Debate To Weigh Merits Of Propositions 202, 301

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The television station cuts to a commercial showing a bulldozer loaded down with bags of money.

The voiceover says developers are stockpiling big bucks to defeat Proposition 202 because "instead of you paying for new roads and water lines, the developers will have to pay." The spot ends with the bulldozer barreling down a residential street.

The next commercial shows a truck delivering a portable toilet to a mournful family standing in the desert.

The narrator says that if Proposition 202 passes, people outside the growth boundaries won't "even get water or sewers." This spot ends with a son shouting, "Not fair!" as the outhouse door bangs behind him.

Confused by conflicting claims? Then you'll want to be at the Payson High School auditorium tonight at 6:30 p.m. when two-person teams of debaters square off to weigh the merits of not only Proposition 202, but also Proposition 301, the education initiative that would generate a state sales tax increase of six-tenths of 1 percent to support education.

Proponents of Prop. 202, which would require communities of more than 2,500 persons to draw a 10-year growth boundary based on state population projections, say it is time to end unchecked, unabated, taxpayer-subsidized growth in Arizona. Those on the other side reply that each community should make its own decisions about growth, and that the proposition will cost thousands of jobs in the construction industry and lead to more, not less, urban sprawl.

Those who favor Prop. 301 argue that it is time to stop shortchanging Arizona's children and teachers (the state ranks 50th and 34th respectively in expenditures in those categories), especially with a critical teacher shortage looming on the immediate horizon. Opponents counter that too little of our education dollar ends up in the classroom, and that the "state education department is a huge suction pump that swallows up our tax dollars and spits out poorly educated children."

The evening will begin with a brief summation of all the ballot propositions by Alberto Olivas of the Secretary of State's office.

At a glance

What: Debate on props. 202 and 301

When: 6:30 tonight (Tuesday)

Where: PHS auditorium

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