Mesa Residents Should Reject Props 476 and 477 to Protect Their Hard-Earned Dollars

Mesa Residents Should Reject Props 476 and 477 to Protect Their Hard-Earned Dollars

Right now, public unions are trying to fleece the taxpayers of Mesa. In addition to the dozens of candidates, judicial retention decisions, and statewide propositions, voters in Mesa will also decide on two amendments to their city Charter that will result in a shakedown of taxpayers and would insulate politicians from accountability.

The first, Prop 476, would give Mesa Unions special access to leverage for taxpayer-funded benefits behind closed doors. The other, Prop 477, removes accountability for wasteful spending, allowing unelected bureaucrats to spend money without council approval and letting elected politicians off the hook.

Vote NO on Prop 476

The city of Mesa used to engage in a process known as “meet and confer” with public labor unions. This process requires city bureaucrats to “discuss” wages, benefits, and time off with union bosses. In reality, it is a way to bamboozle the city and fleece the taxpayers with millions in wasteful spending.

The “meet and confer” process requires the city to meet with unions in “good faith.” So, if the city doesn’t kowtow to the demands of the taxpayer-funded union bosses, they can threaten to sue the city for not engaging in good faith, resulting in costly litigation. In other words, good faith simply means the union bosses get what they want.

Thankfully, Mesa backed off and ended this crummy practice in 2017 when the Goldwater Institute informed them that it violated their Charter. Now, just five years later, the unions are coming back, trying to convince Mesa voters to amend the Charter to permanently allow them to negotiate these backroom deals with city bureaucrats that will cost taxpayers millions.

There’s a reason Mesa’s Charter currently prohibits it—and why neighboring towns like Gilbert prohibited it in 2014—to protect taxpayers and to prevent the city from becoming the next Phoenix with its $3.4 billion in pension debt.

Vote NO on Prop 477

Then there is Prop 477, also amending the city Charter, to allow unelected bureaucrats to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars without ever getting approval from the city council. Currently, city bureaucrats are limited to $25,000 in purchases without council approval. Prop 477 rips off that guardrail and allows the council to raise the cap however high it wants.

Just look to California, where the Westminster City Manager hired a consultant costing taxpayers $6,400 a month, which was below his purchasing limit of $175,000. The city council was never consulted and found out about the deal two months after the contract had been signed.

Prop 477 opens the floodgates for bureaucrats to spend in the dark, allowing politicians off the hook to wash their hands of unpopular purchases and preventing voters from reining in wasteful spending.

Propositions 476 and 477 are about empowering big unions and unelected bureaucrats to conduct more of the city’s business in the dark and out of the sight of taxpayers and their elected representatives.  Residents of Mesa should resoundingly reject both to protect their hard-earned dollars and retain their power to hold politicians accountable at the ballot box.

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Big Spending from Out-Of-State Special Interests Shows Exactly Why Arizona Needs Props 129 and 132

Big Spending from Out-Of-State Special Interests Shows Exactly Why Arizona Needs Props 129 and 132

When groups outside of Arizona have more interest in stopping an initiative reform than groups inside Arizona, that should tell you everything you need to know. And so it is with Will of the People Arizona, a group so concerned with our state that it raised nearly $325,000 in the third quarter of 2022.

That’s impressive, isn’t it? But do you know what’s even more impressive? Only $33 of the money raised by Will of the People came directly from people who actually live in Arizona!

You read that right…$33.

Despite its claim at the bottom of its website that only 20 percent of contributions are “coming from out of state,” the group received 11 payments from the Washington, D.C.-based The Fairness Project totaling more than $254,000. In addition, $70,000 came from the Berkeley-based Every Single Vote, and another D.C.-based group called Ballot Initiative Strategy Center contributed $326.11.

That’s well over 99% of the contributions to Will of the People Arizona coming from groups based in California and D.C. whose primary goal is to ensure our state is susceptible to their big money power plays. Specifically, these groups are trying to stop good initiatives like Props 129 and 132 which are designed to stop these out-of-state special interests from pumping money into Arizona to buy their way onto the ballot.  

