Arizona Majority Rules, Proposition 105 (2008)
Elections and Campaigns
|Not on ballot|
- 1 Election results
- 2 Text of measure
- 3 Estimate of fiscal impact
- 4 Supporters
- 5 Opponents
- 6 Polls
- 7 Newspaper editorials
- 8 Path to the ballot
- 9 Double-majority requirements
- 10 See also
- 11 External links
- 12 References
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Proposition 105 would have required that a majority of registered voters—not just a majority of voters casting ballots—approve all citizen-initiated ballot measures that raise state taxes or fees or otherwise obligate government spending before such a proposal can become law. The requirement was sometimes known as a double majority.
|Arizona Majority Rules|
Text of measure
The official ballot language for the measure read:
This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
To protect the will of the people of Arizona for fiscal responsibility through true majority rule, any initiative that imposes additional taxes or spending must have support from a majority of qualified electors in Arizona. Currently, initiatives that increase taxes or spending can pass with approval from only a minority of qualified electors. In the past, big money, special interest groups have pushed higher spending and taxes. Arizona now faces one of the largest deficits of any state in the country. We must protect the will of the people and let a true majority of the voters decide.
Estimate of fiscal impact
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) was required to develop a neutral estimate of the fiscal impact of any ballot measures that appear on the Arizona ballot. According to the JLBC's statement about Proposition 105:
- Proposition 105 will not affect existing law.
- If Proposition 105 had been in the Arizona Constitution prior to 1998, five ballot initiatives that were approved by voters between 1998-2006 would not have met its double majority standard and would not have become law.
- These initiatives either raised a tax or fee or imposed a mandatory spending obligation, and while they were approved with a majority of votes cast, none were approved by a majority of registered voters.
Table 1: Ballot initiatives since 1998
Note: This table shows ballot initiatives on the Arizona ballot after 1998 that raised taxes or created spending obligations that were approved by voters. These are initiatives that would have required a double majority vote to pass, had Proposition 105 been in effect.
|Year||Proposition #||Subject||Yes votes|
||Tobacco settlement money; health insurance||58.1%|
||AHCCCS; funding; health; nutrition and prevention programs||62.9%|
||Tribal-state gaming compacts||50.8%|
||Early childhood development; $0.80 increase of tobacco tax||53.2%|
No initiative, with or without a fiscal impact, received votes from a majority of registered voters between 1998 and 2006.
The sponsoring group was called Majority Rules—Let the People Decide. Some notable members of the group were:
The primary proponent for the measure was the Lincoln Strategy Group, a conservative consultant group operated by Nathan Sproul. Majority Rules has received financial backing from fast-food franchisee Jason LeVecke, Tucson auto-dealer Jim Click, and a number of alcohol distributors. The Arizona Free Enterprise Club supports it.
The main arguments put forward in support of Proposition 105 included:
- The Majority Rule initiative would prevent the passage of initiatives that are supported by only a fraction of eligible voters. In low turnout elections, as few as 25% of the electorate can pass a tax increase on the entire Arizona population.
- The Majority Rule initiative would require that any initiative that seeks to raise new taxes or spending meet a higher threshold and pass with the support of a majority of all registered voters.
- The Majority Rule initiative compliments the Arizona Constitution, which requires a two-thirds affirmative vote of the legislature to raise taxes.
- The opponent of Prop. 105 are the same groups who have supported tax and spending measures in previous elections, according to Steve Voeller, president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, who says, "It should really come as no surprise that those who historically support tax and spending measures are the same folks who oppose Prop. 105."
- The Majority Rule initiative puts the burden on special interest groups who seek to raise taxes to make their case to all voters.
- It makes sense that the minority shouldn't be able to impose a tax hike on the majority.
- Prop. 105 would not affect existing voter-approved spending mandates
- Prop. 105 would make it harder for special interests to use ballot initiatives to raise taxes
- If a strong majority of voters want new spending obligations or tax increases, they can still vote for them
- Too many groups wait for a "low turnout" election to pass their massive spending or tax increases on the balance of Arizona voters. Is it really too much to ask that we earn the consensus of a real majority of Arizona voters before passing laws of such great consequence?
According to the National Taxpayers Union, "Proposition 105 would place a strong majority vote requirement on plans to increase taxes or spending. Specifically, a vote of support from a majority of qualified electors in Arizona would be necessary to pass an initiative that imposes higher taxes or spending.
Donors to Prop. 105
Through October 20, the supporters of Proposition 105 had raised about $1.4 million to support their campaign.
Larger donors included:
- MJKL Enterprises, $630,000. MJKL is owned by Jason LeVecke. (According to an October 10, 2008 story, LeVecke's contributions have grown to $1.2 million).
- Golden Door Initiative, $267,000 (in-kind contribution for TV advertising)
- PDG Trust, $150,000
- Services Group of America, $100,000.
- Christine Augustine, $25,000.
- Eric Crown, $25,000.
- Anheuser-Busch, $10,000.
Opponents organized a group called the Voters of Arizona Committee. The group includes business organizations (Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Contractors Association), hunting and fishing groups (Arizona Game and Fish Commission), public safety/first responder groups (Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona), educational organizations (Arizona Education Association and the Arizona School Boards Association), health care groups (Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association); and a bi-artisan roster of elected officials including Governor Janet Napolitano on the Democratic side, and Tucson’s Republican Mayor Bob Walkup. The League of Women Voters is also opposed.
