Border Adjustment Tax Could Derail Tax Reform

Americans for Prosperity - Arizona

By: Tom Jenney – Americans for Prosperity, Arizona

One of the most enduring symbols of Arizona is the Grand Canyon.  In fact, many people have nicknamed us the Grand Canyon State.  This most famous of the national parks also illustrates the stakes for Arizonans in the debate that is currently being waged in Washington, D.C. over tax reform.

Let there be no mistake: the so-called Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) would blow a Grand Canyon-sized hole in our economy and the budgets of working families.

In Arizona, the retail industry is a significant source of jobs.  There are more than 64,000 retail businesses that support 828,000 jobs, contributing $53 billion to our economy every year.  If you lined up the workers who are employed because of retail in Arizona shoulder to shoulder, they would span just about the entire length of the Grand Canyon.  That’s a lot of jobs and many of them could be on the chopping block if Speaker Paul Ryan, and U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady move forward with the BAT.

The BAT is a national sales tax that would raise $1 trillion in new revenue over the next ten years by taxing imports.  Small businesses, particularly retailers would be discriminated against, while big multinational corporations that ship products overseas, would have their exports exempted from federal taxes.  This is a classic example of Washington picking winners and losers among industries, but in this case, it would be middle-income working families who get the shortest end of the stick and pay the ultimate price.

The BAT would drive up the cost of everyday necessities, such as gasoline, groceries, food and clothing, including prescription medicines.  According to the National Retail Federation, the average Arizona family could end up paying more than $1,700 per year in higher prices.  This is a lot of money that struggling, working families, who have seen their wages stagnate in recent years, simply can’t afford to pay.

Fortunately, the BAT is running into a buzz saw of political opposition.  Conservative organizations such as the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity have blasted the BAT as being anti-consumer and anti-free market.  Senator Jeff Flake should take note of this opposition and publicly oppose it.  Moreover, Congressman David Schweikert sits on the Ways and Means Committee and should work to keep this tax increase on Arizona families from ever getting out of his committee.

Arizona’s elected leaders could do the vital retail businesses in our state and middle-class families a great service by formally announcing their opposition and driving a nail in the coffin of BAT.  Tax reform is too important to the health of the economy and the pocketbooks of working households for it to be derailed by an exotic, anti-consumer, anti-small business tax.  The BAT is simply bad policy, and it deserves to die an early death, so conservative, free market tax reform can get back on the right track.

It is time to save tax reform, which is badly needed for families and businesses alike in Arizona, by saying no to and killing the BAT.  That is the first step to fairly and equitably lowering the rates for everyone and allow the free market to work.  Conservatives were not elected to Congress to put their thumb on the scale and pick winners and losers, and that is exactly what a trillion-dollar tax increase on Arizona families does in exchange for a permanent tax holiday for multinational companies, many of which already exploit loopholes and receive special deals from lobbyists in Washington.  Senator Flake and Congressman Schweikert, voters sent you to the nation’s capital to fight for their interests and are watching who you stand up for.

Tom Jenney is the State Director of the Arizona Chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

Fired Welfare Reformer Fights Back Against Left-Wing Hit Machine


Reprinted from Townhall

By Rachel Alexander

Tim Jeffries, a well-loved director of Arizona’s state welfare agency, the Department of Economic Security, was fired in November of last year. As I covered previously, this valiant conservative merely followed the governor’s orders to trim the agency of bad employees. Arizona’s left-wing media pounced on the firings — note that the left frequently takes the side of criminals — and sure enough, some of the fired employees had been caught stealing from the agency, stealing from the poor.

Jeffries was also targeted because he took on Democrat dishonesty. His predecessor was too afraid to take on a Democrat legislator who was illegally receiving food stamps. Jeffries discovered the full story from a DES investigator and had the fraudulent legislator prosecuted. Sadly, that honest investigator was later fired over this, even though a grand jury indicted Rep. Cecilia Velasquez on three felonies. A former Democrat state legislator, Leah Landrum-Taylor, received an appointment under Jeffries at DES, but used the position to undermine him, hoping to move up in the ranks. The Arizona Republic has still not revealed the actual facts, despite the fact there is photographic evidence proving her lies.

