Here are the propositions that will be on the Arizona ballot in November

Oct 12, 2018, 2:37 PM | Updated: Nov 2, 2018, 4:43 pm

PHOENIX — The 2018 midterm election is fast approaching.

In addition to a Senate seat, all of the nine House seats, and other state races, there are five ballot initiatives on the ballot for the Nov. 6 election.

The initiatives — Propositions 125, 126, 127, 305 and 306 — deal with everything from state pensions to a professional services tax to private schools.

Ahead of the election, KTAR News 92.3 FM’s reporters took a deep dive into each of the propositions in order to explain what they are — and what they mean for Arizonans.

Proposition 125

What is it:

Proposition 125 would amend the Arizona Constitution to allow for two state pension plans — Corrections Officer Retirement Plan and the Elected Officials’ Retirement Plan — to be adjusted.

Based on Senate Bills 1442 and 2545, it would make an exception to the current prohibition against diminishing or impairing public retirement system benefits.

Who is supporting it:

Public Safety Personnel Retirement System vice chairman Will Buividas supports the notion, saying the adjustment will help spread out payments long term.

“We believe that it will ensure that the funds will be sustainable going into the future. After we did it for PSPRS two years ago, PSPRS is back to the path of recovery,” Buividas told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“It is stable, it is growing and we need to do the same to CORP and EORP so we can pay those pensions out to retirees for the next 50 years.”

Who is opposing it:

Retired corrections officer Eric Hahn feels like the proposition is taking money out of the pockets of retirees.

“It’s basically just changing a contract after everybody’s already retired; that’s why we’re against it,” Hahn said.

“We fulfilled our terms of employment and retired and now the state’s coming back and trying to cut out costs of living for retirees and make retirees their scapegoat for their budget problems.”

What would it mean if you vote yes:

You would authorize the Arizona Legislature to adjust elected officials’ and corrections officers’ retirement plans to remove a four percent benefit increase and replace it with a maximum of two percent cost of living increase.

What it would mean if you vote no:

You would not authorize the Legislature to adjust the retirement plans, and the current benefit and contribution rules for elected official and corrections officer retirees would stay in place.

Proposition 126

What is it:

Proposition 126 would amend the Arizona Constitution to ban professional services taxes on any services that are not taxed as of Dec. 31, 2017.

The ban includes services such as real estate, accounting and health care, including doctor visits.

The proposition also states that counties and local municipalities cannot get around this by imposing their own professional service tax. However, if local improvements are needed, they could make special assessments.

Who is supporting it:

Holly Mabery, who heads the group Citizens for Fair Tax Policy, which is sponsoring the proposition, said the ban would help decrease the burden on small business owners.

“That professional, every month, would have to become a tax collector and forward money to the state,” she said.

“We really believe in power to the people, and allowing them to make the decision. So many times we’re not getting it done, legislatively.”

Who is opposing it:

Max Goshert, a senior research associate with the Grand Canyon Institute, said there are legislative safeguards in place against tax increases.

“It could be difficult because they do have to get two-thirds of both houses to pass that,” he said. “But, they still have the ability should our economy downturn or should our state revenue need it.”

What would it mean if you vote yes:

You would support prohibiting state and local governments from enacting new taxes or increasing tax rates on services in Arizona.

What it would mean if you vote no:

You would allow the state Legislature to retain the power to enact taxes on services in Arizona in the future.

Proposition 127

What is it:

Proposition 127 would amend Arizona’s Constitution and require utilities to get 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources, like solar and wind, by the year 2030.

That would be a big jump from the current renewable-energy standard, which requires utilities to get 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by the year 2025.

Who is supporting it:

DJ Quinlan, spokesman for Yes on 127, said the group believes passing the proposition would see a “massive investment” in renewable energy “while saving money for consumers.”

“By expanding and building more cheaper sources of energy, we’ll ultimately save a good amount of money in the long-run,” Quinlan said, adding that renewable energy would also help improve air quality and reduce pollution.

Who is opposing it:

Matthew Benson, spokesman with No on 127, argued that the proposition will “significantly increase the amount that you pay for electricity every month when you get that utility bill.”