Currently, in the ballot initiative process, there is a lack of a single subject rule. This often gets exploited by out-of-state groups that want to shove multiple provisions on many different subjects into their ballot initiatives. Prop 129 would require ballot initiatives to pertain to a single subject, which is the same requirement for bills to pass the state legislature.

But stopping Prop 129 isn’t the only target of their big spending.

Prop 132 would require any new tax or tax increase on the ballot to receive at least 60% of the vote to pass. This is a critical initiative in this year’s election. Allowing 51% of the population (which may not have to pay the tax increase) to vote to tax the other 49% is wrong. We saw this most recently with Prop 208 back in 2020. This disastrous piece of legislation, which was pushed by out-of-state special interest groups, passed with only 51% of people voting for it. Had it not been for the court system killing Prop 208 once and for all, Arizona would right now be a high tax state.

The fact that Will of the People—or should we say “Will of Out-Of-State Unions and Special Interests”—is willing to spend big dollars to stop Props 129 and 132 proves exactly why Arizona needs these important initiatives.

It’s time to stop groups in California, Washington, D.C., or any other state from bringing their radical ideas to Arizona’s ballots. As you vote in this November’s election, protect your wallet, our state’s economy, and the future of Arizona by voting YES on Props 129 and 132.

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Prop 310 Is a Massive Tax Increase That Will Shrink Arizona Jobs

Prop 310 Is a Massive Tax Increase That Will Shrink Arizona Jobs

Proponents of the Prop 310 tax increase tell voters it would cost just a penny when they buy coffee or just 10 cents when buying dinner to help fund “under-resourced” fire districts. But make no mistake, Prop 310 is a big tax hike. A new study by The Commonsense Institute, finds Prop 310 will cost taxpayers $5.5 billion over the next 20 years. On top of the bill footed by taxpayers, the Institute estimates it will result in the loss of thousands of jobs, shrinking our economy by $7.4 billion and reducing personal income by $8.55 billion over the lifetime of the tax.

Those are the consequences all 7 million Arizonans face under Prop 310 to fund fire districts that serve 1.5 million residents. These are the same districts with members who have been convicted of embezzling tens of thousands and even millions of taxpayer dollars for their own benefit, used the taxpayers’ debit card for thousands in personal purchases, and wastefully spent or mismanaged their existing tax dollars, racking up millions in pension debt.

Now they want a bailout from the rest of the state with a one-size-fits-all tax hike—a tax more than half of which will be allocated to just 12 districts that already make up more than half of the current revenue and spending. This means that under Prop 310, the best funded districts will be even better funded, while the worst funded will get the least, as the remaining 132 districts will get whatever is left over.

That’s the wrong approach.

Prop 310 isn’t just bad tax policy, it’s lazy legislating. Despite having a $5 billion surplus in 2022, lawmakers chose to refer a substantial tax increase to the ballot rather than prioritize accordingly. The legislature could have held actual hearings, received testimony, investigated the underlying issues in each of the districts, and worked to craft targeted solutions that don’t result in soaking all taxpayers. Instead, they avoided doing the real work, and punted their problems to the voters.

Voters should demand better from their lawmakers. After all, taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay more because politicians are bad at their jobs.

Instead, they rubber stamped a proposal that gives themselves no oversight and gives taxpayers no representation. The millions of Arizonans who don’t live in a fire district won’t have a vote. And those who do live in one district won’t have a vote in the other 143. Don’t like the way districts are spending your tax dollars? Too bad. With Prop 310, the tax isn’t going anywhere, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

But there were and still are other options. The legislature will likely have another surplus next year, (thanks to prior tax cuts). Saying no to a tax hike doesn’t mean saying no to public safety. It means voters want lawmakers to do their jobs and come up with a plan that doesn’t burden taxpayers further. Arizona voters should do just that and vote no on Prop 310.

