Thursday, September 27, 2012

Scottsdale Chamber 2012 Voter Guide on Ballot Measures

At each election cycle, the Public Policy Advisory Council for the Scottsdale Area Chamber
of Commerce reviews ballot measures placed before the electorate. Following
that review, the Advisory Council renders recommendations to the membership and the community as a whole on those measures deemed to have an impact on business and the business community.

GENERAL ELECTION 2012 - Voter Guide on Ballot Measures

Proposition 114 Crime Victims Protection Act (Legislative Referendum)
Prohibits crime victims from being sued for causing injury or death to the perpetrator.
Rationale: Individuals and business owners are too often placed in jeopardy by criminals, particularly in robbery situations. Criminals and their families should have no right to sue should injury or death occur as a direct result of their perpetrating a criminal act.

Proposition 116 - Personal Property Tax Exemption Amount  (Legislative Referendum)
Increases the personal property tax exemption threshold from $68,079 to the average earnings of 50 Arizona workers or approximately $2.4 million.
Rationale: Raising the personal property tax exemption from $68,000 to roughly $2.4 million will help businesses grow and thrive in Arizona as well as make the state more competitive for relocating companies to place Arizona on a short list for relocation.

Proposition 117 - Property Tax Assessed Valuation (Legislative Referendum)
Beginning in 2015, limits the annual growth of limited property value to no more than 5%.
Rationale: Business and personal property taxes, before and throughout this recessionary period, have fluctuated wildly, as a direct result in spikes and troughs in assessed values. This referendum will add greater predictability regarding property tax liability and slow the assessed valuation climbs by limiting valuations to a maximum of 5% per year.

Proposition 118 - State Land Funds & Distributions (Legislative Referendum)
Sets the State Trust Land distribution at 2.5% of the average monthly market values through 2021. Reverts the distribution to the existing formula on July 1, 2022.
Rationale: This largely technical change allows the State Land Department to base its distributions on the most up-to-date information.

Proposition 119 -
State Trust Land Military Preservation (Legislative Referendum)
Authorizes exchanges of trust land for military installations preservation.
Rationale: This referendum allows the State Land Department to trade land near military installations for land of equal or greater value elsewhere in the state so that encroachment of development near military bases can diminish. The result of the preserved land around military bases lowers the likelihood of base closures.

Proposition 121 - Open Elections/Open Government (Initiative)
Establishes an open primary
Two candidates receiving most votes go on to the general election
Abolishes tax-payer funded partisan primary system
Rationale: While attractive to many as the result of abolishing taxpayer funded elections, this initiative is largely opposed by all major and minor political parties and most candidates. If two people run in a primary election representing one party and ten candidates are working to secure the right to run in the general election from another party, the likelihood is that the party with two people running will secure positions in the general election since statistically in a ten-horse field it is unlikely that any one candidate could receive an adequate number of votes to move on. Consequently, this initiative works to suppress candidates and voter choice in elections rather than enhance that choice.

Proposition 204 - Quality Education and Jobs (Initiative)
Creates a $.01 sales tax to fund the following:
$500M to the "quality education and performance fund" for K-12 (charter and districts)
$10M to the AZ Dept. of Education for data collection
$90M to the "education accountability and improvement fund" for performance based K-
12 funding
$100M to the “state infrastructure fund”
$25M to the “children’s health insurance program fund” – SCHIP
$100M to the "family stability and self-sufficiency fund”
$50M to the "university scholarship, operations and infrastructure fund" to be distributed
according to rules adopted by the Board of Regents
Collections over $1 billion fund the following:
33% to schools based on the federal free lunch program
22.5% to community colleges and tribal education for scholarships
9% to JTEDs
2% for adult education
22.5% to the "university scholarship, operations and infrastructure fund" to be distributed
according to rules adopted by the Board of Regents
11% to the “state infrastructure fund”
Tax and funding allocations are preserved in perpetuitySUPPORT
Rationale: The Chamber is opposed to taxation and appropriation through initiative, even when the funding is earmarked largely for education, an area in need of increased investment. Arizona has a convoluted and confusing system for education funding – so much so that it is almost impossible to assign an accurate ranking for the state against other states. This initiative, if passed would be voterprotected under the Arizona Constitution and nearly impossible to alter or amend as a result. It is the Legislature’s job to appropriate and to advance tax policy, and it should be the Legislature’s job to simplify and clarify education funding in Arizona so that our state’s children can receive the finest possible education.
15% Maintenance and Operations Override Scottsdale Unified School District
Rationale: This override request, placed on the ballot by the SUSD Governing Board for voter consideration is a result of the state requiring an end to separate K- 3 overrides and the 10% override, combining them into a single 15% override, producing roughly $20 million for our schools, replacing some of the cuts that have come to education funding during a period of necessary austerity in the state budget. Traditionally voters in Scottsdale have supported such override requests as one way of protecting and enhancing property values and to provide the best possible education for area children. While the net effect for most families will be a modest tax increase, Scottsdale Unified School District has a long history of creating strong community value by maintaining the finest school district in the state. These overrides are the only opportunity for Scottsdale voters to place additional funding directly into the school district.

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