Robert Robb: Prop. 204 tax initiative a well-intended wreck

Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb provides this assessment on Arizona ballot measure Proposition 204:

The debate about the sales-tax increase, Proposition 204, is taking place primarily at the high policy level.

Proponents say that education needs more money and that the Legislature can’t be counted on to provide it. Opponents say Prop. 204 just pours more money into the system without accountability reforms to ensure better outcomes and leaves Arizona with the second-highest sales tax in the country.

It’s difficult to get voters to peer into the weeds on these complicated ballot propositions. But with Prop. 204, it’s important that they at least take a peek. That’s because, technically, Prop. 204 is a wreck.

And part of its technical incompetence gets to the heart of its promise to provide new funding for education.

Prop. 204 provides funding to pay for inflation increases in existing K-12 funding. But the proposition is unclear as to whether that’s just the current year’s inflation or cumulative from the effective date of the proposition.

Continue reading…

Arizona Small Business Owners: No on 204

NFIB steadfast in opposition to new, permanent sales tax increase

PHOENIX, Ariz., Oct. 3, 2012—The National Federation of Independent Business today reaffirmed its long-held and principled opposition to raising Arizona’s sales tax rate to one of the highest in the nation by joining forces with the campaign to defeat Proposition 204.

“Arizona needs jobs and new investment, not higher taxes that rob taxpayers’ purchasing power and depress retail sales,” said Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. “Proposition 204 is a cynical money grab by government unions and special interests that seeks to exploit Arizonans’ sincere support for closing the achievement gap in our K-12 education system.”

Proposition 204 is an Arizona ballot measure that would increase Arizona’s state sales tax rate by 18 percent when the current temporary one-cent sales tax expires in June 2013. Its passage will cement Arizona’s sales tax rate as the second highest in the nation behind Tennessee—a state, unlike Arizona, with no income tax.

“Proposition 204 earmarks and diverts more than a billion dollars a year to a series of unaccountable and failed bureaucracies that for good measure includes a $100 million taste for a rabble of favored special interests. The children are the last thing Proposition 204 is for,” Quinlan said. “It provides no accountability or no real reform and little of the money will go to teachers and into the classroom where it is needed most.”

NFIB, the state’s leading small business association with 7,500 Arizona members, has consistently opposed efforts to raise Arizona’s transaction privilege (or sales) tax rate during these recessionary times with high unemployment. In 2010, the organization established its principled stance against raising taxes during this recession by opposing passage of Proposition 100, the temporary tax increase set to expire on May 31, 2013.

“One of the main reasons NFIB’s members opposed Proposition100 was their since-vindicated fear that the temporary tax would be converted into a permanent tax. Sadly, Proposition 204 proves their fears were justified.” Quinlan concluded. 

NFIB joins a growing list of business organizations supporting the Vote NO on 204 campaign. Visit to learn more about Proposition 204.

# # #

NFIB is the nation’s leading small-business advocacy association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small- and independent-business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists send their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available online at

Arizona sales-tax hike gets shiv on shady iPad contest promoted on Facebook, Twitter

Below is the complaint letter submitted to Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett earlier this week by Tom Jenney of Americans for Prosperity Arizona challenging the legality of initiative petitions turned in by the “Quality Education & Jobs” campaign based on signatures gathered by ‘volunteers’ with the promise of winning an iPad — thereby calling into question any and all of these petitions not disclosing that they were collected by a paid circulator. In the grand scheme of things this complaint likely reveals a small violation that will probably not invalidate enough petitions to drop their signature tally below the number required to earn a spot on November’s ballot.  However, this pattern and practice also reveals another instance where the troubled “Quality Education & Jobs” campaign has played fast-and-loose with the rules regarding gathering signatures… all in service to “The Children”… and government unions and brazen special interests who stand to reap hundreds of millions in government contracts. No wonder it has been thrown off the ballot. Let’s hope an activist judge doesn’t disregard the black-letter of the law and force this massive tax increase onto November’s ballot.  

BONUS: Click here to listen to the initial reaction from top “Quality Education & Jobs” campaign officials (Chairwoman Ann-Eve Petersen, Associated General Contractors honcho David Martin, consultant Joe Yuhas and others) upon learning their campaign’s 290,000 petition signatures are invalid.

June 25, 2012

The Honorable Ken Bennett
Arizona Secretary of State
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007-2888

Dear Secretary Bennett,

On behalf of the 70,000 taxpayers in this state who are members of our organization, the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity wishes to bring to your prompt attention an important matter regarding the potential failure by one or more ballot initiative organizers to fully and properly disclose their use of paid signature petition circulators. 

I-16-2012 has filed for inclusion on the November ballot and signature petitions have been circulated by its initiative supporters for qualification.  This initiative, commonly referred to as “Quality Education and Jobs,” has already submitted petitions to your office for certification.

Based upon the enclosed information, we believe that circulators have been compensated and incentivized with the promise of future compensation for collecting a specific number of signatures on behalf of the initiative.  We believe that repeated solicitations over Facebook and Twitter accounts maintained by initiative organizers, as well as at least one email sent by organizers or on their behalf, clearly demonstrate that the collection of fifteen (15) petition signatures were directly exchanged for “a brand new iPad 3” by at least two individuals.

A.R.S. § 19-118 defines a paid circulator as “…a person who receives monetary or other compensation that is based on the number of signatures obtained on a petition or on the number of petitions circulated that contain signatures.”  Those who satisfy the criteria of paid circulators are required to disclose their paid circulator status by noting the same on the petition.     

