Proposition 101 would set Phoenix’s expenditure limit to the amount of the Council-adopted budget.
The Arizona Constitution caps the spending of municipal governments unless local voters periodically approve their own limitation. The state-imposed cap uses the fiscal year ending 1980 as a baseline, and is adjusted only for cost-of-living and population growth. Phoenix has previously operated under a local override, and the expected 2016–17 local budget exceeds the state’s limitation by about $928M.
While the state limitation provides some protection against a fiscally out of control municipality, in general it is appropriate for the local taxing and spending authority to remain as close to the local voters’ representatives as possible.
Plenty of opportunity for debate and comment exists within the local budgeting process, and there is no reason not to entrust the City Council with home rule spending authority. I plan to vote YES on Prop 101, and expect it to pass with little opposition.