Arizona First Things First Program Repeal, Proposition 302 (2010)
The measure was proposed to appeal the First Things First program, an early childhood services program, and put its $324 million into the general fund. The money would then be used for "health and human services for children."
- Created out of a concern over Arizona's high child-poverty rates
- Funded by voter enacted tobacco tax, which was approved in 2006.
- Contained 31 volunteer regional councils
- Distributed grants to organizations that assisted families with literacy problems and abuse prevention among other related problems.
- The amount of money granted based on the number of children birth through age five in potential grant receiver's community.
- See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Official election results of the measure follow:
|Proposition 302 (First Things First Program)|
Text of measure
A "yes" vote shall have the effect of terminating the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board and programs, which were established by voters in 2006 as part of the "Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Initiative." It would require the transfer of money remaining in the early childhood development and education fund on December 1, 2010 to be deposited in the state general fund. Thereafter, it would require tobacco tax money collected pursuant to the initiative to be deposited in the state general fund and used for health and human services for children.
A "no" vote shall have the effect of retaining the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board and programs and keeping any money in the early childhood development and education fund.
A concurrent resolution enacting and ordering the submission to the people of a measure relating to Early Childhood Development and Health programs.
The summary of the measure read:
- An act amending sections 8-1152, 8-1161, 8-1162, 8-1171 and 8-1185, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to early childhood development and health programs.
Changes to statute text
The measure was proposed to change Title 8, Sections 8-1152, 8-1161, 8-1162, 8-1171, and 8-1185 of the Arizona State Revised Statutes.
- John Kavanagh argued, "The government ... has been doing things that people used to do for themselves. There's 'nice to have' and 'need to have."' Kavanagh later went on to comment on how the agency is operated, stating, "Most people have no idea what they're doing."
- Representative Rick Murphy agreed, stating that if economic times turn good again, that reauthorizing state programs could be an option, but to some extent: "Most certainly the spenders will want to put back a lot of the things that have been cut...Those things we should really do, but expanding the social programs back to where they were? Unless it's helping people who truly can't help themselves, no, we shouldn't do it."
- The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced their endorsement of the initiative on June 25, 2010, along with four other measures on the ballot.
- Senator Steve Pierce stated about the measure and Proposition 301: "There will be a lot of bad things happening if these (propositions) don't pass."
- The Arizona Tax Research Association (ATRA) were supporters of the measure, stating their position in an editorial published by ABC15.com.
- The Goldwater Institute was calling for the passage of the measure, according to reports. Director of the Center for Economic Prosperity at the Goldwater Institute, Dr. Byron Schlomach, stated that the First Things First Program was inactive and the funding could be used in a more effective way.
- Linda Turley-Hansen, syndicated columnist and former Phoenix TV anchor, advised a 'yes' vote on the measure in an editorial revealing her recommendations for all the propositions on the November ballot.
- Kevin McCarthy, president of the non-profit Arizona Tax Research Association, stated in a commentary, "The only thing that is certain is that the failure of Prop. 302 will increase our current budget deficit by another $324 million. That deficit will have to be closed with further reductions in state's core programs or even more tax increases. In 2006, during a booming economy, Arizonans approved a new program we thought we could afford. In four short years, everything has changed. A "yes" vote on Prop. 302 is a simple reflection of that reality."
- State Senator Ron Gould and State Representative Nancy G. McLain both voiced their support for the measure.
- According to John Kavanagh, House Appropriations Chairman stated that the measured did not include a contingency plan because of the confidence in its passage, but also because there was less money in danger of being lost than in the sales tax increase that had appeared on the May 2010 special election ballot. However, the backup plan would have included more budget cuts, according to Kavanaugh, who stated, "There will be more cuts to state agencies, more layoffs, more reductions in services, more park closings, more substantial cuts to education, more substantial cuts to health care.
- Supporters stated that if voters rejected this measure, along with the measure that was proposed to repeal the Growing Smarter program, the state's budget deficit would grow larger.
- According to an Arizona Republic article on October 10, 2010, many lawmakers criticized the 1998 vote that established the program. They argued that the fact that the programs could not be stricken, unless voters did so, it gave them less flexibility to figure out ways to alleviate Arizona's financial issues.
- The Arizona Tax Research Association argued for the measure in an editorial stating, "It is ironic and sad that at a time when lawmakers are forced to consider eliminating health care for 310,000 Arizonans and 47,000 children on KidsCare, that “First Things First” has the money to waste on a half-billion dollar marketing campaign. In good times, such a waste of taxpayer funds would be inappropriate.In our current crisis, it is offensive and provides further evidence that you should vote YES on Proposition 302."