Organizers of I-16-2012 have apparently twice awarded an iPad 3, valued at $499, to certain individuals on or about May 11 and June 1.  Although the solicitations characterize the circulators as “volunteers,” the nature of those awards qualifies them as paid circulators by law.

We therefore request that your office immediately investigate this matter to determine whether the actions of the “Quality Education and Jobs” initiative organizers constitute a violation of A.R.S. § 19-118 and to take any and all necessary action. 

Furthermore, please accept this letter as a formal complaint with regard to the possibility that the “Quality Education and Jobs” initiative organizers may have circulated petitions using ballot language that differed from the official initiative language.  Given the discrepancies uncovered by the Arizona Tax Research Association (please refer to the attached article from the June 22, 2012 issue of the Arizona Capitol Times), we believe that the organizers of the “Quality Education and Jobs” initiative acted in violation of A.R.S. § 19-112, which requires that petition signature sheets be attached “at all times during circulation to a full and correct copy of the title and text of the measure or constitutional amendment proposed or referred by the petition.”

Thank you very much for your consideration of these matters, and for taking the time and effort to provide written responses to these complaints.

For Liberty,

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity

Brewer Capitulates to Goddard in Preview of General Election Contest

Democrat President Harry Truman is reported to have once said, “Give the people a choice between a Republican and a Republican and they will vote for the Republican every time.”

That was then, this is now.

Accidental Governor Jan Brewer’s sales tax increase compulsion has rewritten that sentiment, “Give the people a choice between a Democrat and a Democrat and they will vote for the Democrat every time.”

What a disgrace.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May, 11, 2010                                                         


Having Killed Irresponsible Corporate Tax Giveaways, Attorney General Supports Prop 100 For Schools

Phoenix – Today Attorney General Terry Goddard stood with teachers to support the temporary sales tax increase, Prop. 100. His support came after Governor Jan Brewer finally heeded Goddard’s call to reject a massive corporate tax giveaway which would have been detrimental to Arizona’s economy, costing Arizona taxpayers up to $950 million per year. Today Brewer said that there was “no way” she would “do the business tax cuts.” 

In March, Goddard sent Governor Brewer a letter calling on her to promise to veto the fiscally irresponsible measure.  “The corporate tax giveaways that were proposed were always the wrong thing to do for our state-and thankfully we stopped them,” said Goddard. 

Now that the corporate tax giveaways are off the table, Goddard announced his support for Prop. 100.  “Prop 100 is not the long term solution that we need, but we cannot balance the budget on the backs of our children.”  

In contrast to the current approach taken at the Capitol, Goddard has promised an administration that will put aside political labels, and bring together leaders of all parties in order to find solutions to Arizona’s budget problems. 

Sales Tax Increase? Easy Answer

Alberta H. Charney, in the Eller College of Management Spring economic report, wrote an  article, “What Will It Cost If Voters Reject the One-Cent Sales Tax Hike?” The article is a textbook piece propaganda.

 Charney stated that passing the sales tax will raise about $1 billion annually (taking it from the private sector) But, she goes on to state, the government spends those dollars, pumping money back into the economy: “That spending by the public sector adds to aggregate demand just as private sector spending does.” 

My analysis: taking money from the private sector to pass through government to prime the pump of the private sector is not only inefficient but also ineffective:  government has to spend part of that tax money on its own operation. For example, the government tax removes $1 billion from the private sector but returns, for example, only $800 million to the private sector. In effect, government is always less efficient because it has to use part of the tax revenue to tax, collect and spend.

 Then she works her way through an analysis that the cost of the sales tax increase will cost Arizona only 7,400 jobs. Failing to approve the sales tax increase will cost Arizona 20,500 jobs. What she doesn’t say is the 7,400 jobs are in the private sector; the 20,500 jobs are in the public sector. Ergo, approving the sales tax increase will save over 13,000 jobs.

 As I read it, saying no to a sales tax increase reduces the size of government not the private sector. Saying yes to the sales tax increase reduces the size of the private sector by eliminating 7,400 private sector jobs, saves 13,000 plus public sector jobs, does not reduce the size of government and increases taxes by $1 billion during a recession.

 I know how I’m voting.


Does Kyl, McCain coming out against sales tax hike doom Prop. 100, Brewer’s primary hopes?


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, March 8, 2010


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) released the following joint statement regarding Proposition 100:

“We appreciate the hard work that the Governor and the Legislature have done to try to solve the state’s fiscal problems, and though we hadn’t planned to comment on what is rightly a state issue – the proposed increase in the state’s sales tax – we’ve been asked by various news media for our views.

“We support the right of Arizonans to decide the issue of a short-term sales tax increase on the local level.  However, as Arizonans and Americans across our nation continue to face perilous economic times, we fundamentally oppose increasing taxes on small businesses and working families.

“We recognize the difficult fiscal situation Arizona finds itself in and we appreciate the tireless dedication by our state’s elected officials to solve the budget problems.”


Please post the McCain vs. Hayworth comments on the prior post… here, let’s discuss what the Sonoran Alliance‘s readership thinks of the prospects for passage of Proposition 100… and, for that matter, the prospects for Jan Brewer’s campaign to capture the GOP nomination for governor if the sales tax increase fails on May 18th?   — MBW    

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