One of the employees who was terminated was featured sympathetically in the Republic. What the yellow journalism didn’t reveal is that she was terminated for hostilely telling (threatening?) a member of the public who came in for services, “You’re lucky you’re on the other side of the counter!” In contrast, under Jeffries’ tenure, there was an outbreak of clients who sent DES letters of support, something which had never happened before.

Over 1,000 DES employees contacted Jeffries after he was fired, expressing their condolences. The newspaper didn’t bother to report that. His Facebook page is full of photos of DES employees smiling and joking around under Jeffries’ fun-filled leadership. Thousands of the 7,000-plus employees there loved how he transformed the stodgy, unhappy agency into a workplace environment that was fun and efficient. He called those he worked with colleagues, not employees, and responded personally to emails from each and every one of them.

Incredibly, 40 of the 475 fired DES employees are now being reinstated, and firings have slowed to a trickle. The liberal reporter at the Republic responsible for many of the hit pieces on Jeffries, Craig Harris, bragged, “Firings of state government workers plummeted during the final three months of 2016, with just 17 involuntary separations in December, following a series of Arizona Republic and azcentral stories that uncovered questionable and improper dismissals at state agencies.” The governor’s chief of staff admitted that agency directors are now afraid of seeing their names publicly linked to “wrongful” firings. However, the termination rate of Jeffries’ predecessor was about the same, approximately one a day.

Jeffries recognizes the names of many of the DES employees who are being hired back, and says they are “bad apples” who have no business getting their jobs back. He fired “bullies, racists, sexual harassers and slackers.” Fraudsters were arrested.

The “fake news” has continued since Jeffries’ firing. Incredibly, even after my article refuting much of the Republic’s hit piece on Jeffries’ firing came out, the Republic ran another piece repeating much of the fake news. It was such a well-done hit piece, if you only read that article, you’d likely think Jeffries really was a bad dude.

For example, the left-wing local media ignored the restructuring Jeffries implemented, which put in place better management. “People who had iron grips on their respected positions were exited,” Jeffries said about some really bad characters. The biased media deliberately did not report that the Arizona Department of Administration approved every firing — it wasn’t just done by Jeffries and DES. All state agencies are required to have a Human Resources chief who is actually an employee of ADOA. After Jeffries was fired, his HR director was fired as collateral damage. Now, ridiculously, the state HR chief will have to review every firing in the state. It’s “bureaucracy gone wrong,” Jeffries says.

Jeffries is fighting back, giving interviews to local news stations and submitting his opinion to the Republic. Why would a very successful private businessman in the private sector like Jeffries (I’ve known him for years) agree to head a state government agency? When the governor asked him if he wanted to head a state agency, Jeffries chose DES. It is because he comes from a poor background himself, and knew he could make DES much more efficient as he’d done running business in the private sector. Jeffries transformed the agency into something unimaginable. Originally a state agency with a bad reputation (the case in most states), DES became a part of government where both Democrats and Republicans were proud to work.

Jeffries is a role model for how state agencies should be run — not merely for efficiency, but for his compassion. Seven colleagues reached out to him as director and told him they were homeless, and he helped them. They have said they would speak to the press, but Jeffries has asked them not to, because he is worried something might happen to them. He and his wife spent over $40,000 of their own money helping others they met at the agency. One woman spent two weeks sleeping in a DES closet. Don’t expect the left-leaning media to report the fact that Jeffries helped her.

Does this sound like a state agency director who should have been fired, or more like a left-wing witch hunt against a kind, successful conservative reformer? “I was the governor’s top reformer, and I’m gone,” he told Arizona’s ABC-15. His final message to his remaining DES colleagues after being fired? He loves them and he looks forward to remaining their good friend. There may be litigation. Let’s hope this top reformer finds his way back into government. He’s desperately needed.

House Democrats Oppose Effort to Prohibit Public Money from Going to Political Parties

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The House of Representatives today failed to pass HB 2403, legislation sponsored by Representative Coleman which would prohibit Clean Elections candidates from contributing public funds to political parties.

