Western Free Press: Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission — Public Comment Session — July 21, 2011

At South Mountain Community College, July 21, 2011, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission sought public comment. The following unedited video was recorded at that session.

YouTube Preview Image

This video is just part 1 of 11 unedited videos. Western Free Press has covered the Independent Redistricting Commission’s actions from the beginning.

Western Free Press is dedicated to generating public dialogue on Arizona’s most important issues and figures. 

Protecting Pinal County’s Property Tax Payers

Over the years, covering multiple Boards of Supervisors andCountyManagers,PinalCountyentered into numerous agreements waiving impact fees. These are fees used to cover the cost of expanding the water supply and other necessary services as required byArizonalaw. The waiving of impact fees literally means property taxpayers must make up the loss of revenue to the County.

 In October 2006, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors passed and adopted Ordinance No. 101806-DF, which established a development fee schedule forPinalCounty. The purpose of the ordinance is to require new developments to pay for their proportionate share of capital costs associated with providing public safety, streets, and parks facilities.

 In November 2000, Pinal County and Johnson Ranch/Centex Homes amended a November 1997 agreement waiving development impact fees for ten years with an option to renew for an additional ten years. The 1997 agreement expired in November 2007. When Johnson Ranch/Centex Homes requested another ten year waiver of development impact fees, the Board of Supervisors denied the request.

 One of the primary reasons the Board of Supervisors denied the extension was based on a vastly different set of facts facing the Board of Supervisors in 2007 versus the Board of Supervisors in 1997. In 1997, the population of San Tan Valley was estimated at 2000 residents. In 2007, the population was estimated at 40,000 residents. Today, the population is over 80,000 residents, a forty fold increase.

 Growth of this magnitude places a draconian strain on County resources, e.g., the Sheriff’s Department, Public Works, and Public Health, to mention a few. IfPinalCountyviewed County government capitulated to developer demands to waive impact development fees, the lost revenue would be made up in property taxes during a recessionary period.

 Johnson Ranch/Centex Homes developed 4,880 lots with 808 lots remaining to be developed at the time. The build out of 4,880 lots outstripped the infrastructure agreed to in the original development agreement. The exponential population growth inPinalCountywas not foreseen in 1997, lending credibility to the idea that theArizonalegislature should redefine a phased development from ten to five years,

 As a result of the County’s denial of extension of waiver of impact development fees, Johnson Ranch/Centex homes decided to litigate the matter. At approximately the same time, an Arizona State Representative, on behalf of an anonymous developer, attempted to sponsor a bill (HB 2578) freezing all development impact fees. Members of the Pinal County Citizens for Excellence in Government, a non-partisan organization, managed to convince the Representative that his bill was not friendly to property tax payers. The bill was withdrawn.

 The importance of this litigation is evidenced in the 21 development impact fee agreements inPinalCounty. The potential for property tax payers to incur $500 million in new taxes is real. Two developers opted for litigation: Johnson Ranch/Centex Homes and Grosvenor Holdings (Entrada del Oro). Centex Homes prevailed in Superior Court.

 The County appealed on the basis of the Arizona Gift Clause, where the State Constitution prohibits the County from giving or loaning its credit in the aid of any individual or corporation by donation, grant, subsidy or others (Article 9, Section7), public policy consideration, changed circumstances unforeseen at the time of the original agreement, and the best interests of the public.

 In December 2010, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the ruling of the Superior Court finding improper the grant of summary judgment in favor of Centex Homes. The Court of Appeals found ambiguity in the Development Agreement and directed that the matter could not be settled by summary judgment; it had to be heard by the “trier-of-fact.”

 Centex Homes filed a Petition for Review with the Arizona Supreme Court. The Petition for Review was denied in May 2011. In June 2011, the Court of Appeals issued a Mandate commanding the Superior Court to conduct such proceedings as are required to comply with the Appellate Court decision. Centex Homes has yet to initiate any proceeding in Superior Court.

