Arizona Public Pensions Under-report Funding Shortfalls

Goldwater Institute
News Release

PHOENIX–Arizona’s three pension funds for government employees have predicted they will pay more in benefits to retirees over the next three decades than they will collect from worker paychecks and investments. But a new report from the Goldwater Institute says the size of that funding shortfall could be five times larger than the pension funds have previously reported.

The State of Arizona sponsors three pension funds that provide retirement benefits for most state employees as well as school teachers, police officers and firefighters. The state agencies that manage those funds have estimated they can pay only 77 percent of future retiree benefits for the next 30 years. The funds say they could face a combined $10 billion shortfall.

However, in “$50 Billion Tidal Wave: How Unfunded Pensions Could Overwhelm Arizona Taxpayers,” Andrew R. Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, explains the gap in funding could be far more serious. The three pension funds base their estimates on the assumption of constant annual growth in their investments. These predictions ignore the up-and-down fluctuations of stock markets.

Calculations that include market risk point to a combined potential shortfall of $50.74 billion over 30 years.

The Arizona Constitution and state law forbid any reduction in retirement benefits for employees currently enrolled in the pension plans, no matter how poorly those plans perform. The Legislature likely would be required to provide funding from other tax sources to cover any losses, which would cost $8,300 for every Arizonan.

“Taxpayers have an enormous stake in seeing the true picture of these pension funds and their future stability,” said Dr. Byron Schlomach, an economist with the Goldwater Institute. “Ultimately, taxpayers will be forced to make up the difference if the pensions can’t meet their obligations.”

Mr. Biggs suggests several steps that should be taken to better prepare for potential shortfalls in the pension funds:
· Require government pension funds to base their future projections on calculations that include the risks of investing in financial markets.
· Adjust what government employees contribute from their paychecks into the pension funds to reflect market-risk calculations. Employees would pay a more realistic share of the costs to provide their benefits when they retire.
· Change the pension plans for future state employees from a defined-benefits model to defined contributions. This approach is a standard practice in private businesses and is more likely to prevent large unfunded pension liabilities.

Read “$50 Billion Tidal Wave: How Unfunded Pensions Could Overwhelm Arizona Taxpayers” online or call (602) 462-5000 to have a copy mailed to you.

The Goldwater Institute is an independent government watchdog supported by people who are committed to expanding free enterprise and liberty.

Sinema supports care for sex offenders

A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Tuesday, March 30, 2009

Obamacare pays to help sex offenders

Kirsten Sinema loves the new law

In Arizona State Representative, Kirsten Sinema’s (D) Saturday article, given full coverage by the Arizona Republic, she points out some of the wonders of the Healthcare bill recently signed.  Though the taxes and fines start now, most of the benefits don’t start for four years, but don’t worry, just pay.  That 70% of the American people were opposed to – well, they just aren’t as smart at Representative Sinema.  That not one Republican in the Senate or House voted for it, well, they just don’t see all the beauty of this law.  That two major companies have already announced that this law will cost them at least $100 million, thus causing more jobs to be lost is just a footnote.

She did neglect to tell us that 14 states have filed suits in federal court, with more coming, challenging the Constitutionality of the Healthcare bill.  If they’d just check with Sinema, they no doubt would have changed their mind.  And the $2.5 billion dollars the federal government will soon send out way – hmmm, since the government has no money, that $2.5 billion can only have been acquired by raising taxes on a whole lot of people, just for us.  How nice.  Oh, and coverage for all those children who have preexisting health conditions; sorry, they’re not covered under the healthcare plan.  Representative Sinema, as usual, never supports any cuts in programs when a state, our state, is going deeper in debt.  No, she wants to keep on spending us into oblivion, just like the President does.

The CBO has now estimated that this plan, after going through all of the details, like providing counseling for native-American sex offenders, will actually drive up the debt another $1.5 Trillion dollars.  Wow, who couldn’t love that?

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Republican Professionals, The Whitehouse, & America’s Toughest Sheriff

Logo - Republican Professionals

Phoenix Chapter

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to be Featured Guest Speaker

Scottsdale, Arizona – Republican Professionals’ April 1st event will host Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio as its featured guest speaker.  The politically minded networking event will appropriately take place at the popular White House Bar and Restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale from 6-8pm on Thursday, April 1st. 

