Education Funding and Reform

Education quality and funding will be the most significant issue heading into the 2018 gubernatorial election cycle.  The passage of Proposition 123 did very little to change the opinion of the electorate regarding the direction of Arizona – which remains highly negative.  While there may be a belief among some opinion leaders that this issue of adequately funding our schools has been addressed for now, our recent research shows that the electorate strongly believes that the “problem” has not been solved and in response, are willing to support additional, stable long-term funding options for education.  HighGround has spent the last few years working with groups within the education community improving community dialogue and fostering the development of organic policy initiatives.


Immigration Dialogue

Over the past three election cycles, the HighGround team has gathered concrete data from polling likely Arizona voters about their attitudes toward immigration, aspects of various proposals, and the desire of the electorate to find a solution.  We have found that a majority of Arizonans (including likely Republican voters) support immigration reform and candidates who support reform centered on border security and increased economic development opportunities.  Our team continues to promote thoughtful dialogue on immigration with a long-term goal of promoting a workable solution.


Voter Participation

HighGround, Inc. has more than a decade of experience in determining and measuring statewide, regional, and local voter behavior.  Our team has been tracking voter turnout and important issues for several years developing a strong understanding of the trends that face the State of Arizona.   Our team regularly briefs businesses and organizations on voter behavior and participation improving public understanding of the differences within voting groups, election cycles, and regions throughout the state. 


Restoring Arizona - Medicaid Restoration

HighGround and Burns & Associates worked with the Governor’s Office, Arizona Health Care Coalition, and the Restoring Arizona business coalition to provide strategy, survey research, messaging, and coalition support for the restoration of Arizona’s Medicaid program.  The restoration was passed by the Legislature, signed by Governor Brewer, and withstood an aggressive referral attempt.  Ultimately the effort protected the rainy day fund, reduced uncompensated care, and prevented 63,000 Arizonans from losing their health care at the end of the year.


Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) Reform

On behalf of the League of Arizona Cities & Towns and the firm’s other municipal clients, HighGround played a leading role in protecting the interests of local governments. The original legislation, a product of Governor Jan Brewer’s ‘Tax Simplification Task Force,’ threatened cities’ ability to administer and audit the tax, as well as detrimentally changing how construction sales tax would be calculated and collected. On the last day of session, a compromise was brokered which included a higher level of participation from cities and towns concerning the administration and auditing of the TPT tax. Additionally, the vital construction sales tax largely remained as is, with the exception of the “services” tax which will be moved to point of purchase.


Balancing Arizona’s Budget – Proposition 100

Worked with Governor Brewer’s office, business, and education leaders to pass a budget that contained a mix of cuts, borrowing, and temporary revenue. The temporary one cent budget measure was referred to the voters as Proposition 100 in May of 2010. Highground assisted as a strategic consultant to Integrated Web Strategies in their efforts. Proposition 100 passed with 64.3% of the vote.


Privatization of SCF AZ

Requires effective January 1, 2013, a mutual insurer corporation become the successor in interest to al the assets and liabilities of the State Compensation Fund.


Safe Communities Act

HighGround worked to allow the court to adjust a person’s length of probation if the person is qualified for earned time credit.  It provides a process for a portion of the cost savings from a reduction in probation revocations to be used for probation programs.


Appropriation to build the ASU Polytechnic Institute

Worked with ASU and local leaders to secure an appropriated $103 million to construct a Polytechnic Academic Complex to be located at the ASU East Campus.


BCS National Championship Game

HighGround worked on and passed enabling legislation to create a special use agreement to allow the stadium to host the newly created BCS National Championship Game.  It also included establishing a mechanism to return transaction privilege tax revenues from ticket sales, ticket surcharges, or parking related user fees to the appropriate parties.


Regional Transportation Plan

For over three years, HighGround, Inc. served as the principle public affairs consultant for the Associated General Contractors, the Arizona Rock Products Association and the Arizona Business Coalition in developing the ½ cent transportation sales tax extension plan to be considered by Maricopa County voters.  The majority of the members of this team managed this issue through two legislative sessions that saw the establishment of the transportation process and the approval of the plan developed by the process.  The team moved on to manage the campaign for the passage of Proposition 400 on the November 2004 general election ballot.


Maricopa County Hospital District

Our team was the principal public affairs and lobbying team for the legislation that authorized the creation of the new Maricopa County Hospital District on behalf of Maricopa County.  Following the successful passage of the legislation, HighGround was retained as the principal campaign consultant for the Yes on 414 Committee, which won voter approval from Maricopa County voters in November of 2003.


Power Generation

HighGround has a long history of working with the Salt River Project.  One significant project ensured that SRP is able to generate enough affordable electricity to meet Arizona’s growing demands.  HighGround helped SRP develop an Arizona organization which included the East Valley Partnership, WESTMARC, the Arizona Association of Industries and the East Valley Chamber Alliance as well as many neighbors and neighborhood groups.  The campaign was successful in creating a positive public environment that encouraged the development of additional electrical generating capacity for Arizona consumers such as the expansion of the San Tan Generating Station in Gilbert.


Defeated Growth Management Initiative

HighGround worked with the Arizona Association of Realtors to build a coalition of Realtors and the development industry throughout Arizona to successfully defeat the Sierra Club’s Proposition 202, the Growth Management Initiative.


Multi-use Stadium

HighGround, Inc. was among the first consultants hired to help create the Stadium district that ultimately led to the construction of the multi-use facility.  Established a Tourism and Sports Authority for the purpose of constructing, financing, and promoting a multipurpose facility, major league baseball spring training facilities, and community youth and amateur sports facilities.


Growing Smarter Legislative Package and Preserve Arizona Ballot

HighGround, Inc. helped build the diverse coalition of conservation groups, elected officials and others to create the Arizona Growing Smarter Act.  The team then lobbied to successfully pass legislation and successfully managed the passage of Proposition 303, the Preserve Arizona Initiative in 1998.  This is the only public land management campaign to gain voter approval in modern Arizona history.


Disproportionate Share Funding

Even prior to the formation of the company, our members worked with Peter Burns and the Republican Governors Association to establish Republican policy position on health care funding and disproportionate share funding.


Juvenile Justice Initiative

HighGround worked as the principal consultant on the juvenile justice initiative.  The law required that 15-17 year old juveniles who were charged with murder, armed robbery or rape to be remanded to adult court.  The initiative passed with 62.9% of the vote.