What is Prop 306

Arizona Proposition 306, Clean Election Account Uses and Commission Rulemaking Measure

In 1998, 51.19% of Arizona voters approved Proposition 200. Its passage created the Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC), the intent of which was to create a public financing system for political campaigns. Unfortunately, the past 20 years have shown that Proposition 200 and the CCEC do not do enough to protect taxpayers and honor the spirit under which the Clean Elections Act was formed.

What Is Proposition 306?

Formally known as Arizona Proposition 306, the Stop Taxpayer Money for Political Parties act has two key provisions:

  1. Prohibits candidates receiving public financing for their political campaigns to contribute to either political parties or to 501(c) special interest groups that engage in electioneering;
  2. Requires CCEC rules be approved by the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC), the formal rule-making body to which every agency in the state is subject.

Why Was Proposition 306 Introduced?

In 2016, several Democratic party candidates that received funding from Clean Elections paid over $100,000 of those funds to the Democratic party. This abuse only increased the clout and influence of political parties in Arizona.

These types of actions have been allowed to occur over the past 20 years because the CCEC has no real accountability. It is a politically appointed commission (comprised of two Republicans, two Democrats, and one Independent), and is the only state agency exempted from the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act.

Prop 306 seeks to increase accountability by requiring the Citizens Clean Elections Committee to follow the same rulemaking process as every other state agency. If voters approve this ballot measure, the CCEC would have to follow an expanded public comment and hearing process.  Proposed rules would be reviewed by Governor’s Regulatory Review Council or the Attorney General to ensure they are lawful and constitutional.

Who Introduced Prop 306?

Representative Doug Coleman (R-16) introduced the proposal to the state legislature, with the House voting 34-25 to place the measure on the ballot, with the Senate voting 17-12 (all votes went along party lines, with Republicans supporting and Democrats opposing.)  The main opposition was the Clean Elections Commission, which has shown little interest in addressing the abuse of their program and are opposed to any additional oversight.

Why Do We Need Proposition 306?

No government entity should have the unfettered political power that the Citizens Clean Election Commission has. Prop 306 introduces much-needed regulatory oversight into the body’s rule-making procedure. It also brings the spirit of the commission back to the original intent of Arizona voters by ensuring public funds go to candidates, not political parties or outside groups seeking to influence candidate elections.

If prop 306 is not passed, it is likely that the abuse of the system by political parties and special interest groups will only increase in the future.

Who Supports Prop 306?

Every Republican lawmaker in the House and Senate.

In response to the abuse of candidates funneling money to political parties, Stop Taxpayer Money for Political Parties was formed. It is a group supported by citizens throughout Arizona that oppose taxpayer funding of political parties and support keeping Clean Elections clean. They have set up a FaceBook page and a website (voteyesprop306.com).

Prop 306 has also been publicly supported by these organizations:

  •  Americans for Prosperity, a grassroots advocacy group
  •  Arizona Free Enterprise Club
  • East Valley Chamber of Commerce

Image of Vote Yes Prop 306 Branding

Arguments for Prop 306

In the words of Rep. John Allen (R-15):

“…the parties are going to go out and recruit people who have no real interest, people to run in districts where they can’t win (because) the tide is against them party-wise – get them on the ballot, collect the $5 forms, and then take the maximum amount they can and funnel it somewhere else.”

Rep. Allen is referring to the fact that candidates may enter races in districts where they have no chance of winning and still get the maximum allocation from the CCEC. The party not in power in that district may choose to run candidates for the sole purpose of obtaining CCEC funds for the party.

How does it work? Instead of spending those taxpayer dollars on that race, the candidate simply signs over the funds to his or her party. The political party then determines how best to use the money.

If there’s any doubt that this happens, this argument from Rep. Mark Finchem (R-11) should remove those doubts:

“In 2016, it was discovered that several clean election candidates had contributed over $100,000 to the State Democratic Party. This was an obvious abuse of the system and opens up the possibility that both state parties could look to place candidates on the ballot for the sole purpose of providing clean election funds to the party.”

