Prop 204 is a grab bag of earmarks and pork projects

By Graydon Holt

It is time to tell the truth and label Proposition 204 the greatest earmark-spending scheme in the history of the state.

We all know that earmarks are end runs around the taxpayers.

Earmark professionals populate legislatures from coast to coast and have long made a comfortable home in the United States Congress. They stash money for their pals and pet projects in huge pieces of legislation knowing that hardly anyone will notice.

After years of abuse, the earmark pros were so fully exposed and embarrassed in Washington; they beat a retreat and pulled back. The full light of day ended the process, at least for now.

Proposition 204 is a shameless use of the earmark technique.

It takes about $1 billion a year in sales tax money and spreads it around to the education bureaucracy and special interests that have nothing to do with education. High on the list is the road construction industry that helped pay for the Proposition 204 campaign.

To lock it down, the proposition says the legislature would have no say in how the education money is spent. So much for the citizens who pay the sales tax. Their elected representatives would be shut out.

This is an earmark to beat all earmarks. Voters won’t fall for it. They will vote no on Proposition 204 on Election Day.

Read other posts by Graydon Holt at Western Free Press

Prop 204 campaign hiding behind the children

By Graydon Holt

The most offensive thing about Proposition 204 is the cynical ploy to hide behind young children to feather the nest of special interests. Never underestimate the gall of people who want to get their hands on the taxpayers’ money.

The know-it-alls who came up with Proposition 204 are pulling the oldest trick in the book. Trick the voters. Spin a myth that cruel legislators are shortchanging schools, devise a scheme to grab a cool $1 billion a year that the state legislature can’t touch, spread the money around to your friends in the education bureaucracy, and then pretend that all the money will help students and teachers.

Truth be told, the Proposition 204 proponents are control freaks. They don’t like the idea that elected representatives in the legislature spend our sales tax money. Talk about standing our democratic system on its head. What they really don’t like are the legislators the people select.

They should run their own candidates if they don’t like the ones currently in office. That’s how the system works. Get in the game.

Most of all, stop running ads filled with students and scenes of schools. You are using the children. You really want to control the money and decide who gets it – your cronies and pet projects.

Voters are too smart to fall for this scheme. They will reject Proposition 204 on November 6.

Read other posts by Graydon Holt at Western Free Press

What YOU can do to stop the Prop 204 tax hike!

AFP Arizona

New poll shows the Prop 204 tax hike is losing!

AFP-Arizona activists can help defeat it!

Dear Arizona Taxpayer,

With barely two weeks left until Election Day, we must keep running until we cross the finish line.

Using Arizona’s children as a shield for their special-interest boondoggles, proponents of Proposition 204 want to take a billion dollars a year from Arizona families — at a time when many families are still struggling and breadwinners are out of work.

Prop 204 boosters have told voters that the tax is necessary to aid an underfunded education system, even though overall education spending in Arizona has increased over 60 percent during the past decade.

According to a new report by the Goldwater Institute, per-pupil spending in Arizona has increased by 9 percent in real terms over the past decade — even after recent budget cuts!  And the Arizona education system now puts a smaller proportion of available funds into the classroom than it did before the massive Prop 301 education tax was passed in 2000.

The good news is that the spending lobby’s tactics may be failing.  recent poll suggests that a majority of Arizonans now understands that a massive tax increase is not the right move for our state’s fragile economy. Throwing more money at the education bureaucracy isn’t the right path forward for our education system.  Our children and our classroom teachers need real reform.

What can YOU do to make sure that Prop 204 is defeated?

Here are some of the many ways you can get involved:

·        You can host a NO on Prop 204 speaker at your civic group.

·        You can drop off literature at the homes of voters in your precinct.

·        You can place a NO on Prop 204 yard sign on your front lawn

·       You can distribute NO on Prop 204 signs to your neighbors.

·        You can do what I did, and use glass paint to write “NO on Prop 204! Tax hikes will not fix our schools!” on the back window of your car…

AFP-Arizona hopes you will continue to stand with us in the fight to defeat Proposition 204! To get more involved in this effort, please contact Bill Fathauer at 480-332-0477 or and learn more at

For Liberty, Tom

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity

Congressman Ben Quayle Opposes Proposition 204

Warns Taxpayers of the Negative Impact a Permanent Sales Tax Increase Will Have on Arizona’s Economic Development

PHOENIX —Today, Arizona Congressman Ben Quayle joined State Treasurer Doug Ducey in opposition to Proposition 204. The unintended consequences of Prop 204 has the list of community and business leaders rallying against the largest permanent sales tax increase in Arizona’s history growing by the day.

