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Neil Wake Mostly Right About Prop 123

October 3, 2019

District Court Judge Neil Wake is getting some unjust criticism regarding his decision in the appeal of Proposition 123, the measure that helped fund education by taking more money out of the enabling act trust fund. Former Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit warned against the action of taking too much money out of the trust fund. A better solution would have been to accelerate the sale of state trust land, as DeWit suggested. This would have brought an immediate cash infusion into the trust fund from the sales and would have guaranteed future income through the payment of real estate taxes on what was government land that paid no taxes. Both sources of money could be used to increase education spending. However, this would mean a loss of control of the state trust land by Arizona State bureaucrats. I suspect that this is part of the reason for failing to take the path that was clearly proper and legal rather than the one that was questionable, as noted in Wake’s opinion.

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