Doug Coleman

Rep Doug Coleman

While a majority of House members supported HB 2403, it failed to achieve support from three-fourths of the body, which is required to amend statutes created through the initiative process.  Republicans overwhelmingly supported the measure, but Democrats opposed it.

“Clean Elections candidates are supposed to use public money to run for office, not to line the coffers of their political party,” said Representative Coleman.  “This is an abusive manipulation of the Clean Elections system and violates the trust of Arizona voters, yet Democrats would apparently rather protect the interests of their political party than taxpayers.”

Setting the record straight on AZGOP election records

By Timothy Schwartz

Yesterday, a spin doctor from AZGOP released a deceptive account concerning Gabby Mercer’s attempt to obtain records.

The facts: On January 28th at the annual State meeting, the race for Chairman was extremely close. Out of over 1,200 votes cast, there were 34 votes separating the candidates. O’Connor’s campaign chairman Tim Horn asked to see the records and was told he would be able to. The meeting did not happen.

Gabby Mercer, the newly elected Secretary began asking for the records. She was stalled with the excuse that the office was in transition. After the “transition”, no changes were made as the personnel running AZGOP were the same. Gabby was denied access to the records. Mercer persisted against continued obstruction. Each attempt was faced with a new excuse, none of them valid.

The Rules state that after an election of officers, there is a period of 10 days for all the records to be turned over to the newly elected official, the date of that deadline was February 7th. Obviously that deadline has passed, and Mercer’s attempts were still in deadlock. Her calls weren’t returned, and neither were her emails and text messages.

Several days ago, Mercer sent a letter to Chairman Lines asking for a meeting at HQ to obtain the records. On Monday, February 20th, Lines confirmed her appointment for that purpose.

With the confirmed appointment of Tuesday Feb.21 at 10 am, Gabby arrived with the support of Tim Horn, Timothy Schwartz and Lynn Breyer. Though Tim LaSota is lawyer for the party, Kory Langhofer and associate Thomas were there. We suspect that the lawyers were only there to learn of our desire, as it was never their purpose to give us the records. They reviewed our list of files requested, but after a meeting that lasted for more than 2 hours, never allowed us to see or obtain any of the files we came for. Avinash said all records were available on the website, but none of our requested items exist on the website except a preliminary list of State Committeemen that was dated January 9th and was never updated to the actual list.

Chairman Lines has advocated transparency, yet all the signs from the last 3-1/2 weeks show anything but transparency.

It is truly time for there to be a protest from every elected State Committeeman. We don’t give another 2 weeks for you to produce what should have been given weeks ago. The Credentials committee’s work ended on January 28th. What do you have to hide? Does 2 weeks give time to ‘make corrections’? This was an election! Those results should speak for themselves.

We demand immediate action!

Republican Faction Just Can’t Let It Go

By Millennial Maven

What the liberal mainstream media and Democrat elites are doing to President Trump is despicable. They tried to de-legitimize his election and cast doubt on it. Now they are putting off approving his nominees. Obama hold overs in the agencies are leaking information to try and damage the Trump administration. People are trying to make it impossible for President Trump to build the team he needs to accomplish the promises he campaigned and won on.

The same thing is happening in our own state GOP. Last month, Jonathan Lines, Gabby Mercer and Bob Lettieri were all fairly elected…from the credentialing process to the vote tabulation, the process was clear, open and transparent. No challenges were lodged to the credentials report, and no issues were raised during or immediately after the credentials committee submitted and the state body unanimously approved the credentials report. Now, Mercer and Tim Horne (not an elected State Officer) wants to undermine the election process, the credentials committee, and the duly elected State Committeeman by going on a self-proclaimed “fishing expedition.”

