Initial election results indicate that the measure will pass.
Proposition 401 will be put to the voters in a small, special election in La Paz County on Tuesday. It’s purpose is to raise the County’s ‘expenditure limitation’ for the next fiscal year, with a second special election needed in November to make the change permanent.
Below, Parker Live attempts to answer some frequently asked questions on the ballot measure.
What is an expenditure limitation?
It’s a limit placed on Arizona counties that caps how much they can spend annually, whether they have the money to cover it or not. In recent years, La Paz County has gone over its expenditure limitation and could be expected to suffer financial penalty by the State of Arizona if it is not corrected.
What is causing La Paz County to go over its limitation?
The County has grown since the limitation was set in the 1980s. All economic development, all expenditures made to bring in revenue including enterprises like Emerald Canyon Golf Course and the park system counts against the expenditure limitation, which has not been changed or updated in 38 years. Additionally, the state has shifted costs to counties that they did not previously have. The current administration sees increasing the expenditure limitation as part of fixing the County’s financial status.
Is this a tax increase?
No, it’s completely unrelated to taxes or taxation.
How much do they want to change it by?
The base rate since the County’s formation has been $2.24 million. Proposition 401 would increase it by $3 million for the 2018/2019 fiscal year. A second measure will be needed to make the increase permanent and is anticipated to be on the November general election ballot.
In what way do non-tax revenues contribute to the need for a limitation increase?
Because La Paz County has a low tax base (not enough private land generating property tax), it relies on other revenues, including from enterprises like the Emerald Canyon Golf Course, the County Landfill and the park system. But even though these enterprises are profitable and generate money for the County, they also cost money to run, which counts against the County’s expenditure limitation. See this example.