Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools
EMAIL FROM KEN BENNETT
From: Ken Bennett [mailto:EMAIL RECIPIENT OMMITTED]
Sent: Friday, July 13, 2012 10:27 AM
Subject: The Real Story on the Sales Tax Initiative
I read with interest an editorial appearing in the Arizona Daily Star
on July 10 titled "Bennett wrong to reject petitions for 1-cent tax,"
and feel that I must respond since it seems the facts are being so
twisted from what really happened.
To begin, I share the passion to support education in our state. I
believe we have a responsibility to educate our children in a safe,
positive and accountable environment.
We also have to follow state law, which clearly outlines the steps
Arizona's citizens must take to place an initiative on the ballot. The
main claim in the editorial is that our office erred in determining
the official version of the initiative.
The paper version is the official version, and the organization that
sponsored this initiative knows it. They are trying to cover their
unfortunate error by now saying an electronic "courtesy copy" on a
computer disk was the official filing.
When they gave us the disk, one of our most experienced staff members
told them that we do not accept the filing on disk and that the paper
version is the official version. She stamped each of the 14 pages and
the application form with our receipt stamp and then gave them a copy
of the stamped pages as their receipt.
Most important, she wrote the serial number (I-16-2012) assigned to
the initiative on the front page of the application. That number, she
explained, has to appear on each signature petition sheet, which the
campaign correctly did.
The important point here is that the serial number was only given to
them on the paper version. We never opened the computer disk and put
it in our file only at their request as a "courtesy copy." Their legal
briefings now claiming the opposite are disingenuous at best.
Although not heavily referenced in this editorial, the sponsoring
organization has also argued that the difference between the versions
is "hypertechnical." The extra two paragraphs added to the official
version change the way the money is distributed by at least hundreds
of millions, perhaps billions of dollars in the first 15 to 20 years
of the tax. Less money goes to K-12 education and more goes to fund
university scholarships and infrastructure projects. We couldn't see
that as "hypertechnical."
The Arizona Constitution says the petition sheets have to be attached
to a "full and correct copy" of the title and text of the initiative.
Over the next few weeks, a Superior Court judge will decide whether
the advocates for this permanent sales-tax increase have met the
requirements in state law. In the meantime, our office continues its
work to process the petition sheets. If the judge rules that the
initiative can be placed on the ballot, our office will complete our
work and place the measure on the ballot. If not, the responsibility
for its collapse falls squarely on those who failed to comply with the
simplest of requirements.