- Byron Schlomach, in an editorial published by the Sonoran Alliance, called for the passage of the measure, along with Proposition 301, stating, "The Legislature built the current budget under the assumption these two propositions would pass. If they fail, the state funding shortfall will be at least $700 million. Meanwhile, additional federal funding for the state Medicaid program will be lower than expected. Tax revenues are coming in a bit slower than had been forecasted too."
Effects if measure passes
If Proposition 302 had passed, the State of Arizona would have been required to redirect tobacco tax revenues that were used for children's health and human service programs. Under the law at the time, a $0.80 per-pack cigarette tax funded the Early Childhood Development and Health Program in addition to outside donations given to the program. Revenues from the $0.80 per-pack tax were earmarked specifically for the Early Childhood Development and Health Program. The remainder of Arizona's cigarette tax revenue was used for tobacco control programs. All tobacco tax revenues were deposited, at the time, in either the state's general revenue or early childhood development funds. As of July 1, 2010, Arizona's total cigarette tax is $2.00 per pack according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The passage of Proposition 302 would have ended the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board on December 1, 2010. After terminating the Board, all remaining monies would have been deposited in the state's general revenue fund. All laws related to the Early Childhood Development and Health Program would have been removed from the Arizona Revised Statutes on June 1, 2011.
Supporters of Proposition 302 believed that the state's financial situation would have been improved if the voters approved the measure. The Arizona Farm Bureau, Arizona Tax Research Association, and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce wrote arguments in the official voter guide stating that the state's finances would have been improved upon passage of the measure..
- Representative Kyrsten Sinema stated her opposition of the measure, and pointed out that it did not include contingency plans if it failed. According to Sinema, who criticized the inclusion of the measures on the budget, "I just feel like we're...papering over a hole that will come gapingly wide open in November when the voters reject this proposal...This is a phony budget. It has fake numbers in it. And yet we've already appropriated the dollars that we're assuming the voters are going to give back to us."
- Representative Chad Campbell stated, "We are eliminating these programs and I can't figure out why. We're putting a big 'closed for business' sign on the state of Arizona."
- Representative David M. Lujan referred to a time in the 1990's when Fife Symington was governor and some state services were cut, "They're not just wiping out the funding, they're fundamentally trying to take us back to the Symington era. It's going to be very difficult to get those things back unless we change the complexion of the Legislature."
- Rhian Evans Alvin, executive director of the First Things First Program, stated, "We have money in the bank because we’re required to collect our funding before we actually spend it. We offered them a 6-year, no-interest loan. The governor said ‘yes, we’ll take it,’ the legislature had other ideas – like taking the money and not wanting to pay it back."
- Maricopa County Public Health director Bob England stated that the First Things First program was essential to his agency's budget. According to England, "Those kids grow up and have 80 percent fewer encounters with the juvenile justice system. So that's 80 percent less need for courts, for juvenile detention, and by implication, probably many of those kids would have wound up in jail." England continued to argue for the program and against the ballot measure when he argued that First Things First helped his program implement programs that had positive impacts. England stated, "They tend to save us money on the back end. That means that had we been doing this stuff 10 or 20 years ago, we would have had that much less of a financial crunch, a budget crunch, than what we're facing right now."
- Carol Stambaugh, National Association of Social Workers Arizona chapter member stated about the repeal of the program, "It's a crucial phase. It's the sweet spot of development for a young child. And the lasting effects of this can be negative, and they can be negative for a lifetime."
- The Pima County Democratic Party recommended a 'no' vote on the measure.
- Although the Arizona Republic did not state an opposition or support for the measure, the newspaper found the following when it examined the program's finances. The following was reported by the newspaper on March 21, 2010:
• At the end of January 2010, the program reportedly possessed $325 million in unspent money, which was more than two-thirds of funds the program had allegedly collected.
• Reports of potential conflict of interest were alleged in terms of funding.
• Three large non-profit groups received 50 percent of the First Things First money granted so far. Approximately only 30 percent of the grants awarded were through a competitive grant process. All grants, as expected in the law voters passed, should be awarded through this process.
- Nadine Mathas Basha, Co-chair of No on 302 and member of the First Things First Board of Directors, stated in an editorial, arguing against the measure and for the program. Basha brought up the point that voters approved the program and also approved Proposition 100, the measure that raised taxes by one cent in May, "In May, in the midst of the worst economic crisis since World War II, 64 percent of Arizona said yes to Proposition 100.The message behind that penny sales tax increase devoted to education and health care could not be more clear: Arizonans, many of whom believe government should be as small possible, nonetheless absolutely want to protect core services for children, especially the education system and vital health and human services efforts."
