ARIZONA CHAPTER OF THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF AMERICA, et al., Petitioners/Appellants,
CITY OF PHOENIX, et al., Respondents/Appellees, Building a Better Phoenix, a Political Committee, Real Party in Interest/Appellee.
from the Superior Court in Maricopa County, The Honorable
Sherry K. Stephens, Judge, No. CV2019-000604. AFFIRMED
Decision of the Court of Appeals, Division One, 1 CA-CV
19-0257 EL, Filed June 6, 2019. AFFIRMED
Herrera, Mark S. Kokanovich, Daniel A. Arellano, Ballard
Spahr LLP, Phoenix, Attorneys for Arizona Chapter of the
Associated General Contractors of America, et al.
Langhofer, Thomas Basile, Statecraft PLLC, Phoenix, Attorneys
for Building a Better Phoenix
JUSTICE TIMMER authored the opinion of the Court, in which
CHIEF JUSTICE BALES, JUSTICE BOLICK, and JUSTICE GOULD
At issue here is whether the "Building a Better Phoenix
Act" initiative measure qualifies for placement on the
City of Phoenixs August 2019 special election ballot. We
must decide whether petition signatures are void pursuant to
A.R.S. § 19-118.01(A) because the measures proponent paid
petition circulators by the signature and whether the
measures 100-word description fails to comply with A.R.S. §
19-102(A). We previously issued an order affirming the lower
courts decisions that the initiative measure qualifies for
the ballot. We now explain our reasoning.
Light rail in Phoenix is funded from many sources, including
rider fares, advertising proceeds, and regional and federal
funds. Before 2015, Phoenix imposed a
transaction privilege and use tax to further fund the citys
transportation network, which included light rail. In 2015,
voters passed Proposition 104, which set that tax at 0.7%
until 2051 and created a Citizens Transportation Committee to
review all tax revenue expenditures. See Phx. City
Clerk, August 25, 2015 Sample Ballot: Mayor and Council
Proposition 104 authorized use of the tax revenues, among
other things, to "[e]xpand[ ] light rail ... to serve
more Phoenix neighborhoods and employment, education and
entertainment centers" as depicted on an included map.
Id. Proposition 104 did not authorize use of these
funds for light rail maintenance and repair. See id.
Building a Better Phoenix ("BBP"), a political
action committee, sought to amend the Phoenix City Charter to
discontinue "light rail extensions" and redirect
local sales tax funding for light rail extensions to
"infrastructure improvements." To do so, BBP filed
an application in September 2018 with the City Clerk of the
City of Phoenix, see A.R.S. § 19-143(B), seeking
placement of the "Building a Better Phoenix Act"
initiative measure (the "Initiative") on the August
2019 special election ballot. Upon receipt of the
application, the City Clerks office assigned the Initiative
petition a serial number, see A.R.S. § 19-111(B),
which enabled BBP to gather the number of valid signatures
required to qualify the Initiative for the ballot. To that
end, BBP hired a commercial petition circulation firm, which
paid circulators on a per-signature basis.
Arizona Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of
America and David Martin (collectively,
"Contractors") filed a complaint pursuant to A.R.S.
§ 19-122(C) seeking to enjoin placement of the Initiative on
the ballot. They allege that petition circulators were paid
by the signature in violation of § 19-118.01 and that the
100-word summary circulated with the petition created a
significant danger of confusion or unfairness in violation of
§ 19-102(A). The superior court denied relief, and the court
of appeals affirmed.
Ariz. Chapter of the Associated Gen. Contractors of Am.
v. City of Phoenix, No. 1 CA-CV 19-0257 EL, 2019 WL
2399703, at *1 ¶ 3, *6 ¶ 25 (Ariz. App. June 6, ...