Tag Archive for: AZFreeEnterpriseClub

Ballot Initiative to Reform Arizona Election Laws Allegedly Gathered Signatures Illegally

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A ballot initiative that would significantly change how the state’s electoral campaigns are funded and conducted is facing allegations of illegal signature gathering.

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club filed a lawsuit challenging an initiative that it calls “radical” and argues will weaken the state’s election integrity laws. 

The AFEC complaint alleges that many of the signatures turned in to support the initiative were invalid for various reasons and should not have counted. 

The organization argues that some signatures were gathered by paid circulators who failed to register with the Secretary of the State’s office and that others included incorrect information.

In all, the club estimates that over half of the signatures on the election initiative were illegally gathered.

“After analyzing over 45,000 petition sheets and 420,000 signatures, it’s clear that well over half of the signatures on this election initiative were collected in violation of state law,” President Scot Mussi said in a statement. “That should be more than enough to invalidate this initiative.”

The club also expressed these concerns with the initiative, if it were to pass, in a press release:

  • Upend Arizona’s election administration and voter registration laws.
  • Sharply reduce candidate contribution limits while channeling more taxpayer subsidies to so-called “Clean Elections” candidates.
  • Curtail safeguards governing the initiative and referendum process.
  • Impose new taxes.

The defendants in the case are Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and the political committee Arizonans for Free and Fair Elections.

The initiative in question is called the Arizona Fair Elections Act.

Among other provisions, the initiative would mandate automatic voter registration for everyone who obtains a state-issued ID, allow for same-day voter registration, and expand early voting.

Hobbs’ office and Arizonans for Free and Fair Elections could not be immediately reached for comment.

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This article was published by Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Full List of Endorsements to Date for the 2022 Election

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The Arizona Free Enterprise Club is dedicated to advancing pro-growth economic freedom and limited government in our state. The following mission statement from the Club is in evidence by the tremendous success achieved over many years in advancing pro-growth policies and freedoms in Arizona. Following the mission statement are the Club’s recommendations for various state and local offices that are consistent with this important mission.

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WHAT WE DO

For over a decade, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club has been the only organization in the state dedicated to advancing pro-growth, limited government policies in Arizona. Through active lobbying and advocacy at the state capitol, our mission of promoting economic freedom and a vibrant Arizona economy has led to several policy victories, including substantial income tax cuts, regulatory rollback to promote entrepreneurial growth and protection of our property rights and free speech. Additionally, the Club is the leader among free market organizations in realizing that substantial policy gains require taking on the establishment and supporting free market outsiders. Along with our Freedom Club PAC, we’ve been successful in identifying, recruiting and supporting limited government candidates that share our principled ideals.

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Voter Guide for the current primary race concluding on Tuesday August 2, 2022.

These candidates represent individuals that share our values and commitment to a free and prosperous Arizona. Club President Scot Mussi stated, “It is critical that Arizona elects leaders and policymakers who are able to articulate and stand up for individual liberties, free market policies, and conservative values. We believe that these candidates are up to the challenge.”

Below is a summary of the candidates we have endorsed to date.

Arizona State Legislature

 

LD 1 LD 2 LD 3
Senate: Steve Zipperman House: Pierce Waychoff House: Joseph Chaplik
House: Judy Burges House: Christian Lamar
LD 4 LD 7 LD 9
Senate: Nancy Barto House: John Fillmore Senate: Rob Scantlebury
House: Vera Gebran House: David Marshall House: Kathy Pearce
House: Maria Syms House: Mary Ann Mendoza
LD 10 LD 12 LD 13
Senate: David Farnsworth Senate: Suzanne Sharer Senate: JD Mesnard
House: Barbara Parker House: Julie Willoughby
House: Justin Heap
LD14 LD 15 LD 16
Senate: Warren Petersen Senate: Jake Hoffman House: Rob Hudelson
House: Travis Grantham House: Jacqueline Parker
House: Laurin Hendrix House: Neal Carter
LD 17  LD 19  LD 23
House: Cory McGarr House: Gail Griffin Senate: Gary Snyder
House: Rachel Jones House: Lupe Diaz House: Michele Pena (Write-in)
LD 25 LD 27 LD 28
House: Michael Carbone Senate: Anthony Kern House: Beverly Pingerelli
House: Tim Dunn House: Ben Toma House: Susan Black
LD 29 LD 30
Senate: Janae Shamp House: Leo Biasiucci
House: Steve Montenegro
House: Austin Smith

 

Local City and Town Council

 

Chandler Payson Fountain Hills
Darla Gonzalez Tom Morrissey (Mayor) Brenda Kalivianakis
Farhana Shifa Allen Skillicorn
Hannah Toth
Peoria Gilbert Queen Creek
Jason Beck (Mayor) Jim Torgeson Travis Padilla
Mario Chicas
Bobbi Buchli

 

Red4ED Is One of the Most Expensive Failures in Arizona Political History

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Push a sympathetic message. Drum up a bunch of misguided support. And then aim for a ridiculous tax increase. That was the strategy from Red4ED after it launched a little over four years ago.

In that spring of 2018, the color red was popping up all over the place—from Facebook profile pictures to protests at the state Capitol. And it was supposedly all about increasing teacher salaries and funding for K-12 education. It was a movement that had great momentum, a sycophant media, and a political class that was terrified to stand up to them. Yet they figured out how to, in four short years, go from a political juggernaut to one of the largest and most expensive failures in Arizona political history.

Of course, defeating this multiyear assault on Arizona by Invest in Ed was a huge win for taxpayers, job creators, and the future prosperity of our state. And it would not have been possible without a combination of political miscalculations and blunders by the Red4ED decision makers and a consistent, sustained opposition from key organizations and elected officials willing to stand up to the bullies behind the movement

A Massive Legal Blunder

While the story of Red4ED began with a protest at the Capitol and demands for higher teacher pay, the movement was quickly hijacked by the teachers’ unions and other out-of-state special interest groups. It didn’t take long for the mission to morph from one about helping teachers into a singular quest to double the state income tax through a ballot initiative.