In further evidence of Mercer’s disruptive agenda are the events that took place on the morning of February 21, 2017. Chairman Lines invited Mercer to the State Party to review all of the documents that she is responsible for and begin planning the upcoming Excomm meeting. Instead, Mercer arrived with Horn, along with Timothy Schwartz, and the three of them proceeded to badger and threaten AZ GOP staff. While Secretary Mercer had requested a number of documents to review, it was clear that her only intention, and the only intention of her group, was to attempt to obtain control of the proxy forms and credentialing documents, ostensibly to remove them from the office. For obvious reasons, these demands were rejected, causing another round of belligerence and threats.

Like the Democrats and mainstream media in Washington, DC, it’s time for O’Connor and his minions to accept the results of the election and move on. While it’s true that the race was close, Lines actually won by three times as many votes as Bob Lettieri, our new treasurer. Yet neither Eric Morgan nor Wes Harris has attempted to challenge the results.

To review:  The credentials report was given multiple times and less people voted in each of the three elections than were credentialed and yet they continue to try and cast doubt on Chairman Lines term as chairman. They continuously spread rumors, attack his staff, and now Mercer, Horne and Schwartz want to review all the proxies and look for non-existent “fraud. This is a direct attack not only on Chairman Lines, but on the dozens of activists, credentials committee volunteers and State Committeemen who openly and transparently conducted the election.

Never before has a new chairman been attacked so much in his first month in office. Chairman Lines hasn’t attended his first RNC meeting yet,  hasn’t been given the time to get his team in place, nor has he even had his first fundraiser and executive committee meeting. Yet the constant campaign, procedural maneuvers, rumors, and fake news have been designed to keep him from governing.

Let’s hope the AZGOP has had enough of the nonsense and is ready to move forward as a board and as a body to accomplish conservative victories and elections success here in Arizona. Don’t let LD 23 and the AZRA club disrupt our ability to have success in Arizona as we work to Make America Great Again.

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Opposing views are more than welcome to respond.

Maricopa County GOP Chairman Chris Herring Appoints Lisa Gray As Executive Director

Maricopa GOP

Cites Gray’s personal integrity and extensive record of service as instrumental in decision

PHOENIX, AZ – Today, Maricopa County GOP Chairman Chris Herring named Lisa Gray as the new Executive Director of the Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC) under his direction. The position is crucial to the activation of the chairman’s objectives and the day to day operations of the largest Republican county committee in the nation. Gray, a former District Chairman and campaign manager for Jeff DeWit’s bid to be state Treasurer, has also developed a website dedicated to PC recruitment and been instrumental in PC training.

Herring, who was elected by a 2-1 margin at the Maricopa County Statutory Meeting on January 14, 2017 was confident in his pick, “Lisa has been tirelessly working to advance the principles of our party and doing so with integrity and outstanding results. The election of Treasurer Jeff DeWit is a perfect example of her vision and tenacity.” Chairman Herring continued, “From the grassroots to the grasstops, there is not one step of activism that Lisa is not personally experienced in, making her uniquely qualified for this position. She supports my expectation of a highly functioning committee, focused on building and growth with inclusivity and transparency.”

As the Chairman of the nation’s largest Republican county, Herring has already met with several legislative districts, other shareholder groups, and is actively organizing the MCRC to move forward in preparations for the 2018 elections.  Filling additional appointed positions, Herring has tapped Kathy Petsas, District Chairman of LD28 to serve as the county Parliamentarian; Wes Harris, Member-at-Large from LD20 as Assistant Parliamentarian; and John Eaton, First-Vice Chairman of LD27 as Sergeant-At-Arms.

About the Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC): The MCRC is comprised of all elected precinct committeemen (PC’s) from the 20 legislative districts within Maricopa County. By statute, PC’s are elected during the party primary and represent 1 PC for every 125 registered voters in the precinct. The Chairman is elected every two years by the elected PC’s at the Statutory Meeting as defined ARS Title 16.

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Maricopa County GOP Chair Chris Herring Applauds Jonathan Lines As New AZGOP Head

Maricopa GOP

January Intra-Party Elections Brings New Leadership to Both Offices

PHOENIX, AZ – Following the Statutory Meeting of the Arizona Republican Party held this past Saturday, Maricopa County GOP Chairman Chris Herring offered his congratulations to the new AZGOP Chair, Jonathan Lines. The meeting in which Lines was elected is required by statute with elected State Committeemen from every Congressional District voting for party leadership and district representation at the state level. There were over 1,100 credentialed voters in person or by proxy.

