The Anti-Tax Mood Among the People of Arizona Is a Great Source of Hope

The Anti-Tax Mood Among the People of Arizona Is a Great Source of Hope

Arizona taxpayers are tired. It’s bad enough that our state has been getting crushed by the highest inflation rate in the country, but during this past November’s election, the government tried to swoop in and take more of your hard-earned dollars out of your wallet. This time, Arizona voters said enough is enough. Not only did they reject several tax increases, but they ensured victory for one key protection against future tax increases.

Arizonans Reject Prop 310

Prop 310 aimed to increase the statewide sales tax by 0.1% to fund fire districts throughout Arizona, and its proponents used the oldest trick in the book. Just like we’ve seen with past education or transportation tax increases, they tried to convince voters that Prop 310 would only cost them a penny when they buy coffee or a dime when they buy dinner.

But Arizona voters saw through it—with 53% of the people rejecting the tax.

The fact is that Prop 310 would have been a massive tax increase. The Commonsense Institute estimated that it would have cost taxpayers $5.5 billion over the next 20 years while resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs. But the problem with Prop 310 wasn’t just that it was bad tax policy, it was lazy legislating. Arizona currently has a $5 billion surplus and will likely have another one in the coming year, thanks to prior tax cuts. Saying no to this tax hike on the ballot doesn’t mean that the people of Arizona said no to public safety. It just means that our state’s lawmakers need to do their jobs and create a plan that doesn’t burden taxpayers further.

Transportation Taxes Fail in Pinal County and Kingman

Earlier this year, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled against a Pinal County transportation tax scheme in a lawsuit brought by the Goldwater Institute. So, how did the county respond? It pushed for Prop 469 on the ballot—a half-cent sales tax that the county claimed would be used for a long list of transportation projects and programs through the next 20 years.

But Pinal County voters have a good memory, and they’re tired of the government wasting their hard-earned dollars or trying to illegally take more money from them. So, they voted down this ill-conceived tax increase. And they’re not the only ones who rejected a transportation tax in this November’s election. Kingman residents joined them by saying no to Prop 415—a 0.56% sales tax increase for single items below $10,000 to fund residential street repair and maintenance.  

The Success of Prop 132 Will Protect Against Future Tax Increases

As important as the rejection of these tax increases was, it is the success of Prop 132 that gives taxpayers the most hope for the future. With its passing, this constitutional amendment will require a 60 percent majority vote of the people on any ballot measure that seeks to raise your taxes.

Not only does this super majority reflect the current process for tax increases in the state legislature, but it will put a check on out-of-state special interests that want to increase Arizona’s taxes to fund their schemes. Now, thanks to Prop 132, if we’re going to ask the people of Arizona to part with more of their paycheck, it will need to be for something that has broad agreement from every part of the state. And that is critical because tax increases should never be taken lightly—especially in the midst of a worsening economy, rising inflation, and high gas prices. The people of Arizona recognized this in November’s election, and now we can all truly enjoy massive tax cuts starting in 2023.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

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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The Success of Props 129 and 132 Is a Positive Step for the Future of Arizona

The Success of Props 129 and 132 Is a Positive Step for the Future of Arizona

Not every outcome of November’s frustrating and poorly run election was a disaster. While Maricopa County certainly dropped the ball, and we await the results of any lawsuits and investigations, voters passed some important initiative reforms.

One of those came from Proposition 129, which earned 55 percent of the vote. This measure amends the Arizona Constitution to limit ballot initiatives to a single subject. It also requires the subject to be included in the title of the measure.

The passing of Prop 129 is critical because for years, out-of-state special interest groups have made it a habit to shove multiple provisions on many different subjects into their ballot initiatives. That would often lead to confusion for voters who didn’t always understand what exactly they were voting for or against. And it would put voters in the difficult position to vote on the entirety of an initiative even though they may support some parts of it and oppose others. Now, with the single subject rule, ballot initiatives will have the same requirement for bills to pass the state legislature. And voters will gain some much-needed clarity when they cast their vote.

But Prop 129 wasn’t the only important initiative reform to pass in this November’s election. In a big win for taxpayers across the state, Arizona voters also passed Prop 132. This measure requires a 60 percent majority vote of the people on any ballot measure that seeks 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. After all, just look what they tried to do with Prop 208 back in 2020. This disastrous piece of legislation passed with only 51% of the vote and would have made Arizona a high tax state had it not been for litigation challenging the constitutionality of the plan killing it once and for all. Now, any measure aimed to raise your taxes will require a super majority, just like it does at our state legislature. And Arizonans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that it won’t be so easy to take more money out of their wallets.

Of course, the big loser in all of this is out-of-state special interests, who spent millions in an effort to defeat Props 129 and 132. In fact, one group that called themselves Will of the People Arizona, was so concerned with stopping these initiatives that it raised and spent around $2 million to defeat Prop 132 alone. Of course, they didn’t bother to tell voters that only $33 from their massive fundraising haul came from people who actually live in Arizona. The overwhelming majority of their cash came from unions and liberal groups residing in California and Washington, D.C.

But this time, the people of Arizona saw through the lies. They passed Props 129 and 132, which should help stop groups in others states from bringing their radical ideas to Arizona’s ballots. And that is a significant step to protect the future of our state.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

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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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.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

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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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.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

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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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.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

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!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

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.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

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!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.