Since successfully campaigning to become the Sheriff of Maricopa County in 1992, Arpaio has consistently earned extraordinarily high public approval ratings.  With immigration and pink underwear constantly attracting the nation’s attention, Sheriff Arpaio has been profiled in over 2,000 newspapers, magazines, and TV news programs.  His leadership and the excellent work of his staff have catapulted the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office into the ranks of elite law enforcement agencies.

For the second time, The White House lounge will proudly host the free monthly Republican Professionals’ networking event.  Take advantage of the exclusive happy hour drink and food specials, mingle with like-minded Arizonans, political bigwigs, and interact with the leaders of Arizona.  Over 200+ guests and political leaders are expected to attend the March event, so newcomers and repeat guests are encouraged to RSVP early at www.phxrp.com

Republican Professionals hosts free networking events each month in the Phoenix metropolitan area.  For future events or contact information, view the website at www.phxrp.com or contact Ryan Ducharme at ryan@republicanprofessionals.org

The purpose of Republican Professionals is to increase the participation of Republicans in the political process, further the goals of the Republican Party, and bring Republicans together so that they may network, volunteer, organize and communicate with fellow professionals.

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Arizona Education Network anything but non-partisan

Recently, several new outlets were tricked into running stories about the slanted ratings of the front-group Arizona Education Network (AEN.)

ane_ann-eve-pedersen

The spokes person for the group, Ann Eve Pedersen, is a former reporter with the Arizona Daily Star and now defunct Tucson Citizen. She has donated to Democratic candidates, $825 to Grijalva in 2009, $500 to President Obama in ’08, plus donations to Reps. Giffords and Pastor. She is so involved with the Democratic Party, the Tucson Weekly statedshe is inextricably linked with Tucson’s Democratic politics.” She is married to Peter Eckerstrom, brother of Paul Eckerstrom (former chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, a position once help by Ann’s own father.) This is not your average PTO mom concerned about education funding. Ann Eve Pedersen is a highly connected Democrat activist who is the spokesperson for a group set up for the sole purpose of slamming Republican candidates right as election season gets under way. It is disappointing that more media outlets did not investigate the people behind AEN before publishing their obviously biased report.

Samuel J. “Joe The Plumber” Wurzelbacher on JD Hayworth

While the mainstream media has been obsessed with Sarah Palin’s visit to Arizona, Samuel J. “Joe The Plumber” Wurzelbacher also made a stop to the Grand Canyon State.

On Friday, he was at the Arizona State Capitol along with citizen activists and members of the Arizona Chapter of Americans for Prosperity. In this clip, “Joe The Plumber” provides a ringing review of U.S. Senate candidate, J.D. Hayworth.

YouTube Preview Image

On Sunday, “Joe The Plumber” again made another appearance as the Tea Party Express rolled into Phoenix. There, he addressed the crowd with an assessment of the current political climate, the importance of asking questions and making sure his fellow citizen activists work hard to restore the Republic in 2010.

JD Hayworth Offers Condolences to Family of Slain Rancher

For Immediate Release: Sunday, March 28, 2010

Phoenix, AZ (March 28) – JD Hayworth offers his prayers and condolences to the wife, family and friends of Cochise County rancher Rob Krentz, who was found shot to death after calling into his brother that he was giving aid to an apparent illegal alien he found at one of his cattle watering holes.

Krentz was a third generation rancher on the border of Southeastern Arizona. Conservative blogs the Sonoran Alliance and DiggersRealm.com report that in the past the Krentz family had received threats from illegal aliens. In 2002, the family was physically threatened when one of them stumbled upon a group of 39 illegals.

Hayworth said, “We need the federal government to act now and step up its efforts to secure our borders. Border security is national security and it is time that we enforce the law. For thousands of Arizonans, border security is also quite literally a matter of personal security.”

Mr. Hayworth also supports Arizona SB1070 which empowers local law enforcement officers to identify, detain, and help deport those within the borders of Arizona illegally.

