Arizona has pages of ballot initiatives (or propositions) up for vote on the ballot tomorrow. Here is my approach to voting on these initiatives:
- My default is a no vote on everything. After all, most of these initiatives are regulations and tax increases that even the legislature, not shy about passing either, has not wanted to take on. Having a default vote is very helpful - if I am unsure, if there is doubt, if I don't fully understand the issue, then it gets a "no". Like "not guilty" in a criminal trial, its my default answer.
- I then look for tax cuts and regulation relief. There tends to be little of this. We have one ballot initiative that looks like it will help keep property taxes under control, and one that does a nice job circumscribing eminent domain takings as well as regulating "soft" takings (changes to zoning or land use that make a property less valuable without compensation). On these I will switch my vote to "yes".
- I then look at bond issues. A growing city like Phoenix needs facility expansions, and bond issues are a reasonable way to do so. However, a lot of crap gets loaded in these. Typically they will say the bond issue is "for schools" to get everyone to vote for it and then load a lot of garbage in it. I believe California has some of this going on. We have no bond issues up for vote in my district but we do have a proposition to increase the size limit of future bond issuances. I am still thinking about this one, but if I can't get excited about it, it gets the default vote - "no".
- I will then consider procedural changes in government, but with a heavy bias towards "no" due to the laws of unintended consequences. I don't understand the procedural changes being suggested in two initiatives on public land use so I will vote no on both. I will definitely vote no on the proposal to pay people to vote with a lotter ticket. The proposal to effectively switch Arizona to all absentee balloting with virtually no polls is intriguing, but seems fraught with possibilities for unintended consequences (or secretly intended consequences I don't understand) so I will vote no there too.