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by Patrick Gleason, Americans for Tax Reform
Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen is at it again, engaging in activities that are not in his job description and in fact are counterintuitive to what he should be doing, maintaining Republican majorities in the state legislature and getting more Republicans elected to office.
It is reported that at Arizona’s LD 6 meeting last night Chairman Randy Pullen had the audacity to berate Sen. Pamela Gorman and Rep. Sam Crump for not voting for the latest budget agreement that would’ve put Gov. Brewer’s beloved sales tax increase on the ballot. Yes, that agreement was coupled with permanent tax cuts in the out years, which many believe might be repealed before they even would go into effect.
Let’s get one thing straight though. That last agreement that failed was not the budget that Pullen wanted. Since the beginning of the year Pullen has been a cheerleader for Governor Brewer’s efforts to raise the sales tax, without any offsetting tax cuts. Yes, that is correct. A state Republican Party chairman has been in favor of a $3 billion net tax increase since the beginning of the year and now he has the gall to attack lawmakers of his own party who were instrumental in preventing that from happening. In fact, the only reason that permanent tax cuts made their way into a recent agreement is because of legislators such as Gorman and Crump who made it clear that an agreement comprised of the sales tax referral alone had zero chance of getting their votes.
For those that might not even remember, Pullen even went so far as to commission a ridiculous push poll in favor of the $3 billion net tax increase. Yes, he put the Arizona Republican Party on the record in favor of a massive, mid-recession tax increase.
Want an example of how Pullen and the Arizona Republican Party should have responded when Brewer came out of the gate this year with calls for a $3 billion tax increase. Just look at what happened in Alabama in 2003. In a similar case AL Governor Bob Riley, a Republican, pushed for a referendum to raise taxes by $1.2 million.The Alabama Republican Party, recognizing that their job was not to support the governor come hell or high water, especially when it runs counter to the party’s core principles, actively opposed Riley and denounced his efforts. Then state party chairman and current chair of the Alabama center-right coalition meeting Marty Connors explained that to support Riley’s largest tax increase in state history would be to “throw away 20 years of Republican ideology.”
Bottom line, Pullen does not have a leg to stand on when it comes claims of fiscal conservatism. The party’s job is not to blindly support whatever a governor of their own party wants, let alone an unelected governor. The party’s job is to keep Republicans in office, get more elected, and stand for Republican principles. Pullen has failed on all counts.
Arizona Republicans can find the process for replacing their party chair here.