Prescott is at a crossroads.  Due to a crippling pension debt that has the city staring at possible bankruptcy in the next decade, the voters of Prescott will have an important decision to make in the upcoming election for Mayor.

Add in critical issues surrounding water and job crushing regulations,  the decisions made by voters today will determine whether Prescott continues to grow and prosper for years to come, or begins down a path of financial and economic turmoil.

With two candidates remaining on the ballot following the August election, it is clear that  Councilwoman Jean Wilcox would be the WRONG choice for Prescott Mayor.

Jean Wilcox has been a dedicated tax-and-spend politician from her first moments in office.  She has publicly supported increases in the property tax, gas tax and a water tax. It’s hard to find a tax Wilcox does not want to raise.

Since being elected to Council in 2014, Wilcox has been beating the drum to raise taxes at every turn.  The first tax increase she pushed for was an increase to the City’s sales tax in June of 2014.  She had barely taken office but it did not take long for her to be convinced that increasing taxes was the only option for the city.

Wilcox then voted in June of 2014 to raise Prescott taxpayers’ property taxes. While casting her vote, Wilcox arrogantly stated that she was disappointed that they were “stuck” with Arizona’s voter enacted constitutional limitations on how high property taxes could go.  Just two years later Wilcox voted again to raise property taxes.

After raising property taxes, Wilcox began pushing the council to increase water rates to pursue her environmentalist agenda and subsidize various crony capitalist pet projects.  When it comes to municipal water service, taxpayers should have 100 percent confidence that water rates are based solely on the cost of providing the service. Water bills shouldn’t include extra taxes and fees to pay for special interest projects, which is exactly what Jean Wilcox wanted to do.

Jean Wilcox used her position on the council to work around these important protections for rate payers.  Wilcox even entertained the idea that higher water fees could be cycled into select industries Jean Wilcox liked. In other words, she wanted to raise water rates in order to provide a few politically-connected commercial users with a subsidy.

What is even more telling of Jean Wilcox’s character is how she responded when voters didn’t agree with her high tax mentality.  Two years ago, Councilwoman Wilcox pushed to roll a series of tax increases for open space, pension funding and street improvements into one package. The purpose of this maneuver was to increase the chances that her favored tax increase—more money for open space—would pass.

She failed in this endeavor to log roll the measures and the triple tax proposition went to the ballot as three separate proposals.  After voters rejected two of the three measures, Wilcox expressed her disgust for taxpayers, stating those who did not vote for the tax were duped and that they “don’t understand that paying this tax will benefit the whole community.”

As Prescott voters head to the polls in November, it is going to require a leader with a strong record of fiscal discipline.  That person should be Greg Mengarelli.

Goldwater Letter to Pinal County

Gavel and money  Today the Arizona Free Enterprise Club released a legal analysis on the proposed ‘Clean Elections’ initiative, a ballot measure that would dramatically increase the amount  of taxpayer funding politicians would receive to run their campaigns.

The analysis shows that this poorly drafted initiative contains multiple defects, most significant of which is the fact that the initiative attempts to change and amend state statutes that no longer exist. Since the proposed changes are not based on existing law, the initiative is defective and will be kept off the ballot.

  “After careful review, it is clear that the proponents of taxpayer money for politicians were sloppy and failed to draft their initiative based on current law.” Club President Scot Mussi said. “The campaign finance reform amendments that rewrote state statute were passed back in March. Clean Election supporters have known this for months, yet they didn’t modify their language to take this into account.”

Even if the proponents collect enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, there is extensive case law that initiatives cannot amend non-existent statutes and that this is grounds for kicking it off the ballot.

Mussi continued, “Even if they are successful in their signature gathering efforts, the petitions will likely be rejected, either by the state or by a challenge in court.”

The deadline to submit a new initiative application and submit signatures is July 7th. The analysis can be viewed by clicking here.

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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.