News Item:
Glendale voters reject Prop. 457, measure to undo sales–tax hike
11/08/2012
GLENDALE, AZ –– Large margins of Glendale voters rejected a ballot measure that aims to undo a recent city sales–tax hike.

Nearly two–thirds of voters said "no" to Proposition 457 with 97 percent of precincts reporting around 11:30 p.m.

Proposition 457 aimed to give voters a say on the city's hard–pressed finances. The citizens initiative aimed to undo the 0.7 percentage–point increase and require future sales–tax hikes to go to voters for approval.

But some city leaders cautioned the tax hike's repeal would decimate city services to residents. The city's worst–case scenario projected the need to cut a quarter of its staff, reducing emergency response times, hurting libraries and other services if the tax was repealed.

Police and firefighters canvassed the city, talking with voters.

David Leibowitz, a consultant who worked against the measure, credited the ground game for the overwhelming lead in the early returns.

"You can't substitute that face to face contact," he said.

Prop. 457 supporter Rod Williams said despite the loss, he was glad that the residents got a say on the issue.

"We certainly lost, but the main thing is we wanted people to be able to vote," Williams said Tuesday night.

The City Council had approved the hike, which took effect in August, to help shore up a $35 million shortfall in the operating budget. City staff estimated that the increase would bring in as much as $25 million a year through 2017, when it would sunset.

A group of residents and business leaders gathered signatures to place Prop. 457 on today's ballot.

Both campaigns spent thousands of dollars and posted signs throughout the city.

Proponents blamed Glendale leaders for not being careful with taxpayer money, saying the city's tight finances go beyond the recession. Worse, they said, the added tax drives people to shop in neighboring cities, worsening the city's bottom line.

The council has been divided on the issue. Mayor Elaine Scruggs, Councilwoman Norma Alvarez and former Councilman Phil Lieberman, who resigned last month, question the need for the hike when the city at the same time has justified spending upward of $300 million to retain the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team at its city–owned arena.

A council majority of Joyce Clark, Steve Frate, Yvonne Knaack and Manny Martinez blame the economy for the financial situation and say keeping the Coyotes is in the long–term interest of the city.

Munshi, Sonu. "Glendale voters reject Prop. 457, measure to undo sales–tax hike". The Republic. November 6, 2012. http://www.azcentral.com/community/glendale/free/20121105glendale–voters–proposition–457.html