Hayworth is challenging U.S. Senator John McCain in the Arizona Republican primary August 24 2010. One of the reasons Hayworth is challenging John McCain, is because of McCain’s past sponsorship of legislation that would grant amnesty to illegal aliens.

Hayworth sponsored the anti-amnesty “Enforcement First Act” during his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Border Rancher Rob Krentz And Dog Found Shot To Death After Aiding Illegal Alien

This is a reprint from the DiggersRealm.com.

Our prayers and thoughts go out to Rob’s family.

Bob KrentzThe body of Rancher Rob Krentz and his dog were found shot to death on his ranch. Krentz, who always was good-natured and willing to help people, had called in that he had found an illegal alien at one of his watering holes and was assisting him. That was the last that was heard from him before his body was discovered.

Rob Krentz was a lifelong rancher in Southeastern Arizona, 12 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border and 25 miles northeast of the city of Douglas. He was the father of three children. The ranch has been in his family for three generations, more than 100 years – since 1907, and sits on about 35,000 acres with 1,000 head of cattle. Running a ranch is hard work and with the influx of illegal aliens increasing, Rob was at ground zero of the stampede that is destroying the fragile desert landscape.

The Krentz family has received numerous threats in the past by illegal aliens trespassing on their property. In 2002, the family was physically threatened when one of them stumbled upon a group of 39 illegal aliens. They were told to get off the land and they made threats. The Border Patrol did catch the illegal aliens after they were called, but we all know that illegal aliens, if deported, come right back across.

In 1999, Krentz and his wife Susan did an interview with PBS when they came around asking about the issue of illegal immigration and its impacts on the local ranchers.

“We’ve been broken into,” Susan Krentz told PBS.

Rob and Susan Krentz

“One time,” Rob said “You know, we’ve personally been broke in once. And they took about $700 worth of stuff. And you know, if they come in and ask for water, I’ll still give them water. I – you know, that’s just my nature.”

In 2003, Congressman Tom Tancredo mentioned the challenges of the border ranchers, and in particular highlighted the the Krentz family’s plight.

“In the month of November, 2002, in the Tucson Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol … where the Krentz ranch is located, the Border Patrol apprehended 23,000 border crossers,” Tancredo wrote. “many people would suggest that the [apprehension] ratio is just about maybe one in five, and that is a very conservative estimate. … I think it is closer to one in ten”.

That means in that sector alone for one month, 8 years ago, the most conservative estimate is that 115,000 illegal aliens crossed the border in that one chunk of land in the Tucson sector. All of the illegals are unknown.

Tancredo notes that the Krentz’s did mention to him that they called the Border Patrol. In one instance illegal aliens had butchered one of his calves.

In February [2002] … a calf was butchered by illegal alien trespassers. Two men responsible were caught. They were tried. They were found guilty. They served a total of 51 days in jail. They were also ordered to pay $200 in restitution to the Krentz ranch. The Krentz ranch has not seen a cent of that money; and, of course, our best guess is they will not because these people have been released. They either came back into the population up here in the U.S.A. or returned to Mexico.

Tancredo goes into the cases of deliberate sabotage of the Krentz ranch’s water supply and the other impacts on the Krentz’s by illegal aliens. You can read more, where Tancredo dubs the Krentzs American Homeland Heroes

6 years after the PBS interview, in 2005, Krentz did an interview with KOLD as the number of illegal aliens exploded.

“We’re being over-run, and it’s costing us lots and lots of money,” Krentz said.

“We figured it up over the last five years and it’s cost us over $8 million,” Krentz said. “Cattle don’t like people walking through, so they move. So, cattle weight loss, destruction of fences, breaking our pipelines, they break them in two and (the pipes) run for two or three days before we find it.”

Krentz went on to say that when he was a boy he actually knew the few illegal aliens that came through looking for work, he said it’s nothing like that now as hundreds of unknown illegals stream across his land.