In the words of Mark Finchem, Representative LD11, Oro Valley

“NO MORE TAXPAYER MONEY FOR POLITICAL PARTIES!

Proposition 306 is a common-sense measure that would prevent your taxpayer dollars from being funneled to political parties.

Prop 306 would do the following:

Prop. 306: Clean Elections; Unlawful Contributions; Rulemaking

1) prohibit participating candidates from contributing their Clean Election funds to political parties

2) prohibit participating candidates from contributing their Clean Election funds to non-profit organizations, such as social welfare groups and labor unions and

3) require the Clean Elections Commission to follow the rule-making requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act, a standard that applies to other federal and state government agencies.

Under Arizona’s so-called Clean Elections system, politicians are given taxpayer money to run for office. By collecting a small number of $5 contributions from individual voters, Clean Elections candidates can qualify for much larger amounts of taxpayer money for their campaigns. Unfortunately, the Clean Elections Commission has allowed politicians to turn around and give that taxpayer money to their political parties.

In 2016, over $100,000 in taxpayer money was given to political parties through the Clean Elections system. In some cases, candidates ran in districts in which they had no real opposition, and once they qualified for taxpayer money, they turned that money over to their political machines to create slush funds for use in other districts.

The Clean Elections Commission has also allowed citizens to give taxpayer money to non-profit organizations such as the NRA, the Sierra Club, and labor unions!

Independents should be especially appalled by these abuses. But the same is true for people of any party who don’t trust political party machines. It is time to end this corrupt and unethical use of taxpayer money.

Please join the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity (www.afpaz.com) in voting YES on Prop 306.”

See more arguments to Vote Yes on Prop 306

Vote Yes on Prop 306

Voting Yes on Proposition 306 will prohibit candidates who receive public campaign funding from transferring those funds to a political party or 501(c)(4) organization seeking to influence Arizona’s elections. In addition, your YES VOTE creates regulatory oversight of the Citizens Clean Election Commission via the formal rulemaking process outlined by the Administrative Procedures Act.

Prop. 306: Clean Elections; Unlawful Contributions; Rulemaking

Learn more about Proposition 306

Proposition 306, Related to the Citizens of Clean Elections Act (Full Text)
Arizona Proposition 306, Clean Election Account Uses and Commission Rulemaking Measure (2018)
Get to Know Your Propositions: Prop 306
Understanding Proposition 306 And The Citizens Clean Elections Commission (MP3 Debate Listen Now)
Arizona Prop. 306: Voters undecided on clean elections measure

Proposition 126 is arguably the most difficult proposition to contend with on the November ballot for conservatives.

On the one hand, the initiative shuts the door on a potential tax grab in the future – taxes on services.   It creates predictability for businesses in the service industry.  And it is finally an example of a citizen’s ballot initiative that curbs taxes rather than doggedly seeks to increase them permanently.

Yet, Governor Ducey, the Maricopa Republican Party and taxpayer watchdog organizations such as Americans for Prosperity and The Arizona Free Enterprise Club are urging their bases to vote ‘No’ on Prop 126.

Why?  Not because they want to see services taxed in the future…

Limitations on Taxation Should be Broad-Based and Inclusive

One of the core arguments in favor of Prop 126 is taxpayers should support any measure that prevents future tax increases. Though this is a laudable goal, the problem with this strategy is that when those limitations are narrowly targeted to benefit a particular group, it leaves everyone else exposed to future tax hikes.

That is the fundamental flaw with this service tax initiative. If stopping future service taxes is a good idea, why not apply the prohibition to the entire tax base? Fortunately, we already have a broad-based solution on the books—Proposition 108. Approved by voters in 1992, this constitutional amendment requires any tax increase by the legislature have a 2/3 vote, including taxes on services. If there is a concern of future tax hikes, then a better approach would be to clarify and expand this taxpayer protection rather than creating a new one.

Prop 126 Impedes Comprehensive Tax Reform and Actually Threatens More Tax Increases

Our organization is unapologetically in favor of eliminating the state’s income tax in the future.  A mountain of research exists demonstrating states without an income tax and with a lower income tax burden consistently economically outperform states with an income tax or a high-income tax burden.