Soon after the first protests, a consortium of liberal organizations launched Invest in Ed version one, a poorly drafted initiative that proposed to double Arizona’s income tax. After receiving over $2 million from the National Teachers Union, Red4ED was successful in submitting enough signatures for their tax increase initiative to qualify for the 2018 ballot. But there was a problem. The organization’s 100-word summary of its ballot measure was grossly misleading. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce sued, and the Arizona Supreme Court ruled against it, saying that the description “did not accurately represent the increased tax burden on the affected classes of taxpayers.”

Whether it was an intentional effort to mislead the public or just a complete drafting blunder on their part, Red4ED’s tax increase initiative was removed from the ballot. And a $2 million lesson was learned. Or was it?

Their Litigation Woes Continue

Red4ED regrouped after its embarrassing court loss and put all its effort—along with more than $23 million—toward passing Invest in Ed version 2.0, also known as Prop 208. After an ugly campaign that involved deceiving voters once again, the initiative barely passed with 51% of the vote.

Yet just like the first initiative, Prop 208 was taken back to court, this time by the Arizona Free Enterprise Club and Goldwater Institute. And once again, the measure was struck down by the Arizona Supreme Court.

The court determined that the initiative violated the constitutional expenditure limitation. Here is the craziest part of the story—the drafters of the initiative knew that it violated the constitutional expenditure limitation. That’s right, the people that put Prop 208 on the ballot were fully aware that their measure had a constitutional defect. Yet their lawyers thought they could address the problem by including language that would “exempt” their statutory measure from the constitutional spending cap. As you would expect, this didn’t work, and the court struck down the measure in its entirety. But instead of cutting their losses and figuring out how to stop burning money that they said teachers desperately needed, Red4ED found a new way to target Arizona taxpayers.

A Futile Effort

In the midst of a brutal year for many, the Arizona legislature delivered historic tax cuts in June 2021. You would think this would be a cause for celebration for everyone, but Red4ED refused to join the party. Instead, the group spent over $5 millionto hire an army of paid circulators to put a referendum on the ballot to block the tax cuts from going into effect.

They thought they finally scored a big win, but it turns out the only thing they scored was more legal headaches. Immediately after the referendum was submitted, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club filed a lawsuit, challenging the constitutionality of ballot referral. It was our belief that the measure did not comply with the “support and maintenance” clause in the constitution, and therefore the tax cuts were not referrable.

Nine months after our lawsuit was filed, the Arizona Supreme Court agreed with our position and ruled against the referendum, issuing a big win for taxpayers throughout the state.

If you’re doing the math, that’s more than $30 million spent in just over four years, and what does Red4ED have to show for it? Two legally flawed initiatives and a legally flawed referendum that all failed miserably. Plus, they took a movement that had sympathetic support for increased teacher salaries and turned it into a radical left/teacher union effort that destroyed any credibility they had with voters.

Adding insult to injury, they also had to endure watching the Arizona legislature and Governor Ducey implement the anti-Red4ED plan by slashing income tax rates in half to a flat 2.5%. In other words, a plan hatched by Invest in ED seeking to double the state income tax resulted in income tax rates that were slashed in half. What a disaster for them! But maybe they can at least celebrate the possibility that Red4ED may be the largest, most expensive failure in Arizona political history.

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This article is published by Arizona Free Enterprise Club and is reproduced with permission.

 

State Supreme Court Reaffirms Arizona’s Nation-Lowest Flat Income Tax

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Arizona’s high court has pulled a ballot question from the November election that could have erased the state’s largest-ever income tax cut.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a veto initiative to repeal a gradual change from Arizona’s progressive income tax to a flat 2.5% wasn’t appropriate for the ballot process. The court didn’t immediately offer an analysis of the opinion.

Lawyers representing the Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC), a taxpayer advocating nonprofit, argued before the court that the state’s constitution bans government functions such as tax cuts from being challenged at the ballot box.

“Today’s decision from the Arizona Supreme Court is a big win for taxpayers in our state,” said AFEC President Scot Mussi. “The legislature passed historic tax cuts last year that benefit all Arizona taxpayers. It’s time for Invest in Arizona and out-of-state special interest groups to accept this reality and stop making a farce of the referendum process.”

Invest in Arizona, a union-sponsored nonprofit based out of Phoenix and affiliated with Portland-based Stand for Children, was primarily responsible for gathering signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

Passed in 2021, the law reduced individual income tax rates for all taxpayers by gradually reducing the state’s four income tax rates to one 2.5% rate by 2022. With the court’s opinion, the rate is now in effect.

David Lujan, president of the Arizona Children’s Action Alliance, said the court is protecting the state’s ultra-wealthy.

“Let’s be clear about who wins with these tax cuts – the richest 1 percent of Arizonans who will get an average tax cut of more than $19K,” he said. “Household making $64K annually gets avg tax cut of $47 and our state loses billions for education and other needs.”

Republicans hailed the opinion as relief for taxpayers facing the nation’s most severe inflation.

“This ruling is another big win for our state’s taxpayers and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” Gov. Doug Ducey said. “With inflation hitting Arizonans hard, this decision ultimately means more of their hard-earned dollars can stay in their wallets.”

House Majority Leader Ben Toma, R-Peoria, said the ruling means surety for taxpayers.

“In 2021, Republican legislators provided historic tax relief to all Arizona taxpayers. The Supreme Court’s decision provides clarity and certainty that Arizonans will get this relief at a time when they need it most,” he said.

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This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.