Tax for Schools, Plan for Open Primaries Shot Down; Voters Limit Property Assessments

Arizona voters have rejected soundly the retention of a one-cent sales tax passed in 2010 that would have provided education funding and scholarships.

The state already spends less on a per-student basis than most other states, but voters either don't care or didn't think throwing money at the problem works.

With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting, the sales tax measure, Proposition 204, is going down in flames by a whopping 65 percent "no" to 35 percent "yes."

State voters said "no" to the notion of open primary elections by an even wider margin. Proposition 121 is failing by 67-33. No need to worry anymore -- your favorite, extreme party candidate won't be voted off the ticket by members of any other party.

Three other ballot propositions also appear to have failed: Proposition 115, which would have changed the way judges are selected; Proposition 116, a tax break on new business equipment; and Proposition 120, the silly State Legislature-referred bill that aimed to take away Arizona lands that the federal government now owns and redistribute them to the state.

Proposition 118 is the closest as of midnight, with 50.16 "no" and 49.84 "yes" votes. That one changes the formula in which land sales fund schools, meaning it will an even worse defeat on top of the rejection of Prop 204. With many provisional ballots still be counted, this one could still turn around.

So what did pass?

Well, you no longer have to fear that if you break a robber's arm like Steven Seagal, the robber can't sue you. Proposition 114 is passing big-time, by about 80-20.

While we're not sure whether Prop 114 will benefit anyone, the passage of Prop 117 (which currently is leading by a secure 57-43), affects property owners throughout the state. It limits the increase in property tax assessment valuation of a property to 5 percent over the previous year, beginning in 2015. No more sticker shock when you open that envelope from your county assessor.

Lastly, voters also approve Prop 119, which allows for a process to swap state trust land in exchange for land that benefits military installations or has other special purposes. This one seems fairly safe because any actual land deals under the law would still have to be approved directly by voters.