Election Propositions 2008

Proposition 100

Protect Our Homes

This proposition would amend the state constitution to prevent any state, county or city government from directly or indirectly imposing any new tax, fee or assessment on the sale, transfer or conveyance of any real estate property. It would not affect any current taxes or fees on property. It is unknown what fiscal effect this would have on the state, because it deals with possible future taxes and fees.

For it: Supporters of Prop. 100 say the amendment would protect businesses and families from double taxation. Most property owners already pay annual property taxes; adding a tax or fee when a property is bought or sold equates to double taxation. Supports also say that the amendment will protect property values and keep housing affordable.

The amendment is supported by Protect Our Homes, Americans for Prosperity, Arizona Tax Revolt, the Arizona Farm Bureau, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Contractors Association and the Arizona Cattlemen's Association.

Against it: Critics of Prop. 100 say the amendment will tie the hands of local governments and prevent them from tapping into revenue that might be needed for growth. Critics point out that it requires not just a super-majority of a two-thirds vote by the Legislature but the governor's signature, as well, to enact a new tax revenue source. They also point out that county and city officials can be ousted by a vote of the people.

The amendment is opposed by the Arizona Education Association.

Miner Editorial Board: The majority of the board voted in favor of the proposition. "There are plenty of other mechanisms in place for governments to collect needed revenue," one member said. "It's unfair, because it only targets homeowners," another member said.

If you vote yes: State, county and city governments would not be able to tax property owners when they sell their homes.

If you vote no: State, county and city governments may be able to add a tax to the sale of any property.

Proposition 101

Freedom of Choice in Health Care

This proposition deals with a person's choice in health-care plans. It would amend the state constitution to prohibit any law that would interfere with a person's right to chose their own health care plan, their right to pay directly for health services and prevent laws that would fine a person choosing or declining health-care coverage. If passed, it could affect the state employees' health benefits and the operation of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System.

For it: Supporters of the proposition say it gives patients more control and better health-care choices, protects their medical privacy rights and prevents government control of health care choices.

It is supported by Americans for Prosperity, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture John Norton, several doctors, several Arizona medical associations, the Arizona Restaurant Association and State Treasurer Dean Martin.

Against it: Opponents of the amendment say the amendment would not ensure the right to choose a personal physician, it would prevent the state from creating a health-care system that could provide service to everyone, it could interfere with Medicare or Medicaid coverage, and it could lead to more residents without coverage due to existing conditions. It could also prevent the state from instituting health care reform measures.

Opponents of the proposition include the Arizona Coalition for a State and National Health Plan, Healthy Arizona, the Arizona chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, WESTMARC, the Arizona Advocacy Network, the Arizona National Organization for Women and the Arizona Republican Assembly.

Miner Editorial Board: The board voted in favor of the proposition.

"It gives individuals more rights with their health care," one member said.

If you vote yes: Arizona residents will be able to choose if they want to have health-care coverage or not, which health-care provider they want to cover them and if they want to pay directly out of pocket for coverage or not.

If you vote no: It will not change the current health-care standards in the state but may allow the state to mandate, in the future, that all residents have health-care coverage.

Proposition 102

Marriage Act

This proposition would amend the state constitution and declare; "only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state."

Supporters of the proposition argue that marriage has always been defined as between a man and a woman and is an important part of society. Its main purpose is to create children. Children raised in a traditional, stable home are less likely to get into trouble. Allowing same-sex marriages could interfere economically with society because medical, educational, the court system and other social functions have to be changed in order to accommodate same-sex couples. Also, amending the constitution to include a definition of marriage will prevent judges from overturning an existing state law that prohibits same-sex marriages.

For it: Supporters of the proposition include State Sen. Sylvia Allen, United Families International, Arizona for Marriage, the National Association of Marriage Enhancement and several residents from around the state.

Against it: Opponents of the proposition say it is an attempt to impose religious beliefs on others, and it discriminates against homosexuals, that government should not be in the marriage business and that the amendment is unnecessary since there is already a state law against same-sex marriages.