“This tax increase will not only hurt all hard working Arizonans, it will also make Arizona a less attractive place to do business,” said Congressman Quayle. “We have the ability to stop a permanent sales tax increase that will force current and future generations to pay a $1 billion annual tax. Voting ‘NO’ on Proposition 204 will stop this special interest tax increase that has no accountability and offers no real reform for our education system.”

Congressman Quayle has spent his tenure in Washington fighting for smart tax policies that reward, rather than punish, Americans. Prop 204’s permanent tax increase on Arizona families sends the message that not only that Arizona is closed for business, but also that the state does not care about the families that continue to struggle during this economic recovery.

“Congressman Quayle has fought tirelessly against policies that burden families,” said Doug Ducey, Chairman of the No New Taxes, No on 204 committee. “Raising sales taxes 18 percent on every purchase will not help families, not attract new business to our state, and not help promote existing business growth throughout Arizona.”

To learn more about Proposition 204, please visit


Proposition 204 Could Cost Arizona’s Private Sector 15,000 New Jobs

By Stephen Slivinski, Goldwater Institute

The supporters of making the temporary 1-cent sales tax increase permanent – which is what the passage of Proposition 204 would do – claim that what they are proposing isn’t a tax hike, it’s simply an extension of an existing tax.

The permanency of Proposition 204 would only be so innocuous if you assumed that nobody changed their behavior on the expectation that the tax would go down. But businesses have to make decisions today based on assumptions about the future. If they believed that the sales tax rate would go down in 2013, as current law states, we can assume they would have made long-term business plans and hiring decisions based on that.

Economic models make predictions about future growth based on these sorts of assumptions, too. Ample empirical evidence already supports the conclusion that rising tax burdens can shrink employment growth. As such, an unexpected tax increase – which is the best way to describe Proposition 204’s halting of an expected tax cut – should be expected to dampen job growth.

The State Tax Analysis Modeling Program developed for the Goldwater Institute by economists at the Beacon Hill Institute based at Suffolk University in Massachusetts, integrates just those sorts of assumptions. The model is based on historical data on how tax burdens have changed economic patterns in Arizona. When you take into account the unexpected $1 billion tax load that would exist as a result of Proposition 204, you discover that overall private employment growth could be lower by at least 15,000 jobs each year than it otherwise would be as a result of the higher and newly-permanent sales tax rate.

There will be job growth as a result of Prop 204, but likely only at the construction firms that receive government contracts as a result of the tax hike and the education bureaucracy. The state would be better off with 15,000 jobs created across all parts of the economy than more jobs created that are dependent on the growth of government.

Stephen Slivinski is a senior economist with the Goldwater Institute.

Learn More:

Goldwater Institute: Proposition 204 – Not as Advertised

Goldwater Institute: The Construction Industry Actually is “Doing Just Fine”

Goldwater Institute: Arizona’s Secret Growth Industry

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…

Gilbert Mayor John Lewis Supports Local Override; Opposes Prop 204

No on 204

PHOENIX — Today Gilbert Mayor John Lewis joined a growing number of local leaders from across the state opposing the permanent $1 billion annual tax increase created by Prop 204.

“As Mayor of Gilbert and an advocate for Gilbert Education, I am voting ‘YES’ on our local override, which supports our families and businesses,” said Mayor Lewis. “The override continues the same funding level that our School District has been operating for ten years without an increase. However, Proposition 204 permanently raises taxes and is structured poorly, which does not help our families and businesses. I am voting ‘NO’ on 204.”

The Arizona Republic, The Arizona League of Cities and Towns, 11 Chambers of Commerce, 14 professional business associations, and 44 Mayors and local City Councilmembers have all come out in opposition to Prop 204. To see a complete list, click here.

