Journalists’ Roundtable: 8-19-22: Ballot Initiatives, School Vouchers and more

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On this week’s Journalists’ Roundtable, anchor Rick Debruhl discusses ballot initiatives and universal school vouchers in Arizona. Special guests this week are Mary Jo Pitzl of the Arizona Republic and, Camryn Sanchez of the Capitol Times and Jim Small of the Arizona Mirror.

The topics covered include:

  • Ballot Initiatives
  • School vouchers
  • Colorado River water cuts

Ballot Initiative Regarding Voters and Taxes

Back in April, the supreme court decided that Proposition 307, which allowed voters to weigh in on the tax cut made last year, could not be on the ballot. This was recently justified.

Mary Jo Pitzl: “Today’s opinion says ‘you can’t do that’ because, basically, according to our Constitution, you cannot refer tax measures back to the voters.”

Jim Small: “Specifically, they [the Supreme Court] said that anything that deals with existing government agencies and state institutions can’t be referred to the ballot.”

How Does this Affect Other Initiatives?

Mary Jo Pitzl: “There is a proposal that will be on the ballot in November that says that if there is a citizen initiative that wants to raise taxes, it needs to get at least 60% of the vote.”

What is the new school voucher bill that was passed earlier this week?

Camryn Sanchez: “It’s a very expensive bill to expand ESAs, which are educational scholarship accounts, in the state to basically anyone who wants them, which is a huge deal and something that Republicans have been pushing for a long time.”

While the bill was signed about a month ago, Gov. Doug Ducey recently held a “pep rally” at a school to celebrate the decision.

Camryn Sanchez: “It’s going to be a big deal because so many people can apply now whether or not they could afford to go send their kids to private school without the vouchers. And so it’s not clear yet how many kids are going to apply and how much it’s going to cost.”

Camryn Sanchez, Capitol Times; Jim Small, the Arizona Mirror; Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic

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