Rundown of Arizona Ballot initiatives for 2008

Prop 100: Don’t tax our houses yo!

UPDATE: Passed 77% to 23% Arizonans hate taxes

Prop 100 is an amendment to the state constitution to prevent any new taxes on sales or transfers of property by government. By and large I’m opposed to any amendment of the state constitution that doesn’t have immediate and stark consequences for the populace. These kind of preemptive strike amendments just seem like overkill to me.

As proponents of the bill have stated, the purpose here is to prevent state government from looking to home owners as a source of revenue to shore up Arizona’s terrible budget problems.

While I’m no big fan of new taxes sales of property, I’m also no big fan of tying the legislature’s hands in trying to fix our broken state economy.

Prop 101: Rich people want to pay for better healthcare than poor people

UPDATE: Failed by a mere 2137 votes. Not sure if this one is final

Prop 101 is another proposed constitutional amendment meant to restrict state lawmakers from passing laws that remove healthcare choices and mandate specific providers or plans.

The pro/con arguments are all over the place on this one. I’m all for preserving the ability of people with means to be able to purchase all the healthcare they want, but from what I’ve read, the text of this proposition could have some pretty nasty effects on the ability to provide universal healthcare to arizona citizens. Either way, I wouldn’t want this popped into the state constitution.

Prop 102: Arizonans hate gay people

UPDATE: Passed 56% to 44% Arizonans really do hate gay people. County by county results seem to indicate that native americans really really hate gay people.

In the ongoing effort to punish gay people for being gay, this initiative is another effort to amend the state constitution to say that marriage is only defined by being between a man and a woman.

In 2006, state voters voted down prop 107 which was an effort to prevent state institutions from providing any legal recognition to couples that weren’t composed of a man and a woman. This effort to repudiate equal rights was seen as the reason for failure of the initiative.

So this time around, we’re not trying to suppress equal rights, we’re just trying to prevent activist judges from “redefining” marriage and allowing gay people to get married, which isn’t suppressing equal rights at all.

If you hate gay people, vote yes on 102.

Prop 105: Arizonans hate taxes. Oh yeah and democracy

UPDATE: Failed 66% to 34%. Hopefully this kind of trash won’t make it on to the next ballot.

Prop 105 is a shameful attempt to prevent any tax increase in Arizona brought by ballot initiative. Essentially it would establish that for any initiative that raises taxes or places additional financial burden on businesses (like a minimum wage law), a majority of registered voters would have to vote for it.

Now as anyone with 2 brain cells to rub together could tell you, it’s pretty common that less than half of registered voters turn out for any election, and you usually only see more than half on presidential election years. So in effect, anyone who doesn’t vote is considered a no vote on initiatives that would raise taxes. This includes people who have moved out of state and dead people still on the voter rolls.

This is profoundly undemocratic, and one wonders why a similar initiative doesn’t also apply to the state passing initiatives that require issuance of bonds to pay for them. Ahh, that’s because Democrats raise taxes to pay for things, and Republicans borrow money to pay for things.

Interestingly, in the random sampling of signatures to get the initiative on the ballot, almost half of the signatures were found to be invalid and there were too few good signatures to get it on the ballot. Usually, this would lead to a complete review of the signatures, but in this case, the county recorder didn’t feel there was enough time to do a manual review and just let it on saying it was close enough. Awesome.

Prop 200: Payday lenders: “Please let us continue to rip off poor people… please?”

UPDATE: Failed 59% to 41%. Sorry payday lenders. Looks like you’ll have to propose meaningful reforms before Arizonans extend your right to exist.

Prop 200 seeks to remove the 2010 deadline for laws that allow the existence of payday lenders in effect granting them a perpetual license to do business in the state. This is also another constitutional amendment. It offers some minor concessions in exchange for the ability to continue operating. It lowers the “fees” on loans from 17.5% to 15% and limits the number of times you can extend loans by paying additional “fees”.

Payday lenders are scum. There are no two ways about it. There’s no reason to allow for their legalized loan-sharking to continue. There’s no way I’m amending the constitution to allow for their continued victimization of the poor and working class.

Prop 201: Homeowners “Please let us sue these developer bastards”

UPDATE: Failed by a huge 78% to 22%. I’m really surprised by this. All that rhetoric about out of state lawyers must have freaked people out.

Holy crap it’s not an amendment to the state constitution! Prop 201 is an effort to extend warranties on new homes, provide different options to correcting defects, and remove loser pays litigation.

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but during the housing boom, a lot unscrupulous developers and builders were building a bunch of houses that looked pretty, but fell apart after a few years because they were using crappy materials and building practices to squeeze the most money out of every build and speed up construction so they could rip off the next guy.

This pissed off a lot of home owners who are forced by their contracts into a long and painful arbitration process that surprise surprise almost always favored the builder. So now you have prop 201.

There’s a specific point here about loser pays litigation. Once you’re in the court system, builders with a lot of money (which they did in the boom) could start pressuring home owners to settle by threatening to spend hundreds of thousands on their defense. If there was any chance of the home owners loosing, having to pay for the builders legal fees would bankrupt them so they would settle the case for pennies on the dollar rather than face the risk of losing everything. Loser pays always punishes the little guy even though it’s supposedly meant to suppress frivolous litigation.

Vote yes on this one. Crazy I know.

Prop 202: Let local McDonalds’ use loose standards to hire undocumented workers.

UPDATE: Failed 59% to 41%. Transparent initiative was transparent. Well at least to the 59% who bothered to actually read it.

Prop 202 is an amazing piece of proposed legislation, and something you’d expect to see in national level politics, rather than state level. It’s a great example of Orwellian newspeak.

Supposedly this is about passing stricter regulations to prevent undocumented workers. In reality, it makes existing regulations harder to enforce and allows business owners to verify worker eligibility using the I9 system which is notoriously insecure.

If you don’t like undocumented workers, you should vote no. Technically if you don’t like Orwellian newspeak bullshit crap like this you should vote no as well.

Prop 300: Give lawmakers more money

UPDATE: Failed 65% to 35%. I expected this to be closer than it was, but apparently most Arizonans don’t feel the legislature has done much to deserve a pay raise.

Currently Arizona legislators get paid 24k for less than 100 days of work a year. They would like to get paid 30k.

24k is roughly equivalent to a 62.4k/yr job and 30k is roughly equivalent to a 78k/yr job. I leave it to you to decide whether or not the job our state legislators are doing is worth either amount. In the face of massive budget shortfalls I can’t imagine any other state worker getting a raise this year. So take that for what it’s worth.

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