AFN NEWS STAFF
The Arizona Citizens for the Arts board of directors has voted unanimously to oppose both propositions that voters in Ahwatukee and the rest of Phoenix will be weighing in on Aug. 27.
The two measures – “Building a Better Phoenix Act” Proposition 105 and the “Responsible Budget Act” Proposition 106 – would amend Phoenix’s City Charter.
Proposition 105 would stop all light-rail project expansion plans, not allocate funds for light rail or fixed rail line transit systems after Aug. 27.
It would redistribute revenue designated for light-rail extensions to other infrastructure projects, primarily street improvements.
Proposition 106 requires the city to conduct an additional annual assessment of all pension liabilities and impose a budget-growth cap.
The proposition requires that all funds above the budget cap only be directed toward pension liabilities if the systems are not at least 90 percent funded.
The only exception would involve spending for public safety.
Both measures have been strongly supported by Ahwatukee Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who started a petition campaign two years ago to get the pension proposition on the ballot.
But the citizen arts group took issue with both, maintaining that “light rail has proven its worth on many levels from connecting Valley communities to impacting the economy through jobs and investment to its environmental benefits.”
Arizona Citizens for the Arts Executive Director Joseph Benesh said, “With the Valley consistently among the fastest-growing areas in the nation, light rail will play an increasingly important role in the quality of life in our community by providing reliable, efficient and cost-effective transportation to diverse opportunities across the Valley including many of our vibrant arts and cultural offerings.”
He said the board “questioned the Proposition 106 premise to restrict funding to a single entity when those dollars can be invested more strategically in a range of growth-related programs, services and resources that would pay much greater dividends to the community at large.”
Benesh said that the board “was honored to stand alongside other leading organizations, including the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, in opposing both measures.”