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GPEC Ambassador Event: Election Outcomes in Arizona

As Election Day extended into election weekend, our ambassador event featured Rob Dalager and Ali Dionne with Public Policy Partners, who discussed the projected election results and what Arizonans need to have on their radar moving forward.

As of Friday morning, President-Elect Joe Biden led President Donald Trump by roughly 11,500 votes in Arizona, a margin of about 0.34%. Mark Kelly was leading incumbent Senator Martha McSally with 51.19% of the vote.

Prop 207 has achieved a 60.03% “yes” vote. This bill will legalize the adult recreational use of marijuana, specifically by allowing adults 21 and older in Arizona to possess up to one ounce (28 gram) of marijuana (with no more than five grams being marijuana concentrate), and to have up to six marijuana plants at their home (with up to 12 marijuana plants in households with two or more adult members).

“There was a general feeling that this would always pass; however, I don’t think I heard anyone say that it would pass by the margin that it did,” Dionne said.

Prop 208 passed with 51.75% voting in favor. The proposition proposes enhancing funding for the K-12 education system to increase Arizona’s spending in the sector by instilling a 3.5% tax on single filers making at least $250,000 or married couples making $500,000.

“Proponents of Prop 208 are estimating that it will bring in between $800 and $900 million,” Dionne said. “A lot of other people are saying that you’re possibly going to have people moving from the state, they’re not going to file here, it’s not going to bring in as much and it will hurt our economy.”

A survey conducted for the Associated Press and published to The New York Times shows that Arizona voters between the ages of 18 and 29 heavily favored Biden at a 59 to 37 split.  Those with higher education degrees prefer Biden as well, with 52% of survey participants with a college degree and 54% of post-grad students or graduates voting for now President-Elect Biden.

“It’s interesting because people like to think of Arizona as this wild west red state,” Dionne said. “That’s actually not the case and has not been the case, I think, for a very long time.”

With that said, this isn’t a blue wave in the Grand Canyon State. Republicans maintained its 31-29 control of the House and kept control of the state Senate with a 16-14 majority. Dalager said not only are there still more registered Republicans, the gap has actually grown since the August primaries.

“If the Republican Party is smart, they will see that even though they’ve retained their two majorities, even in the races they won that they knew they were going to win, the margins were more slim than they had been historically,” he said. “If they don’t somehow moderate or morph their product, then they might not be so lucky with the elections in two years.”

The 2020 U.S. Census and redistricting will change voting boundaries. These changes will be decided by a committee made of two Republicans, two Democrats and an independent chairperson who is selected by the four partisan members.

There has already been a lawsuit filed regarding picks, Dionne said, and she predicted the process will be divisive and in the news more often than past redistricting efforts.

The results of this redistricting will affect quite a few pieces of legislation that Dalager expects to come up in the near future.

He expects there to be a proposal on coronavirus liability protection for employers and schools. There could also be a package that addresses the regression of students that has been caused by schooling changes brought about by COVID-19.

There will likely be an effort to extend the Angel Investment Tax Credit, which incentivizes investment for startups. That tax credit is set to expire in July of 2021.

“Arizona is in the spotlight right now and that’s not going to go away. There’s another election in two years and two years after that,” Dionne said. “With Arizona being such a fast-growing state and a battleground, a lot of the bills that get us either negative or positive press coverage around the country are not going to go away.”

 

As a GPEC investor, people and businesses are joining private sector and civic leaders who are dedicated to creating long-term economic sustainability in Greater Phoenix. To learn more about becoming an investor and joining our Ambassador program, please visit our dedicated webpage or contact Nicole Buratovich, GPEC’s Senior Director of Investment Strategy & Engagement at nburatovich@gpec.org.