Everyone knows the story of Hansel and Gretel. Siblings go into the woods leaving breadcrumbs trailed behind them to find their way back home. The birds eat the bread crumbs and the children end up getting lost finding a witch’s candy house. In the end the witch is defeated by the clever children.
Fast forward to Prescott’s PSPRS problem. Citizens are leaving behind breadcrumbs to find their way back to fiscal balance as they pay an increase in state sales tax, increase in Central Yavapai Fire District taxes, and a probable increase in County taxes due to PSPRS and a new jail. The big, greedy ravens hover above waiting to devour the breadcrumbs and what is left for the Citizens to do but run to the candy house. Maybe by eating this sweet treat they will be protected from the oppressiveness of the ravens devouring the last morsels of the frightened, financially starving Citizens. Little do the Citizens know lurking behind the oozing syrupy goodness, gumdrops and the like, is an ugly old wart infested witch named Prop 443. On the door are signs “Keep the Library Open”, “Save the Park”, “Build More Pickle ball Courts”, etc. The witch uses these signs to alarm the Citizens to submit to her will. The Citizens cautiously open the door where the witch is grasping out towards them wanting more and more and more. But the Citizens cannot be deceived by these false signs echoed by the wicked Prop 443. Instead they are empowered through knowledge of the truth to recognize these are just scare tactics and will not work.
The Citizens of Prescott know the fairy tale being spread by the proponents of Prop 443 is a door with colorful signs, but not the truth. They understand the original premise has been distorted. The PSPRS .75% tax was presented by the Prescott’s Strategic Planning Committee, in their original public presentation, as “the number one objective to pay down the Prescott’s PSPRS unfunded liability”, but through various media, several council members (even the original presenters) contradicted the initial premise. Following the approval by the City Council to place Prop 443 on the ballot, they stated on numerous occasions, the new .75% tax will be used to pay the PSPRS standard payment which would “free up” existing $6 million to “stabilize the general fund”. City officials know this will not pay off or even pay down the current $78 million liability. Mayor Oberg in a presentation last week stated Prescott’s PSPRS payment will increase every year and be over $14 million by 2022. This means the $10 million or less expected return on the .75% sales tax increase will not even cover the payment in 5 years.
Prop 443 is a tax but not a solution. The People have been deceived and need to stuff their breadcrumbs deep into their pockets and throw the witch (Prop 443) into the oven. Demand a REAL solution for PSPRS problem.