Every once in a while, there’s talk about overhauling Arizona’s increasingly outdated tax system by, say, decreasing the overall sales-tax rate but extending the tax to cover services and goods that are now free of taxes. (The conversation never goes beyond talk, because any changes would require a two-thirds vote of the GOP-dominated Legislature, so reform remains an academic exercise.)
One of the ideas that comes up occasionally is a real-estate transfer tax that would essentially be a sales tax on the purchase of property–homes, commercial properties and vacant land. Although the talk never goes anywhere, Arizona’s real estate agents have decided that they’re tired of even hearing about the threat of a new tax, so they’ve put Prop 100 on the ballot to block it from ever coming to pass.
We’re not eager to see a 5 percent tax put on a home purchase–we fear that home ownership will be out of reach of too many people for a long time to come–but we’re still against this one because a small tax, if it were implemented properly, could help diversify the state’s tax base. Plus, in general, we don’t like special interests junking up the state Constitution. Vote no.
Here’s a prop that purports to protect your freedom to choose your own doctor, blah blah blah. That’s a smokescreen. The real aim of the proposition: to make it more difficult for the state to ever implement any kind of universal health care. With the private health-care system quickly degenerating into a disaster for anyone who actually gets sick and needs help, we don’t think this is a step in the right direction. This initiative would protect nothing while prohibiting many potentially good things. Vote no.
NO on Proposition 102: Marriage
We remain mystified by the argument that amending the Arizona Constitution to limit marriage to being between one man and one woman will “protect” marriage. If marriage is indeed under assault, the problems stem from hetero couples who can’t work things out, not from gays and lesbians who want to make lifetime commitments to one another so they can have their own families. This is bigotry, pure and simple. Vote no.
Hell No on Proposition 105: Majority Rules
This is the absolute worst proposition on the November ballot. Its very name is a bald-faced lie; it has far more to do with minority rule than majority rule.
Prop 105 would require any proposition that includes a tax increase to pass with a majority of all registered voters–not just the voters who happen to cast a vote in the election. In other words, everyone who stays home–or who remains on voter rolls after dying or moving elsewhere–gets counted as a “no” vote.
We’ve seen a lot of cynical and deceptive campaigns, but never have we seen a campaign so full of bullshit. The people behind this are foul greedheads who care for nothing besides the almighty dollar. And because they know that a majority of voters are sometimes willing to raise their taxes when they have a chance to pay for improvements in education or health care, they want to change the rules so a minority can enforce its will on the majority.
Don’t be fooled by these assclowns.
NO on Proposition 200: Payday Loan Reform Act!
We can buy, almost, the payday-loan industry’s argument that they fill a niche that banks don’t by offering small loans that help folks who are living paycheck to paycheck cover unexpected expenses, such as car repairs. That said, we’re also well aware that payday loans trap too many people in a disastrous cycle of debt. And this particular reform comes from the payday industry itself, which means they’re trying to write their own regulations before the law allowing them to exist expires. Call us crazy, but that seems like a really lousy way to make policy.
If payday lenders are going to be regulated, it should be by the state Legislature, not by the payday-loan industry itself. Vote no.
NO on Proposition 201: Homeowners’ Bill of Rights
Given that a home is the biggest investment that most people will ever make, new houses should be free of problems–and there are some bad actors out there in the homebuilding crowd that construct some lousy homes. But here’s the problem: This initiative may just go too far in the other direction, and it would lock in new requirements that can’t be adjusted by the Legislature, because lawmakers can’t toy with voter-passed initiatives. While we like the idea behind this, we have to recommend against it.
YES on Prop 202: Stop Illegal Hiring
Arizona’s lawmakers like to boast that Arizona has the toughest employer-sanctions law in the country. We’re not so sure that’s a good thing. When you threaten to shut down businesses based on decisions made by human-resource managers who are using an unreliable E-Verify system, you’re not just threatening the guys at the top: You’re threatening the livelihood of all the workers who are going to end up out of work when their company gets shut down.
While we’re hesitant to support initiatives like this because the Legislature can’t make adjustments, Stop Illegal Hiring (yes, the name is deceptive) gives businesses a less-draconian set of laws while still punishing bad actors–a necessary adjustment to the current employer-sanctions law that would never get passed in the right-wing-dominated Legislature. Vote yes.
NO on Prop 300: State Legislators Salaries
The state’s economic picture is such a mess that even some lawmakers are saying they don’t deserve a raise. We have to agree; this is not the time to boost their pay from $24,000 to $30,000 a year. Maybe next time … depending on what they do to us between now and then. Vote no.
YES on Proposition 401: South Tucson Dog Protection Initiative
Let’s call a spade a spade: While some supporters of this initiative say that they’re not trying to put the Tucson Greyhound Park out of business, the vast majority of Proposition 400’s proponents would be giddy with joy if the track closed its doors for good.
Prop 400 is fairly simple: In South Tucson, it would ban the practice of feeding dogs uncooked meat that comes from animals that were diseased, dead or dying before going to slaughter; it would ban the practice of shooting up dogs with anabolic steroids; and it would make it illegal to keep any dog in a cage smaller than 35 inches high, 45 inches long and 35 inches wide for longer than 18 hours in any 24-hour period.
Prop 400 may not be perfect–we’ve heard rumors that at least one veterinarian would have to rebuild a caging area if it passes–but its aims are modest, reasonable and humane. Plus, given TGP’s recent checkered history–which includes handing over more than 140 dogs for “adoption” to a handler who cannot account for their whereabouts; suing a local anti-TGP activist (a Weekly contributor who has nothing to do with our endorsements process) in a failed intimidation attempt; and even screwing over a family who had a benefit at TGP–we have little sympathy for the track.
We encourage South Tucsonans to vote yes on Prop 400.
YES on Proposition 403: Tucson Unified School District Budget Override
For good reason, Tucsonans have collectively moaned and groaned about the state of the Tucson Unified School District–but now that former TUSD Superintendent Roger Pfeuffer is gone, and new school-board members are entering the picture, it’s time for the community to shut up and step up, and give the new leadership a chance. Elizabeth Celania-Fagen, the new superintendent, has entered the fray with sleeves rolled up and a fresh perspective.
The override of the district’s $578 million budget will provide TUSD with $28 million a year for five years, and a smaller amount for two more years. The Investing in Our Kids Committee, which supports Proposition 403, claims the owner of a home in Pima County valued at $177,800 would pay about $128 a year in support of the override.
Arizona ranks 49th in education spending, thanks to our Republican legislators who’d rather argue about gay marriage and illegal immigration than do the right thing for the children of Arizona. Proposition 403 supporters say that because legislators have put us in this position, we need to help ourselves through the override. They’re correct. Vote yes.
Filed under: Ballot Props | Tagged: Arizona propositions 2008, Ballot Props, Endorsements, Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act, Homeowners' Bill of Rights, Majority Rules, Payday Loan Reform Act, Protect Our Homes, Stop Illegal Hiring |