Faced with a corrupt State Legislature and Supreme Court, Arizona voters will have the chance to fight back on 8 public initiatives.
Teachers, elected representatives, and a transportation official explained the merits of the ballot initiatives at the recent
Tanque Verde Valley Democratic Club meeting.
Arrayed against voters are dark money interests and self-dealing corporations that are already spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to sabotage ballot initiatives to fund public schools, renewable energy, and clean elections.
“I said that this Legislature is owned by dirty money on the state House floor, and I was gaveled down,” says state Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley. “We still have corruption in the state government.”
Echoing these remarks, Luci Messing, the chair of the Tanque Verde Democrats, says, “We have a very corrupt majority in the Legislature who are not looking out for us. We need to take them out. That’s why it’s so important we vote for people who are pro-education, pro-family and will do best for Arizona and not for their pockets or personal gains. It’s definitely one of those issues where we can make a difference. The power is in our hands.”
Vote YES on Prop. 127: Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona
By voting YES on Proposition 127, voters can finally take advantage of the state’s almost unlimited solar and wind potential by gradually increasing the amount of our energy that comes from renewable sources to 50% by 2030.
“The investment we are talking about is in existing technology that is less expensive than coal or natural gas, and which serves us the customers, and not the shareholders at Tucson Electric Power,” said Tom Chabin, a former Democratic member of the state House from 2007 to 2012.
Meanwhile, TEP is now investing in antique technology, installing a new plant with natural gas power and pistons — essentially a steam engine. If voters approve Prop. 207, TEP will instead use solar power with electric batteries that will cut its mammoth consumption of water. “Under Prop. 207 they’ll make an investment that’s contemporary and will reduce our rates,” Chabin says. Currently, the state draws only 6% of its power from solar energy.
TEP and the Arizona Public Service Electric Company are running ads and websites designed to frighten voters by falsely saying that Prop. 127 will cause electric rates to go up. Messing said, “400,000 citizens signed the petitions for the initiative. Who do you trust? Them or the power companies?”
Vote NO on Prop. 306: Sabotaging Citizens’ Clean elections
By voting NO on Prop. 306 voters are protecting the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, which is the state’s nonpartisan elections watchdog. Created in 1998 by voters, the Commission audits candidate financial reports.
For example, in 2017 the Commission found that a state candidate who, instead of creating a separate bank account, put $16,000 in contributions into his personal bank account and then somehow lost all his receipts. “Was he dumb or corrupt?'” Hannley asks.
Prop. 306 would let a board of lobbyists handpicked by Governor Ducey defang this watchdog, and stop Clean Elections from bringing more transparency and accountability to Arizona elections.
Perniciously, Prop. 306 would forbid clean elections candidates from buying anything from their own party. “Now, Clean Elections candidates can buy access to the Voter Activation Network (VAN) database. But the proposition means that Clean Elections candidates will not be viable. We’ll be left to our own devices. I would lose all my contacts in the VAN, and I would not be able to cut turfs (maps and address lists of voters). It really hampers clean elections candidates.”
Vote NO on Prop 305: School vouchers
“School vouchers send more money per pupil to private and religious schools than the state sends to the public schools,” says Marie Kidder of Save Our Schools. “It’s wrong and it’s immoral if we have a country that separates church and state. It boggles my mind.”
“By voting NO on Prop. 305, you are voting to stop the expansion of school vouchers (“empowerment scholarship accounts”). It’s part of an effort in the state to privatize our schools and take money away from public education. We need to stop this and bring back Arizona schools to funding level we’d like to see,” Kidder says.
Last summer Save our Schools, a coalition of parents and public-education advocates, gathered 100,000 signatures to put school vouchers on the ballot. “Now we need 900,000 ‘no’ votes,” she says. Meanwhile, anti-public-school operatives are using the color red in their efforts, in a pathetic attempt to co-opt the color of the RedForEd teacher’s movement.
