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Opinion: Why Prop #443? We Have a Bill, We Will Pay the Bill
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06 June 2017   Jim Lamerson

Why Prop 443 is needed to pay the bill. 

Watching events in my beloved England where I spent much of my youth growing up, I’m alarmed that American citizens do not see historical parallels that our country was subjected to. Regardless of personal opinion – right, wrong, and something else – facts are facts and law is law. Having again reviewed state statutes A.R.S. §38-843 and A.R.S. §38-841 regarding contributions and obligations to the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System with the City’s attorney, I again confirm my support for Proposition #443. 

Without another public infusion of money, the City’s ability to provide basic services will be different in the near future. While there is definitely a sound argument for this position, there is equally a sound argument against this initiative. They are both right and both flawed. The people, citizens, and taxpayers of Prescott didn’t create this battle field. 

State statutes are fairly simple and are clear in what our responsibility is – our municipality has a fiscal liability to the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System for a state defined benefit and we are legally obligated to pay it. Our local cops and firemen didn’t do this. How the community chooses to pay the liability is in question. One thing is factual, however – we will be held accountable for the liability. 

Prescott currently does not have the ability to pay the liability using property tax. Shared revenue and use taxes are extremely limited and do not have the ability to generate the revenue necessary to pay the bill. Proposition #443 will not fix the problem. What it will do is provide the money needed to currently pay the bill. The perceived future bill may be a different scenario. 

I stated during the 0.55% initiative, “We have to stop the bleeding.” #443 will not repair why the bleeding happens, nor fix the arterials or elevated blood pressure. What it will do is temporarily stop the bleeding so that “we” can better concentrate on fixing the problem. We have a bill, we will pay the bill and we will continue to work with the legislature to fix the problem.

I do not like raising taxes! I do, however, agree with paying our bills. I do not agree with turning our back on Prescott’s obligations and those which I was elected to deal with. Very similar to President Trump’s recent comments on being elected to serve his constituents and not other nations, I was elected to serve the citizens of Prescott and to ensure the City is run efficiently and effectively. I was not elected to serve the PSPRS Board or to solve the PSPRS system as a whole. Very similar to the “Great Generation’s Dilemma,” we didn’t create the reasons for the war, but we do have to deal with it. Thank God and them every day that they did.