Rob Krentz is just one of the many people who live and work along our southern border. A tough, hard working man who was trying to make a living and doing what he loved. Those who support illegal aliens will talk about “human rights”, but where were the “human rights” when it came to Rob Krentz? Where was the government to protect our border and prevent this from happening, though they’ve been told time and time again? They didn’t protect his property rights, nor his civil rights.

This country failed Robert Krentz, his family and all who work for him. As they have failed countless families all across this country. The number of deaths is estimated to be from 15-25 deaths caused by illegal aliens each day in this country.

It is not known yet whether Krentz was specifically targeted or whether it was just one of the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who come across our border every year who have actual criminal records, but in the end does it matter? A hard working man was killed on his own land. And all for just trying to help out someone in need.

And that is simply outrageous.

Rest in peace Robert Krentz, the country will surely miss a great and kind man like you.

Stick to the Facts and Take the High Road

It seems Jesse Kelly is nervous about Jonathon Paton’s entry in the CD8 race. On March 24th, Kelly’s web site blasted Paton: “Our public servants must be held accountable for their actions. It is a red flag when a career politician who voted for Janet Napolitano’s billion dollar spending increase hedges on future tax votes . . . “

 Kelly needs to check his facts. Paton opposed Napolitano’s budget and joined with Republicans in forcing her to accept the Republican compromise, which included tax cuts.

 This is not the first time Kelly has exaggerated. He was one of three candidates invited to a Q&A” at Saddlebrooke in early January 2010. Shortly after the event, Kelly advertised on his web site that he had won the debate. When a Vice-President of the Saddlebrooke Republican Club asked Kelly’s campaign manager to make a correction, he refused, allowing false information to remain on the site.

 I wrote an analysis of the “Q&A”  for the Saddlebrooke Republican Club blog on January 8th. There were seventeen responses to the article, including all three candidates who thought the analysis fair. No one thought there was a debate or a winner. Review the blog and responses and draw your own conclusion.

 As soon as Paton entered the race the Democratic machine focused on him by sending a records request on Jonathon Paton, looking for anything and everything. The Democrats even filed a bogus complaint with the Federal Elections Commission: all standard operating procedure for the Democrat’s Dirty Tricks Division.  Jesse Kelly has been “campaigning” for 12-18 months and the Democratic machine ignored him.

 As soon as Paton entered the race, the Cook Political Report changed its rating of CD8 from “solidly Democratic” to “likely Democratic.”  Jesse Kelly should be concerned. Paton is shaking up the race and even the Democrats are concerned and reacting . . . to Paton’s presence. 

 Jesse Kelly entered the race early and as a potential favorite. However, it seems he has factually “stumbled” a number of times. Facts are stubborn things, as someone once said. Misstating the facts, intentionally or otherwise, will always come back to haunt you.

 Stick to the facts and take the high road.

McCain and Keating: ‘Till death do us part’

A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Thursday, March 25, 2010

McCain and Keating: ‘Till Death Do Us Part’

Background: McCain was one of five Senators implicated in the Keating Five scandal, accused of improperly intervening on behalf of the powerful Lincoln Savings and Loan Association chaired by Charles Keating. Keating’s Savings and Loan was under investigation, and regulators were recommending that due to unsound lending practices that were going to cost taxpayers billions, it should be shut down and seized by the government. Keatings’ Savings and Loan funneled $1.3 million to the five Senators’ campaigns. The Senate Ethics Committee investigated, and reprimanded three of the Senators. McCain was found to have exercised “poor judgment” for meeting with the federal regulators on Keating’s behalf. McCain defended his actions, “I have done this kind of thing many, many times,” and said the Lincoln case was like “helping the little lady who didn’t get her Social Security.” Of the five Senators, McCain was the only one who had close personal and social ties to Keating. Cindy McCain and her father invested $359,100 in one of Keating’s projects. McCain and his family made nine trips at Keating’s expense, three to Keating’s Bahamas resort and sometimes using Keating’s jet. The Senate Ethics committee did not pursue anything against McCain for failing to repay Keating those expenses until years later because it did not have jurisdiction, since those acts occurred while McCain was a Representative. The Phoenix New Times has labeled McCain the “most reprehensible” of the Keating Five Senators. The President of Common Cause was disgusted that the five Senators were let off the hook so easily, declaring, “The U.S. Senate remains on the auction block to the Charles Keatings of the world.” Several government reports implied that information during the investigation had been leaked from McCain to the press, which was damaging to three of the other Senators. The GAO investigator said, “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that McCain made those leaks. (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keating_Five )


The Love Affair Between McCain and one of the Most Slimy Savings and Loan Chairmen in History

In 1986 John McCain wrote a political note – on official House of Representatives stationary - apologizing to Charles H. Keating Jr. for his campaign having listed his good friend and supporter as part of McCain’s Senate campaign finance committee.


