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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting on AZ Ballot Propositions that Affect Real Estate

As a Realtor®, I pay special attention to political and other issues that may affect my industry.  I think most Americans do the same, regardless of what industry they work in.  With more propositions on this year's Arizona ballot than ever, it's especially important to know what you're voting for before getting to the polls.  I voted early from home and it literally took me half a day to vote, and I already knew how I was going to vote on most races and propositions!  But it took a great deal of time on the internet to find information on the less publicized candidates, and there's much more to some of the ballot propositions than the signs will tell you.

For those of us in the Arizona real estate industry, the Realtors® of Arizona Political Action Committee (RAPAC) usually does a pretty good job of letting us know how different candidates and propositions will affect real estate.  This year, however, I think they did a very poor job.  They only took a position on 5 of the 19 ballot propositions, and one of those positions was 'neutral'.  I will list their positions on those 5 propositions below.  I will also provide some information on other propositions that affect real estate, since RAPAC didn't mention them.

Proposition 101:  RAPAC Says SUPPORT: "Known as the "2006 Taxpayer Protection Act", Proposition 101 will reset property tax levies to their 2005 levels.  In doing so, it will remove much of the excess taxing capacity that certain jurisdictions have accumulated since 1980.  If Proposition 101 passes, local governments will not be able to make substantial increases to property taxes without first earning voter approval.  The Arizona Association of REALTORS® recommends a YES vote on Proposition 101."

Proposition 104:  This has to do with municipal debt, and affects important local infrastructure which can definitely affect real estate.  I'm surprised RAPAC had no opinion on this proposition.

Proposition 105 & 106:  RAPAC Says OPPOSE: "In previous elections, the Arizona Association of REALTORS® has supported the statewide conservation and reform efforts of state trust lands but is opposed to Propositions 105 & 106.  After reviewing both ballot measures and analysis conducted by renowned land use attorneys Robinson & Cole, LLP, the association is concerned that the implementation of either proposition will cause litigation, loss of revenue to the beneficiaries of the trust and negative planning implications of both trust land and private land.

Currently there are serious disagreements among the stakeholders (education, real estate, conservation, grazing, etc.) surrounding how our state trust lands should be reformed.  When the stakeholders jointly craft a state trust land reform package the likelihood of broad statewide support will increase and the threat of endless litigation will decrease."

Proposition 201 & 206:  These are the propositions that ban smoking in all public places statewide, including restaurants and bars (with very limited exceptions).  To me, these are restrictions on private property use disguised as bans on smoking.  I can't believe nobody spoke out against these propositions, not even the real estate associations.  I understand why they didn't - it's bad PR to be anything other than anti-smoker in today's day and age.  I personally don't smoke, nor do I like smoke blown in my face while I'm at a restaurant.  However, I'm even less fond of the government telling me that I cannot allow legal activities on my private property.  Why not let the free market dictate whether or not restaurants owners allow smoking in their restaurants/bars?  If the place is uncomfortably smoky, people won't go there.  But to require business owners to sink thousands of dollars into renovations (and lose money while the renovations are taking place) just to be allowed to keep operating the same way they've operated for years is just plain wrong in my book.  At a minimum, existing businesses should be grand-fathered into any legislation that restricts the use of their private property in any manner which was previously unrestricted.  RAPAC surprisingly has no opinion on this proposition.

Proposition 204:  This proposition claims to be about animal cruelty but is really an effort by PETA to ultimately remove all meat and dairy (and their bi-products) from our diets.  Step #1 is to put these ranchers and farmers out of business.  This is an out-of-state supported initiative that should be voted down by Arizonans.

Proposition 207:  This is Arizona's eminent domain proposition.  RAPAC Says NEUTRAL:  "The Private Property Rights Protection Act", has raised a considerable amount of debate regarding its potential impact by both supporters and opponents.  The Arizona Association of REALTORS® reviewed the current ballot proposition as well as earlier drafts of the same proposal and an analysis performed by Robinson & Cole, LLP.  While there are many areas within the ballot measure that the association finds supportable, the association also found language in the Proposition that is confusing and will likely lead to litigation.  The Arizona Association of REALTORS® is NEUTRAL on Proposition 207."

Proposition 302:  This is the proposition that will raise the salaries of Arizona's 30 state senators and 60 state representatives from $24,000/year to $36,000/year.  RAPAC Says SUPPORT.  This makes alot of sense to me, as these people do important jobs and we should encourage, not discourage qualified people to run for elected offices.

Proposition 100, 102, 103 & 300 all have to do with illegal immigration in some way.  To me, this is a clear statement that Arizonans are demanding a solution to the illegal immigration problem.

Proposition 200 & 205 have nothing to do with real estate, and they're just crazy as far as I'm concerned!  Turning election day into a lottery is what Proposition 200 suggests.  Do we really want to contaminate the votes of informed people who made the effort to do their civic duty with the votes of people who just showed up for a chance to win $1 million?  How much fraud would there be and what would it cost to send everybody in the state a ballot to vote from home as Proposition 205 suggests?  The postal folks can't get my mail in the right box as it is, how could they handle the overload that would occur at election time?  And again, do we really want to contaminate informed votes with the votes of people who aren't involved enough to go to the polls or request an early ballot?  I had 4 different organizations send me already filled out requests for an early ballot.  All I had to do was sign it and mail it back (no stamp was even required).  It wasn't hard at all to get an early ballot and I don't think the state should pay to send them to people who are too lazy to care about voting.

Well that's my take on the real estate side of Arizona's 2006 ballot propositions.  Be sure to read this article about Arizona lesser known candidates.  It has several links to helpful background information on some of the less popular races and candidates, such as those running for Central Arizona Water Conservation District and the Mesa Unified School District Number 4 School Governing Board.

Bring the proper Arizona voting I.D. to the polls and BE SURE YOU VOTE TODAY!!

Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard

Great American Realty, Inc.

Cell: (480) 695-6672
Email me

Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on November 7, 2006 | Permalink


Nice blog entry! Enjoyed the reading material.

Posted by: Vincent Talerico | Dec 3, 2006 1:36:50 AM

With foreclosures in the USA at record highs, with similiar levels predicted for 2007, I would be interested in some ballot propositions which provide additional protection for people in this position. Aside from the suffering of individuals, this puts pressure on the entire real estate market.

Posted by: Robert (property agent) | Jan 3, 2007 4:15:28 PM

This blog entry is something special and different in real estate blog, yes politics effects real estate industry and the way you gave propositions are good resource and informative.

Posted by: Finance Guide 101 | Jan 17, 2007 2:11:14 AM

Good to see someone talk about political issues relating to realestate.

Posted by: Cid Dennis | Feb 14, 2007 1:03:25 PM

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