Ally Miller: Pima County Board of Supervisors Anti-Business Decisions Continue

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2011
CONTACT: Dean Miller

On Dec. 13, 2011, Pima County Board of Supervisors handed down a decision to appeal Raytheon property tax valuation as determined by the AZ State Board of Equalization. “This is yet another example of the short sighted and irresponsible behavior by the members of this board” stated Ally Miller, a candidate for District 1 Board of Supervisors in attendance at the meeting.

Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 to appeal the decision approved by the AZ State board of equalization to lower the assessed value of properties owned by Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson. Supervisor Richard Elias was absent.

The appeal submitted by Raytheon, based on the valuation of similar properties was approved by the State board of equalization and resulted in valuations lowered from approximately $46.4 mil to $25.6 Mil for 2011 on 19 parcels identified on the board agenda. The 2011 change in valuation would result in a loss of approximately $571 thousand in tax revenue.

Raytheon reportedly pays $130 million in state and local taxes annually.

“Workers in this community are desperate for jobs yet the Board of Supervisors continues with their anti-business practices spending taxpayer money on litigation which could potentially alienate the largest private employer in our community.” Miller added.

“Did the members of the Pima County Board of Supervisors forget about the recent move by Raytheon to build a facility and locate approximately 300 high paying jobs to Huntsville, Alabama?” asked Miller.

After a trip to Huntsville earlier this year it was reported Supervisor Bronson determined tax incentives and fast tracking the development process were among the reasons Raytheon decided to build this facility in Huntsville versus Tucson.

For more information, contact Ally Miller campaign office or visit the campaign website at www.allyforsupervisor.com

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Jeff Flake: Payroll-tax gimmicks hinder serious reform

By Jeff Flake (reposted from The Arizona Republic)

House Republicans have worked hard this year to prove to Americans that we recognize the extent of our fiscal crisis. With tremendous political risk, Republicans passed a budget crafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan that made tough, but necessary, decisions to corral out-of-control federal spending and bring about much-needed reforms to entitlement programs.

So after leading by example by embracing the Ryan budget, why are Republicans ending this year’s congressional session by passing another “now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t” temporary payroll-tax holiday? Because politics is dictating policy.

A year ago, Americans were told that a temporary reduction in payroll taxes would jump-start economic growth, improve the economy and put people back to work. This was misguided from the beginning. To begin with, temporary tax reductions don’t improve economic conditions. And make no mistake, this temporary reduction was always sold as a 12-month tax holiday. When short-term tax cuts expire, taxes go back up and the net result is effectively a non-stimulus. Don’t just take my word for it. Economic growth has been hovering between an anemic 1 and 2 percent.

How the payroll-tax holiday is “paid for” is another example in the art of congressional budgeting. Senate Democrats favored raising taxes on high-income earners as a spending offset. But they couldn’t get 60 votes in the Senate to pass it (thank goodness). House Republicans, on the other hand, opted for subterfuge, telling Americans that budget cuts will pay for a new payroll-tax holiday. Non-binding budget cuts that is, spread out over 10 years. That’s right, Congress is proposing to pay for one year’s worth of non-stimulative tax cuts with 10 years’ worth of budget cuts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for budget cuts. But budget cuts that kick in years from now aren’t really budget cuts. We’ve been down that road before.

Because payroll taxes fund the Social Security Trust Fund, another short-term tax holiday exacerbates the insolvency of the fund. It is pretty remarkable to see Democrats, self-proclaimed protectors of Social Security, so forcefully embrace blowing a huge hole in the Trust Fund, and Republicans, fierce critics of deficit spending (at least rhetorically), so willing to resort to gimmicks to mask larger deficits.

More than anything, the economy needs serious tax and regulatory reform, reform that would result in a permanent reduction in marginal rates for all income earners brought about by removing credits, deductions, loopholes and tax expenditures (like that envisioned by the Simpson-Bowles Commission). Ideally, capital-gains taxes would be eliminated for everyone, but at a minimum, the tax rates cannot increase.

