The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Thursday, 18 October 2012]

Arizona 2012 ballot proposition rundown

Nic provides a rundown of the 2012 Arizona ballot propositions with recommendations on how you should vote.

For the 2012 general election, Arizona faces nine ballot propositions. The secretary of state website has the official list together with links to full PDFs of the propositions. ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy has the same list in human-readable form.

In general, I’m wary of ballot propositions, especially the ones coming ouf the state legislature. You’re the state legislature. Why did you kick this out into a ballot proposition instead of just enacting it yourselves? Could it be that you want to score points with your base without putting your name behind the actual legislation?

And the propositions that don’t come from the legislature are usually—but not always—the spawn of well-funded special interest groups who for whatever reason weren’t able to get the legislature to push their agenda.

So whenever in doubt, vote no.

Let’s go through this sad lot of propositions one by one:

Proposition 114: Arizona Crime Victims Protection Act

NO

This one might as well have been called the “Appease Scared Old White People Act.” Would amend the constitution to make it so that something that already doesn’t happen couldn’t happen. Sponsored by Russell Pearce, which should tell you all you need to know.

Proposition 115: Judicial Selection

NO

Having the governor and the legislature more involved in judicial selection is a scary thought indeed.

Proposition 116: Small Business Job Creation Act

NO

Would strip the state of badly-needed funds and increase the complexity of the bureaucratic system all in the name of creating jobs.

Despite the conventional wisdom of the right, lower taxes do not automatically lead to more jobs being created. I know, I know, and nevertheless it’s true. Proposition 116 would make it easier for companies to become profitable, which is not the same thing.

Proposition 117: Property Tax Assessed Valuation Amendment

NO

Will not actually lower property taxes, so what’s the point?

Proposition 118: Permanent Funds Amendment

NO

In theory, 118 sounds good: it would provide a more even flow of funds to public schools. But its predicted effects are tied to a set of economic conditions that may or may not happen.

I’m unsure on this one, so let’s invoke the First Rule of Ballot Club: When in doubt, vote no.

Proposition 119: Arizona State Trust Land Amendment

YES

Would help protect military bases—who bring something on the order of $10 billion into Arizona’s economy—and protect the environment, which apart from natural beauty helps bring in tourism dollars. Makes sense to me.

Proposition 120: State Sovereignty Amendment

A MILLION TIMES NO

This one is prima facie unconstitutional and if passed would cost the state millions in lawyer fees. And that’s apart from making Arizona even more of a national laughingstock.

Let’s sing it again, children: States can not override federal law, no matter how much you wave the 10th Amendment around making puppy eyes.

If this abomination were to somehow pass, and somehow survived the lawsuits, how long do you think it would take for the state to start selling off the land to developers? Remember, these are the geniuses who sold off the state house to raise cash, then somehow found the cash to buy it back a bit over a year later at a cost to taxpayers of $23 million.

Proposition 121: Open Elections/Open Government Initiative

YES

This one is worth trying, especially since it’s roundly despised by both Democrats and Republicans. The hope is that by changing the primary system into a top-two election, the ideological extremes in both parties will be defanged, with the end result being more moderates in the legislature. I’m not sure if it’ll work, but it’s worth trying.

Proposition 204: Quality Education and Jobs Act

NO

I wanted to hold my nose and vote yes on prop. 204 despite it using a sales tax, the most regressive form of taxation. But I can’t. The proposition micromanages fund allocations, probably expressly to handcuff the legislature (which one could argue is a good thing when it comes to education funding), but the built-in micromanagement will make the system difficult to adjust to changing conditions in the future.

Proposition 204 is, unfortunately, a well-meaning mess.

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