- According to The Jewish News of Greater Phoenix, in an editorial published on October 1, 2010, "In a state whose education system ranks as low as ours, where real fixes are few and far between, surely a program like First Things First should remain a top priority. We urge you to vote no on Prop. 302."
- Lori Tapia, coordinator of the Family Resource Center, stated about the children in the program: "There's been tremendous growth in this group since the first day," she said. "They came in and pulled every toy off the shelf, and they didn't really know how to pay with each other or pay attention."
Campaign advertisements and commercials
- The First Things First program planned to air a commercial promoting the organization and the positive effects that it had, according to the group. The commercial was scheduled to run from August 2010 to September 2010, which cost the group $489,000. The cost of the commercial was an addition to the $143,000 that First Things First paid to a public relations firm to put the commercial together.
- Rhiann Allvin stated that the release of the commercial had nothing to do with the ballot measure slated for the November ballot, stating, "I, obviously, had no control over the legislators' choices to put us on the ballot. There is nothing political about this public awareness campaign."
Possible fiscal impact
- In an email sent to Ballotpedia from the state treasurer's office, it was noted that Arizona Treasurer Dean Martin did not take an active role in supporting or opposing the measure. Martin did weigh in on the fiscal implication of the measure, however, by stating that a cash-flow problem in the state wouldn't happen unless voters rejected the proposal.
The following contributions were made for the campaign in support of the measure:
|Leading Arizona Forward||$20,000|
|Arizona Tax Research Association||$13,000|
|Hendrix and Co.||$1,001|
The following contributions were made for the campaign against the measure:
|Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community||$125,000|
|Children's Action Alliance||$78,610.02|
|Ak-Chin Indian Community||$75,000|
|Tohono O'Odham Nation||$50,000|
|Gila River Indian Community||$50,000|
|Arizona School Boards Association, Inc.||$50,000|
|National Education Association||$50,000|
|Children's Action Alliance||$44,994.81|
|AEA Education Improvement Fund||$35,000|
|First Solar, Inc.||$25,000|
|Tucson Electric Power Company||$25,000|
|John O. Whiteman||$20,000|
|AEA Education Improvement Fund||$15,000|
|Community Partnership of Southern Arizona "CPSA"||$10,000|
|Edward N. and Nadine M. Basha||$10,000|
|Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe||$10,000|
|Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation||$10,000|
|Vanderbuilt Farms LLC||$10,000|
|Pamela Grant and Dan Cracchiolo||$10,000|
|Save the Children Federation, Inc.||$10,000|
|Colorado River Indian Tribe||$10,000|
|Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona||$10,000|
|Straightline Partners LLC||$9,999|
|Integrated Web Strategy||$7,500|
|Pascua Yaqui Tribe||$5,000|
|Arizona Multihousing Association PAC||$5,000|
|Hensley Beverage Company||$5,000|
|Norman and Barbara McClelland||$5,000|
|Colorado River Indian Tribes||$5,000|
|Alliance Beverage Distributing Company, LLC||$5,000|
|Crescent Crown Distributing LLC||$5,000|
|Joseph P. Anderson||$5,000|
|William J. and Mary Kay Post||$5,000|
|Msgr. Edward J. Ryle Fund Inc.||$5,000|
|White Mountain Apache Tribe||$4,000|
|Integrated Web Strategy||$3,500|
|Mesch, Clark & Rothschild, P.C.||$2,500|
|K. Michael Ingram||$2,500|
Analysis, reports and studies
A legislative council analysis performed on the measure and published in the Arizona Secretary of State's Publicity Pamphlet, impartially stated the following, in terms of what the measure would do if enacted by voters:
- 1. Redirect the ongoing tobacco tax revenues that are currently deposited in the Early Childhood Development and Health fund for deposit in the state general fund, to be separately accounted for and appropriated for health and human services for children.
- 2. Transfer any remaining uncommitted Early Childhood Development and Health fund monies to the state general fund on December 1, 2010.
- 3. Terminate the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board on December 1, 2010.
- 4. Repeal the Early Childhood Development and Health program statutes on June 1, 2011.
- The Early Childhood Development and Health Fund consists of revenues generated by an $.80 per pack tax on tobacco products and donations and state appropriations. The fund is administered by the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board and is required to be used for the following purposes:
- 1. Funding central and field offices, employing staff and establishing and appointing regional partnership councils, which make funding recommendations to the Board.
- 2. Disbursing monies for programs and grants that increase the quality of and access to early childhood development and health services for children up to five years of age and their families.