Keating responded with a handwritten note – addressed to “senator,” seven months before McCain won his Senate seat – telling him not to sweat it, “I’m yours till death do us part.”


The back-and-forth came when McCain was still in the House but seeking a Senate seat, and the year before he and a handful of other senators met with banking regulators on behalf of Keating.

McCain wrote: “As you know, I am deeply appreciative of your friendship and support over the years, and I would not want to do anything which would offend you. Please accept my apology, and be assured that there will be no future repetition of this kind.”

Six days later Keating sent a handwritten note back assuring McCain he has done, and can do, no wrong.

“Don’t be silly. You can call me anything, write anything or do anything. I’m yours till death do us part.”

It’s another window into the close ties between the two men, which continue to dog McCain in his current campaign.

McCain has acknowledged extensive ties to Keating, who through fundraisers helped funnel $166,000 in campaign contributions to McCain for his 1982 and 1984 House races and his 1986 Senate race. McCain and his family also vacationed with the Keatings, and later had to reimburse Keating for the flights, acknowledging he violated House rules by not disclosing them.

He was rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee for the appearance of conflict of interest for attending the meetings with bank regulators.

Reprinted from the Keating letter http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/dinan/2008/oct/09/mccain-and-keating-till-death-do-us-part/

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PV Mayor Cordially Invites You To A Reception with Sheriff Joe

Click here to enlarge details

Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker Invites You to a Reception with
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio


For more information please see the invitation below or contact
Emily Graham at egraham@RoseAndAllynPR.com or 480.208.4795.


For more information about Vernon Parker or
to contribute to the campaign, please go to www.Parker2010.com.

VPfundraiser

Paid for by Vernon Parker for Congress

Federal health care reform means paying more for less

by Byron Schlomach, Ph.D.
Goldwater Institute
 
One of my relatives received a letter Tuesday from his primary-care physician announcing that he would no longer accept private insurance or government payment. This doctor is moving immediately to accepting only direct payment from patients for his services. This is just the beginning of a cascade of consequences from passage of the federal health care bill.

Here’s some insight into things to come:

· Health insurance will get more expensive for most of us. A few unhealthy people will spend less because of federal subsidies. But two mandates make higher premiums inevitable: Everyone is guaranteed insurance coverage and everyone in your community will pay the same premium. Combine these requirements with the relatively modest IRS fine for not buying insurance as required by law, and it increases the likelihood that only the already-sick will buy coverage. Therefore, insurance premiums will increase.

· It will become harder to get health care. Many doctors, like my relative’s physician, will stop taking insurance (private or government-run), or they will move to another country where we can visit them. Or they will just leave the profession, not wanting to deal with the intrusion that will accompany the new federal mandates.

· States will raise taxes. The federal law expands Medicaid and states are required to match federal funding for the program. States are not as free to borrow and they cannot print money like the federal government. Short of miraculous levels of revenue growth then, states will have to raise taxes to cover the new mandatory expense.

This will only be the beginning. We may not be able to see the ultimate end today, but one thing is certain: save for the few, health care in America just got a lot more expensive.

Dr. Byron Schlomach is an economist and the director of the Center for Economic Prosperity at the Goldwater Institute.