Governor Janet Napolitano stated "the way it works is that if somebody stays home and doesn’t even take the effort to vote their vote counts because they’re effectively a ‘no’ vote. That’s not fair. The vote should be the majority of those who take the trouble to vote." She continued by adding "one practical application is it allows really an effective minority to control the public policy agenda.
Main arguments proposed in opposition to Proposition 105 included:
- Prop 105 says that those people who don't bother to get off their couch to vote get counted as automatic NO votes.
- If you choose to exercise your right NOT to vote, Prop 105 will automatically choose a NO vote for you.
- The recently deceased would be counted as a NO vote if Prop 105 passed.
- If Prop 105 was already in place, a number of initiatives that passed overwhelmingly in previous years would not have become law.
- Prop 105 isn't about taxes or your money. It attacks the act of voting.
- It is a "slick scheme to give non-voters a vote."
Donors opposed to Prop. 105
Through October 20, the opponents of Proposition 105 had raised about $1.1 million to support their campaign.
- John Sperling, $500,000.
- National Education Association, $500,000.
- Arizona Education Association, $16,000.
- Professional Firefighters of Arizona, $70,000.
- See also Polls, 2008 ballot measures.
|Month of Poll||Pollster||In Favor||Opposed||Undecided|
|October 2008||KAET-TV||27 percent||51 percent||12 percent|
- The East Valley Tribune was opposed.
Path to the ballot
Supporters filed approximately 390,000 signatures with the Secretary of State on July 3, 2008, to place the measure on the November ballot. After a random sampling-based review of the signatures, Secretary of State Jan Brewer said that it appeared to have about 226,500 valid names, or about 98% of the 230,047 valid signatures needed to qualify a constitutional amendment for the ballot in Arizona.
When a random sampling check of signatures indicates that the full number of signatures are likely within 5% of the number required for qualification, the next step normally is for county recorders to do a complete name-by-name check. But Brewer said the recorders did not have time to do that before the ballots were to be printed. Thus, according to court based precedents, for the 2008 ballot in Arizona, any ballot measure, including Prop 105, where the random sample projects at least 95 percent of the necessary signatures was presumed qualified.
Some other states impose a more-than-50%-vote-to-pass on ballot measures. These requirements vary considerably from state-to-state, where they exist.
- Florida voters passed Amendment 3 in 2006, which requires that any statewide ballot proposition proposing a constitutional amendment (no matter the content) must win at least 60% of the vote to pass. Ironically, this measure was approved with only a 57.8% majority.
- Laws governing the initiative process in Wyoming mandate a double-majority requirement on any and all statewide ballot propositions, regardless of the content or subject of the ballot proposition.
- Oregon Ballot Measures 47 (1996) and 50 (1997) imposed a double-majority requirement for tax legislation. A ballot measure to repeal this, Oregon Ballot Measure 56 (2008), will appear on this November's ballot.
- California school bond elections must be decided by either a 55% or a 67% majority, depending on details.
- 2008 Arizona Election Results
- Ballot proposition guide to Prop. 105 - English
- Ballot proposition guide for Prop. 105 - Spanish
- Full text of the initiative
- Arizona Republic's guide to Prop 105, pro and con sides both represented.
- National Conference of State Legislatures Ballot Measures Database
- Tucson Citizen: "Denogean: Measure asks Arizona voters to disenfranchise themselves," July 1, 2008
- Opponents correct on 'no' votes, analysis of a television commercial.
- Prop. 105: A proposition to limit propositions, Yuma Sun, October 12
- Lincoln Strategy Group web site
- Yes on 105 campaign commercial
- Video of arguments for 105 from a debate, posted by Arizona Sec'y of State's office
- Yes on Prop 105 campaign finance report (PDF) for period of August 14-September 22.
- Yes on Prop 105 campaign finance report for period of June 1-August 13 (PDF)
- The Voters of Arizona -- No on Prop 105 Campaign
- No on 105 campaign commercial
- Video of arguments against 105 from a debate, posted by Arizona Sec'y of State's office
- No on 105 campaign finance report (PDF) for period August 14-September 22
- No on 105 campaign finance report (PDF) for period June 1-August 13
- Arizona Elections Division, 2008 Election Results
- JLBC Fiscal Analysis BALLOT PROPOSITION #105 Majority Rules – Let the People Decide July 18, 2008
- Arizona Capitol Times: "Two more initiatives filed before deadline," July 3, 2008
- Phoenix Buziness Journal, "Palin could impact Arizona election," September 22, 2008
- Arizona Free Enterprise Club statement on Proposition 105
- Arizona Republic, "Big money behind some ballot props," October 27
- No on Prop 105: Who Opposes
- Arizona Republic, "Prop. 105: Tax relief or end of initiatives?," September 21, 2008
- Measure would make it more difficult to pass tax hikes, spending plans
- No on Prop 105:Why It's Wrong
- Arizona Republic, "A slick scheme to give non-voters a vote," October 13, 2008
- Business Journal, "University of Phoenix founder ponies up $500,000 to fight Prop. 105," October 13, 2008
- Arizona Republic, "Majority loses with proposal," October 9, 2008
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