America’s corporate-tax rate, currently the second-highest in the world, should immediately be reduced to 25 percent. Permanent reforms like these would unleash a torrent of economic activity and move the economy and unemployment rate in positive directions. Another round of a nickel-and-dime “now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t” tax holiday is misguided.

Jeff Flake is the U.S. representative for Congressional District 6, which includes parts of Mesa and Chandler and all of Gilbert, Queen Creek and Apache Junction.

Jerry Lewis Won a Republican Primary

By Tyler Montague

A Response to Senator Steve Smith

In his comments about recall elections the other day, Senator Steve Smith said, “We just witnessed how the radical left has used the recall system to defeat an opponent they could not and would not have been able to defeat in a standard election.”

The publicly-funded, freshman Senator from Pinal County may have some useful ideas for reforming the recall process.  (I feel we should get rid of paid petition circulators for recall elections!)  But Smith’s reference to the Pearce/Lewis election demonstrates a lack of understanding of what happened on the ground in Mesa.  More harmful to Republicans is that perpetuation of the “leftist takeover” narrative by Smith and others prevents some of the analysis and valuable learning that should be happening as a result of Lewis’ victory. Neither a “flawed recall process” nor “the radical left” caused Senator Pearce’s defeat.

Lewis won by a 12-point margin.  The financials, the polls, and the final vote tallies stubbornly support the case that Lewis would have won if this election had been a Republican primary.

The numbers
Registered Democrats comprise only 26% of LD18; which means they can’t impose their will on anyone.  They accounted for 28% of the vote total in the recall election, and of those, it is estimated that 36% of Democrats voted for Russell Pearce.  Republicans have many more LD18 voters, who further amplify their influence with a tendency to vote at a much greater rate.    Republicans formed 49% of the vote.  Republicans and Independents did the heavy lifting to get to the 55%-43% final margin of victory.

The Arizona Capitol Times conducted a poll the week before the election and found that 36.4% of Democrats were planning to vote for Russell Pearce.  If you start with that assumption, then assume Independents voted roughly in proportion to the final totals, Republicans ended up voting 51%-49% in favor of Lewis.  The actual votes by party are not published, so we must use polling.  The 36% Democratic vote for Pearce, and the slight Republican advantage for Lewis are both consistent with the Capitol Times poll and internal polling conducted by the Lewis campaign.  It is possible that Lewis performed better than the polls said among Democrats or Independents, which would lower his percentage among Republicans.  But one has to remember that Independents are allowed to vote in a primary of their choice, so Lewis would still win in a hypothetical “primary” vote created by removing all Democratic votes from the total.

Poll-based assumptions, fitted to the official vote tally

Party

Pearce

Lewis

Cortes

 

Total

Pearce

Lewis

Cortes

DEM

36%

61%

2.42%

 

6472

2356

3959

157

GRN

10%

90%

   

36

4

32

0

LBT

50%

50%

   

147

73

73

0

OTH

41%

56%

2.36%

 

5097

2107

2870

120

REP

49%

51%

   

11459

5582

5878

0

                 

23210

10121

12812

277

Total

23210

10121

12812

277

It is impossible to know for certain how Lewis would have fared in a regular primary without the media attention, efforts by independent groups on either side, and without some of the trickery that ultimately backfired on Pearce.  The recall scenario didn’t break all in Lewis’ favor.  We know the special circumstances of the recall may have persuaded large numbers of Republicans to vote for Pearce, when they might have chosen another candidate in a normal primary.  They bought into the Pearce Campaign’s relentless arguments that the recall was a left-wing attack against the Republican Party, and that it was time for people to choose teams rather than evaluate candidates on merit.  It was a tactical error of the Lewis team to not counter by pointing out that Pearce himself had supported a recall effort against Sheriff Dupnik earlier in 2011 and said that the threshold for recalls was appropriately high.  We also could have reminded people that Pearce ally, EV Tea Party Chairman Greg Western, initiated a recall against fellow Republican Rich Crandall the year before.  Pearce’s hypocrisy, along with information like the ruling by the Arizona Supreme Court, which reaffirmed Constitutional language stating that recall elections do not require allegations of wrongdoing by elected officials, may have swayed some of those Republicans to drop their anti-recall-based support of Pearce. 