He said that means consumers would pay an extra $1,000 per year in utilities bills.

Benson added Arizona already has a mix of energy that’s 50 percent clean when nuclear power is included.

“So we’re moving in the right direction, and we’re doing it in a way that keeps energy affordable,” he said.

What would it mean if you vote yes:

You would support a constitutional amendment to require utilities in Arizona to get 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030.

What it would mean if you vote no:

You would leave in place Arizona’s existing renewable energy requirements of 15 percent by 2025.

Proposition 305

What is it:

Gov. Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1431 into law in April 2017.

The bill would make all of the state’s public school students in kindergarten through twelfth grade eligible to apply for the Empowerment Scholarship Account program, which provides state funds for parents who choose to send their children to private schools.

Currently, only public school students who have special needs, are in foster care, are in military families, are a sibling of a student in the program, live on an Indian reservation, or have a parent who is legally blind or deaf are eligible to apply.

Shortly after the bill was signed, six women who met at legislative hearings for SB 1431 and were opposed to the legislation organized the veto referendum campaign Save Our Schools Arizona.

In September 2017, Secretary of State Michele Reagan announced that enough signatures were verified to place the veto referendum on the ballot as Proposition 305.

Who is supporting it:

The Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix-based think tank, is among the proposition’s supporters.

“We know that kids are not one size fits all,” said Jenny Clark, a supporter of 305. “Not every child fits in a district or charter school, and we believe all children should have the opportunity to make that choice.”

Clark said her son needs the ESA vouchers because their school district does not offer resources for her son’s dyslexia and dysgraphia.

Who is opposing it:

Dawn Penich-Thacker, the co-founder of the grassroots organization Save Our Schools Arizona, said “these Empower Scholarship Accounts are really just handouts, most of the time for families who are just using it to reduce their private school tuition.”

Save Our Schools Arizona believes the funding for ESA expansion is money that is taken away from the public and charter school systems, loaded onto a Visa debit card and handed to parents to do with what they please.

“Most people don’t think that we should just hand our tax paying dollars over to other people and say, go for it,” Penich-Thacker said. “We need to keep our tax dollars accountable, transparent and responsible. And Prop. 305 is none of those things.”

What would it mean if you vote yes:

You would vote to uphold Senate Bill 1431, which would make all of Arizona’s public school students eligible to apply for the Empowerment Scholarship Account program.

What it would mean if you vote no:

You would vote to repeal Senate Bill 1431.

Proposition 306

What is it:

Proposition 306 would prohibit Arizona candidates who use Clean Elections funding from transferring any campaign funds to a political party or any tax-exempt organization that attempts to influence elections.

It would also subject the commission to regulatory oversight.

Who is supporting it:

Jonathan Paton, spokesman for Yes on Proposition 306 and a former Republican state lawmaker, said people are taking money and funding political parties in Arizona.

“We’re just changing what they just did in 2016, which was to change the rules to allow people who are receiving Clean Elections money of giving that money to the political parties,” Paton said.

Paton said we need better oversight of Clean Elections.

“This commission is unelected,” he said. “It’s appointed, and they have more power than the Legislature or the executive branch.

“They can fine and they can get rid of elected officials, without any oversight whatsoever.”

Who is opposing it:

Democratic political analyst Chris Herstam, who served in the state Legislature as a Republican, opposes Proposition 306.

“It will take away the rule-making authority of Clean Elections and put it in a gubernatorially appointed partisan body that will eventually neuter Clean Elections, and we will lose our publicly financed system,” he said.

Herstam also said the group in charge of oversight is already in place.

“The commission is appointed by bipartisan types,” he said. “Not only a governor, but also the majority and minority leaders in the Legislature. It’s a cross-section of the public.”

What would it mean if you vote yes:

You would support the measure to block candidates from using public financing to give funds to political parties or tax-exempt organizations and require the Citizens Clean Election Commission’s proposed rules to be approved by the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council.

What it would mean if you vote no:

You would oppose that measure.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bob McClay, Kathy Cline, Griselda Zetino, Ali Vetnar and Mark Carlson contributed to this report. 

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Here are the propositions that will be on the Arizona ballot in November