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
Proposition 480 asks for approval to issue up to $1.6 billion in debt including interest to fund capital expenditures for the public hospital system in Maricopa county, with debt service to be paid by a new property tax increase. Continue reading Maricopa County Prop 480: County Hospital Bond Approval
Proposition 117 would amend the State Constitution to limit the amount by which the assessed value of real property can be increased from one year to the next. It was proposed by the Legislature to replace the current valuation method, which uses two values—one uncapped and one capped at a higher percentage than the new proposal. Specifically, this proposal would cap increases in property valuation at 5% annually. Continue reading AZ Prop 117: Limiting Property Valuation Assessments
I’m generally a Jim DeMint junkie, but his comments in opposition to the “Marketplace Fairness Act” are off the mark.
The MFA seeks to bring some order to that vast, wild frontier known as ‘online shopping’—specifically, it provides a standardised framework to collect state sales taxes on Internet purchases. DeMint says the current collection model of whatever-the-corporate-legal-department-thinks-is-a-good-idea-today is working just fine—it’s not. Both retailers and consumers would benefit from clarification of online sales tax law. Continue reading Sales Tax, Use Tax, & the Internets
So Prop 100 passed—the Arizona sales tax on virtually every item we buy will be going up in a few short months—unofficial results released by the Secretary of State’s office put the margin at 64% in favor and 36% opposed.
I congratulate the opposition for a successful, if disingenuous, marketing campaign that falsely implied that both students and criminals would be running wild through the streets unless we ponied up some extra cash to keep them where they belong.
I’m disappointed but unsurprised by the results. What does appall me is the disturbingly low voter turnout: Arizona has 3 million registered voters, of whom only 35.5% turned out.
Consider also that Arizona has a total population of nearly 6.6 million, about 4.2 million of whom are qualified electors, so 700k ‘yes’ votes cast means that something less than 17% of Arizona’s eligible voters came out in support of raising taxes. Continue reading Thoughts on Tuesday’s Special Election