Last week, Tucson residents exercised common sense by overwhelmingly rejecting Prop 412 in a special election. And whether you live in the city or not, this is a significant win for our future.
Disguised as a new agreement between the City of Tucson and Tucson Electric Power (TEP) to renew the Franchise Agreement for another 25 years using the current 2.25% fee, the proposal included a number of Green New Deal pet projects. Had it passed, it would have added a 0.75% “Community Resilience Fee” to fund the costs associated with building underground transmission facilities—and “projects that support the City’s implementation of the City’s approved Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.”
That would have meant:
Lengthy construction projects removing driving lanes from roads (Road Diets)
Permanently inhibiting access to small businesses
Reducing personal vehicles by 40% by 2050
Establishing Tucson as a 15-minute city with local travel restrictions removing personal choice
Now, the citizens of Tucson have spoken. And it’s clear that they don’t want Green New Deal mandates that take money from their wallet and freedom from their lives.
But make no mistake about it. TEP and its leftist ally Major Regina Romero are committed to their “climate change” agenda…
A special election is taking place right now in Tucson, and even if you’re not from the city, you should pay attention. At first glance, Prop 412 appears to be nothing more than a new agreement between the City of Tucson and Tucson Electric Power (TEP) to renew the Franchise Agreement for another 25 years using the current 2.25% fee. But just like anything government bureaucrats put out there nowadays, you need to keep reading.
Along with the renewed agreement, Prop 412 would add a 0.75% “Community Resilience Fee” to fund the costs associated with building underground transmission facilities—and projects that support the City’s implementation of its Climate Action Plan. Ahhh, there it is. The agenda behind Prop 412 finally comes out. This isn’t about renewing a franchise agreement. It’s about forcing hardworking taxpayers to start funding the estimated $326 million it’s going to need to address Mayor Regina Romero’s so-called “climate emergency.”
Arizona legislators will soon have to choose between two very different plans to spend funding from the highway sales tax originally passed in 1985. One plan, SB1246 by Senator Farnsworth, would keep faith with the promises made to voters that the sales tax would fund highways to relieve traffic congestion around Phoenix.
The alternative proposal, SB1102 by Senator Carroll, would siphon off money from road projects and instead fund “green energy” giveaways proposed by the bureaucrats at the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG). SB1102 proposes to divert $2 billion from highway construction to fund bike lanes, walking trails, bus lanes, and other unspecified “special projects.” In other words, it establishes a slush fund comparable to the “Green New Deal” of the Biden Administration.
The Farnsworth bill, on the other hand, will fully fund the freeway expansions promised to the voters, and there will be no green slush fund. Also, none of the transportation money could be used to remove traffic lanes to make room for bike paths.
It also requires government-subsidized transit to operate efficiently and recover 25% of the cost from the riders, as they promised. In reality, the government-run system falls woefully short of that requirement, collecting a mere 7% currently. Senator Farnsworth’s bill will make public transit meet their revenue projections. If they fail to do so, private companies could bid to provide transit services and guarantee the revenue as promised to the voters.
The Left’s fixation with public transit has resulted in hundreds of millions pouring into the black hole of failing transit systems. Yet, despite the clear evidence that transit systems run by the government are a white elephant, they keep pumping more tax dollars into them. They cannot point to any city where the ridership has met their projections. The reason is simple. When pollsters ask the public, they say they want more public transit. However, when asked if they intend to use it, they say they have no intention of using it. They want other drivers to use transit to get those cars off the freeways.
SB1102 would help MAG pursue their far-Left agenda, which now includes imposing California-like restrictions on Arizonans, including banning the internal combustion engine and gas appliances. We must end such power grabs by the bureaucracy, and the Arizona Legislature can start by killing this bill and passing Senator Farnsworth’s SB1246.
The late, great conservative Senator Everett Dirksen famously explained the thinking of legislators when he said, “When I feel the heat, I see the light.” Taxpayers can hold legislators’ feet to the fire by telling them to vote NO on SB1102 and AYE for SB1246.
Pat Nolan is the Director Emeritus of the Nolan Center for Justice at the American Conservative Union and lives in Prescott.
We’re just over two years into President Biden’s presidency, and it appears the push for the Green New Deal is in full swing. They’re coming for your money. They’re coming for your cars. And now, yes, they are indeed coming for your gas stoves.
Of course, these Green New Deal activists don’t want you to know that. That’s why the mere mention of a potential gas stove ban draws eye-rolling responses from the left—like this piece from The New York Times that wants to assure you that the Biden administration is not planning a ban on gas stoves. Or the White House putting out a statement that the president does not support such a ban.
Katie Hobbs’ reign as governor of Arizona is off to a rough start. She was booed at the Phoenix Open this past weekend. She looked foolish in an interview before the Super Bowl with Fox News Sunday host Shannon Bream—who called out Hobbs for opposing school choice even though she attended a private school. And her pick to lead the Arizona Democratic Party, Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, was rejected.
That’s not a good look for a governor who’s been in office just over a month. And it’s probably why, at this point, Hobbs has chosen to rule by executive action. But her latest failure may be her worst to date.
Earlier this week, Hobbs’ pick to lead the Department of Health Services (DHS), Dr. Theresa Cullen, failed miserably when the Senate rejected her nomination…