East Valley Chamber Alliance Releases 2012 Voter Guide

East Valley Business Community Opposes Propositions 121 and 204

GILBERT – The East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance (EVCCA) today released its 2012 Voter Guide. The Voter Guide recommends positions on the November ballot measures.

“The EVCCA Voter Guide is a powerful consensus tool for chamber members as they head to the polls,” said EVCCA Chair Angela Creedon. “The EVCCA only takes a position on a ballot measure when all seven chambers agree.”

The East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance is the largest chamber of commerce organization in Arizona. It includes the Apache Junction, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa Queen Creek, Scottsdale and Tempe Chambers of Commerce representing more than 5,500 businesses in the East Valley.

Proposition 121 would eliminate the current partisan primary system in Arizona and establish an open primary in which the two (or more for offices in which more than one individual is elected) candidates receiving the most votes move on to the general election.

Proposition 204 would create a permanent $.01 sales tax increase to fund educational programs, public transportation infrastructure projects and human services programs. The tax and funding allocations are preserved in perpetuity.

For more information on the EVCCA’s ballot positions, please contact Tom Dorn, Eric Emmert or Heather Wilkey at (602) 606- 4667.

For more information on the ballot measures themselves, please visit the Arizona State Legislature’s website at http://azleg.gov/BallotMeasureAnalyses.asp or the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.azsos.gov/election/2012/general/BallotMeasurePage.htm.

Arizona League of Cities and Towns opposes Prop 204

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

Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce opposes Prop 204

The below press release from the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is gratefully received. The number of organizations and individuals that oppose Proposition 204 is growing every day.

Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Opposes Prop 204

Press Release

September 25th, 2012

The Tucson Hispanic Chamber Board of Directors has voted to oppose Prop 204 – the Quality Education and Jobs Initiative. The chamber’s Business Advocacy Committee which is composed of members of the Chamber from Southern Arizona recommended opposition of the controversial initiative to the Board of Directors after hearing the pro debate and the con debate from the opposing sides of the argument. Tannya Gaxiola, the Chairwoman of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber expressed that “Our decision was not made lightly. We are concerned about the quality of Arizona’s education, the importance of a highly educated and trained workforce, and the challenge southern Arizona particularly faces in attracting , retaining and growing businesses to our State. We realize that this issue is of upmost importance to our small business community.”The initiative would make permanent the one cent sales tax that was passed two years ago. The Tucson Hispanic Chamber supported the temporary sales tax in 2010. “However, our members were concerned about the elimination of the promise to the business community of a temporary tax, the further tying of the hands of our elected officials who we have voted to represent us, and the broad scope and complexity of the initiative which includes infrastructure and public health along with education. “stated Lea Marquez Peterson, the President/CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber.Prop 204 would further hamper our elected representatives and make it challenging to have any flexibility during a budget crisis like the State experienced over the last two years. In addition, the passing of Prop 204 would mean that nearly two-thirds of state spending will be mandated by voters and that Arizona would have the second highest sales tax in the U.S. further impeding our ability to attract business to our state.

The Tucson Hispanic Chamber applauds the goal of reforming education and finds it worrisome that Arizona ranks near the bottom of all states in spending per pupil – $7,848 versus $10,615 nationwide, however, the Chamber is concerned that the initiative provides a permanent funding stream, throwing money at the problems without addressing possible efficiencies in education, State spending priorities, or providing sufficient accountability for results. The Tucson Hispanic Chamber Board of Directors believes that in order to improve the level of education funding in Arizona, voters should elect legislators who take that priority into consideration with all of the State’s other pressing needs.

POLL: Arizona Proposition 204 in Phoenix Business Journal

Phoenix Business Journal has posted a poll on Prop 204, asking “What do you think about the effort to continue a 1-cent sales tax for education?”

As of now, “NO” is winning by a margin of six points, but a strong showing in a survey like this can only help.

For more information, please visit our Facebook Page or our Website.

Arizona Proposition 204 is Bad Policy

Arizona Proposition 204

Arizona Proposition 204 is bad policy. A close look at the fine print in Proposition 204 reveals the true purpose of the initiative.

The measure creates 14 separate carve outs for special interest groups, creating a grab bag of taxpayer funded giveaways. While special interests are getting enriched, Arizona families will see a $1 Billion dollar PERMANENT tax increase. If passed, Arizona will become the second highest sales tax state in America, just behind Tennessee, a state with no income tax.

But, how does Proposition 204 reward politically connected groups? The device is a list of “designated funds” that would dictate how the money is spent. Students and teachers in the classroom are barely in the equation.

Arizonans need only to read the ballot language to see that Prop 204 is more about “pet projects” and less about improving the state’s education system.

CHAPTER 28

STATE INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING 
ARTICLE 1. ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR STATE INFRASTRUCTURE

28-9301. State infrastructure fund

A. THE STATE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND IS ESTABLISHED CONSISTING OF LEGISLATIVE APPROPRIATIONS, FEDERAL MONIES, PRIVATE GRANTS, GIFTS, CONTRIBUTIONS, DEVISES AND MONIES DEPOSITED IN THE FUND PURSUANT TO SECTION 42- 5029.02. MONIES IN THE FUND ARE CONTINUOUSLY APPROPRIATED TO THE DEPARTMENT FOR THE PURPOSES PRESCRIBED IN THIS SECTION AND ARE EXEMPT FROM THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 35-190 RELATING TO LAPSING OF APPROPRIATIONS.

That’s why Doug Ducey, Arizona’s State Treasurer said, “Prop 204 is genuinely bad policy. It makes a permanent, billion-dollar-a-year spending commitment; it provides for no oversight as to how the money is spent; and it makes no reforms that actually improve accountability or the quality of education. Prop 204 amounts to just throwing money at a problem and hoping that somehow, magically, things will just get better.”

Out of the $1 billion collected every year, only $125 million would go to the state’s general fund for “inflation adjustments” for K-12 education. Then the spending begins to disburse $875 million to the initiative’s pet projects through the designated funds.

  • The largest share, $500 million, goes to something called the quality education and performance fund to assist K-12 schools with “assessment and accountability” rules. Sounds good right? But the ballot language specifically uses the word “may use the monies.” There is no guarantee that they will be used effectively, again no oversight or accountability, just words on a page.
  • The state infrastructure fund gets $100 million for road-building and public transportation.
  • The family stability and self-sufficiency fund receives $100 million to support families living below the poverty level.

That takes care of $700 million projected for the designated funds. The first fund feeds bureaucratic record keeping. The second supports contractors and transportation subsidies. The third funds a social services program outside the purview of education.

The rest of the money — $175 million – goes to fund areas that again lack accountability and oversight.

To fund the $1 billion a year initiative, taxpayers will be forced to pay a one-cent increase in the state’s sales tax rate. The initiative forbids the Governor and State Legislature from any participation in spending the funds.

In fact, Prop 204 prevents the Auditor General, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee or the Governor’s Office from doing any performance audits on how the money raised is to be spent. So much for sunshine and accountability.

If Arizona wants long-term education reform, Proposition 204 is not the answer. Proposition 204 is just too taxing on Arizona families.

To learn more, please visit VoteNoOn204.com or Vote No on 204’s Facebook Page.