So what does it mean?
Many lessons of this election are portable.  The first point:  Pay attention to your constituents.  Pearce’s statewide and national list of endorsements was impressive, but Lewis lined up the majority of the leaders in Mesa, and voters trusted the people they know personally.  If donations were an indication of support, Lewis did a good job getting people in his district to invest in his campaign, and a review of Lewis’s donor list, debunks the “outside leftist radicals” story very nicely.  Lewis got 67% of his money from Mesa, 43% came from LD18, and only 2% from outside the state.  Even though he massively outspent Lewis, Pearce only got 4% of his money from LD18.  It doesn’t matter as much how popular you are beyond your constituency—they can’t vote for you.

The second point:  Priorities.  Voters felt that more attention needed to go to the economy and jobs and education.  Over and over again in meetings with small groups, voters said they felt like their priorities were taking a backseat to ideological hobbies.

A third point:  Voters said yet again in this election that they do not like dirty campaigning or angry politics.  The candidates at the top of the campaign can do a lot to set the tone, and can control their followers to a large degree.  The well-documented language and tactics used in this election may have made the final difference in the outcome.  You cannot take someone like Jerry Lewis, a highly respected, longstanding moral leader in the community, who as a seminary teacher had taught hundreds of students from hundreds of families throughout the district, and make scurrilous claims that “he steals from homeless children,” without being punished by voters for such offensive, unfounded, and overreaching slander.  Future candidates for office should look closely at this election and think long and hard about hiring consultants who promote such tactics.

Finally, any election involving Russell Pearce is also an election about immigration, and there are several things to learn here.  First is that people who oppose illegal immigration and support SB1070 and other tough laws, are not a mutually exclusive group separate from those who want solutions that would keep families together and let people rectify themselves with the law without necessarily deporting them.  There is significant overlap.  Dr. Bruce Merrill and the Morrison Institute for Public Policy released a survey last month of Arizonans that indicated 78% of heads of households favored, “…legislation that would allow these people to be put on a path to becoming American citizens if they have no criminal record either where they came from or here in Arizona if they pay a fine for coming into the country illegally, get a taxpayer I.D. number and demonstrate they can speak English.”  Republicans favored such measures by 69%.  Pearce and allies tout 70% support for SB1070, but then make the mistake of deriding those who oppose mass roundups or the equivalent of starve-outs as “open-border anarchists opposed to the rule of law.”  This alienates people, particularly those in the religious and business communities who feel we could tackle immigration problems in a way that solves the problem, helps the economy, and honors our Judeo-Christian values, without necessarily handing citizenship to millions who didn’t come here the right way.

Pearce’s tone on immigration alienates Hispanics.  Latinos favored Lewis by more than 3:1 according to polls.  That number alone should spark discussion about the way the Republican Party approaches the immigration issue.  Anyone looking at projected growth rates from the U.S. Census will see Hispanics’ rapidly growing role in American politics.  Many Hispanics are social conservatives with a tradition of working hard and wanting to keep the fruits of their labor—in other words, many Latinos should resonate to core messages of the Republican Party.  Yet they are put off by the angry rhetoric surrounding the immigration debate.  Arguments to secure the border and to deport felons or freeloaders make sense to most of us; but leaders who point to criminals as justification to round up farm workers and dishwashers present a non-sequitur that makes more sense to Hispanics when explained by xenophobia or racism.  While some Latinos support the approach championed by Pearce, one out of four Hispanic votes will not win the elections of the future for the Republican Party.  The approach championed by Pearce is politically short-sighted.  The Republican Party needs better leadership on the issue of immigration.