Opponents of the proposition include State Sen. Marsha Arzberger, the Human Rights Campaign, the League of Women Voters of Arizona, the Arizona Advocacy Network, Equality Arizona, the Arizona National Organization of Women, American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, the Arizona Transsexual Alliance, Southern Arizona Stonewall Democrats and Wingspan.

Miner Editorial Board: The board was split on this proposition. Those who voted for it said the word "marriage" should not include same-sex couples. Those who voted against it said there was already a law on the books to prevent same-sex marriages and the proposition was unnecessary.

If you vote for it: It would make it harder for a court to overturn the current law that prohibits same-sex marriages.

If you vote against it: It does not change the existing law, and a judge may rule later to overturn the law.

Proposition 105

Majority Rule

This proposition would amend the state constitution to require a majority of all voters registered in the state to approve any initiatives that would create or increase any taxes, fees or other revenue or mandated funding for a project on taxpayers, businesses or other entities. This could decrease the number of initiatives that are approved by voters.

For it: Supporters say the proposition will cut down state spending by limiting the number of voter-approved projects with mandated funding. It will also deter special-interest groups from adding more projects with mandated funding to future ballots. Supporters say it's unfair that all Arizonans have to pay for projects that only a minority of voters approved.

Those in support of the proposition include Americans for Prosperity, the Arizona Farm Bureau, the Golden Door Foundation and MJKL Enterprises.

Against it: Those in opposition to the proposition say if it passes, it will be nearly impossible to get any new initiatives approved. If Prop. 105 were approved, it would count registered voters who do not vote as an automatic "no" on any issue on the ballot.

Traditionally, less than half of the eligible, registered voters in the state actually vote in an election.

Opponents of Prop. 105 include The Arizona Education Association, the Arizona School Boards Association, the Clean Elections Institute, the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, former state Sen. Slade Mead, Healthy Arizona, the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter, the League of Women Voters of Arizona, the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, Phoenix Children's Hospital, WESTMARC, the Arizona Advocacy Network, the Arizona National Organization of Women, the Women's Political Caucus, the Animal Defense League of Arizona, the Humane Society of the United States and state Rep. Steve Farley.

Miner Editorial Board: The board voted unanimously against this proposition.

"It's not realistic," one board member said, referring to the fact that the proposition would require more than a majority of all registered voters to vote on election day.

"If they feel that passionately about an issue, they should show up to vote for it," another member said.

If you vote for it: It would require a majority of all registered voters in the state to approve a proposition.

If you vote against it: It would leave things as they are. A simple majority of all people voting on an election day would be able to approve a proposition.

Proposition 200

Payday Loans

This proposition would repeal the current payday loan licensing program termination date. The current law ends the licensing program on July 1, 2010. The proposition would also prohibit payday lenders from offering loans for more than 35 days, prohibit payday lenders from entering into another transaction with a customer until a previous loan is completed, require any loan agreements to be written in both Spanish and English, prohibit the lender from charging a fee to extend the loan, prohibit a lender from charging a dishonored check fee more than twice for checks returned due to insufficient funds or once for a check returned due to a closed account.

It would require lenders to provide a repayment plan for customers that request one before the loan comes due and would prevent lenders from collecting additional fees, as long as the customer followed the repayment plan. It would also prevent lenders from entering into any new loan agreements with a customer in a repayment plan.

Customers would be allowed to enter into a repayment plan only once a year, and a customer's involvement with a repayment plan would be reported to the credit agencies.

The proposition would not prevent lenders from entering into revolving loans or home equity revolving loans with customers.

Lenders would be required to maintain a minimum net worth of $50,000 up to a maximum of $1,000,000. Lenders would also be liable under state law for violating the federal consumer credit protections law for military families.

By continuing the current payday licensing program, the state would continue to take in around $360,000 in fees from lenders. It would also continue to spend around $60,000 a year to regulate the industry.

