Archives for March 2008

Two months in …

Those waiting for the implosion of the state’s economy as a result of the employer sanctions law will have to wait a bit longer. The February unemployment numbers are online and the state’s unemployment level of 4% is 8/10% below the national average. The workforce is also slightly higher than the same time last year despite a large downturn in construction.

Treasurer Dean Martin Calls for Responsible Fiscal Action

One of the additional backup services my bank provides me is an email alert when my balance dips below a certain threshhold. Sure, its not very personal but it does let me know when I need to throw some money in the account and/or watch my spending when I haven’t balanced my checkbook.

Yesterday, out Republican State Treasurer issued the following press release. I’m very pleased that someone is doing their job in State Government, acting responsible and looking out for the taxpayers of Arizona.

Contact:  Kimberly Yee, (602) 604-7882

Trasurer Dean Martin Addresses General Fund Crisis
General Fund in the Red in Five Weeks – Urges Governor & Legislature to Act Quickly

(STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX) – Arizona State Treasurer Dean Martin today urged the Arizona Legislature and Governor to quickly reach an agreement to balance the FY 2008 budget.

“The General Fund of the State of Arizona will be running RED INK in as little as five weeks if a revised budget is not passed,” said Treasurer Dean Martin. “The government has simply been spending much faster than revenues are coming in.” 

“As State Treasurer, I essentially manage the State’s bank.  We currently have over $12.7 billion dollars in deposits invested, of which $5.2 billion are state funds.  We predicted this recession last year, and have been preparing our investment portfolio, including the rainy day fund accordingly.”

Martin continued, “We have structured our investments to ensure there is liquidity for both state and local governments to meet their cash needs during this economic downturn. As a bank we are in very good shape, but the Governor and Legislature have some work to do to make sure the General Fund account is not overdrawn in the next few weeks.”

“We have analyzed the current spending for the first 262 days of this fiscal year (as of March 18th), and the state has not slowed its rate of spending during this budget crisis.  The exact opposite has occurred; general fund spending is on a pace to even exceed the original FY 08 appropriation.” 
“At the current spending rate, the General Fund only has enough revenue to make one more payment to schools, and perhaps three more paydays for employees before the account is overdrawn at the bank.”

“The state has already spent over $7.6 billion of the General Fund; that is over $29 million per day.  Meanwhile revenues have continued to slide.  Both the Governor and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) have lowered their General Fund revenue estimates.  Without immediate intervention by the Governor and Legislature to pass a revised FY2008 budget, the General Fund will be overdrawn as soon as April 23 but no later than May 5,” Martin said.

“While the State does have other funds in other accounts, as Treasurer I do not have statutory authority to move money from the State’s other accounts to cover their deficit; only the Legislature and the Governor can move those funds through an appropriation.  They need to act quickly before the General Fund account is overdrawn.”   

State Treasurer Dean Martin is the Chief Financial Officer for Arizona, third in succession to the Governor, overseeing $12.7 billion in assets under management.  Treasurer Martin has opened government finances to the public on his website  Last fiscal year, Treasurer Martin made taxpayers over $730 million and increased investment earnings by 24% over the previous administration.

Here are some supporting documents:
Press Release – Treasurer’s Office, March 19, 2008
Treasurer’s Presentation on Budget Crisis
Treasurer’s Memo: Cash Balance

Napi gets testy

Governor Napolitano is usually pretty measured in her choice of works. On Wednesday she almost lost it over State Treasurer Dean Martin’s prediction that the state could run out of funds as soon as April.

Maybe they could tap the $700 million dollar rainy day fund. At a spending rate of $29 million a day the fund would give the governor and legislature an extra 24 days to find a solution.

Napolitano compared Martin to “Chicken Little” and called him a “sideplayer.” Nice move. Go after a former state senator who has strong support among Arizona Republicans.

If Napolitano bristles at the statement from Martin she is going to be really upset with the Joint Legislative Committee and their report that the deficit over the next two years is $3.1 billion. Yes, that is billion with a B.

