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Opinion: The Truth on Prop 443 and Why You Should Vote YES

16 June 2017   Sherrie Hanna and Cecelia Jernegan

Setting the record straight on Prop 443

We know it’s never easy asking citizens to approve an increase in a tax rate and educating Prescott voters on why a yes vote on Proposition 443 is so important is not an easy task. But our focus is clear and full of purpose; to save the quality of life we all enjoy here. 

Unfortunately, there is so much misinformation and downright deception created by the Citizens Tax Committee (CTC) and the PAC opposing Prop 443. The idea that money generated by 443 will go to anything other than to pay down the unfunded liability of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) is, well just a lie.  The ballot language is written very clear: “. . .the revenue from which shall be dedicated to the payment of the City’s unfunded liability to the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System…”  Simple and straight forward. Every cent of the tax revenue generated by Proposition 443 must, by law, go to pay down the city’s unfunded liability. 

Mary Beth Hrin, a candidate for Prescott Mayor, recently wrote a piece for this publication that states it is not the intent of the council to pay down the unfunded liability. Again, a lie. Every cent of the tax generated by Prop 443 will go to pay down the unfunded liability. The City is estimating that the ¾ of a cent tax will generate approximately $10-$11 million annually. In the recent budget meetings, the Prescott City Council has discussed and agreed in principle that they should also add the normal pension cost ($1.35M) and the unfunded pension liability ($6.5M), totaling $7.85M to all of the funds generated by Prop 443. This will be a significant amount to pay down the unfunded liability. 

Hrin’s statement that “. . .this council has no intention of paying down Prescott’s exploding pension liability with the revenue from Prop443,” is completely false, and Hrin and the CTC know it. Furthermore, it has been obvious from the forums and comments made by representatives from the No on 443, their goal is to confuse and misinform the voters. Their slogan is “No Solution” but their mission appears to be for Prescott to go down the path toward bankruptcy. Who wants to live, work, retire in a bankrupt City?

The City Council has been very clear, Prescott will pay its bill to PSPRS. They are constitutionally obligated to do so. 

The question before the voters is “What do you want Prescott to look like as we pay this obligation?” We can choose to pass a ¾ cent sales tax (75 cents on $100) which will sunset in 10 years or sooner to generate revenue to help pay down this unfunded liability, or we can choose to continue to kick this can down the road and pay more – much more in the long run as our city deteriorates right before our eyes. If Prop 443 fails, police, fire, library and parks/recreation will continue to be cut as Prescott’s unfunded liability payments consume more of its already strained General Fund. This is not a fear tactic – it is simply the factual truth.

We are blessed to live in the #1 city in the Southwest. In order to protect Prescott’s future, our personal investments in our homes and businesses, and quality of life, Prop 443 must pass. Do not be misled by the lies, the naysayers and their doom and gloom. We can in fact face this problem head on, pay down this crippling debt and keep our Prescott what we all love. We ask you to “Stand for Prescott” – Vote Yes on 443!

Stand For Prescott Committee

Sherrie Hanna, Co-Chair & Cecelia Jernegan, Co-Chair

Stand for Prescott: Website | Facebook