For it: Supporters of the proposition say it will create tough new penalties for lenders that violate the law, reduce loan fees, create a payment plan for customers and still offer a service for customers. It will also reduce the number of payday loan stores in Arizona, they say.

The proposition is supported by Arizonans for Financial Reform, several payday loan employees, former state Sen. Stan Barnes, state Rep. Jonathan Paton, state Rep. Steve Gallardo and the Consumer's Rights League.

Against it: Opponents of the proposition say payday lenders charge excessive interest rates, some in the triple digits, to customers and take advantage of inexperienced customers. It also indefinitely extends a 10-year exemption for payday lenders from the state's 36-percent interest cap for loans.

Opponents of the proposition include AARP of Arizona, the Arizona Education Association, WESTMARC, the Arizona Advocacy Network, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, state Sen. Debbie McCune Davis, state Rep. Marian McClure and Stop Payday Predators.

Miner Editorial Board: The majority of the board members voted in favor of the proposition.

"I don't want to throw Kingman people out of work," one board member said. The board also agreed that payday lenders offer residents a service.

If you vote for it: Payday lender would be able to operate in the state indefinitely. It would prevent lenders from offering loans longer than 35 days or offering another loan to a customer who already has a payday loan they are paying off and limit fees a lender could charge.

If you vote against it: All payday lenders would lose their licenses after July 1, 2009, when the licensing program ended.

Proposition 201

Homeowner's

Bill of Rights

This proposition would amend current sate laws concerning design, construction, condition or sale of a home. It would allow prospective buyers to sue for defects in the house. It would prohibit sellers or buyers from agreeing to reasonable alternative means of settling a dispute in a contract. It requires buyers to give sellers a 60-day, instead of a 90-day, notice that the buyer was filing a lawsuit. The seller would then be required to send the buyer a written response within 30 days instead of 60 days.

It would require the seller to inspect the home for the alleged defects. If a seller offers to repair or compensate the buyer for the defects, the buyer has the sole power to choose between having the defects repaired or taking the compensation. Any repairs would have to be completed by a licensed contractor. A seller would have to provide a buyer with at least three licensed contractors to choose from to make the repairs.

The right of any seller to recover attorney, expert witness or court costs would be eliminated by the proposition, even if the seller is successful in the lawsuit. It would prohibit any purchase contracts from including a clause that would require a buyer to pay court costs to the seller. It would also require the court to award attorney fees and court costs plus taxes to a buyer if they are successful in their lawsuit. A home owner who successfully sues a seller would also be able to collect damages for out-of-pocket expenses for repairs, the cost of relocation if the home is unlivable, reimbursement for time lost from work to deal with defects, compensation for the seller's unreasonable failure to repair the defects and for any other damages that were reasonably foreseeable.

The purchase of a home would include a 10-year warranty, which would be transferable to any other buyers during that period.

Sellers would have to disclose any connections they might have with any banks, mortgage companies, title insurance companies, insurance companies and any commissions the seller might receive from those institutions for selling the home. A seller would also have to disclose whether the mortgage would be held by a seller, a financial institution or would be sold to other parties.

A seller would not be able to collect a deposit to sell a house unless the contract allowed the buyer to cancel the sale within 100 days and receive a refund of at least 95 percent of the deposit.

The proposition would also require that the advertised price of a home include the cost of all fixtures or equipment shown in the development's model home, unless the fixtures and equipment are clearly disclosed as being priced separately.

It would also extend the time in which a buyer can file a lawsuit against anyone who makes improvement to a home, business, industry or raw land from eight years to 10 years.

According to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the proposition could increase the number of complaints filed with the Registrar of Contractors and the number of lawsuits.

For it: Supporters say the proposition evens the playing field between homebuyers and big housing construction companies. It forces homebuilders to repair defects in a timely basis and allows homebuyers to choose who they have work on their homes. It also forces homebuilders to reveal their relationships with mortgage companies and lenders.