Herring, who was elected by a 2-1 margin at the Maricopa County Statutory Meeting on January 14, 2017 had endorsed Lines in the campaign for Chair. He attributed Lines victory to the major contrast between Lines and the other candidate for chair and said, “A bright new vision was presented to the membership by Jonathan Lines, a vibrant and forward thinking vision. This resonated with the majority who desire a proactive chairman with successful leadership experience”. He continued, “Chairman Lines will be focused on uniting Republicans statewide to work toward common beliefs and goals – registering voters and winning elections.”

As the Chairman of the nation’s largest Republican county, with 779,421 registered Republicans, Herring, who is 32 years old, has made development of millennials and college students in the party a factor in his effort to grow the party base and register new voters. “I’m excited to be in a position to make a difference during this new Republican majority nationwide. Using the momentum to insure our future success is critical and I intend to assist Chairman Lines in any way possible to guarantee Arizona is a bright, bold red state for years to come.” Already working in a cooperative effort to support young Republicans, Lines and Herring worked together on a successful fundraiser that produced the funds to launch a newly formed Republican youth coalition, comprised of Young Republican Professionals, College Republicans and Teen-Age Republicans.

About the Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC): The MCRC is comprised of all elected precinct committeemen (PC’s) from the 20 legislative districts within Maricopa County. By statute, PC’s are elected during the party primary and represent 1 PC for every 125 registered voters in the precinct. The Chairman is elected every two years by the elected PC’s at the Statutory Meeting as defined ARS Title 16.

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Guest Opinion: One Last Gasp

By Joe Romack

The State GOP Elections have concluded. But sadly Jim O’Connor has decided to follow Jill Stein and whine about the results of the Election. Immediately after the election results were announced, he and his entourage headed to the hallways in a last ditch feeble attempt to challenge the results. There were grumblings about some mysterious proxy votes, which is ironic, considering his abuse of proxy votes. For the record, his wife and son are Precinct Committeemen, but never appear at ANY events, therefore “paper PCs”.

Their complaints were proved false, the outcome of the election was concluded. Sadly, at no time after the election did I see Mr. O’Connor approach Chairman-elect Lines and congratulate him.  So much for decorum and working towards unity.

Now today in the Arizona Freedom Alliance, there was a post that first called Eric Morgan a liar, then accused Robert Graham of somehow doctoring the election results. Their claim was that the race for chairman had 45 fewer total votes than the down ballot races. This is simply not true.  The results were as follows:

Treasurer Race = 534 + 418 + 204 = 1156 votes cast
Secretary = 608 + 548 = 1156 votes cast
Chairman = 598 + 562 = 1158 votes cast
I sent them an e-mail asking for correction, but received no response.
the text of their post is below:

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Yesterday, the Statutory Meeting of AZGOP took place in Phoenix.  The primary purpose was to elect a new Chairman.  Along with that, the two other officers who are also statutory officers – required by state statute – were elected.

We can say, WHEW!  Glad that is over!  Or is it?

First we offer our congratulations to Treasurer candidate Robert Lettieri who survived a run off against Eric Morgan. Eric started his commentary saying he was not going anywhere, indicating that there was some reason for people to think he was.  We had two AFA team members present with him when he said the reason he was not going to run for MCRC chair was because he was moving out of state “in a couple of months.”  Others told us the same thing so is there any wonder people might think he was moving?  Some told us he said he could handle the treasurer’s job from his future re-location!  Does anyone tell the truth anymore?

But back to Lettieri.  His remarks during his time to speak were eye opening to most.  He just laid it out: the AZGOP is in trouble and he did an analysis based on campaign finance reports.  http://arizonafreedomalliance.ning.com/group/all-things-conservativ… Lettieri is a numbers guy, spent his work life working with finance and making the numbers work.  He will be a terrific asset to AZGOP.  Some of you remember when we did our own analysis and here is a link to the FEC.gov summary page: http://arizonafreedomalliance.ning.com/group/arizona-news/forum/top…

We are hoping that Lettieri will be able to sort through the web of receipts and expenses of ALL accounts to find out where this really stands.

