Chamber weighs in on handful of proposals impacting Arizona elections; citizen initiative process; debt collection; and in-state tuition at public universities
PHOENIX (July 6, 2022)—The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the state’s leading business advocacy organization, has announced its positions on six initiatives appearing on or attempting to secure a spot on the November ballot.
THE CHAMBER IS SUPPORTING:
A proposal to allow the Arizona State Legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot initiatives if any portion has been declared unconstitutional or illegal by the Arizona or U.S. Supreme Court
Arizona Chamber President and CEO Danny Seiden: “Under our current system, there is virtually no way for our elected representatives to fix an unconstitutional initiative. Proposition 128 enhances the credibility of the initiative system by allowing our elected legislators to amend a measure approved by voters if it’s found to contain any unconstitutional language by the Arizona Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Arizona’s open system remains attractive to out-of-state activist groups seeking to impose on us policies that are not in Arizona’s best interest. It is more urgent than ever to provide stronger protections around Arizona’s system of direct democracy.
“Preserving the power of the people is core to our democracy, but if language is enacted that is clearly in violation of the law or state Constitution then we must allow a path for our elected policymakers to correct course.”
An initiative to require that ballot measures address a single subject, and that the subject be expressed in the measure’s title
Seiden: “Proposition 129 is simple. It ensures that any proposition on a ballot is clear-cut and that voters are informed on the issue. Too often we have seen propositions falsely portrayed due to the oversimplification of complex topics. We need to make certain that any measure put before voters only contains one subject and require the subject to be expressed in the title of the initiative measure.
“Voter-protected measures are nearly impossible to amend once enacted, so limiting them to a single subject will make sure that Arizonans have complete knowledge on what they are voting for.”
A proposal to require that ballot measures calling for the approval of a tax hike be approved by at least 60% of votes cast, rather than the current simple majority
Seiden: “Simply put: the imposition of new taxes on the people should be done cautiously and with broad agreement, whether the taxes are coming from the Legislature or the ballot box. Proposition 132 will align the threshold for passing a tax via citizen initiative with the state Legislature, where a tax increase requires a 2/3 vote to pass.
“Arizona’s current system is highly attractive to special interests seeking to game the system to push through tax hikes that they would not be able to pass through traditional legislative means.
“Prop. 132 offers a commonsense and necessary solution. Increasing the threshold of votes needed to implement a tax increase will protect and enhance the credibility of Arizona’s citizen initiative system by making it more difficult for outside interests to pursue policies detrimental to Arizona’s economy and our taxpayers.”
A measure to allow all students who have lived in Arizona for two years and graduated from an Arizona high school to receive in-state tuition at our public universities
Seiden: “If we are going to remain an attractive destination for job creators and continue to meet evolving workforce demands, we must do more to encourage all Arizona learners to pursue an education after high school.
“Right now, there is a large untapped talent pool of Arizona students whose citizenship status prohibits them from receiving in-state tuition at our public universities after graduating from an Arizona high school. Now more than ever, we must do more to ensure that all students who receive a K-12 education in Arizona have the same opportunity as their peers to pursue higher education.
“Prop. 308 provides a critical and commonsense solution to tackle Arizona’s attainment challenges, address workforce shortages and elevate our economic profile to job creators looking to invest and expand in our state.”
THE CHAMBER IS OPPOSING:
A measure that would reverse a decade of election reforms and increase taxpayer contributions to fund politicians and campaigns
Seiden: “For too long, backers of ballot initiatives have played fast and loose with the descriptions of the proposals they’ve tried to sell to voters. Worse, they’ve relied on petition signature gatherers who shouldn’t be anywhere near our private information. Arizona lawmakers have closed those loopholes, but this initiative would blow them wide open.
“This proposition also wants to shovel more taxpayer money into politicians’ campaigns. That’s a terrible idea. Public dollars should be used for real priorities like public safety, education, and transportation – not junk mail and spam phone calls.
“This proposition means more money for politicians and more out-of-state special interests attempting to bring their radical policies to Arizona.”
An initiative to cap interest rates for debt from healthcare services and increase the value of assets protected from certain legal processes to collect debt
Seiden: “Despite the claims of the proponents that their scheme only applies to medical debt, it will apply to debts of all kinds.
“When lenders can’t collect outstanding debts, they’ll pass their losses onto their other customers, which means higher interest rates for everyday Arizonans. At a time of sky-high inflation, do we really want even higher interest rates?
“What’s worse, thousands of Arizonans will lose access to previously available financing. Left without the ability to collect on their loans, lenders will simply stop doing business with hardworking Arizonans who need access to funds the most, leaving these potential customers unable to get credit to buy a car, rent an apartment or buy a house.
“Don’t be fooled by the empty promises and slick rhetoric of the campaign – this initiative won’t protect anyone, and it will hurt the very individuals its proponents say it will help.”