The proposition is supported by the Homeowners Bill of Rights Committee, Interfaith Worker Justice, the Air Conditioning Excellence Coalition, the Arizona Advocacy Network, the Coalition for Better Construction, the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and the Arizona AFL-CIO.

Against it: Opponents say it prohibits a buyer and a seller from resolving the issue outside of the courthouse, it prohibits sellers from recovering attorney's fees even if the suit was frivolous or if they win. It encourages frivolous lawsuits and increases housing costs for everyone by allowing people that don't even own a house to file a suit. Some argue that a 10-year warranty is too long and that the increase in housing costs will negatively affect the housing market and the local economy.

Opponents of the bill include Arizonans Against Lawsuit Abuse, Sen. Barbara Leff, the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the International Council of Shopping Centers, WESTMARC, the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association, Meritage Homes, the Arizona Contractors Association and Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona.

Miner Editorial Board: The board unanimously voted against this measure. Many on the board felt that the proposition took away too many of the seller's rights. The board also found it ridiculous that prosepective buyers have the right to sue a seller and that sellers have no way of recouping attorney's fees. The board also thought that a 10-year warranty is excessive.

If you vote for it: It would require home sellers, buyers and potential buyers to solve all disputes in court. It would prevent home sellers from collecting attorney and court costs, even if they win a lawsuit. Sellers would have to disclose any connection they might have with a bank or mortgage company. Every home sold would come with a 10-year warranty.

If you vote against it: It does not change current law, homeowners would still be able to sue home sellers. Home sellers would still be able to recover attorneys fees and court costs.

Proposition 202

Employer sanctions for hiring illegal immigrants

Prop. 202 would make the employer sanctions bill passed last year more business friendly. It would require the state to prove that an employer actually knew he had hired an illegal immigrant. The state would also have to use the federal government's processes and procedures in order to bring a case against an employer.

It states that anyone that files a false complaint against an employer would be charged with a class 3 misdemeanor, and it prevents anonymous reporting of violations.

It also limits when the state can file a case against an employer only to violations that occur after Jan. 1, 2009.

It states that for the first violation of the law within a three-year period, the court must confirm that the employer has fired all illegal immigrants from the business and sign an affidavit stating he will not hire illegal immigrants. If the affidavit is not signed, the business license of the employer will be suspended until he signs the affidavit.

The employer will be subject to a three-year probationary period and must file quarterly reports with the county attorney for each new employee.

For the first intentional violation within a five-year period, the court will order all the same items as above, but the probation period will last five years instead of three and order that all of the business' licenses be suspended for at least 10 days.

For a second violation, the court will order the permanent revocation of the business' license.

An employer would be presumed innocent of any charges if he could prove that they verified employees' immigration status through the federal E-Verify program. If passed, the proposition would require all employers to use the E-Verify after Jan. 1, 2009.

The state could also bring action against an employer if he has more than four employees, pays them with cash and fails to withhold taxes, report the hiring of the employee to the state, make contributions to an unemployment compensation plan and make contributions to worker's compensation plan.

If an employer is found guilty, the court would order the employer to pay triple the amount of money due or $5,000 per employee for which a violation was committed, whichever is greater. The money would go to the Arizona Department of Education and Health Services.

The proposition would also expand the definition of identity theft to include a person that knowingly takes or accepts personal information from another person and uses it to work in the state. It would also expand the definition of aggravated identity theft to include the theft of two or more identities or an identity theft that causes more than $1,000 in economic loss. And it would expand the definition of trafficking in identity theft to include a person who sells personal information to another person with the intent for the person to obtain employment.

For it: Supporters say the proposition will strengthen the current law, forces employers who pay cash to be more accountable, requires people who file complaints to identify themselves and protects legitimate employers.

Supporters include the Arizona Farm Bureau, Stop Illegal Hiring and WESTMARC.

