By Ron Williams, Editor, The Mule News
The Arizona Supreme Court’s recent ruling to block Prop 307 from the 2022 ballot is another – and more lethal – attack on our Democracy. This time, it is from a Ducey-packed judicial branch that simultaneously usurped: our democratic legislative process by imposing an income tax – not voted on by the AZ Legislature – AND the citizen referendum initiative guaranteed in the Arizona Constitution. Democracy in AZ is on life support and extremists of the Trump fringe cult are building momentum to pull the plug.
This, on top of the same extremists in Arizona who sought to: decertify the 2020 Presidential election with false, illegal electors; cast doubts on Arizona elections with a sham audit; pass over 100 voter suppression bills; and attack AZ school boards to deconstruct public education in favor of private profiteers.
Fighting against the extremists, Save Our Schools Arizona responded to the ruling. “The stacked Arizona Supreme Court made a devastating decision to toss citizen’s referendum Proposition 307 from the 2022 ballot. This order means that Arizona voters will no longer have the opportunity to reject Ducey’s massive tax cuts for the elite. These cuts will now strip upwards of $1 billion in critically needed funding from AZ schools and students each year.
“Make no mistake – this ruling by the Ducey-stacked Court twists the words of the state constitution to suite political aims. It represents yet another attempt to favor the wealthy and corporate interests while robbing Arizona kids and families. When judicial appointees can summarily overrule the constitutionality-protected will of the people on such a critical decision, our state no longer represents a democracy.”
“With an extremist legislature, an executive branch taking its orders from special interests, and a co-opted judicial branch, Arizona voters face serious decisions this November. We will work tirelessly to ensure that voters elect pro-public education candidates up and down the ballot, and reject narrowly-focused political interests that scheme to enrich themselves at the expense of schools, students and families.”
Even conservative columnist Robert Robb, in the Arizona Republic on Sunday, April 23, 2022, blanches at “this sorry saga of democratic usurpation,” by the Arizona Supreme Court in setting income tax rates.
“What the Arizona Supreme Court has wrought regarding the state’s income tax should be inconceivable in a democratic polity.” Robb wrote and went on to say, “As a result of the court’s actions, the individual income tax rates now in effect were not approved in any democratic process. Not by the voters. Not by the members of the Legislature.”
Highlighting the emergency further, the Children’s Action Alliance and The Arizona Center for Economic Progress in a joint statement on the ruling said “(This) Supreme Court decision makes one thing crystal clear: Arizona’s highest court is stripping the rights of everyday Arizonans, in an attempt to protect the rich.
“The ballot was Arizonan’s last line of defense from the Ducey-packed Supreme Court – today that defense has fallen. Despite the explicit and strong language of the Arizona Constitution granting the people a co-equal right to legislate, they have been shut out.”
With Democracy on life support, it is up to us for an intervention – before it is too late. In November, we can vote “like democracy depends on us.” Because it does. But only if we truly understand how close we are to losing it.