Editorial: 'Yes' is proper for Proposition 123 - and 124

There are easier things to wrap your head around than Proposition 123. Here's the simple two-part explanation:

  1. A yes vote gives public education in Arizona an additional $3.5 billion to work with over the next 10 years.

  2. The extra $3.5 billion will not come from a tax increase. The cash will be available by taking 6.9 percent annually from the state land trust fund. The current rate is 2.5 percent.

There are legitimate concerns from those opposed to Proposition 123. My concern, though, is what will happen if Prop 123 doesn't pass.

A little history.

When the Arizona Legislature met in 2009, an economic calamity made it apparent that a business as usual approach would not work. Business as usual would have cost billions more than the Legislature had to work with.

So along with a bunch of budget cuts, they scarfed up a load of education money previously approved in a state-wide referendum.

Bad move, it was decided in the state's courts a few years later, though the matter hasn't been settle financially. (That's why we're voting Tuesday - a "yes" vote should settle it.) But at the time it was the correct - and tough - decision by the Legislature, simply because tax hikes during recessions generally make recessions worse, and there wasn't enough revenue to fund government basics.

Some are concerned that the state land trust fund won't be able to provide all the money promised. Maybe that's true, but if it is it will become evident long before it turns into a crisis. Legislators will have time to address this issue, if it ever arises.

Proposition 123 is going to win by a landslide, I believe. And, as is almost always the case, the voters will have gotten this one right.

I'm voting for Proposition 123 as well as Proposition 124, which will address the state's stressed pension system.

"Yes" votes on both make very good sense.

•••

The narrative as the presidential primary season winds down goes something like this:

• For Bernie Sanders, it's more stories outlining how what he wants to do can't be done without raising taxes on everyone who pays taxes. And then, after a few years, even that won't be enough. The fact that the ancient socialist is thumping the favorite in about half the primaries is of little more than passing interest to the media.

• For Donald Trump, more stories about the divided Republican Party and the much-deserved negative perception of the candidate among voter demographics.

• For Hillary Clinton, more stories about how her campaign is "on track" as she loses yet another primary to Sanders on the way to her coronation.

The logical conclusion to this narrative is that Hillary is going to be the next president.

Until last week I figured the narrative to be correct, but not fair. After all, Clinton's campaign promises aren't all that much different from what Sanders proposes, but no one is writing stories about Clinton's plans needing huge tax increases to function. Nor do stories of Clinton's negatives among voters come up nearly as often as similar stories about Trump. Any day now I expect the AP to tell us Clinton using the home email server was patriotic, according to some expert.

Explained differently, one might say that you never know what will come out of Trump's mouth, and it might contradict something he said five minutes earlier. For Clinton, you could say that no matter what comes out of her mouth, it's probably not true.

Then Quinnipiac University released a poll showing Clinton and Trump basically neck-and-neck in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Gee, maybe Hillary is just as unpopular as The Donald.

It's not over yet, not by a long shot.

That's my narrative.

•••

My grandson has a bank disguised as a slot machine. A few days ago he was sliding coins in and got upset because he wasn't winning.

Then he got over it. He's 5, so it's allowed.

An hour or so later I walked by the kitchen table and spotted a more traditional piggy bank. It was on its side, with the seal opened and change scattered all around. The rob the piggy bank to gamble cliche had come to life.

My grandson, the problem gambler. I hope he doesn't get arrested hitchhiking to Laughlin.