Barry Goldwater very well may be turning over in his grave come election day, because Arizona is on the verge of a major expansion in the size and scope of government.
That's the opinion of some conservative business leaders as ballot questions related to tobacco taxes, workplace smoking bans, minimum wage and farm animal pens are poised to pass.
Proposition 203 would increase tobacco taxes by $150 million annually and put that money toward new programs for preschools and children's health.
Other propositions on the November ballot would mandate the type of pens farmers and ranchers must provide for sows and calves, raise the minimum wage to $6.75 per hour, and ban workplace smoking.
Gov. Janet Napolitano also is primed for re-election and if she's gets a strong mandate from voters, could ask for increased state spending in her next budget. That could mean more money for universities, K-12 schools, biotechnology labs, roads and health care programs.
All of that worries advocates of fiscal restraint and limited government.
"Arizona government's tentacles are reaching into every corner of society. From pigs to bars, this ballot alone would like to saddle us all with new taxes, regulations, spending and layers of bureaucracy," said Steve Voeller, president of the conservative Arizona Free Enterprise Club. "Let's leave the over-regulation and big-government activity to California."
Napolitano -- who faces Republican challenger Len Munsil next month -- said she plans to submit a balanced budget if re-elected.
The governor said she wants to increase funding and state investments in roads and water infrastructure, open-space preservation and education, in particular, an increase in the number of math and science teachers.
The Phoenix and Tucson areas need to keep up with population and economic growth, and Napolitano is expected to offer more state money to improve areas that are lagging.
Arizona has the nation's highest dropout and crime rates, a large number of residents without health insurance, a need for more prisons, schools and roads, and suffers from a dearth of lab space for biotech firms.
"Janet will push for as much spending as she can get," said state Rep. Laura Knaperek, R-Tempe. "Her revenue projections will be high and her fixed expenditures will be low. I do not foresee any tax cuts from this education governor. She will want to raise Arizona out of the lowest-funded rank for education before she runs for U.S. Senate."
Napolitano has approved Republican- and business-supported tax cuts the past two years and touts the state's improved fiscal situation in her campaign, but she also has been criticized by fiscal conservatives for increasing state spending during her first term.
The conservative CATO Institute recently gave the Arizona Democrat an a "F" grade when it comes to spending restraint, ranking her next to last in the country among governors.
Some business interests blame propositions, which cannot be amended by the Legislature after approval, for the state's growth in government.
Tim Lawless, state president for the National Association of Industrial & Office Properties, a real estate industry group, said the problem is not the governor or the Legislature, but ballot questions that expand government size and spending.
"The vast majority of the state budget is a formula determined by matched funding from the federal and voter-protected propositions," said Lawless.
Over the past decade, state voters have approved ballot measures that have increased and formalized spending on health care, education and government financing of political campaigns.
"There is no question the size and scope of government will increase because of a number of the propositions," he said.
Lawless and other business advocates are increasingly opposed to the idea of "ballot-box budgeting," in which statewide referendums earmark tax increases and outline spending for specific programs.
Proposition 203, for example, would raise tobacco taxes and create a government entity to help allocate $150 million annually to children's education and health programs.
The idea has prominent business support including Bashas' Supermarkets, home builder Ira Fulton and Pinnacle West Capital Corp. The measure, however, is opposed by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Scottsdale Area Chamber and fiscal watchdogs because of the spending implications.
Those in the business community and others who support certain ballot measures and spending increases argue the state needs to invest more in key areas such as schools and roads, and that there are macro-benefits to restricting smoking, increasing wages and regulating farms.
Benjamin Barr, a policy analyst with the Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix-based think tank, said the state is creeping toward bigger government by allowing itself to be more in involved business, consumer and individual decisions.
"Come Nov. 7, citizens must decide, among other things, such important topics like whether pigs should be protected under the law and whether property owners should have any say in deciding whether to permit smoking on their own land," said Barr. "These used to be decisions left to individual citizens. Slowly, we're ceding our most precious constitutional liberties and favoring government intervention over individual responsibility."