Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My thoughts on #Arizona 's #Propositions. Remember #Constitutional #Amendments make it really hard to get rid of bad ideas!

Some people have asked for my input on Arizona's Propositions, so I thought I'd write it up here. I can't imagine how people with full time jobs and families have time to read everything - proposition details, arguments for and arguments against, then do additional research. So if you want some assistance - my choices as well as my reasoning, I'm glad to help.
To give you a bit of my background, I worked in elementary schools as a drug and violence prevention specialist for 12 years. I also am an artist and a graphic designer, with my own (really, really) small business.

Scottsdale Unit No. 48: Yes. I trust Scottsdale School District, but not other "education" money requests that don't actually make it to the schools or students. Scottsdale School District's additional funding is about to run out. They create very specific budgets. I believe in local control that includes true accountability. (See also Prop 118.)
Prop 114: No- Not appropriate to remove rights completely (in any situation and therefore not let courts and a jury decide) based on one stupid court decision that would not even fit under this Constitutional change. What about a feud between two people and one takes advantage to harm a thief knowing they are protected?

Proposition 115: No - Too many completely different issues in one proposition. Even if you like one, you have to vote for others. Also, if people vote based on judges decisions, then judges could start making decisions to please the populace and get votes to keep their jobs, being instead of based on laws and constitutionality.

Proposition 116: To help small businesses to invest and update their businesses. Machinery purchases increase economy through purchases and job creation for machinery. Spreading high costs out over several years helps keep them afloat, so they do not go out of business due to high costs of regulations and environmental restrictions. They can potentially comply and stay in business.

Proposition 117: No - Looks like this may not only affect taxes but also actual assessment or valuation of the home itself. I think current complex formula is an attempt to balance out both situations - when home prices are too depressed AND when home prices are overinflated. It also would keep income to state depressed for indeterminate amount of time in the future, based on current very low home valuations. This is an attempt at price controls, to keep the valuation of homes down, while pretending to be about keeping taxes low.

Proposition 118: Yes - Previous formula based on returns and not on endowment made funding for education drop unrealistically low and to be very unpredictable -unable to plan appropriately for education budget. This will stabilize funding, while not adversely affecting a very large endowment that cannot otherwise be used for education. Arizona funding was already very low per student. This hopes to keep it at approximately pre-recession levels, not huge, but not outrageously low as is the case now. While nationwide dollar amount does not automatically mean better schools or test scores, in Arizona, it really does correlate in public schools. Scottsdale is a better school district for many reasons, but one reason being they get bond issues approved from voters (homeowners) in the city to get more school funding. (This is also a justification for yes on Scottsdale School District question.) While other districts may try, homeowners do not appear to approve increased taxes for education - either because they don't want to pay more or they are not capable of paying more. Other proposition preys on the desire for increased education funding without actually guaranteeing it - as well as being harder on the poor because it is a sales tax. The endowment in this proposition makes use of already available funds and does not increase taxes at all!

Prop 119: Yes - Necessary to protect military bases and national security.

Prop 120: Yes - booklet seems to make it all look like environmental issues, on both sides. Yes vote arguments – ability to properly thin forests to prevent forest fires that are at great cost to state. No vote arguments – State wants to avoid any EPA Regulations. Really, sovereignty says states chooses which things under 10th Amendment it wants to take over sovereignty for and what it agrees to Federal laws for. But this is a state's rights issue in general as well as states currently being forced to enforce or implement federal mandates without federal funding. Sounds a lot like taxation without representation. 10th amendment rights issues. i.e.) healthcare, gun laws, education, federal parks, EPA and to some a negative (me, and therefore the only risky part of this proposition) –medical marijuana.

10thAmendment Rights: ''The Tenth Amendment was intended to confirm the understanding of the people at the time the Constitution was adopted, that powers not granted to the United States were reserved to the States or to the people.”

Prop 121: No – While two party system may not be perfect, it at least provides people of both parties a chance in unbalanced districts for both parties to be represented. This proposition pretty much eliminates this possibility. It seems to actually reduce, instead of improve, the democratic process and opportunity for a minority group (of any kind) to make it onto the final ballot. It is actually happening right now in California and people are not very happy about it.

Prop 204: No – Makes a promised temporary increased sales tax increase long term. Takes away the ability for the legislature to adjust the budget based on actual needs. Takes away the power of the elected legislature – and puts budget decisions into a special interest group. It also places the budget formula into the Arizona Constitution and therefore makes it very hard to change if (when) we later find out it’s a bad idea. The money appears to go to administration and not outcomes, though it is written to appear it is based on educational outcomes. They are counting on you not reading or understanding the whole thing. they make it sound like this is the best way to fund education, but you have another option through Proposition 118. And each district's individual Bond issues.
Heather J. Kirk

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