I realize that we are within four days of the election, and most of you have probably already filled out your ballots, but I thought I would go through the propositions and list out how I'll vote for them.
First up, the Western Maricopa Education Center District would like to offer a bond to the tune of $74,900,000, which will increase our property taxes by $3.93 per $100,000 of home value. This bond will fund a new technical skills, job training program.
*I'll be voting No. I expect I'm a lone voice on this. High schools and community colleges are more than capable to provide this service and training. Why does the School District need more money to do something that high schools and community colleges already do? Furthermore, there are no actual details to what the money will spent on. For example, where will the building be? Is there going to be an actual facility? Or is the money for teachers and curriculum? I didn't find any of that information in the document. The days of reckless spending should be over and we need to start with exercising a bit of discipline when it comes to educational services such as these.
Now, onto the Props!
100's signify Constitutional ammendments, 200's signify citizen initiatives to create new or amend current state laws, 300's signify legislative referrals to create new or amend current states and 400's are local matters.
This prop would amend the Arizona Constitution to exempt the victim of a crime from any damages and protect the victim from liability of damages, death or injury. "A crime victim is not subject to a claim for damages by a person who is harmed while attempting to engage in conduct classifies as a felony offense, while engaging in conduct classified as a felony offense of while fleeing from such conduct."
*I will vote Yes on this amendment. I love Russell Pearce's opening line in his support for this prop, "Here is a simple and good idea. Let's stop the bad guys from suing their victims." This is an amendment so that a robber breaking into a house and falls and breaks his neck on the property can't sue the homeowner because the injury occurred on the property. Or if a homeowner is rightfully protecting his property with a weapon, and a gun fight ensues the criminal can't sue the owner.
This prop would amend the Constitution to make changes in regards to the selection and retention of state judges and justices. The Superior Court judges would serve 8 year terms, the mandatory retirement age will be raised to 75 (instead of 70), and several changes for the appointment of judges in the case of vacancies.
*I will vote Yes. The Center for Arizona Policy is for it and that's a fantastic endorsement in my opinion.
This prop would allow farmers to exempt their machinery, equipment and store fixtures purchases from taxation.
*I will vote Yes for this amendment. My hope is that with the tax exemption, the agriculture business will grow and pass on savings to consumers. At the very least, it could possibly help farmers to hire more employees. (Well, not if Obamacare is not repealed...another issue, but must be considered in the grand scheme. Another post, another day.) Also, I love it when we can reduce taxes... Big fan...
This prop limits the amount of "full cash value" for the above tax-exempt machinery and purchases of farmers. The amount may not exceed 5% of the previous year's value.
*I will vote Yes for this amendment. Limiting the amount of
This proposition would allow the state to collect 2.5% of the average market value to use the state-trust land for public instruction institutions. We already collect an amount for land useage permits. But the formula is really convoluted this proposition would make the amount available pretty straight forward and would allow the state to harness more of the money.
*I will vote Yes for this amendment. This just makes sense. Instead of raising property taxes on the citizens, how about we utilize what we have to pay for our education programs? Yes, this is the right thing to do.
This prop will amend the Constitution to allow the state to exchange trust land for other public land in this state as long as two requirements are met: 1. The exchange must be in the best interest of the state land trust. 2. The purpose of the exchange will assist in preserving and protecting military facilities. 3. There must be two appraisals on the value of the land. 4. A public notice must be given. And 5. the voters get the final approval of the exchange in a November general election.
*I will vote Yes for this. I'm always in favor of the state being able to use the land we have to our full advantage. We are incredibly blessed in Arizona with lots of land, we should be using it as income, and we should be trying to keep our military installations here in AZ instead of losing them to different states. I like this proposition.
This is another prop about land usage. This prop will allow the state to declare sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife, and other natural resources, with the exception of Indian reservation land. This amendment "would declare that each state possesses full attributes of sovereignty on an equal footing with all other states,as provided by the United States Constitution, and that state sovereignty is fundamental to the security of individual rights, free government and the inherent political power of the people"
*I will vote Yes on Prop 120. You had me at state sovereignty.
This proposition is perhaps the most controversial of the props on the ballot this year. This is the "open primary" proposition. This prop will eliminate the partisan primary election with an open "top two" primary election. This is incredibly deceitful because they interests involved are suggesting this change to the primary election for fiscal interests. "It's too expensive to print off sample ballots of the two parties!", they say.
Whatever. This prop will in reality allow a massive amount of special interests to fund the top picks and essentially eliminate any other contender. I don't like it, not one bit. The proponents of this bill would say this is the best way to open up the election process. But actually, it would make the primary process more convoluted since it would not compel a candidate to disclose their party identification. It's also billed as a way to get more moderates onto the ballot and to increase the independent voter turn-out. This is simply a fallacy. Independent voters already vote how they want to vote. And they can even petition to get on the general ballot. There is no real hindrance to independents.
*I will vote No on Prop 121.
This proposition would make permanent the temporary tax increases enacted in May of 2010. This expires in May of 2013.
*I will vote No on Prop 204. I do not think that sales tax helps anyone. I think it actually harms local business because it penalizes consumption. I believe the best way to help schools and other municipalities is to help them be more responsible with what's given. It may seem cruel, but it's not.