 Pinal County Management and the Board of Supervisors were right in refusing to extend the development impact fee agreement and it is right in defending its decision in court. The case is not yet closed but every Pinal County property tax payer should stand up and cheer the position Pinal County Government has taken in this matter.

 Development impact fees are assessed subject to the doctrine that new growth should pay for its own costs; property tax payers should not subsidize homebuilders and new residents.

 

 

Arizona Taxpayer’s Action Committee Announces Initial Endorsements for Phoenix City Council

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 30, 2011
CONTACT: info@arizonataxpayeraction.com

(Phoenix, AZ) – The Arizona Taxpayer’s Action Committee announced its initial endorsements for Phoenix City Council today setting the stage for voters to make clear decisions in the August 30th Election. Early ballots will be sent out next Thursday, August 4th.

Candidates were asked a variety of questions related to tax rates, types of taxation, city budgeting, unions and the growth of city government. The survey is available online at: http://arizonataxpayeraction.com/documents/surveys/city/ATACCityCandidateSurvey2011.pdf.

This initial round of endorsements includes the following candidates:

Phoenix Mayor – Jennifer Wright
Phoenix Council, District 1 – Eric Frederick
Phoenix Council, District 5 – Charlie Ellis
Phoenix Council, District 7 – Janet Contreras 

Shane Wikfors, Treasurer for the political action committee remarked, “Voters have an obligation to elect the best candidates who will protect the taxpayers of the City of Phoenix.” He added, “We believe these are the best candidates to lead Phoenix government back to fiscal sanity and away from the unhealthy relationship with government unions.”

The PAC is expected to make additional endorsements over the next week including in the race for Phoenix Councils, districts 2 and 3 and, in the mayoral and council races in Tucson.

The Arizona Taxpayer’s Action Committee (ATAC) is the largest taxpayer advocacy political action committee in Arizona. ATAC recently participated in and won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision eliminating the matching funds provision of Arizona’s “Clean Election” law.

For more information about the Arizona Taxpayer’s Action Committee, please visit www.ArizonaTaxpayerAction.com or email the committee at info@arizonataxpayeraction.com.

###

Rep. Schweikert Statement on Reid Plan: ‘This Borders on Embarrassing’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 30, 2011
CONTACT: Rachel Semmell

Washington, D.C. – Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, made the following statement after he voted against the irresponsible Reid plan:

“While our economy is on the brink of a debt disaster, it is unconscionable that President Obama and the Senate Majority still refuse any plan that will not give the president a blank check.

“The House of Representatives did the heavy lifting and passed a bipartisan plan, yet President Obama’s calls for ‘compromise’ seem to ignore this reality.

“The Reid plan borders on embarrassing. It is full of smoke and mirrors instead of common sense and math. It will have a disastrous impact on our military, does not cut close to the amount it hikes, and advertises $1 trillion in phantom cuts.

“Senator Reid continues to play games and disregard the will of the People’s House. It is clear that President Obama and the Senate Majority just don’t get it.”

###

Arizona Right to Life PAC Announces Endorsements for Phoenix City Council

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 30, 2011
CONTACT: AZRTL PAC

(PHOENIX, AZ) AZRTL PAC based the following determinations on the candidate’s answers to the AZRTL PAC questionnaire, their history of pro-life involvement, any history of voting on abortion related legislation, and their chances of defeating pro-abortion candidates.

The AZRTL PAC supports pro-life candidates at all levels of government, even if the pro-life issue may never come before them. We want to ensure that we elect solid pro-life candidates at all levels of government.

AZRTL PAC endorses the following candidates for Phoenix City Council:

District 1: Eric Fredrick

District 2: Jim Waring

District 3: Bill Gates

District 5: Charlie Ellis

District 7: Janet Contreras

The Arizona Right to Life Political Action Committee is Arizona’s oldest, largest, and strongest political pro-life organization. To learn more about Arizona Right to Life, please visit our website at www.azrtl.org

###

Rep. Schweikert Statement on the Budget Control Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 29, 2011
CONTACT: Rachel Semmel

Washington, D.C. – Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, made the following statement after he voted in support of S.627, The Budget Control Act of 2011:

“I had previously been concerned that the original plan did not go far enough to address the unease of the markets and rating agencies in regards to the projection of our exploding debt.

