$1.7 million raised by campaigns for and against Phoenix pension and light rail initiatives ahead of Aug. 27 special election

On August 27, Phoenix voters will decide Proposition 105 and Proposition 106 in a special election.
If approved, Proposition 105 would end construction of light rail extensions and redirect funds to infrastructure improvements in Phoenix. Building a Better Phoenix sponsored the initiative and argued, “Phoenix taxpayers are wasting BILLIONS on light rail expansion at the expense of other critical infrastructure. This is money that can be used to fix our streets and sidewalks, expand bus and dial-a-ride service, improve lighting and address other infrastructure improvements.” The Building a Better Phoenix committee reported $460,000 in cash contributions, $29,000 in in-kind contributions, and $394,000 in cash expenditures through August 10 (the last day covered by pre-election campaign finance reports). Top donors to the campaign were Mel Martin, Chris Hinkson, Rachel Palopoli, and Scot Mussi.
If approved, Proposition 106 would do the following:
  • require annual assessments of the city’s pension debt,
  • limit budget growth if pensions are not 90% funded,
  • earmark revenue over the budget limit to paying down pension debt, and
  • require city officials to reimburse the city for pension benefit employer contributions.
Responsible Budgets Inc. sponsored Proposition 106. Councilmember Sal DiCiccio (District 6) argued, “The City of Phoenix owes $4.4 BILLION on our pensions! Responsible Budgets takes the first steps to addressing Phoenix’s long term funding deficit[.]” The committee reported $197,000 in cash contributions, $101,000 in in-kind contributions, and $298,000 in cash expenditures. Top donors included Pass the Balanced Budget Amendment, Morning in America, and Chuck Warren.
Opponents of the initiatives joined to form the Invest in PHX, No on 105 and 106 campaign. Concerning Proposition 105, the campaign argued, “Prop 105 stops all light rail construction and kills light rail plans already approved by voters three times. … It also sends billions in federal dollars to cities in other states.” Concerning Proposition 106, the campaign argued, “Prop 106 is dangerous, and would slash access to critical city services like parks, libraries, senior centers, and support for those experiencing homelessness, just as Phoenix emerges from the worst recession in generations.” The top donors to the Invest in PHX committee were Devil’s Advocate, We Build Arizona, and Greater Phoenix Leadership, Inc.
Both measures are citizen initiatives that required 20,510 signatures from registered city voters to qualify for the ballot. In Phoenix, initiative petition signatures must equal 15 percent of the voters who voted in the previous mayoral election.
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