Arizona Land Conservation Fund Transfer, Proposition 301 (2010)

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The Arizona Land Conservation Fund Transfer, also known as Proposition 301, or HCR 2002, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the state of Arizona as a legislatively-referred state statute. It was defeated.

The measure would have transferred $123.5 million from a land-conservation fund to the general fund. The measure was introduced in order to help balance the state budget. The measure, and two other ballot provisions, were placed in front of voters to help close the predicted $2.6 million deficit in the next fiscal year, and the $700 million of the 2010 budget shortfall.[1][2]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results

Official election results of the measure were:

Proposition 301 (Land Conservation Fund Transfer)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No1,185,46174%
Yes 416,323 26%

Results via the Official Election Canvass of Results from the Arizona Secretary of State's website.

Text of measure

Ballot title

The ballot title that Arizona voters saw read as follows:[3]

A "yes" vote shall have the effect of transferring the balance of money in the land conservation fund, which was established by voters in 1998 as part of the "Growing Smarter Act," to the state general fund.

A "no" vote shall have the effect of keeping the balance of money in the land conservation fund.[4]

Short title

The short title of the measure, according to the Arizona Secretary of State's website, read as follows:[5]

A concurrent resolution enacting and ordering the submission to the people of a measure relating to the Land Conservation Fund.[4]

Support

Supporters

Arguments

  • Supporters stated that if voters reject this measure, along with a measure that would repeal the First Things First Program, the state's budget deficit could grow larger.[11]
  • According to reports out of the state, Moody's Investors Service lowered Arizona's debt rating from Aa2 to Aa3 due to the state's economic weakness, which included budget deficit and reliance on alternate revenue sources that were non-recurring.[12]
  • 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 cannot be stricken, unless voters did so, gave them less flexibility to figure out ways to alleviate Arizona's financial issues.[13]
  • Byron Schlomach, in an editorial published by the Sonoran Alliance, called for the passage of the measure, along with Proposition 302, 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."[14]
  • Rick Murphy argued in an editorial published by ABC15.com, "The cold, hard truth is that every potential solution will cause hardship for someone. We are way past the point of good solutions. If the voters refuse to allow the voter-protected funds to be swept, most or all of the cuts that were avoided by the passage of the sales tax increase in May will probably happen anyway sometime next year. Your “YES” vote on Prop. 301 will help the legislature’s efforts to avoid that."[6]

Opposition

Opponents

Arguments

Arguments that were made against the measure included:

  • The plans to use conservation fund money was for good use. According to Sandra Bahr, Grand Canyon Chapter director of the Sierra Club, Scottsdale already had plans to use the money for expansion of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Bahr stated, "There are some state trust lands that are not the mountains themselves, but provide some important connections, including to the Tonto National Forest - very spectacular Sonoran Desert lands."[17]
  • Bahr later stated in an editorial published by ABC15.com, "Our children will benefit from the conservation of lands and the dollars these lands generate for the trust. This is much more than we can count on from the Arizona Legislature. For all of these reasons, the Sierra Club, along with other conservation organizations, teachers, and the League of Women Voters of Arizona, is urging you to reject this ill-conceived plan and vote no on Proposition 301."[18]
  • Opponents of the measure said that eliminating the Land Conservation Fund would provide a negative impact on the preservation of open space and public education funding.[19]

Other perspectives

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.[20]

Analysis, reports and studies

Legislative analysis

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:[3]

The Land Conservation Fund consists of monies appropriated from the state general fund and monies received as donations. $20,000,000 was appropriated annually for 11 years from the state general fund to the Land Conservation Fund. The final appropriation is scheduled in fiscal year 2010-2011. Monies in the fund must be used to award grants to:
1. Acquire and conserve state trust land or development rights in state trust land.
2. Implement conservation based management or reduce production on state lands leased for agricultural purposes.
Proposition 301 would transfer the remaining balance in the Land Conservation Fund to the state general fund.