Vote NO on Prop. 126 to exempt services from taxation
The Arizona Association of Realtors ginned up this measure to amend the state constitution to ban sales taxes on services. No one is proposing such a tax and the proposition will damage the state economy for years to come. This is a special interest initiative, not a true citizen’s initiative. And it is yet another example of an anti-tax ballot measure of the type that has gotten Arizona into the revenue deficit problem we have today.
By voting NO on Prop. 126, “We are saying don’t we want a constitutional amendment that prevents us ever from ever levying a sales tax on services,” says Brian Bickel, a Pima County Election Integrity Commissioner. “It doesn’t give anybody any authority. Prop. 126 is fear mongering.”
“It’s the ‘Stealth Amendment.’ It’s a solution in search of a problem. We do not tax services,” Bickel said. “There is nothing to repeal. They’re trying to prevent that you could ever implement on sales tax on services. The country has changed from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. As we become a more service-oriented country, this could become very problematic.”
Vote YES on Prop. 407 for Tucson Parks + Connections
Voting YES on Prop. 407 authorizes the Tucson Parks + Connections Bond issue to devote $225 million for revamping 100 of Tucson’s parks and creating new connections between them over the next nine years. It will not increase taxes because new bonds will be issued as older bonds are retired.
“This will be transformational,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “We will create new playgrounds, splash pads, shade structures, renovated playgrounds, lights in sports fields, 32 new pickleball courts, resurfacing tennis courts, fixing all the pools and opening the closed pools. This will create 130 miles of protected pedestrian and walking paths.”
- The Arroyo Chico Greenway asphalt path from Reid Park to downtown and 4th Avenue will use $4.4 million to connect 13 neighborhoods, 6 parks, 5 schools.
- The $1.8 million Blacklidge Dr. Bicycle Blvd. project will connect McCormick Park at Columbus and Ft.Lowell with Oracle Road. Enhanced street crossings, wayfinding signage, and landscaping will improve the walking and biking environment. It will connect 5 parks and 4 schools.
- Te $13.9 million Udall Park project at Tanque Verde and Sabino Canyon Roads will get new sports fields, courts, and lighting, playgrounds, improvements to the park center and a new splash pad for the pool.
Rothschild expects “No New Taxes” signs to appear, even though the bonds do not create new taxes.
Vote YES on Prop. 463 to fix Pima County Roads
By voting YES on Prop. 463 voters will authorize the sale of $430 million in general obligation bonds to fund the reconstruction, preservation, and repair of existing paved public roads across the region. It will not increase taxes because new bonds will be issued as older bonds are retired.
The project will fully repair all 1,891 miles of paved county roadways over 10 years, especially in Marana, Oro Valley, Sahuarita, South Tucson, Tucson, and unincorporated Pima County. Approximately 70 percent of the road miles are in poor or failed condition, according to Yves Khawan, the Deputy Director of the Pima County Department of Transportation.
The roads that are in the worst condition will be repaired first. “The project will repair and improve streets, potholes, signals, lighting, landscaping and storm response,” Khawan says.
Vote YES on Prop. 125 adjusting the public retirement systems
“The retirement system for public safety employees was going bankrupt. It was tweaked with the approval of the unions. I was assured it was a collaboration with the parties involved,” says Messing, who is a union member who is Chair of the Tanque Verde Valley Democratic Club.
The Trustees of Arizona’s Public Safety Personnel Retirement System – responsible for overseeing the retirement fund serving more than 59,000 state employees, including current and retired corrections officers, police officers, firefighters, and elected officials – unanimously asks voters to support Proposition 125.
A YES vote on this carefully crafted bipartisan pension reform measure will help save Arizona taxpayers an estimated $275 million over the next several decades. Proposition 125 also will shore up the state’s underfunded Elected Officials’ Retirement Plan and the Corrections Officer Retirement Plan.
Vote NO on Prop. 408 to force Tucson to hold even-year elections
Proposition 408 would undermine Tucson’s home rule authority by forcing the city to hold elections in even-numbered years. Tucson now holds primaries and general elections for mayor and city council in odd-numbered years. Essentially, this proposition is a power grab by the Republican infested legislature.