a-half between now and Election Day 2012 to organize, educate and raise the funds necessary to secure victory.

It is imperative that you help the conservative, grassroots and small business base by giving us enough time to wage an aggressive and well-financed effort.  The 2010 election cycle is illustrative of why we feel passing a referral in 2011 is essential to our ultimate success.  Propositions 106 (Healthcare Freedom), 107 (Civil Rights) and 113 (Save Our Secret Ballot) were all launched by referrals in 2009 and all won by comfortable margins.  Conversely, every constitutional amendment referred in 2010 failed, some by very narrow margins.

Constitutional Amendment   Constitutional Amendment
Campaigns Begun in 2009   Campaigns Begun in 2010
       
Prop. 106: Healthcare Freedom Prop. 109: Hunting & Fishing
Yes 892,693 55.28%   Yes 714,144 43.52%
No 722,300 44.72%   No 926,991 56.48%
  1,614,993       1,641,135  
             
        Prop. 110: State Trust Lands
Prop. 107: Civil Rights   Yes 792,394 49.71%
Yes 952,086 59.51%   No 801,670 50.29%
No 647,713 40.49%     1,594,064  
  1,599,799          
        Prop. 111: Lt. Governor
        Yes 655,252 40.77%
Prop. 113: Save Our Secret Ballot No 951,820 59.23%
Yes 978,109 60.46%     1,607,072  
No 639,692 39.54%        
  1,617,801     Prop. 112: Initiative Timeline
        Yes 792,697 50.00%
        No 792,825 50.00%
          1,585,522  

 

We know legislative leadership has traditionally held that ballot propositions are best referred in the year of the election.  However, as the protests in Madison, Wisconsin illustrate, the likely forces opposed to paycheck protection can and will always bring maximum resources to fight for their big government agenda regardless of notice.  Regrettably, the forces supporting a smaller government and individual responsibility are the ones that need time to organize and mobilize. 

We cannot afford to wait until less than six months before the election to decide to rise to this challenge.  Please give us the best chance to support and pass this crucial constitutional amendment that will serve as a foundation to regaining and maintaining Arizona’s fiscal health.

Please schedule floor votes on SCR 1028 and/or HCR 2032 during this session of the Arizona Legislature.

Thank you for considering our views. We would welcome the opportunity at your earliest convenience to discuss the merits of referring this measure to the ballot this year.

Sincerely:

Farrell Quinlan
Arizona State Director
National Federation of Independent Business
3550 North Central Avenue, Suite 1806
Phoenix, Arizona  85012

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity
One East Camelback Road, Suite 550
Phoenix, Arizona  85012

Roy Miller
Chairman
Arizona Employee Protection Committee
8912 East Pinnacle Peak Road, Suite F9-235
Scottsdale, Arizona  85255

Sydney Hay
President of AMIGOS
Arizona Mining Industry Gets Our Support
Post Office Box 25187
Phoenix, Arizona  85002-5187

cc:  All Members of the Republican Majority in the Arizona House of Representatives
       All Members of the Republican Majority in the Arizona Senate