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 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!