“I am now pleased to support this legislation after Speaker Boehner took a bold step to ensure a Balanced Budget Amendment must pass the House and be sent to the states before President Obama receives any additional debt ceiling increase.

“When I came to Washington, I made a promise to the people of Arizona’s 5th District that something serious and genuine needed to be done to save our country from an avalanche of debt. This bill is another key step House Republicans have taken in that process.

“I encourage the Senate Majority and the President to not only start participating in solving our debt crisis, but to quickly pass this bill and save our economic future.

“Now is the time for scare tactics, half-measures, and phantom cuts to end.”

###

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Great For Arizona Economy

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

This week’s debt ceiling debate, not surprisingly, has us all focused on policing government spending.  And one suggestion that’s been circulated is to slow production of certain defense projects, such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  That conversation takes place at a time when Arizonans anticipate Luke Air Force Base will be the training home for the aircraft. There are already suppliers and experts in our state working on it, and we need the jobs and economic development that a large squadron multi-role stealth aircraft would bring.
Arizona’s congressional delegation must stand for high-rate production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The aging F-16 squadron at Luke already shrunk from 185 fighters six years ago to now 138 – with the base’s population slipping down to 7,400 personnel from the original 8,000. That’s fewer jobs, meaning diminished wages and decreased revenue for the state.
We can’t turn this around with more F-16s. They’re outdated and, frankly, enemy technology is fast catching up with them.  We need next-generation technology to keep our men and women safe.
The F-35 project brings nearly $90 million in economic impact from the work of 19 suppliers based here in the state.  So, full production would bring more jobs at Luke, and more jobs throughout Arizona.  And that’s just the tip of it.
Several years ago, an independent study discovered that Luke AFB alone was bringing in $2.2 billion annual revenue for Arizona.  There’s nothing chump about that kind of change. Included is an economic engine from nearly 100,000 retired military personnel living around the base and the many businesses, schools and community institutions in surrounding metropolitan areas that depend on that income for its existence.
So, supporting the F-35 is, in reality, supporting the state and growing jobs. Projections estimate that the initial base construction phase for the F-35s would generate $125 million by itself.  Again: more jobs.
We could talk all day about the F-35 as the most advanced multi-role stealth combat aircraft in the world.  And it doesn’t hurt to mention how much we need it to maintain our global air superiority (would you believe that some of our aircraft are nearly 30 years old??).
But, we really need our representatives in Washington to hear this loud and clear. Simply put, this is all beneficial for Arizona―with the extra-added bonus of protecting our country and people in uniform. We need to get the F-35 here, benefit from the job growth, train the pilots and get this aircraft in full flight.  That’s a no-brainer Arizonans can’t afford to take chances on.

Arizona Republican Party: ‘I Am A Republican’

YouTube Preview Image

Balance the Budget: Now is the Time!

YouTube Preview Image

With Inclusion of Balanced Budget Amendment Requirement, Boehner Bill Cuts, Caps, and Balances

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 29, 2011
CONTACT: Genevieve Frye Rozansky

Conservatives Insist on Balanced Budget Amendment Requirement

Washington, D.C. – Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, today announced that he will support the Budget Control Act of 2011 after House Leaders agreed to take steps to ensure that it includes a balanced budget amendment requirement.

“With conservatives insisting on the addition of a balanced budget amendment requirement, Speaker Boehner’s bill will now cut, cap, and balance,” said Flake.

“The ball will now be in the Senate’s court. If the Boehner bill is dead-on-arrival, as Senator Reid has said, I hope they’ll send us a plan of their own so that we can make improvements to it.”

###