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Change to Prop. 105 assault on accountability, education

Something’s gotten into the water at the state Capitol.

Republicans — specifically one out of southern Arizona — want more government control by taking power away from the people of Arizona. In the Arizona Capitol Times May 27 article “Fit to be tied: Republican lawmakers say Prop. 105 too restrictive,” Rep. David Stevens, R-Sierra Vista (District 25), said he is vying to put legislation back on the agenda next year to limit voters’ decision-making power.

Specifically, Stevens wants to alter Prop. 105 — the 1998 ballot measure that strictly limits the Legislature’s ability to tamper with voter-approved measures. Translation: he wants to take power away from Arizona voters.

As voters, we approved things like First Things First and Growing Smarter, early childhood education initiatives that would help kids get a jump start on their future so they can compete in a global economy. We approved these initiatives so that government couldn’t tell us what to do with our money, so that our money would be protected from legislative power grabs.

So far, those power grabs have already happened. Republicans promised that the sales tax increase — last year’s Prop. 100 — would be used to protect education. But Gov. Jan Brewer and Republicans massively cut education again this year by hundreds of millions of dollars. Meanwhile, they gave away tax breaks to big corporations and the rich instead of making them pay their fair share. Two years ago they voted and succeeded in eliminating the funding for all-day kindergarten.

Yet again, here is another attack on early childhood education. Stevens wants to make another hit on our kids’ schools. That’s especially devastating to southern Arizona where rural school districts suffer from cuts the most.

What’s happening is just an outright insult to voters. There’s a reason Prop. 105 exists — we don’t trust politicians at the Capitol, and why would we when they are slashing funding for our kids schools and pushing Arizona down the wrong track?

Prop. 105 holds government accountable, but Stevens and Republicans apparently don’t want that, and after their actions this session, it’s easy to see why.

— Pat Fleming is a Democratic former state representative from District 25.

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