Steve Smith: Ballot proposition recommendations

By Steve Smith

October 15, 2012 - 11:13 am
Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa

People have asked me my opinion on the various propositions we will see on the ballot when we vote, so I put together this very brief description of each proposition with my recommendation (this information is a collection of my personal opinions as well as excerpts of the opinions from some of the leading advocates for the various propositions from all across the state).

Prop. 114: Vote YES on 114 to protect victims from lawsuits by criminals.

Quite simply put, this is a great way to ensure that a criminal is never able to sue the very person they victimized (yes, you would be surprised that this can and does happen).

Prop. 115: Vote YES on 115 to strengthen Arizona ’s method of selecting and retaining judges.

It is designed to make the judicial nomination process turn on the individual merit of the candidates and will also give voters more information about the judges that are on the ballot.

Prop. 116: Vote YES on 116 to reduce the personal business property tax that double taxes and punishes investments in small businesses.

Prop. 116 will help create thousands of new jobs in Arizona by removing one of the heaviest drags on our small businesses by reducing the tax that they incur the moment they acquire new equipment and machinery and before they hire one worker or make any product to sell. Also, the new investment spurred by passage of Prop. 116 will be 100 percent financed by the private sector, precisely where it ought to be financed from.

Prop. 117: Vote YES on 117 since it is an honest attempt to control property tax increases.

Prop. 117 will limit annual assessed value growth to 5 percent and will protect property taxpayers from dramatic increases in property valuations that often lead to significant tax increases. In addition, Prop 117 will simplify one of the most complicated property tax systems in the country.

Prop. 118: Vote YES on 118 to better fund Arizona ’s schools.

Prop. 118 allows us to simplify the formula for education funding ensuring that money will be distributed to support K-12 education each year from Arizona ’s Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund. Best of all, it accomplishes this with NO new taxes and NO additional general fund spending.

Prop. 119: Vote YES on Prop 119 to protect Arizona ’s valuable military bases from encroaching development.

Proposition 119 allows the exchange of state trust lands for other public lands with the intention of either protecting military facilities in Arizona from encroaching development or converting the exchanged lands to public use.

Prop. 120: Vote YES on 120 to support Arizona’s sovereignty as a state.

Prop. 120 is a 10th Amendment, state’s rights issue and it it declares our public lands and natural resources are under our sovereign control.

Prop 121: Vote NO on 121 as this is an attempt to do away with partisan primary elections.

Don’t be fooled when people call this a proposition for ‘Open Government and Elections,’ rather, it is just the opposite. Prop 121 claims to provide more choice to all voters but it actually decreases your choice because since the two top vote getters in the primary would advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation, your choice may be between two Republicans or two Democrats and this limits choices.

Furthermore, it will decrease voter turnout as we have seen in states that have implemented something like this already (in the 2012 California election with this same open primary system it resulted in the lowest voter turnout in decades). For these and so many more reasons this is a bad idea.

Prop 204: Vote NO on 204 because it is a permanent $1 billion per year (or 18 percent) sales tax increase.

This permanent sales tax increase will give our state the second highest sales-tax rate in the nation and if passed will delay our economic recovery and put Arizona back on the path of fiscal irresponsibility.

This initiative breaks the promise that Arizona ’s temporary sales tax would not become permanent and it is being deceptively marketed as essential for education, but carves out 14-different earmarks for special interest groups without requiring any reforms or guaranteeing any results and all of this before the current sales tax has even expired.

We need real reform and not to just throw money at a problem which is why I will continue to develop my ‘Performance Pay for Teachers’ legislation I started last year along with other innovative approaches to improving our education system.

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