- Inside Tuscon Business endorsed the measure in an editorial published on September 17, 2010, "Propositions 301 and 302 are necessary parts of an equation that requires everything government does must be on the table for consideration during these trying economic times. The fact that the Proposition 302 will also rectify a flawed program is an added benefit. Voters should vote “yes” on both Propositions 301 and 302 to save bigger catastrophes from happening."
- The Desert Lamp stated in an editorial about the measure: "Obviously, given the current budget crisis, we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, and while 301 and 302 are at best short-term fixes, more money in the general fund means more money the legislature can allocate based on the needs of the moment."
- The Arizona Daily Sun editorial board advised voters to vote 'no' on the measure, stating, "Our recommendation, then, is a No vote on Prop. 302, but with a strong recommendation for FTF officials and legislative leaders to return to the bargaining table and come up with a loan or funding stream that both parties can live with."
- The Arizona Daily Star, urged a 'no' vote on the measure, stating in an editorial, "Don't be deceived. As First Things First protectors say, a "yes" vote on Prop. 302 means a "no" vote on the future of Arizona's children. Save First Things First. Vote "no" on Prop. 302."
- The East Valley Tribune recommended a 'no' vote on the measure, stating, "Early education programs such as First Things First ensure that many students are more prepared when entering school, which is essential if we are to reverse the downward spiral education has undergone in Arizona."
- The Yuma Sun stated opposition to the measure, along with Proposition 301, writing, "The two propositions are a prime example of bad decision-making. The state's budget was “balanced” earlier this year based on voter approval of these propositions. This was fiscally irresponsible because we believe voters could very well disagree with taking funds from the two programs."
- The Arizona Republic was against the measure, stating, "The broad opposition to Proposition 302, from Arizona's three university presidents to the state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, shows how much First Things First impacts the future of the youngest Arizonans. Voters should give a resounding "no" to Proposition 302."
An initial hearing was set for July 12, 2010 to review the description of the measure. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Oberbillig would review the validity of the description, which opponents stated persuaded voters to vote for the measure during the November elections. The suit, filed on behalf of the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board, claimed that Proposition 302's description mislead voters and hid important facts to consider.
Some of the facts that the board said were hidden was that the measure did not tell residents that voters approved the program in a ballot measure in 2006. Rhiann Allvin, executive director of the First Things First program, stated that their accusations stemmed from their "impartial analysis" of each ballot measure when their council met in June 2010.
Attorneys for the Arizona Legislature claimed that nothing was wrong with the wording of the proposal.
On July 12, 2010, Oberbillig ordered a hearing of each side's arguments on July 26, 2010. Reports stated that the losing side of the lawsuit would bring the issue to the attention of the Arizona Supreme Court.
After hearing arguments for both sides on July 26, 2010, Judge Robert Oberbillig of Maricopa County Superior Court ruled that the measure's wording was impartial and fair. The description of the measure would be on the state pamphlet that was sent to voters before the November 2, 2010 general election. According to attorney Rhonda Barnes, her clients would not appeal the judge's decision. The suit, filed on behalf of the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board, claimed that Proposition 302's description mislead voters and hid important facts to consider.
The Yuma Sun chimed in on the lawsuit filed pertaining to the measure, stating that the issue should not have been reviewed in court, but rather in other venues. According to the publication, "But the issue here is not with the inherent limitations of summaries, but whether the Legislative Council deliberately is trying to mislead the public.It is a tough call. Even opponents of the description acknowledge there are no factual errors. It is rather the overall tone that they find misleading.Perhaps this would be an issue better argued in the electoral forum rather that the judicial forum."
Path to the ballot
The measure was passed by the Arizona House of Representatives on March 11, 2010, leaving the Arizona State Senate to vote on the issue. A majority vote is required in the Arizona Legislature to place a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment to the ballot, both in the House and the Senate. The measure was heard by the Arizona State Senate on March 16, 2010 and was passed with a vote of 17-13.  
