Support Legislation to Reduce the Size of Government and Protect Workers

by John Stephenson / /

Dear Senator:

     Onbehalf of the National Taxpayers Union’s 8,300 members in Arizona, I urge youto support three bills that will provide relief for overburdened taxpayers byreducing the size and scope of government, and one bill that would preventunauthorized deductions from workers’ pay for use in political activities.

     Massiveoverspending has resulted in equally massive deficits and a state governmentthat is fundamentally unaffordable for taxpayers. Moreover, state government isperforming an increasing number of tasks, such as facilities maintenance, thatthe private sector is better suited to carry out for both economic andconstitutional reasons. To remedy this problem, Arizona needs stronglimitations on spending and at least three bills now before you can contributeto this vital task.

     SCR 1019 asks voters to approve aconstitutional state spending limit of 6.4 percent of state personal income. SB1408 would establish “Truth in Spending” estimates consisting of the amount ofcurrent appropriations from all sources, each adjusted for population andinflation, and require a simple majority vote ofthe Legislature to increase spending at rates beyond these levels.Additionally, SB 1408 requires the Legislature to hold a hearing prior to sucha vote to obtain input from taxpayers. Finally, SB 1322 requires cities withpopulations in excess of 200,000 people to seek private sector bids for allmunicipal services, with exceptions for public safety officers.

     AlthoughArizona already has a constitutional limitation on spending at 7 percent ofstate personal income, public officials have in the past taken advantage ofthis provision’s generous terms  (such asmoving governmental functions from one level to another) to approve substantialand unsustainable increases in expenditures. A stricter limit, which couldstill be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote in the Legislature, coupledwith more accurate revenue estimates, would still allow government to grow –only more in line with the state’s economy. Also, by requiring a public hearingbefore any vote, taxpayers will have an opportunity to submit their views directlyto their legislators, which will encourage civic engagement and moreaccountability. Further, a requirement for private sector bids for allnon-public safety municipal services in large cities will ease the burgeoningcosts of government that drive tax increases.

     Finally, SCR 1028, the Paycheck Protection Referendum,would ask Arizona voters if public and private employers should be prohibitedfrom deducting of payments from any employee’s paycheck for political purposeswithout the annually affirmed written consent of the employee. This is a neededreform to prevent the misuse of workers’ earnings by interest groups seeking toadvance their agendas.

     The timefor meaningful spending and political reform in Arizona is now. Therefore, ourmembers hope you will support these proposals, which would provide protectionfor taxpayers and workers.


StateGovernment Affairs Manager