Media endorsements

See also Endorsements of Arizona ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • The Arizona Daily Star supported Proposition 301, saying, "Would sweep money from a voter-protected conservation fund, the Growing Smarter program, and allow lawmakers to use the money toward balancing the state budget."[21]
  • Inside Tucson 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."[22]
  • The East Valley Tribune recommended a 'yes' vote on the measure, stating, "Protecting Arizona’s scenic resources and open spaces is important. But the appropriation for this fund runs out in 2011 anyway. And securing the $123 million available from this fund will help alleviate the state’s severe budget crisis and prevent more important programs from being cut."[23]
  • 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."[24]

Opposition

  • The Yuma Sun stated opposition to the measure, along with Proposition 302, 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."[25]
  • The Arizona Republic, was against the measure, stating, "Open-space plans around Arizona depend on the fund, including those in Cave Creek, Flagstaff, Prescott and Pima County. Education gets a boost from every purchase. Prop. 301 would give it all up for a one-time financial fix that wouldn't fill one-tenth of this year's budget gap. Voters should give this one-word response: "No.""[26]

Path to the ballot

The measure was signed by Jan Brewer on March 18, 2010, thus placing the measure on the November 2010 ballot. A majority vote is required in the Arizona State Legislature to refer a measure to the ballot. Arizona is one of ten states that allows a referred amendment to go on the ballot after a majority vote in one session of the state's legislature.[1]

See also

External links

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Additional reading

Government documents

Other

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Business Week, "Governor signs Arizona budget-balancing bills," March 18, 2010
  2. Arizona Legislature, "House Bill 2060"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Arizona Secretary of State, "Publicity Pamphlet," accessed September 21, 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  5. Arizona Secretary of State, "2010 General Election:Ballot measures"
  6. 6.0 6.1 ABC15, "Hear Me Out: Is Proposition 301 good or bad for Arizona?," October 3, 2010
  7. The Daily Courier, "2 props seek to boost ailing Arizona budget," October 7, 2010
  8. East Valley Tribune, "Voters: Awaken and prepare for heavy-duty ballot propositions," October 10, 2010
  9. Kingman Daily Miner, "Officials sound off on upcoming propositions," October 14, 2010
  10. Inside Tucson Business, "Pro-business endorsements from Tucson chamber of commerce," October 22, 2010
  11. Arizona Republic, "Another budget deficit looms," June 27, 2010
  12. Arizona Central, "Arizona's debt rating is lowered again," July 25, 2010
  13. Arizona Republic, "2 propositions risky for Voter Protection Act," October 10, 2010
  14. Sonoran Alliance, "Two ballot propositions needed to keep state budget balanced," September 7, 2010
  15. Arizona Republic, "League votes 'no' on 4 propositions," October 7, 2010
  16. Blog For Arizona, "PCDP Ballot Measure Recommendations," accessed October 18, 2010
  17. Public News Service, "AZ Voters to Decide Fate of Pristine State Lands," July 12, 2010
  18. ABC15, "PROP 301 IS BAD FOR ARIZONA: By Sandy Bahr, Chapter Director, Sierra Club - Grand Canyon Chapter," October 3, 2010
  19. Morrison Institute, "2010: Proposition 301, Sweeping the Land Conservation Fund," accessed September 3, 2010
  20. KOLD.com, "Ariz. treasurer says fall cash-flow crisis averted," July 13, 2010
  21. Arizona Daily Star, "The Star's recommendations on state, local propositions," October 28, 2010
  22. Inside Tucson Business, "To avoid bigger catastrophes, vote yes on 301, 302," September 17, 2010
  23. East Valley Tribune, "Endorsements: Ballot propositions," October 24, 2010
  24. Desert Lamp, "The Desert Lamp’s Ballot Proposition Endorsements," October 20, 2010
  25. Yuma Sun, "2 measures on ballot related to fiscal failure," October 20, 2010
  26. The Arizona Republic, "Voters should bar ill-conceived raid," October 20, 2010