- Arizona Sales Tax Increase (2010)
- Arizona 2010 ballot measures
- Arizona First Things First for Children, Proposition 203 (2006)
- List of Arizona ballot measures
- 2010 ballot measures
- Key points of Arizona budget plan
- Prop 203 Reversal Proposal Goes to Arizona Senate
- Ballot measure looks to sweep $341M, kill First Things First
- Prop 302 would put cash from tobacco tax into general fund
- ↑ Bloomberg Business Week, "Republican lawmakers begin push on Arizona budget", March 9, 2010
- ↑ KGun9, "Ariz. budget-balancing plan has 2 ballot measures", March 8, 2010
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Arizona Republic, "Child agency defends how money spent", March 31, 2010
- ↑ First Things First, "Funding"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Arizona Secretary of State, "Publicity Pamphlet", Retrieved September 21, 2010
- ↑ Arizona Secretary of State, "2010 General Election:Ballot measures"
- ↑ Arizona Legislature, "Introduced Version of HCR2050"
- ↑ Arizona Legislature, "Introduced Version of HCR2050"
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 MyFoxPhoenix.com, "Budget Plan Shrinks Ariz. Government Indefinitely"
- ↑ Tuscon Citizen, "Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry endorses five ballot measures", June 25, 2010
- ↑ The Daily Courier, "2 props seek to boost ailing Arizona budget", October 7, 2010
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 ABC15.com, "Hear Me Out: Is Proposition 302 good or bad for Arizona?", August 28, 2010
- ↑ The White Mountain Independent, "Goldwater Institute presses for prop passage", September 27, 2010
- ↑ East Valley Tribune, "Voters: Awaken and prepare for heavy-duty ballot propositions", October 10, 2010
- ↑ Arizona Daily Star, "YES: State needs money to balance its budget", October 17, 2010
- ↑ Kingman Daily Miner, "Officials sound off on upcoming propositions", October 14, 2010
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Business Week, "Arizona budget plan would leave much unknown", March 10, 2010
- ↑ Arizona Republic, "Another budget deficit looms", June 27, 2010
- ↑ Arizona Republic, "2 propositions risky for Voter Protection Act", October 10, 2010
- ↑ Sonoran Alliance, "Two ballot propositions needed to keep state budget balanced", September 7, 2010
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 National Conference of State Legislatures "State Cigarette Excise Taxes: 2010", July 1, 2010
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 Arizona Secretary of State "Summary of Proposition 302(See Analysis by Legislative Council)
- ↑ Arizona Secretary of State "Summary of Proposition 302(See Arguments for)
- ↑ Indian Country Today, "First things first", July 19, 2010
- ↑ Public News Service, "County Chief: AZ Public Health Threatened by Ballot Measure", August 10, 2010
- ↑ Public News Service, "AZ Voters to Decide Repeal of Early Childhood Programs", September 14, 2010
- ↑ Arizona Republic, "League votes 'no' on 4 propositions", October 7, 2010
- ↑ Blog For Arizona, "PCDP Ballot Measure Recommendations", Retrieved October 18, 2010
- ↑ Inside Tuscon Business, "Pro-business endorsements from Tucson chamber of commerce", October 22, 2010
- ↑ ABC15.com, "Hear Me Out: Is Proposition 302 good or bad for Arizona?", August 28, 2010
- ↑ The Jewish News of Greater Phoenix, "Keep first things first", October 1, 2010
- ↑ Arizona Republic, "Prop. 302 imperils programs in East Valley cities", October 24, 2010
- ↑ Yuma Sun, "First Things First to air TV commercial", August 22, 2010
- ↑ KOLD.com, "Ariz. treasurer says fall cash-flow crisis averted", July 13, 2010
- ↑ 35.0 35.1 Arizona Secretary of State, "Notifications of Contributions to Ballot Measure Committees"
- ↑ Inside Tuscon Business, "To avoid bigger catastrophes, vote yes on 301, 302", September 17, 2010
- ↑ Desert Lamp, "The Desert Lamp’s Ballot Proposition Endorsements", October 20, 2010
- ↑ Arizona Daily Sun, "Keep First Things First, but make the loan", October 10, 2010
- ↑ Arizona Daily Star, "First Things First a program that Arizona needs - vote 'no' on 302", October 17, 2010
- ↑ East Valley Tribune, "Endorsements: Ballot propositions", October 24, 2010
- ↑ Yuma Sun, "2 measures on ballot related to fiscal failure", October 20, 2010
- ↑ Arizona Republic, "Early-childhood program in peril", October 29, 2010
- ↑ KVOA.com, "Hearing today about November ballot proposition", July 12, 2010
- ↑ Arizona Daily Sun, "Hearing set on suit over Arizona referendum analysis", July 13, 2010
- ↑ KSWT.com, "Arizona judge OKs description of ballot measure", July 26, 2010
- ↑ Yuma Sun, "Judgment about ballot measure not an easy call", July 16, 2010
- ↑ Bloomberg Business Week, "Republican lawmakers begin push on Arizona budget", March 9, 2010
- ↑ KGun9, "Ariz. budget-balancing plan has 2 ballot measures", March 8, 2010
- ↑ The Arizona Republic, "Arizona lawmakers aim to wrap up session today", March 15, 2010
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