Proposition 449

This proposal would extend an existing property tax for another 20 years, for the benefit of the Maricopa County Special Health Care District, also known as Valleywise Health, or County. We are also being asked, in November, to elect a member of the Board of Directors. There is also a 9 member Governing Council. None of these people is paid, and there is no reason to believe they have any real authority. Too much of our government consists of highly-paid staff supposedly governed by good citizens. The staff generally frame the questions and control the agenda. Accountability to voters is an illusion.

The arguments for this proposition are here. Notable endorsers are Kyrsten Sinema, Paul Penzone, Reuben Gallego, and Corey Woods.

In November, 2014, the Maricopa Integrated Health System (a previous name for Valleywise) came to us for approval of a billion dollar bond issue. The Arizona Free Enterprise Club opposed it. Their argument is here. The Club also opposes Proposition 449, but they have not so far written more than the list of their endorsements, here. The 2014 bond issue passed, with 513,967 ‘yes’ votes, and 296,505 ‘no’ votes. Withholding your vote is not an effective protest.

Here is the latest Valleywise budget. In it, you will learn that their annual operating budget is about $600 million, of which about 60% is salaries and benefits. Most of their revenues come from Medicaid. Their employees, like district school teachers, belong to the Arizona State Retirement System, which is badly underfunded.

Valleywise needs to explain better why they need our money, and why we need a public hospital system.