Against it: Opponents say the proposition gives employers too much leeway. It excludes large corporate companies, chain stores and businesses that don't need a license. It also requires complainants to identify themselves, which can lead to intimidation.

Opponents include state Rep. Russell Pearce, RidersUSA, Corp., and the Maricopa County Republican Committee.

Miner Editorial Board: The board was split on this proposition. Half of the board wanted to keep the law the way it is, and the other half thought the new law might be beneficial.

If you vote for it: It would require the state to prove that an employer knowingly hired an illegal immigrant. People would no longer be able to file anonymous reports of illegal immigrants working at a business. It would make a false complaint against a business a class 3 misdemeanor. Complaints against a business could only be filed for actions after Jan. 1, 2009. It would make employers who pay cash to their employees more accountable. It would give an automatic defense to any employer that used the federal E-Verify program. It would also increase the definitions of identity theft in the state.

If you vote against it: It would not change the current law, which requires employers to verify whether their employees are illegal immigrants and penalizes them if they are found to have illegal immigrants working for them.

Prop. 300

Increase salaries for

state legislators

This prop would increase salaries for state legislators from $24,000 to $30,000.

Miner Editorial Board: The board was unanimously against the increase. "In this economy, no one should be getting pay raises," one board member said.

Joint Technological

Education District

This issue would allow the Kingman Unified School District, the Colorado River Union High School District, the Lake Havasu Unified School District and the Parker Unified School District to create a Joint Technological District. The district would allow the school districts to pool resources to upgrade and expand the number of current vocational and technological classes at the schools. The district could create satellite facilities to hold classes.

Approval of the issue would result in an extra 5-cent tax per $100 of secondary assessed value on a property. For example, if a home market value was $100,000 and its secondary assessed value was $10,000, then a homeowner would pay an extra $5 in taxes.

For it: Those for the district say it would provide much-needed funding for improved and new vocational classes for the districts. Students would enter the workforce with skills they could use immediately.

Against it: There are no arguments filed against the issue.

Miner Editorial Board: The majority of the board voted for the district. "We have to invest in our youth," one board member said.

If you vote for it: It will allow the four school districts to pool funding and create better vocational and technological classes for local students. It would also add a $5 property tax to a home with a secondary assessed value of $10,000.

If you vote against it: The districts will continue to offer vocational programs through their own funding.

Mohave County

Community College Bond

The bond would allow the college to sell $111.5 million in bonds. It would help the college improve, remodel and construct new buildings, improve computers and other technology on the campus, improve the safety and security of the campus and more. The bonds would be repaid over a period of 25 years. The estimated cost of the bonds, including principal and interest, would be $214,735,138. The cost for a homeowner with a home with a full cash value of $250,000 and a secondary assessed value of $25,000 would be $28.32 per year or $2.36 per month.

For it: Supporters of the bond say it would help the college expand its facilities to meet the growing population of Mohave County and help students enter the workforce with more skills.

Supporters include: John T. Neal, president of the MCC Governing Board; John G. Lingenfelter, M.D.; the superintendents of the Colorado River Union High School District, Lake Havasu Unified School District and Kingman Unified School District; Beverly J. Liles, president of the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce; Michael K. Connor, president of the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce; Western Arizona Regional Medical Center; Havasu Regional Medical Center; Valley View Medical Center; the fire chief of the Bullhead City Fire Department and the Bullhead Regional Economic Development Authority.

Against it: Those against it say that the college is expecting population growth that may not happen and it can already increase property taxes by 2 percent a year plus any new growth, which should take care of expansion needs the school needs.

Opponents of the bond include the Arizona Tax Revolt.

Miner Editorial Board: The majority of the board was for the bond. One board member who was against it said the college had adequate facilities.

If you vote for it: MCCC will be able to sell bonds and upgrade its campuses. It will also add $28.32 of tax per year to a home with a secondary assessed value of $25,000.

If you vote against it: The college will not be able to sell bonds to upgrade its facilities.