Arizona Legislature meets on Proposition 400
The Legislature is set to return today to take up a deal extending Proposition 400, Maricopa County’s existing half-cent sales tax which funds the Regional Transportation Program.
Paul Bentz, Senior Vice President of Research and Strategy at HighGround, Inc., discussed why Proposition 400 is important.
“It’s the half-cent sales tax that is used to fund Maricopa County’s regional transportation system. It was originally passed in 1985 as Proposition 300, and then it was continued in 2004 as Proposition 400, when it passed with 58% of the vote,” Bentz said.
Most recently passed in 2004, Proposition 400 is set to expire at the end of 2025 unless the Legislature takes action to allow a continuation to be placed on the ballot. According to a new survey by HighGround Public Affairs, extending Proposition 400 is highly favored by likely voters in Maricopa County.
“It’s been in place for 40 years now; it’s a continuation, not an increase. It’s an extension of the existing half-cent sales tax,” Bentz said.
Maricopa County is the only county in Arizona that has to seek legislative approval for transportation issues, Bentz said.
“It has become a statewide issue. Maricopa County has become the most populous county in the state,” Bentz said.
According to a poll completed by HighGround, Arizonans generally support Proposition 400 and the tax on transportation. Another poll found Maricopa residents felt legislators were not focused on transportation issues and providing the results that were needed.
“It’s more of a wake-up call for our legislature to realize, and potentially why they are here right now solving this problem, is because they were on the wrong side of this issue, standing in the way of something that the voters want. As we are the fastest growing county in the country, was not a winning proposition, they need to get out in front of it… deliver results to individuals,” Bentz said.
Arizonans care about investing in transportation, Bentz said.