We also offer our congratulations to Gabby Mercer for her win of the Secretary’s position.  As Secretary, Mercer should be given all of the records from the time of Robert Graham. That could make for some interesting reading.  What is not there might be of interest, also.  Gabby’s remarks were pointed and on target as she called out the misdeeds that have been going on in the AZGOP for the past four years.  Gabby has been the 2nd Vice Chair for the past two years and says she has not once been called to a Board meeting.

Now to the big one, the Chairman’s race.  Jonathan Lines walked away with the prize.  O’Connor came up 34 votes short.  It happens.  The odd thing – with Robert Graham, there is always an “odd thing”- is that the total votes in that race was 36 fewer than there was in the down ballot race of treasurer and secretary.  Folks, the point of the meeting and the focus for the past six months has been the Chairman’s race.  Those in attendance came there early in the morning until four in the afternoon to elect a Chairman.  Is it reasonable to think 45 people didn’t care enough to vote?

We smell a rat and it smells just like John McCain!

We may have more on this as team AFA analyzes the information we have collected or more info comes in.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL WINNERS!

Jonathan Lines Elected AZGOP Chairman

Longtime Republican Activist Chosen to Lead Party to Victory in 2018
PHOENIX – At this Saturday’s meeting of the 1,235 State Committeemen of the Arizona Republican Party, Jonathan Lines was elected Chairman. Gabriela Mercer was elected Secretary and Robert Lettieri as Treasurer. Each serves a two-year term.
The Committeemen also elected three members at-large from each of Arizona’s nine congressional districts to serve on the state party’s executive committee, who also serve a two-year term.
 
CD1
Bill Brandau
Sylvia Allen
Nancy Hawkins
CD2
Gail Griffin
Sergio Arellano
Cindy Coleman
CD3
Sina Kerr
Kim Owens
Shuron Harvey
CD4
Rose Sperry
Michael Ward
Paul Brierley
CD5
Nancy Cottle
Mickie Niland
Jeffrey Smith
CD6
Liz Alcorn
Jose Borrajero
Ren Ramsey
CD7
Gayla Franks
Timothy Schwartz
John Wilson
CD8
Lisa Gray
Rae Chornenky
Marcus Huey
CD9
Lorraine Pellegrino
Jeff Fleetham
Raphael Ahmed

Big Decision for Arizona Republican Activists

Saturday, Republican State Committeemen have a big decision to make in choosing the next chairman.

I won’t be voting because I’m not a state committeeman. But I can speak from close and personal experience working for a state chairman.

The 2018 midterms are right around the corner and Democrats are amassing an army of volunteers and candidates to push back against President Trump on down to local dog catcher.

President Trump and the Republican Congress have less than two years to make major changes before Democrats try to seize power back. They won’t make the same mistakes they made in 2016.

This is why Republicans need to choose a chairman who can prepare for battle.

It can’t be someone who sits around the office all week talking about how wonderful it is to be in power again.

This person must know how to raise money and work with others who have money. The AZGOP will need to amass a huge war chest of cash.

I know from personal experience that there are those in the party who have money and those who don’t. If those who have the money believe that those who don’t, cannot play well, then those who don’t have the money, won’t get the money. You simply don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

I’ve seen this happen several times at both the county and state level.

Like it or not, that’s how it works.

If county or state leadership criticizes those who have the money, the county or state party gets starved.

I’ve even seen those who have the money set up para-GOP organizations and then run their money through it just to keep it out of the hands of those in county or state leadership. They will literally starve the party to get the job done.

The next chairman needs to understand this. The next chairman needs to work very hard. The next chairman must make an effort to work well with everyone in the party.

If Republican state committeemen do not pick a competent, hard-working, principled, conservative Republican tomorrow, the AZGOP will run out of resources, become a paper tiger and lose the midterm battle in 2018.

Republicans, don’t screw this up.