Category Archives: Arizona

Phoenix Prop 101: ‘Home Rule’ City Expenditure Limitation Override

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.

Phoenix Prop 100: Ratify the City’s General Plan

Proposition 100 would ratify the city’s updated General Plan, which identifies the city plan’s focus.

Arizona law requires the city to maintain a General Plan for land use and to submit it to voters for ratification.  The update has been in the works since 2012, and was adopted by the City Council in an 8-1 vote on 4 March 2015. Continue reading Phoenix Prop 100: Ratify the City’s General Plan

Phoenix Election 2015

Phoenix residents head to the polls Tuesday, 25 August for a city election.  The mayor’s office and certain council districts are up for a vote, as well as several ballot proposition.

I’ll be blogging about each of the propositions over the next few days.  Post in this series will be tagged “Phoenix ballot 2015”.  As always, please share your thoughts in the comments.

With every round of ballot propositions, I refer you to my previous general post about Ballot Numbering and Other Good Things to Remember; however, please note that this election is for the City of Phoenix only, so the normal numbering conventions do not apply—all propositions will be numbered in the 100s and are purely local.  Note also that your regular polling place for statewide elections may not be a voting center for city-only elections: see phoenix.gov/elections for more information and voting center locations.

We like to hold our city elections in off-years and separately from the state-run elections because we like spending extra money unnecessarily and want a low turnout to favour organised special interests.

Stay tuned for specifics on the ballot measure in the next post!

Stanton re-election opposed by city workers over pensions

AFSCME (the employee union for most non-LE/Fire city workers) is seeking to recruit a challenger to Phoenix mayor Democrat Greg Stanton in the August primary (via Arizona Republic). This despite Stanton’s vocal opposition to last year’s Prop. 487, which would have closed the pension plan to new entrants.

Stanton’s opposition to 487 included placing misleading language on the ballot which nearly led to a lawsuit and ultimately led to the measure’s failure.  But apparently that’s not enough for AFSCME.

They just are not going to rest until they run their own pension system in the ground—unfortunately that requires the whole city to go along for the hand-basket ride with them.

AZ Prop 122: Rejecting Unconstitutional Federal Actions

Proposition 122 would amend the Arizona Constitution and purports to grant Arizona authority to reject federal laws that are determined to be unconstitutional by the Legislature (or by initiative).

Supporters claim it would give the state new tools to force the federal government to shoulder the cost of its own unfunded mandates, but the state already has sovereign authority to pass laws, and where conflicts arise it is already within the Attorney General’s purview to take the state’s case to federal court on 10th Amendment or other grounds.

Nevertheless, the Yes on 122 campaign offers it up as a panacea for issues ranging from CPS/DCS accountability, to ObamaCare-related health plan cancellations, to Tombstone’s water line reconstruction dispute with USFS; but it’s unclear how this proposition would improve Arizona’s ability to respond to any of those issues.

This measure is similar to 2012’s Prop 120 and another that didn’t make the ballot.

Tinkering with the Constitution is not to be taken lightly, and without a compelling reason to do so, I suggest you vote NO on 122.