Spending too much time fretting over the recall provision in the Arizona Constitution will prevent conservatives from making the adjustments the Pearce recall should catalyze.

Tyler Montague is a lifelong Mesa resident who helped recruit and campaign for Jerry Lewis.  He currently serves as a vice-chair of the LD18 Republicans.

Senator Steve Smith on Future Recall Elections

By Senator Steve Smith

The following opinion piece appeared in the Arizona Republic on December 19th:

The Republican state senator talks about his plan to make it tougher to recall Arizona legislators.

Why do you want to make it more difficult to recall a state lawmaker? 

We just witnessed how the radical left has used the recall system to defeat an opponent they could not and would not have been able to defeat in a standard election. I believe this is a gross misuse of our recall system. I believe one should be recalled because of an egregious act committed or a proven inability to be effective in one’s job.

Do you expect the successful Pearce recall to open the floodgates of more recalls? 

Based on what has been said recently, this is clearly what the radical left wing is trying to do. They went after Russell Pearce and now they stated they are going after Governor Brewer, Sheriff Arpaio, and have threatened to do the same to other Republicans.

Do you think state government was harmed by losing Russell Pearce from the Legislature? 

Absolutely. Russell Pearce is an honest and fair man, and quite frankly, one of the best legislators this state has ever had. Under his leadership last session alone, we now have a jobs bill that will put more Arizonans back to work, a legitimately balanced budget for the first time in years, pension reform and much more.

You want to require signatures from a majority of voters in the district before a recall can be triggered. Why this approach? 

I believe the majority of the people (50 percent plus 1) should decide if an elected official should be recalled or not. Currently, 25 percent of the electorate is needed to initiate a recall, which means typically any political demographic can initiate the recall. The recall process should be a nonpartisan movement in which the majority of the people unify in response to an egregious act by the elected official.

Democrat attorney Paul Eckstein says lawmakers proposing this simply want to protect themselves from recall. Is this your motivation? 

I believe that if the right wing started using the recall system as the left wing has done and continues to do, Democrats like Paul Eckstein would soon agree with my position. Again, although a recall can be initiated for any reason, it should only be used when the majority of the people want it to occur.

Do you think the Pearce recall will soften the Legislature’s approach to immigration? 

No and nor should it. Remember, the people of Arizona have spoken time and again at the ballot box about this issue. Each time there has been a proposition relating to cracking down on illegal aliens, Arizonans by very wide margins (over 70 percent in most instances) have voted in favor of doing so.

Do you think your caucus will be able to work with recall winner Jerry Lewis? 

The Republican caucus is a strong and mighty force with many moral, constitutionally sound, and patriotic leaders. Although Russell Pearce will be greatly missed, I believe the Republican caucus will continue to effectively lead Arizona.

What do you think will be the important consequences of the Pearce recall? 

The biggest consequence of course is the loss of Russell Pearce for this upcoming session. Beyond that, other consequences would be that maybe others will decide to play dirty like the Democrats did and will initiate recalls.

Rep. Vic Williams on Cell Phone Usage While Driving

Arizona State Representative Vic Williams spoke with CBS 5 in response to the NTSB’s recommendation to ban all electronic devices while driving. Representative Williams serves as the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

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GOP Iowa Voters Sending a Message Using Ron Paul?

I love posing these questions on Sonoran Alliance because some readers fail to process the point of the post and get themselves in a tizzy.

Here’s the question (and I know our Ron Paul readers are going to love this):

The latest poll out of Iowa shows Ron Paul now leading the pack 23% to Romney at 20% and Gingrich at 14% (link). Are the voters of Iowa trying to send a message to the other nominees? What is that message? And if the premise is true nationally, when will they pull back from this game of political chicken and give Mitt Romney the official nod?

Or, will all this lead to a brokered convention?

Finally, does anyone doubt that the official GOP ticket will be Romney/Rubio?