Monday, August 20, 2007

Phoenix politicians "nervous" about Prop 3

From Tom Jenney of the AZ Federation of Taxpayers -

Please read the top-of-the-fold article about Proposition 3 in today’s Republic, then read the notes about Propositions 3 and 1 below.

Re Proposition 3:

1) To see some ways Phoenix can reduce spending by $1 billion per year, while at the same time increasing spending on police, fire, emergency management, and criminal justice budgets by five percent, check out the budget worksheet produced by the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers (, a state chapter of Americans for Prosperity. Included in the worksheet are oversight costs for long-term concessions and also transition costs for the concessions.

2) Note Councilman Stanton’s threat about cuts to public safety. If Stanton and his fellow councilmen would not actually vote to cut public safety budgets, he is being dishonest. If Stanton and the Council actually would vote to cut police and fire before cutting nonessential services, he is fiscally irresponsible. If Stanton means that he would not vote to cut public safety budgets, but a majority on the Council would, then Stanton is effectively declaring that a majority of his colleagues are fiscally irresponsible. Another possibility: Stanton is just sticking to his talking points, and has not thought very carefully about them.

3) Passage of Prop 3 would prevent Phoenix from making significant tax reductions. The Arizona Federation of Taxpayers worksheet shows that budget reductions would generate General Fund savings of over $150 million annually. $102 million could be used to eliminate the city’s primary property tax, and the remainder could be used to reduce city sales tax revenues by over ten percent (city sales tax revenues are $425 million annually).

If Phoenix voters approve Proposition 3 on September 11th, they will have missed a rare opportunity to impose real fiscal discipline on city politicians.

Re Proposition 1:

Proposition 1 is a scam. City politicians and the politicos in the police and fire unions claim that Phoenix needs a new sales tax in order to spend an additional $60 million per year to fund 500 new police officers and 100 new firemen. And yet, during each of the past two years, Mayor Gordon and the members of the Phoenix City Council have voted for $300 million in spending increases on programs other than police and fire. They could easily have spent $60 million extra on police and fire, and had $240 million left over for the other programs. But they did not. Why? What programs did Mayor Gordon and the City Council think were more important than police and fire? Some of this year’s program increases include: $6 million for the Convention Center; $1 million for Golf; $3 million for Libraries; $10 million for Parks and Recreation; $17 million for Housing Projects; $6 million for Development Services; $29 million for Transit; and, $10 million annually in new tax dodges for politically-connected developers.

The reality is that Mayor Gordon and the City Council wanted a tax increase, and the most attractive use of tax dollars is public safety--police and fire. So, Gordon and the Council deliberately chose to underfund police and fire in order to make it look like the new tax money would go to something important.

What a scam!

No comments: