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79th Arizona Town Hall
Pieces of Power: Governance in Arizona
Oct. 28 - 31, 2001

While our entire nation is coping with the tragic events of September 11, we all have come to more greatly appreciate our country and its democratic form of government. This Town Hall's discussions flowed around an appreciation for how well our government works in Arizona, but with a careful eye cast toward specific improvements for how Arizona governs and how improvements could be made that would provide for greater participation in our governance system by a larger number of citizens. Following are just a few of the recommendations from the 79th Arizona Town Hall that will bring our governance system to an improved standard of excellence.

  • The complex fiscal structure of the state has not been reviewed from the ground up in many years and may well benefit from scrutiny by an independent commission of fiscal experts. This commission, which would have a sunset clause, would review current fiscal policy and assist legislators in long-term strategic planning.
  • Recruitment and attraction of new industries with high wage jobs, retention and expansion of current industries, development of an appropriately educated/skilled workforce and the promotion of tourism should be the government's primary objectives in stimulating the economy.
  • Arizona should achieve a better balance of sales, income and property taxes to provide a more diverse, stable tax base.
  • The role of county government must be enhanced and modernized to enable them to provide regional solutions, particularly between municipalities.
  • Abolishment of term limits because quality legislators are forced out of the system and a void in long-term leadership is created. Terms of office for legislators should be extended and reviewed for the potential of different length of terms between the two houses.
  • The strike-all amendment process, whereby the language of a bill is eliminated and replaced with language often on a different subject, should be eliminated.
  • Prior to the signature gathering process, all initiatives should be reviewed in public hearings and the language of all state initiative measures should be reviewed by the staff of the Arizona Legislative Council to insure proper drafting and constitutionality of the measures.
  • Elected officials at all levels of government should meet at a statewide summit to discuss issues of communications and intergovernmental relationships and other issues raised in the Town Hall.

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