Baseball and PSPRS; An Analogy

Baseball season is in full swing. As a true Arizonan I firmly believe the Diamondbacks are batting and pitching their way to the World Series. They are looking pretty good right now. I noticed too, ticket prices keep going up. It is now very difficult for a family to go to a game, but there is always television. As I watch the games I recall the first rule in baseball, “Three strikes and you are out”. This should be true in politics too.

The State of Arizona in their wisdom has decided to increase the state sales tax to .6% possibly as much as 1% next year 2018. Such a small sum for education. Wait Arizona taxpayers just passed Prop 123 to increase teacher’s pay. Of course it lined the pockets of Administrators while increasing the average teachers’ paycheck by a minuscule amount. Arizona Treasurer Jeff DeWit warned everyone about raiding the land trust and endangering the yearly revenue flow to education, but the politicians prevailed and Prop 123 passed. Why would anyone believe an increase in the state sales tax would have a better result? Strike One!

Yavapai County Board of Supervisors are having Budget hearings to determine the needs for the County and the cost to fulfill those needs. Since the election has concluded and the Supervisors are secure in their positions for the next four years, the whispers for the need of a new jail are being heard, as well as problems with the rising PSPRS costs. As one Supervisor rehearsed rhetoric related to an audience recently, “The Board of Supervisors have the right to raise taxes but did not for the last few years.” (Thank you so much for not taking more of taxpayers’ money for useless projects.) Of course he went on to say the Board is deciding on all options to meet budget needs. Translation: We were just elected so we can raise taxes and there is nothing you can do about it. Strike Two!

The Prescott City Council, in their wisdom, has placed on the ballot Proposition 443. This will increase Prescott’s sale tax by .75%. The Council keeps saying, “just” .75% to pay down the PSPRS unfunded liability, the number one objective, according to the City Council’s original presentation. This is totally disingenuous. Several Council members on the radio and other media have said clearly, the passage of Prop 443 will stabilize the General Fund. Prop 443 revenue will be used to pay the standard payment, leaving the money previously used for the payment to become Monopoly money in the General Fund. These funds will be used at the discretion of the Council through the budget process. As one Council woman stated “you have to trust your elected officials”. Elected officials have given the City this mess, so now the taxpayers should trust these same people to get us out of this chaos? Strike three!

Of course there are other tax increases looming on the horizon; gas, CAFMA, Yavapai College, and the list goes on. Listen to these politicians. When is the last time you have heard the words “to reduce the burden on” the taxpayers. “Never” comes to mind doesn’t it. Taxes are a necessary evil, but do we need a grand slam with the possibility of extra innings. I would rather see a game called due to inclement weather, wouldn’t you?

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