Arizona Propositions on November 6 General Election Ballot

Five propositions will appear on statewide election ballots for the November 6 general election.

Voters will have an opportunity to vote on three State Constitution amendments, one State Statute and whether to allow or overturn a contested legislative bill.

Issues covered in the propositions include prohibiting possible taxes on currently untaxed services; requiring energy companies to accelerate their use of renewable energy sources; an expansion of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts to include all qualifying K-12 students;  restricting campaign contribution spending; and adjustments to elected officials’ and correction officers’ retirement and pension plans.

The following information was gathered at the Ballotpedia website (https://ballotpedia.org/Arizona_2018_ballot_measures) and abridged for space restrictions. To learn more about the propositions, readers are encouraged to visit Ballotpedia, where sources, supporters and history are cross-referenced. Much of the same information can be found on voters’ sample ballots or in the information booklet mailed to residents from county recorders.

AZ Prop. 126, the Prohibit New or Increased Taxes on Services Initiative, is an initiated constitutional amendment.

A “yes” vote supports this constitutional amendment to prohibit the state and local governments from enacting new taxes or increasing tax rates on services performed in the state.

A “no” vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thus retaining the power of the state and local governments to enact taxes on services in the future.

What would Proposition 126 change about tax policy in Arizona? Proposition 126 would prohibit the state and local governments from enacting new taxes or increasing tax rates in effect on December 31, 2018, on services performed in Arizona. Services can include various types of economic activities that don’t involve tangible goods, from personal-oriented activities, including salon services, pet grooming, amusement and fitness activities, to financial-oriented activities, including real estate transactions, banking and investment management, to healthcare-oriented activities, such as doctor visits.

AZ Prop. 127, Renewable Energy Standards Initiative (2018) is a state constitutional amendment proposed by Arizona citizens. The proposition aims to increase the state’s renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which is a mandate that electric utilities acquire a minimum amount of electricity from renewable energy sources. As of 2018, Arizona’s RPS is 15 percent by 2025. Proposition 127 would increase the RPS each year until reaching 50 percent in 2030. The initiative would define renewable energy to include sources such as solar, wind, biomass, certain hydropower, geothermal and landfill gas energies. Enforcement of the standard would be the task of the Arizona Corporation Commission. Fines of $100 to $5,000 could be levied for infractions. Some have criticized the amounts as nominal.

A “yes” vote supports this constitutional amendment to require electric utilities that sell electricity in Arizona to acquire a certain percentage of electricity from renewable resources each year, with the percentage increasing annually from 12 percent in 2020 to 50 percent in 2030.

A “no” vote opposes this constitutional amendment to require electric utilities that sell electricity in Arizona to acquire a certain percentage of electricity from renewable resources, thereby leaving the state’s existing renewable energy requirements of 15 percent by 2025 in place.

AZ Prop. 305, the Expansion of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Referendum is a veto referendum proposed after Save Our Schools (SOS) Arizona collected enough signatures to propose to overturn SB 1431.

A “yes” vote is to uphold the contested legislation, Senate Bill 1431, which would phase in an expansion of the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) program to make all public school students eligible to apply for an ESA.

A “no” vote is to repeal the contested legislation, Senate Bill 1431, which would phase in an expansion of the state’s ESAs program to make all public school students eligible to apply for an ESA.

What is an ESA? The original program allowed parents or guardians of students with disabilities to sign a contract to opt out of the public school system and instead receive an ESA from the Arizona Department of Education (DOE) that could be spent on private education, homeschooling, or other non-public education. Arizona was the first state to establish an Empowerment Scholarship Accounts program.

AZ Prop. 306, the Clean Election Account Uses and Commission Rulemaking Measure, is on the ballot in Arizona as a legislatively referred state statute.

A “yes” vote supports this measure to:

  • prohibit candidates from using their public financing accounts to give funds to political parties or tax-exempt 501(a) organizations that are allowed to engage in activities to influence candidate elections and
  • require the Citizens Clean Election Commission’s proposed rules to receive approval from the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council.

A “no” vote opposes this measure to:

  • prohibit candidates from using their public financing accounts to give funds to political parties or tax-exempt 501(a) organizations that are allowed to engage in activities to influence candidate elections and
  • require the Citizens Clean Election Commission’s proposed rules to receive approval from the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council.

What is the Citizens Clean Election Commission (CCEC)? The Citizens Clean Election Commission (CCEC) oversees Arizona’s public financing program for campaigns.

AZ Prop. 125, the Adjustments to Elected Officials’ and Corrections Officer’s Retirement Plans Amendment, is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment.

A “yes” vote supports this amendment to make adjustments to retirement plans based on cost-of-living adjustments, rather than permanent benefit increases, for correctional officers, probation officers and surveillance officers (Corrections Officer Retirement Plan) and elected officials (Elected Officials’ Retirement Plan).

A “no” vote opposes this amendment to make adjustments to retirement plans based on cost-of-living adjustments, rather than permanent benefit increases, for correctional officers, probation officers, and surveillance officers (Corrections Officer Retirement Plan) and elected officials (Elected Officials’ Retirement Plan).

Proposition 125 would allow the Arizona State Legislature to make adjustments to the two state pension plans. The legislature already passed two bills to implement Proposition 125 if the constitutional amendment is approved.

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