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Arizona Will Get to Enjoy a 2.5% Flat Tax a Year Sooner Than Expected

Arizona Will Get to Enjoy a 2.5% Flat Tax a Year Sooner Than Expected

In just a few short months, Arizona will officially have the lowest flat income tax rate in the country. Governor Ducey announced last week that the Department of Revenue will be implementing the final stage of individual income tax rate and bracket reductions to a single 2.5% flat rate in 2023, a year sooner than originally planned. This is great news for Arizona taxpayers and job creators as well as the overall economic outlook of the state for years to come.

Given what is coming out of Washington, D.C. these days, this news couldn’t have come at a better time. Joe Biden has declared war on the U.S. economy—raising taxes on job creators, juicing the IRS with 87,000 new agents, and pushing a spending agenda that has resulted in the Phoenix Metro area having the highest inflation in the country. Arizona families are getting crushed by Sleepy Joe, making this tax cut even more significant.

It is amazing to think that it wasn’t that long ago that our economic fortunes looked a lot different than today. Just two years ago, Arizona was facing the prospect of the largest tax increase in state history—a doubling of our state income tax due to Proposition 208. If allowed to go into effect, Prop 208 would have resulted in Arizona having the 9th highest income tax in the country.

Thankfully, through the work of the GOP-controlled legislature, Governor Ducey, and countless organizations and taxpayers throughout the state, Arizona went from having a top income tax rate of 8% (thanks to Prop 208) to our new 2.5% flat tax. This was accomplished with no help from the Democrats who voted in lockstep against the largest tax cut in state history. One member even called it racist.

As with most major reforms, it wasn’t all smooth sailing once the flat tax was passed in 2021. Immediately after it was signed into law, a group that included the teachers’ union Stand for Children and legislative Democrats worked to block implementation of the tax package and refer the measure to the ballot. But just like Prop 208, this effort failed after the Supreme Court determined, in a lawsuit filed by the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, that their referendum was unconstitutional.

Now, Arizona taxpayers will get to enjoy this massive tax cut starting in 2023. And not only will this flat tax result in smaller tax bills, but it will also bolster Arizona’s economy and jobs in the face of rising inflation and a shrinking GDP at the national level. In fact, it is estimated to bring 8,033 jobs and increase Arizona’s GDP by $1.6 billion next year alone.

After defeating the Left’s tax hike in court, passing the largest tax cut in state history, and successfully defending it from being referred to the ballot, Arizona is now back on track. With our state on the verge of electing Kari Lake as Governor and expanding our legislative majorities with more conservatives, even better days of economic prosperity are on the way.

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Katie Hobbs’ Claim That She Won’t Raise Taxes Is a Bold-Faced Lie

Katie Hobbs’ Claim That She Won’t Raise Taxes Is a Bold-Faced Lie

In between dodging questions about why she won’t debate Kari Lake and holding school choice funds hostage, Katie Hobbs has been making some curious campaign promises lately. And none have been more suspect than what she claims is her current position on tax hikes.

After dragging her feet on the issue, Hobbs finally made her stance known last month when she declared that she has no plans to raise taxes if elected governor. Then, like a good Democrat who promises everything under the sun, she took it one step further, claiming that she would cut taxes for 800,000 Arizona families.

But anyone who has followed Hobbs’ political career knows that this is just another outrageous lie. During her time in the state legislature, Katie Hobbs regularly opposed tax cuts for families while making it a habit to support multiple tax hikes.

In 2015, while serving as Minority Leader of the Arizona Senate, Hobbs opposed HB2001. This bill, which was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Ducey, protects taxpayers from paying more in taxes due to inflation. Interestingly enough, inflation is the apparent reason for her new “plan” to cut taxes. It’s actually the first word in one of her latest ads. But if cutting taxes because of inflation was so important to Hobbs, maybe she would care to explain why she voted against HB2001.

Of course, this isn’t the only legislation that calls Hobbs’ tax plan into question.

In 2017, she supported a 4/10 of a cent sales tax increase, costing taxpayers around $500 million annually. Then she got really busy going after your wallet in 2018. During that year, Hobbs supported HB2166, a $32 alternative fuel vehicle license tax that was so unpopular it was repealed after Hobbs left the state legislature. But she didn’t stop there. She also sponsored SB1316, legislation that would have DOUBLED the gas tax. Had this bill been passed, it would have been one of the largest tax hikes in Arizona history! And if that’s not enough, she sponsored SB1324 to hire 131 new auditors and tax collectors at the Arizona Department of Revenue.

That sounds a lot like the part of the “Build Back Broke” plan that creates a slush fund for the IRS to hire 87,000 new agents, doesn’t it?

The fact of the matter is that it was a Republican governor and Republican legislature that delivered historic tax cuts to every single Arizona taxpayer. And thankfully, that relief will now be experienced one year earlier than originally planned.

If she’s so concerned about cutting taxes, you would think Katie Hobbs would be celebrating that. But you’ll get nothing of the sort from her. Hobbs has spent her political career trying to squeeze every possible dollar from your bank account. As you prepare to vote this November, the only question you need to ask yourself is: Do you believe what Hobbs is saying now or her 10-year record of screwing Arizona taxpayers?

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Mesa Residents Should Reject Props 476 and 477 to Protect Their Hard-Earned Dollars

Arizonans Should Protect Their Wallets and Our State’s Economy by Voting Yes on Prop 132

It seems nowadays, the only ones who want to raise taxes are the government and far-left elites. That shouldn’t come as a big surprise. They’ll do whatever it takes to further their radical agenda—especially when their bank accounts go unaffected. But in a country that’s supposed to be governed by representation, too many tax increases in America—including right here in Arizona—are coming down to a simple majority.

Of course, we just saw this at the federal level when the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” passed on a 51-50 vote in the Senate thanks, in large part, to Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema. Now, because of the slimmest majorities along party lines, taxpayers are left with a $700 billion repackaged version of President Biden’s Build Back Broke plan.

But this issue isn’t limited to the federal government, Congress, or even state legislatures. Just look at what happened with Prop 208 in 2020. This disastrous piece of legislation, which was pushed by out-of-state special interest groups, passed with only 51% of people voting for it. And it would’ve turned Arizona into a high tax state had it not been for the court system killing it once and for all.

Allowing 51% of the population (who probably don’t have to pay the tax increase) to vote to tax the other 49% to pay it, is wrong. And while today’s tax increase may not affect you, tomorrow’s most certainly will.

That’s why it’s critical that the people of Arizona vote YES on Proposition 132.  

Introduced as HCR2015 by Rep. Tim Dunn (R-LD13), Prop 132 would require a 60% majority vote of the people on any ballot measure that wants to raise your taxes. Requiring broader support like this puts a check on out-of-state special interests who want to increase Arizona’s taxes to fund their schemes. This already happens in our state legislature where any tax increase requires a super majority. It’s only fair that voters have the same safeguard at the ballot box. We’re a representative government, and if we are asking Arizonans to part with more of their paycheck, it needs to be for something that has broad agreement from every part of the state.

After all, the reality is that at some point, you will be on the wrong end of a close vote. You will be in the minority. Crafting tax policy at the ballot box in this manner only creates class warfare and a tax code of winners and losers.

But it’s not even just about your wallet. These policies harm Arizona’s economy too. Thankfully, we avoided the Prop 208 tax that would have crushed small businesses in our state. But there will be more efforts like it to turn Arizona into a high-tax state like New York or California—the latter having driven away thousands of businesses from the state because of its taxes. In fact, California’s taxes and woke policies got so bad, the state actually ran out of one-way U-hauls!

This isn’t what the people of Arizona want. And it’s not what the people of Arizona deserve. Now, you have the opportunity to make your voice heard. Protect your wallet, and protect Arizona’s economy this November. VOTE YES on Proposition 132.

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Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

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