Friday, September 26, 2008

Arizona Proposition 105 - A Really Bad Idea

Okay, so here's the first of those political rants I mentioned in my post earlier today. It's specific to Arizona, but I think everyone needs to know that this kind of thing is out there.

One of the Propositions on the ballot this election is Prop 105, the 'Majority Rule' proposition (you can get both the text of the bill and the public pamphlet at the AZ Secretary of State ballot measures page). Essentially, this bill says that any initiative which will increase taxes has to be approved by a majority of registered voters.

Let emphasize this last point: "a majority of registered voters." NOT just a majority of those who voted, but of those who are registered to vote. This means that people who are registered but do not vote on an issue are effectively marked down as a "no." Given that registered voter turn out in the 2004 election was 88.4% (and that was the highest level since 1996), the "no's" already have a 12% advantage over the "yes" votes. The numbers get even worse when you look at non-presidential election years. In 2006, that number drops to 70%. Remember, these are the percent of registered voters who voted, not the percentage of eligible voters (those number are even worse). [See the Census Bureau numbers]

You can see the problem here. This measure would make it nearly impossible to get any initiative which raises taxes in any form (even if it's just to pay for something in the bill) passed.

Now, I'm all for fiscal responsibility in government. And, as should be fairly clear by now, I am a very strong believer in citizen participation in politics and government. This bill, however, is just fuckin' insane! I've people who support dismiss the concerns of low voter-turn out by saying that it will actually encourage people to educate themselves on the initiative and then vote. This is a bull-shit argument. Let's fact it - "people" are lazy idiots. They are NOT going to read up on a issue in depth and then vote on it. Some will, but many will not.

This entire bill is predicated on the Libertarian idea that government needs to be reduced as far as possible, mainly be doing away with as many taxes as possible. Get a clue people! We NEED taxes! Yes, April 15th sucks every single goddamn year. But it IS necessary. Know what taxes are used for? Roads, fire and police, schools, basic infrastructure. Taxes go away, so do all of these things!

And that is exactly what Prop 105 would result in.

But, given my previous statement about people being idiots, I have a real free that this will pass anyway.


EricAZ said...

You're right that it's a bad idea. It's actually worse than you think. State voter turnout was only 77.1% in 2004 and only 60%-67% of voters voted on any of the initiatives. Prop 105 is also so broadly written that it doesn't just affect taxes, but would apply to almost any initiative. This isn't about taxes, but about fairness in voting. No initiative passed in the last 10 years, including some very popular ideas, met this threshold. This would end the citizen initiative process.

Erin said...

I mean, it's beyond a bad idea, it's absurd. And I dare say that we have really made a mockery of the founding fathers' democratic ideals. I feel like the entire process is pretty much broken and I can't even begin to see where we can fix it.

And in terms of the whole "getting more people to vote," well, I am glad that voting is a right but I think it should also a privilege. I think that Americans should at least have to pass something akin to what people have to do for citizenship, if they want to be able to vote. I mean, you shouldn't be allowed to just come in and punch the button because you can fog a mirror. Voter proficiency testing. I know, it's an unpopular view and I know it would also create problems. But dang, people. I mean, you do have to show you understand the basics of driving before you are allowed to drive. It should be more like that.

Anonymous said...

If this passes, Arizona will be the first state where dead people really vote. The voter rolls include people who have died, moved, and are in jail. They will all get to vote NO legitimately.

AZNurse said...

The so-called "Majority Rules" constitutional amendment is deceptive,unfair, and inherently wrong. There's a reason why such a diverse coalition of groups are opposing Prop 105. Check out The Voters of Arizona website:

RogueHistorian said...

While I'm not exactly sure how I feel about people using my blog to advertise their sites and as an online equivilant to a street conern for posting signs, I am certainly glad that there are others out there recognize the monumental stupidity of Prop 105.