Rally at State Capitol Friday with Joe the Plumber against Brewer’s sales tax

A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Meet Joe the Plumber at AZ State Capitol
Rally against Brewer’s proposed 18% sales tax

Dear Arizona Taxpayer–

This Friday, March 26, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, several pro-taxpayer
organizations will join with citizen activists at the Arizona Capitol
to rally against Proposition 100–the 18-percent increase in the state
sales tax that will be on the May 18 ballot.  Special guest speaker Joe
the Plumber will be there, and we will hear statements from several
officials and candidates who oppose raising taxes in the middle of a
tough recession.  AFP Arizona will deploy its gigantic inflatable ATM
bank machine to tell tax-hiking politicians that Arizona families,
workers, and businesses are Already Taxed to the Max!  Details below.

AX THE TAX — Rally Against the Sales Tax Hike

Vote NO on the Prop 100 Sales Tax Hike on May 18!

Special Speaker:    Joe the Plumber

Date:  Friday, March 26

Time: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

City:  PHOENIX

Host(s):  AFP Arizona, Ax the Tax Committee, National Federation of
Independent Business, PAChyderm Coalition, Arizona Free Enterprise
Club, The 2010 Project, North Phoenix Tea Party, Mesa Tea Party, East
Valley Tea Party Patriots, et al

Location:  Arizona State Capitol, Senate Lawn, 1700 W. Washington,
Phoenix, 85007

Map:
http://capwiz.com/americansforprosperity/utr/1/EEYHMGGXMM/BHMWMGHCBY/4903700601

RSVP:  Tom Jenney,
tjenney@afphq.org, Thayer Verschoor, axthetax@cox.net

Public Officials & Candidates:  Write to
axthetax@cox.net for
information on joining the Ax the Tax Committee and opportunities to
speak at this event.

More info/flyer:
http://capwiz.com/americansforprosperity/utr/1/EEYHMGGXMM/FDFWMGHCBZ/4903700601

More taxpayer events at
www.aztaxpayers.org Scroll down to Upcoming
Taxpayer Events, under “What’s New.”

For Liberty,

Tom

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity
Arizona Federation of Taxpayers)
www.aztaxpayers.org
tjenney@afphq.org

(602) 478-0146.

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Kelly calls for Jonathan Paton to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge

Jesse Kelly for Congress For Immediate Release March 24, 2010

Jesse Kelly, the leading conservative in the AZ 8 Republican Primary, understands free markets and the necessity to cut taxes in order to create jobs. One of Kelly’s first actions as a candidate for US Congress was to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, promising his constituents that he will not raise taxes when in Washington. His main primary opponent, Jonathan Paton has refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, claiming, “it’s [the pledge] still promising something that somebody else is going to hold you to” (Arizona Daily Star 8/23/09.) Jesse Kelly responded, saying, “Our public servants must be held accountable for their actions. It is a red flag when a career politician who voted for Janet Napolitano’s billion dollar spending increase hedges on future tax votes. I call on Jonathan Paton to explain why he refuses to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” Jesse Kelly is a Republican candidate for Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District in the southeastern region of the state.

For more information on the Jesse Kelly campaign please visit VoteJesseKelly.com or send an e-mail to jesse@votejessekelly.com.

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Paid for by Kelly for Congress

Arizona hog-tied by federal mandates

by Nick Dranias
Goldwater Institute
 
Until recently, state and local government interaction with the federal government seemed to consist mostly of local and state officials asking D.C. for more money. As a result, many states, counties and cities have ended up on their backs, hog-tied by federal mandates. What James Madison called our “compound republic” cannot stand unless state and local governments recognize their obligation to join with the people in resisting federal overreach.

Fortunately, several bills before the Arizona Legislature would let local officials stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Arizonans in fending off expanded federal regulations. For example, SCR1050, the “Freedom to Breathe Amendment,” seeks to amend the state constitution to resist federal regulation of harmless carbon dioxide emissions. Senate Bill 1098 and House Bill 2307 would authorize in-state firearms manufacturing and sales under state regulations that are far less burdensome than federal rules. HB 2337 challenges the federal government’s effort to ban the in-state manufacturing of incandescent light bulbs. And SB 1398 would mandate that counties, cities and towns use their existing rights under federal law to require federal agencies to reduce the burden of any new regulation.

