When I was first elected to the Arizona Senate, a previous and very conservative state senator warned me about saying or promising I will never raise taxes because "you never know what tomorrow will bring." That was and is so true! For example, Prop 100 which was the temporary tax to help Arizona get out of the horrific hole we were in back in 2010 that Governor Brewer pushed for. I was opposed to that tax but in hindsight it was the right thing to have done. And the tax was truly temporary!
Now our own City Of Prescott is faced with a similar dilemma. We have a obligation to pay over $80 million and growing, that, not through our own doing, but it must be paid toward the insolvency of PSPRS. Those that say the State has to take care of this are right! The State should, but it won’t!
Look at all the candidates that always run, including myself. We are conservatives that want less government, less taxes and we all have said it. Look at current candidates as they say it too. But the fact is, people say it while running, that’s what we believe and yet, once elected, you realize money doesn't grow on trees! Arizona cannot print money yet there are obligations that have to be paid. If you want something, write the check, and don’t count on someone else to pay for it.
The State will not take care of this obligation because too many of those elected have made the promise. My personal belief is YES, the State is liable! But, remember, Governor Ducey has said he will never raise taxes and he will cut them every year. So, the state DOES NOT have the money to do so. IF, and a big IF, the various jurisdictions around the state got together and forced a legal action thru the courts, forcing the State to help resolve this, then they would take action on it. Furthermore, IF the state should have a change of heart, this local tax would end!
The fact is, in the meantime, Prop 443 is our only hope toward solvency. Prescott must step up and pass Prop 443.
We can't wait for someone else to pay for this.
Steve Pierce, Former Arizona Senate President