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Ballot measures could impact Arizona in the future

Kris Mayes, a former Arizona Corporation Commissioner, speaks in support of the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona ballot initiative, Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Phoenix. Thursday is the deadline for proposed ballot initiatives to file the hundreds of thousands signatures necessary to get a question on the ballot.

AP Photo by Melissa Daniels

Kris Mayes, a former Arizona Corporation Commissioner, speaks in support of the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona ballot initiative, Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Phoenix. Thursday is the deadline for proposed ballot initiatives to file the hundreds of thousands signatures necessary to get a question on the ballot.

Austin Bell, Online Editor

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Nov. 6, the 2018 midterm elections will have come and gone. These midterms had much more at stake than those in the past. This is noticeable from the many political ads that have played on TV and even from the many constituents in different states who voted. In a Washington Post article by Amy Gardner, she stated, “Americans have already voted in record numbers in many states in this year’s midterm elections, confirming the heightened interest in the fight for control of Congress and state houses playing out in dozens of bitterly contested races.”

With less than a week remaining until Election Day, voters in at least 17 states surpassed overall early and absentee voting numbers from 2014, according to Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida. In Arizona, there was a highly contested Senate race, one that had many implications at both the state and national levels. While these races are more important than ever, an often underlooked, but nevertheless important factor are the ballot measures. The impact of the ballot initiatives can have a long- term effect similar to or greater than those in power who look to enact their own policy initiatives. During this voting season, there were a few ballot initiatives that looked like they have a shot of impacting the state in different ways.

Proposition 126 – Prohibit New or Increased Taxes on Services Initiative Proposition – Passed

Prop 126 dealt with increased taxes on public services on citizens. A “Yes” vote prohibits any new type of taxation on services that were not already in effect on Dec. 31, 2017. A “No” vote would allow both state and local governments to increase taxes on public services in the future. Taxes represent a tool for the growth of

public facilities, such as buildings and roads, and whether the vote is in favor or not will show our relationship with the economy in Arizona and beyond.

Proposition 306 – Clean Election Account Uses and Commission Rulemaking Proposition – Passed

A bit of background information is required to understand this proposition. Also, while it may not affect the average citizen immediately, it could change how certain organizations attempt to influence voters through political parties and third-party organizations. An overview of the Arizona 2018 midterm ballot on the website ballotpedia.org stated, “The Citizens Clean Election Commission (CCEC) oversees Arizona’s public financing program for campaigns. The CCEC has five commissioners—two Democrats, two Republicans, and one independent. The commission is exempt from the state’s rulemaking requirements; rather, the commission is empowered to adopt its own rules to govern the commission.” Proposition 306 would prohibit the use of candidates from using their public financing accounts, known as clean election accounts in Arizona. Candidates would not be able to use their accounts to fund political parties or tax-exempt organizations. Also Prop 306 would instead make the Clean Election Commision dependent on the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC), six members appointed by the governor. They would need the approval of the GRCC for enacting financing rules. Prop 306 could have the potential to change not only the transparency of the ads being played and money being spent, it may have influence on swaying the public opinion.

Proposition 127 – Renewable Energy Standards Initiative Proposition – Failed

Arizona’s Proposition 127 has the potential to reshape the energy usage by mandate of changing Arizona’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). According to ballotpedia.org, it is stated, Proposition 127 would increase the RPS each year until reaching 50 percent in 2030. The initiative would define renewable energy to include sources such as solar, wind, biomass, certain hydropower, geothermal and landfill gas energies.

The contributions have even been historic from the perspective of public funding which has essentially come from two sources. An Arizona Republic article by Ryan Randazzo stated, “Arizona political consultants and attorneys are getting rich off the epic battle over a clean-energy ballot measure, which has become the most expensive in state history with about $40 million in spending, according to the latest finance reports.” San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer has spent $17.6 million trying to pass Proposition 127, which would require electric companies to get half their power from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030. For the opposition, most of the money has come from Pinnacle West Capital

Corporation the parent company of Arizona Public Service (APS).

Looking at Prop 127 one can view this issue through both an economic and environmental lens. It would be necessary for voters to understand whether the current electrical rates are at an adequate standard or if the price of solar panels and batteries have become cheap enough. From an environmental standpoint, the passing of the prop could send a message to other states and the federal government about the future of clean energy, especially with a report published by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that stated, “global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.”

 

 

 

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Ballot measures could impact Arizona in the future