During the November general election, Arizona voters will consider two other measures already referred to the ballot by the Legislature: the Health Care Freedom Act and Save Our Secret Ballot, which respectively can protect the right of Arizonans to make their own health care decisions and guarantee Arizonans the right to a secret ballot vote during union-organizing elections.

Arizona is brimming with ideas that could make it routine and mandatory for state and local public officials to challenge unconstitutional federal government encroachment at every turn.

Far from an exercise in futility, such legislation reflects the public’s desire to preserve the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers between the state and federal governments. Consistent resistance to unconstitutional federal action cannot help but chasten federal officials who might otherwise regulate without restraint.

Nick Dranias holds the Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan Chair for Constitutional Government and is Director of the Joseph and Dorothy Donnelly Moller Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute.

Interesting and Sad Observation on the McCain-Palin Association

We’ve been reading the comments on John McCain’s Facebook page related to Sarah Palin’s upcoming visit and it is stunning to read that many of McCain’s supporters speak directly to McCain arguing that it is a huge mistake to even associate with Sarah Palin. Here is an example:

McCain Supporters Despise Palin
BradRoss
ColinOlson
DanaBates
DavidLavacque
ElisaCintron
HimesScireHaz
JerryDagna
JoshuaPfaff

We’re willing to bet that JD Hayworth’s supporters are more than willing to welcome Sarah Palin into his campaign. It only makes sense that JD’s people are the same as Sarah’s people.

Election 2010: GOP’s Martin, Mills Lead Goddard, AG tops Governor

Rasmussen Reports – Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Likely Democratic candidate Terry Goddard now trails two potential Republican opponents in the latest look at Arizona’s gubernatorial contest.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in the state finds State Treasurer Dean Martin leading Goddard 43% to 38%. Just six percent (6%) favor some other candidate in this match-up, while 13% are undecided. In January, Martin led Goddard by nine points.

Political newcomer Buz Mills, who has begun introducing himself to the state through a series of TV ads, now leads Goddard 43% to 37%. Seven percent (7%) prefer another candidate in this match-up, while 13% are not sure.

But incumbent Republican Governor Jan Brewer, embroiled in the state’s budget crisis, now trails Goddard 45% to 36% in her bid for reelection. Twelve percent (12%) of voters like another candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided. In January, Brewer and Goddard were in a virtual tie after the Democrat held a nine-point lead in November.

Against former state GOP Chairman John Munger, Goddard holds a 42% to 36% advantage. Thirteen percent (13%) of voters pick some other candidate, and nine percent (9%) are undecided.

In the state’s Republican Primary race for governor, Mills’ entrance has created a virtual three-way tie with Martin and Brewer. Longtime incumbent John McCain now leads conservative challenger J.D. Hayworth by just seven points in Arizona’s hotly contested Republican Senate Primary race. State Republicans will pick their Senate and gubernatorial nominees in an August 24 primary. Goddard, the state’s current attorney general, is expected to be the Democrats’ nominee for governor.

Male voters prefer Martin and Mills to Goddard among male voters but move into the Democrat’s column when Brewer or Munger is the Republican in the race. Female voters lean toward the Democrat unless Martin’s on the ballot.

Similarly, voters not affiliated with either party prefer Goddard over Brewer or Munger. But unaffiliateds give a slight edge to Martin and Mills over Goddard in those match-ups.

Fifteen percent (15%) of Arizona voters have a very favorable opinion of Goddard, while 13% view the Democrat very unfavorably.

Martin is viewed very favorably by 11% and very unfavorably by seven percent (7%).

Ten percent (10%) of voters have a very favorably impression of Mills, while only nine percent (9%) view him very unfavorably. Thirty-nine percent (39%) have no opinion of him.

Fewer than 10% of voters have a strong favorable or unfavorable opinion of Munger, while 40% of voters don’t know enough about him to venture any opinion at all.

Seven percent (7%) of Arizona voters view Brewer very favorably, but 24% view the governor very unfavorably.

At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with strong opinions more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.

Just 41% approve of the job Brewer is doing in office, while 55% disapprove. This includes eight percent (8%) who Strongly Approve and 22% who Strongly Disapprove.