“all a dem losers …”

Now that Obama has established the precedent that a black preacher can be excused for fiery rhetoric it opens the door to others besides the Rev. Wright. One interesting figure that can now be featured in the interests of equal time is the Hon. James David Manning, PhD. We are not endorsing the statements of Dr. Manning. The problem is that in a sense Barack has now set the standard as “anything goes.” Well here goes Pastor Manning.

It’s Tuesday. Don’t miss Jericho.

Once cancelled and now back for season 2, Jericho is the ultimate in liberal/conservative crossover shows. Conservatives will love the small town self-reliance and plentiful use of firearms (very plentiful.) There is also a lot for liberals to like. Thomas Valente is a thinly disguised stand in for Dick Cheney. The new government is even based in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Jennings & Rall is the proxy for Blackwater Worldwide. These characters do not lose conservative viewers as the show is the “I love my country but distrust my government” TV series. Don’t miss it.

FISAbility study

The last few weeks have featured competing ads in CD-5 and CD-8 over the FISA bill. The Republicans claim the Democrats are holding up important national security legislation. The Democrats are standing firm with the ACLU in their lawsuits against certain telecommunication companies.

If the GOP was counting on this as a key strategy to win congressional seats they had better re-tool their approach. Retroactive immunity for telecom companies that did a warrantless document dump so the administration could go a fishing expedition with citizens phone records is not the ticket to attracting swarms of Independent voters. Likewise the far-right is not impressed with the immunity play. The New American made this the lead story in their latest issue. This play on security comes after 7 years of the administration overlooking a porous and insecure border.

I think the ads were a dud and one Tucson blogger wrote that the ads backfired. Mitchell and Giffords both specialize in looking busy while accomplishing nothing and thus make difficult targets. In order to win back the seats the Republicans will need to be more focused in their efforts. Maybe a feasibility study would be a good idea before spending all that money on an ad campaign.  

If the Republicans want to spy on someone maybe they should focus on the people running the NRCC. Think of all the money that could have been used against solid conservatives in the primary if the treasurer had not embezzled so much money. Sure I want this crowd to have unlimited warrantless access to my private information – Not!

Don Stapley Endorses Laura Knaperek

For Immediate Release: March 18, 2008
Contact: Lauren Barnett, Office: (602) 326-3702

Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley Endorses Laura Knaperek for Congress
“Laura Knaperek is the leader we need in Washington”

Tempe, Ariz – Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley today announced his endorsement of Laura Knaperek for Congress in Arizona’s 5th Congressional District.

Stapley is currently serving in his fourth term as the supervisor from Maricopa County District 2, which encompasses parts of the east valley cities of Gilbert, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.

“As a supervisor from one of the largest counties in the country, I know that we need strong leadership in Washington to guide an effective working relationship between the federal government and state, county, and local governments,” Stapley said.  “After looking at all the candidates in the race for Congressional District 5, I believe that Laura Knaperek is the leader we need in Washington.”

Knaperek said she was grateful for the support of Supervisor Stapley.

“The Stapley name is synonymous with Arizona pride, and it is an honor to count Don as a member of our team,” Knaperek said.  “Having a community stalwart like Don on board- someone who has consistently been re-elected by Maricopa County voters- shows the importance of my 10-year trusted track record with community leaders and voters.”

Oro Valley May election.

     Sources tell us that Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll will follow up his cross-over endorsement of Salette Latas in the primary with an endorsement of current council member Terry Parrish.

     Parrish and Barry Gillespie will face off in the May general election for the one remaining seat on the council. It is rumored that the county Democratic Party will get involved on Barry’s behalf as they did for Salette during the primary.

     Your childrens’ children could grow old waiting for the Pima County Republican Party to get involved in NW Tucson politics but the State Republican Party has no such reservations about working on behalf of Republicans running for office. Word on the street is that they will put their new office to use in support of Parish. What a concept.

Planned Parenthood ready and willing

I’ll admit that these calls were made under false pretenses but the Planned Parenthood employee seems very eager to take the money. Now Planned Parenthood of Idaho has apologized. Didn’t Don Imus apologize right before CBS fired him?

While Mayes dithers.

Sydney Hay has her first television ad up and running. It is an excellent mix of introductory story line on Sydney and positions on specific issues.