If Prop 126 passes, it increases the likelihood that we will have to become MORE DEPENDENT on income and property taxes in the future.  The reason for this is because our current sales tax base built on taxing goods is shrinking.  When our current tax code was shaped over 80 years ago, services made up only a small fraction of our economy. Now it is approximately half and is expected to become a larger share throughout the next century. If the current sales tax base continues to erode, the only option will be higher taxes on our income and property.

How We Cut Taxes Matters

Just as important as ensuring Arizona has as low a tax burden as is possible, is the method by which we craft tax policy.  Prop 126 is a Constitutional Amendment that if passed by the voters, could not be changed, tweaked or amended without sending it back to the ballot box.

Simply put, rifle-shotting tax policy into Arizona’s constitution is not how a representative government should function.  A more prudent method of governance is the legislative process.  The initiative process gives voters a binary choice: vote for this specific policy or reject it.  The legislative process in contrast, allows for changes, compromises and inherent checks.

Also, although the citizens’ initiative process was contemplated as a separate and coequal branch of the government and a check on the legislative branch – what it is today is far from that.  Rather than initiatives being reflective of the “will of the people” they are banked rolled and run by the machines of special interest groups – Prop 126 is no different.

The Economy Changes, and so Should the Tax Code

The evolution of technology and therefore our economy necessitates changes to our tax code.  The revolution in transportation technology on the horizon will dramatically change our economy.

It is conceivable that as ride sharing becomes so affordable and autonomous cars so efficient, that transportation becomes another great commodity by which people subscribe to a monthly service and opt out of purchasing their own car.

Self-driving cars and affordable ride-sharing services has already created a huge disruption in the automotive industry.  Most cities in Arizona rely heavily on sales tax and of those revenues a huge portion consists of the taxes generated from car sales.

Car ownership is already in decline, especially among younger generations who are opting out of even getting a driver’s license.  Predicting what this phenomenon will look like in 10 years, let alone 50 years is impossible.

Arizonans Could Seriously Regret Passing Prop 126 in the Future. 

Despite its ostensible appeal, the actual benefits to Arizona taxpayers’ if they pass Prop 126 are superficial.  Yet the manifold downsides are deep, long-lasting and may even create the opposite effect of what many voters wish to accomplish with its passage.  For these reasons we encourage voters to take a second look at Prop 126 and Vote No.

Phoenix, AZ (October 15th, 2018) – Today the Arizona Free Enterprise Club announced its final slate of endorsements for the General Election.

The endorsed candidates represent individuals who align with the organization’s principles and key policy goals.  Club President Scot Mussi stated, “It is critical Arizona has leaders and policy makers who are able to articulate and stand up for free market principles and pro-growth policies.  This slate of candidates has proven they can and will.”

Additionally, the Club has endorsed the two Arizona Supreme Court Justices up for retention this year.  “Justices Bolick and Pelander have been independent Justices and have consistently ruled to uphold the Constitution and textually interpret the law.  That’s exactly why Arizonans should retain them on the judicial bench.”

US Senate

Martha McSally

 

Arizona Supreme Court Retention                                                     

Justice Clint Bolick

Justice John Pelander

 

Secretary of State

Steve Gaynor                                                                       

 

State Legislature

Nora Ellen LD 17 House

David Gowan LD 14 Senate

Michelle Ugenti-Rita LD 23 Senate

Jay Lawrence LD 23 House

John Kavanagh LD 23 House

Doyel Shamely LD 7 House

Walt Blackman LD 6 House

Leo Biasiucci LD 5 House

 

Maricopa County Community College School Board

Kathleen Winn (at large)

Debi Vandenboom – District 3

Jean McGrath – District 4

 

The rest of the Club’s endorsements for 2018 can be viewed at https://www.azfree.org/club-candidates/



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The Arizona Free Enterprise Club is a free market policy and advocacy group dedicated to promoting a strong and vibrant Arizona economy.