Category Archives: Politics & Law

Arizona Ballot Measures 2016

When Arizona voters head to the polls for the general election on November 8th, we will also be asked to decide several citizens’ initiative ballot measures.  We’ll talk more about those measures individually later—posts in the series will be tagged AZ ballot measures 2016.

With every round of ballot propositions or initiatives, I refer you to some important general information about the voting process.  Please see my previous post about Ballot Numbering and Other Good Things to Remember.

The deadline to register to vote is October 10.  Early voting by mail begins October 12, and mailed ballots must be received by the county recorder no later than Election Day.

Phoenix Prop 104: MovePHX Transit Plan & Tax Increase

Proposition 104, AKA MovePHX, funds a 35-year transit plan by increasing the sales tax for transit from 0.40% to 0.70%, and continuing it beyond its originally scheduled expiration in 2020.  The city estimates the tax will bring in around $17b in additional revenue over its lifetime, and with more funding from other sources the city plans to spend something approaching $32b on transit improvements.  Among the proposals: more light rail, more frequent bus service and new routes, more bike friendliness, and street & sidewalk improvements.

Let me just say, I would love—LOVE—to be able to get rid of my car.  Vehicles are a huge expense, second only to housing in most budgets.  Car payments, maintenance, fuel, insurance, repairs, registration—it’s a money pit.  I would support a reasonable, realistic plan for public transportation in Phoenix, but I have difficulty believing that this is it.  Prop 104 is a cornucopia of spending seasoned with broken promises, questionable utility, and a distinct lack of accountability. Continue reading Phoenix Prop 104: MovePHX Transit Plan & Tax Increase

Phoenix Prop 103: Pension Plan Change—The Good, The meh, and the Ugly

Proposition 103 amends the City Charter to adjust the pension plan for city employees.

This is only the most recent of several ballot measures attempting to deal with Phoenix’s ballooning pension expenses.  My original post on last year’s (failed) Prop 487 included an explanation of the challenges facing Phoenix’s pension system, which I’ll link you to rather than repeating it at length here.  Suffice it to say, the pension plan still needs work.

Prop 103 stops far, far short of the serious reform that Prop 487, which I supported, offered.  Whereas 487 would have replaced the pension plan with a 401(k)-like plan for new hires, Prop 103 leaves the pension system largely intact with some minor tweaks, which I will characterise as the good, the meh, and the ugly: Continue reading Phoenix Prop 103: Pension Plan Change—The Good, The meh, and the Ugly

Phoenix Prop 102: Modernise Method of Payment Options

Proposition 102 amends the City Charter to allow the city to issue payments via modern methods, such as electronic payments.

Currently, the City Charter permits payments only via warrant (somewhat like a paper check), which requires printing and postage.

As I’ve said before, charters and constitutions should not micro-manage—officials should have the flexibility to choose more efficient payment methods.  Allowing electronic payments is estimated to save the city about $250K annually.

Prop 102 removes an antiquated and inflexible limitation on the city’s method of making payments, and should be supported.  I plan to vote YES.  There may be more opposing votes than might otherwise be expected due to the somewhat off-putting language of the brief ballot description, but I still expect this measure to pass easily.