You don’t have to drive very far in Gilbert, Arizona to see signs like this:
What is Prop 406?
The Gilbert Town Council is placing a resolution in front of the voters in a special election to be held on May 18, 2010. Here is a PDF of the entire resolution. To summarize, Proposition 406 is:
A resolution of the common council of the town of Gilbert, Arizona, to submit to the qualified electors of the question of whether to adopt an ordinance increasing the Transaction Privilege Tax (editor’s note: think sales tax) from 1.50% to 1.75%, of which the use of the .25% increase will be for public safety services, defined as police, fire, court and prosecutor office services”¦
What is the controversy?
It’s a tax increase. That alone tends to get people fired up.
Gilbert, like many other municipalities across the country is facing a budget crisis. The Gilbert Town Council did a good thing in implementing a “Citizens Budget Committee” last fall. These ordinary citizens of Gilbert were tasked with diving into the budget and presenting alternatives to the Town Council for their consideration. I don’t think anyone went into this process believing that every recommendation of the budget committee would be accepted, or even considered.
But in reading what several members of the committee and subcommittees have had to say in the months since, one starts to wonder if the Town Council listened to anything the citizens had to say.
Check out the site GilbertWatch.com .
From their about page:
Gilbert Watch is an internet publication devoted to informing Gilbert residents and business owners on local political issues affecting them.
Several members of the Gilbert Citizens Budget Committee appear to be writing for this site. It provides a very good insight into the workings of that committee. The authors here don’t seem to think the tax increase is necessary. Another “vote no on 406” article can be found at Campaign for Liberty.
There are two sides to every story
Those pushing for a “yes” vote on Prop 406 point out that Gilbert has one of the lowest municipal sales tax rates in Arizona (even with the proposed increase) and that without this increase, public safety services will face cuts. CitizensForPublicSafety.com is the only “pro” 406 web site I could find. They also have a pretty active Facebook page with 1,798 members.
I wouldn’t dream of telling you how to vote
It’s certainly not my place to tell you whether to vote yes or no on Prop 406. But if you live in Gilbert, you should vote. The sites listed here are a great place to start your research. I haven’t dug into the issue enough (yet) to decide in my mind which side presents the best argument. Granted a 0.25% increase in sales tax isn’t a lot, but it’s still a tax increase and generally speaking I’m not a fan of tax increases. Gilbert’s budget problems need to be solved, but I tend to prefer spending cuts over tax increases. That’s just me, your mileage may vary.
You have to be registered to vote by April 19, 2010 in order to vote in the special election to be held May 18. Early in-person voting begins on April 22 and ends May 14. For more election details see the Town of Gilbert elections page.