“I greatly appreciate the leadership Mayor Lewis has brought to the East Valley,” added Doug Ducey, the Chairman for No New Taxes, No on 204. “Prop 204 includes hundreds of millions of dollars in special interest earmarks and cuts out tax revenue sharing with local municipalities. Arizona deserves real education reforms that Prop 204 just won’t deliver.”

To learn more about Proposition 204, please visit


ICYMI: ATRA’s Kevin McCarthy – Why You Should Vote NO on Propostion 204

Kevin McCarthy, President of the Arizona Tax Research Association, explains why he and his organization is opposed to Arizona Proposition 204.

For more information, please visit

Goldwater Institute positions on Arizona’s 2012 Ballot Initiatives

With so many initiatives on the ballot this year, it can be hard to keep them all straight.  Here is a helpful guide you can use when casting your ballot.

Prop 114 – Goldwater Institute has No Position

Prop 114 would amend the state constitution to prevent crime victims from being subject to a legal claim for damages for causing death or injury to a person who is harmed when engaging in, attempting to engage in, or fleeing after having engaged in a felony offense.

Prop 115 – Goldwater Institute has No Position

Prop 115 makes various changes to the way judges are selected. Currently, potential judges are selected by a State Bar committee and then a short list is sent to the Governor from which to choose. This law would have the State Bar give one recommendation to the Governor, and the Governor’s office would produce the rest of the potential names themselves. This change will give the Governor more power to select judges and takes away power from the State Bar. It would also increase the term of office for Supreme Court justices and Appellate and superior court judges to eight years. The judicial retirement age is also increased from 70 to 75.

Prop 116 – Yes

Prop 116 would amend the Arizona Constitution by increasing the value of personal property used in agriculture, trade and business which is exempt from the personal property tax. The threshold of taxation would be raised from $70,000 to $2.4 million, exempting almost all small businesses from the personal property tax. This will be good for economic growth and for the business climate in Arizona.

Prop 117 – Yes

Prop 117 would limit the growth of the primary taxable value of real property – like houses and land — to no greater than 5 percent each year. Prop 117 would simplify the property tax system and more strictly limit property taxes. This proposal will also insulate taxpayers from dramatic increases in their tax bills that result from major fluctuations in the real estate market.

Prop 118 – Goldwater Institute has No Position

Prop 118 amends the state Constitution to change the formula used to calculate the amount of the annual distribution from the permanent state land fund to its beneficiaries for a nine-year period beginning fiscal 2012-13. The new formula distributes 2.5 percent of the average monthly market values of the fund for the immediately preceding five calendar years. The largest beneficiaries of revenues from this fund are elementary, middle, and high schools in Arizona.

Prop 119 – Goldwater Institute has No Position

Prop 119 would allow exchanges of state trust land when the exchange is related to either protecting military installations or managing lands so they can be leased or sold.

Prop 120 – Yes

Prop 120 would amend the state constitution with language asserting state sovereignty and authority to manage the land and natural resources of the state of Arizona.

Prop 121 – No

Prop 121 seeks to eliminate party primaries and instead send the top two vote-getters in a primary to the general election, regardless of party. The Institute opposes Prop 121 because it will limit voter’s choices in the general election. To learn more about Prop 121, click on the links below:

Prop 204 – No

Prop 204 would increase the state sales tax to fund education. But there is no guarantee in the Proposition that the money raised will go to the classroom. In fact, instead of a “dedicated” revenue source for education, not even 75 percent of the money raised will be spent on public schools, while a variety of special interest groups will benefit from the rest. This proposition will send more money to schools without a focus on improvement. The Goldwater Institute opposes Prop 204. To learn more, click on the links below:

No on Arizona Proposition 204 Releases New Ad – “15 Pages”

Today, The No New Taxes, No on 204 campaign released a new ad featuring Arizona State Treasurer Doug Ducey. In the ad, Ducey explains that the 15-page ballot measure will raise our taxes $1 BILLION PERMANENTLY on an annual basis to fund a bigger Arizona bureaucracy!

This gargantuan tax increase will also give Arizona the SECOND LARGEST SALES TAX in the country!

This election, let’s stop the big union education establishment from taking more of our tax dollars to feed their bureaucracy! Vote NO on Proposition 204 and tell the education unions enough is enough!

Vote NO on 204!

Vote No on 204

Vote NO on 204!