Flagstaff Liberty Alliance is recommending a YES vote on Proposition 205. While we would prefer to see complete decriminalization of cannabis, we believe this proposition is a small step in the right direction and will keep some non-violent drug offenders out of prison. The freedom to put what we choose into our own bodies should be the hallmark of a free society. Our position on this proposition is an extension of the work we have done defending the rights of individuals to drink raw milk and take herbal supplements.
Property and Sales Taxes
Flagstaff Liberty Alliance is recommending a NO vote on Proposition 410 and Proposition 411. These sales and property tax renewals are more than a simple extension of existing taxes. In the case of Prop 410, the proposed property tax is considerably higher than what is currently being paid by residents and business owners. Increased taxes contribute to a higher cost of living in the Flagstaff area and it is important to remember that property taxes do get passed on to renters. Voters rejected a similar proposal a couple years ago and we urge you to vote no again.
Flagstaff Liberty Alliance is recommending a NO vote on Proposition 206 and Proposition 414. The minimum wage is generally an entry-level wage for beginning workers with no skills. The reality of the labor market is that a large majority of previously unskilled workers earn more than the minimum wage as soon as they acquire minimal jobs skills and work habits and can demonstrate their value to employers. Furthermore, a mandatory living wage criminalizes employers who are willing to hire those individuals who voluntarily and freely offer their labor at a price lower than the government mandated minimum. It is imperative to note that the unintended consequences of these propositions are far reaching. Small businesses and nonprofits on a shoestring budget will be hit much harder than large businesses who can absorb the cost. Mandating a one size fits all “solution” will eliminate entry level jobs, increase costs and hurt many of the people these laws are supposed to help.
Greater Buffalo Park
Flagstaff Liberty Alliance is recommending a NO vote on Proposition 413, a proposition that is being connected by name to Buffalo Park but has absolutely nothing to do with the existing Buffalo Park which is already protected.
Proposition 413, the Greater Buffalo Park initiative, touts that its purpose is to protect the city’s remaining undeveloped lands on both McMillan Mesa and those adjacent to Buffalo Park, but what it really does is diminish the ability of the city to provide for much needed affordable housing. During the past 4 years the Flagstaff city council has designated an incredible 2,700 plus acres as open space, and the Open Spaces Commission has worked to identify even more. The land that is being considered in this initiative is unique, because it is the last remaining land the city owns which is suitable for building residential housing. Judicious development of this land could greatly improve affordability within the Flagstaff housing market.
What this proposition effectually does is take our already dwindling developable land area and shrink it even further. This lack of developable land leads to a constriction in the supply of affordable housing. The primary cause of Flagstaff’s affordable housing crisis stems from a high demand for housing, coupled with a very limited supply. Flagstaff is a land locked city surrounded by the open spaces of the national forest. Since the only way to facilitate more affordable home prices is to increase supply, a yes vote on Prop 413 will exacerbate Flagstaff’s growing housing crisis by removing this acreage from any possibility of future housing development.
The area identified on McMillan Mesa for “protection” is estimated at 300 acres, over half of which is suitable for residential zoning. By designating specific corridors and areas not particularly suitable for development as open space, the city could easily incorporate a more inclusive, well rounded dynamic into the zoning. This initiative is myopic, it does not take in account other serious issues that our city is dealing with. In the end, if Prop 413 is approved, it will produce some serious negative impacts on Flagstaff residents, both now and for future generations.