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Dissecting the Arizona Vote

Leonard Gilroy
November 4, 2008, 2:21pm

Following up on Adrian's earlier post, I decided to take a look at expressed voter sentiment in my home state of Arizona. In terms of major elected positions, Arizonans demonstrated a fairly strong conservative streak: In terms of ballot measures, Arizonans also showed a markedly conservative streak: There was one notable exception. By a 65-35 margin, voters appear to have shot down Prop 105 (Majority Rules), which would have required a majority of Arizona citizens (that's citizens, not voters) to approve any future tax increases or voter-approved spending measures. This measure would have been Arizona's equivalent of a Prop-13 style gamechanger in terms of tax reform; under Prop 105 you would have realistically needed to get the support of between 70-90 percent of voters to approve any new taxes. This being my first election as an Arizona resident, I have to say that I'm quite surprised by the outcome. There's a palpable sense among many long-timers that Californians' flight to next-door Arizona was quickly turning the state into another left coast bastion, but where I'm sitting in Scottsdale, I'm not seeing a sudden lurch to the left. In fact, from what I'm seeing, Arizonans seem to be largely standing up for fiscal responsibility and holding back the nanny state (though the gay-marriage ban was certainly an exception there, IMO). As dire as Arizona's fiscal outlook is today, it's my hope that the new state legislature picks up on that strong sentiment for fiscal responsibility among the electorate. To cut over $1 billion from the next budget, they're going to need the political reassurance that voters are behind them as they face some difficult choices ahead. That goes for Phoenix and other big-spending local governments as well.

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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