Phoenix, AZ – The billion dollars a year that will be raised for the next three
years should help save at least some state services. The
immediate winners are K-12 education which would have taken a
$428 million hit had Propoposition 100 failed, as well as the
university system which would have lost about $107 million. Gov.
Jan Brewer, who has championed the tax hike for more than a year
-- often by herself -- clearly was pleased with the result. But
she acknowledged that a substantial minority of Arizonans who
went to the polls Tuesday said they don't want higher taxes. And
she attempted to reach out to them.
(I want you to know that I respect your position and I've heard
you. Government must be as efficient as possible. We must make
every dollar count.)
Foes of the tax said voters were sold a bill of goods. Farrell
Quinlan of the National Federation of Independent Business
pointed out that even with the billion dollars a year in new
revenues the state will continue to spend more than it takes in.
(We have a $3 billion structural deficit. The voters deserved a
plan that got us to a balanced budget, not a kick-the-can-down-
the-road mini solutions that doesn't really take care of the
And Quinlan said part of that solution is deeper spending cuts.
Brewer conceded that the state's books are still not balanced.
But she said the tax hike is just part of her plan.
(We have an aggressive pro-growth jobs creation program about to
reach their stride. We also have a very important Commission on
Privatization and Efficiency, also known as the COPE commission,
that will look at extremely hard ways to save more taxpayers'
dollars and help us continue to bring down the cost of
One thing that is clear is that supporters had more money to
spend promoting the tax hike than opponents did to combat it -- a
lot more. The figures show at least $2.6 million in spending for
Proposition 100, against less than $2,000 for the other side.
State Sen. Thayer Verschoor said opponents did not have the
resources to overcome what he said was the fear of what would
happen if the tax hike failed, some of which was not even
(I mean, quite frankly, this tax increase is not going to help
police and fire at all. But yet that was part of their main
message that police and fire would be cut and response times will
be... It's the same message we hear all the time whenever they
want a tax increase. It's not true. But it didn't matter. We
didn't have the resources to say that's not true.)
Brewer acknowledged the spending disparity. But she said it
simply reflects public sentiment.
(You know, the other side could have went out and gathered money.
We were very fortunate to have responsible community leaders and
citizens and people in the community that agree, after looking at
the situation, what was going to be needed in order to do the
best for the people of Arizona. And they stepped up. For that I'm
Verschoor conceded the point.
(There are a lot of groups, I was disappointed, wouldn't step,
either stepped up in favor of the yes side or didn't step in to
help this thing be defeated and help us get the message out that
this problem is a spending problem, not a revenue problem.)
And Verschoor said he believes many of the foes were under the
impression that there was no way Arizonans were going to vote for
higher sales taxes, no matter how much proponents spent. He said
a lot of them are waking up today to what for them might be a
nasty surprise. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.