Brewer, as Arizona’s secretary of state, became governor last January when Janet Napolitano moved to Washington to serve as secretary of Homeland Security. But battles over the state budget have taken a toll on her popularity and prompted challenges within her own party. Brewer is currently pushing a three-year temporary one percent increase in the state’s 5.6 percent sales tax to help close the state’s huge budget deficit. Voters will decide on that proposal in a May 18 referendum.

Fifty-three percent (53%) of voters in the state now favor the temporary sales tax increase, but 36% oppose it. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.

Thirty-five percent (35%) say the economy will be stronger a year from now, but 44% think it will be weaker. Thirteen percent (13%) expect it to stay about the same.

Eighty-five percent (85%) of Arizona voters are at least somewhat concerned about drug-related violence in Mexico spilling over into the United States, with 60% who are very concerned. Given Arizona’s location, it comes as no surprise that its voters are more concerned about this outcome than voters on the national level.

However, Arizona voters are split on the question of what concerns them more: 45% say illegal immigration is a greater concern, while 43% name Mexican drug violence.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of Arizona voters believe the U.S. military should be used along the Mexican border if violence continues to escalate there. Just 12% disagree. These results are similar to those found nationwide.

Only 36% of voters in Arizona favor the health care reform plan passed by President Obama and Congress, while 60% disapprove. Voters in Arizona are more opposed to the plan than voters on the national level.

By a 62% to 29% margin, Arizona voters prefer passing smaller plans that address individual problems in the health care system than one large comprehensive plan.

A solid plurality of the state’s voters (48%) says their local representative does not deserve to be reelected to Congress, and 71% believe it would be better for the country if most incumbents up for reelection this November were defeated.

Twenty-seven percent (27%) of Arizona voters describe themselves as part of the Tea Party movement.

In the 2008 election, Obama lost to favorite son McCain 54% to 45%. Forty-two percent (42%) now approve of Obama’s performance as president, with 29% who Strongly Approve. Fifty-six percent (56%) disapprove, including 51% who Strongly Disapprove. This is roughly comparable to Obama’s job approval ratings nationally in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.

In 2008, Rasmussen Reports projected nationally that Obama would defeat John McCain by a 52% to 46% margin. Obama won 53% to 46%. Four years earlier, Rasmussen Reports projected the national vote totals for both George W. Bush and John Kerry within half-a-percentage-point.

In Arizona during the 2008 campaign, Rasmussen Reports polling showed McCain winning the state by a 51% to 45% margin. McCain defeated Obama 54% to 45%. In the 2006 Arizona governor’s race, Rasmussen polling showed Janet Napolitano defeating Len Munsil 58% to 37%. Napolitano won 63% to 35%. In the 2006 race for U.S. Senate, Rasmussen polling showed Jon Kyl leading Jim Pederson by nine, 51% to 42%. Kyl won by nine, 53% to 44%.

Full-day kindergarten offers no long-term learning boost

by Le Templar
Goldwater Institute
 
A story last week in the Arizona Republic implied that the loss of state funding for full-day kindergarten will permanently hamper the education of schoolchildren. But this simply is not the case.

In 2005, the Goldwater Institute conducted a comprehensive review of education progress locally and across the country of students that enrolled in pre-school, half-day kindergarten and full-day kindergarten. This review of all available scientific research found that some full-day kindergarten students fared slightly better in reading, writing and math in the first grade, but this advantage fades rather quickly. By the end of third grade, students who had enrolled in full-day kindergarten performed no better in their classes than students who went to kindergarten for a half-day only (which Arizona is still funding). More recently, a study by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department released in January 2010 found that any benefits from Head Start pre-school classes disappear by the end of first grade. Simply put, all-day kindergarten, pre-school, and other early childhood education programs are not effective over time.

Many public schools have said they are going to provide full-day kindergarten despite the loss of state dollars, even if they have to charge families for the classes. The Legislature and Governor Jan Brewer wisely decided to focus on preventing the state from going bankrupt while letting local schools weigh the value of offering full-day kindergarten against other priorities that compete for limited tax dollars.

Le Templar is the communications director for the Goldwater Institute.