Archives for February 2017

Border Adjustment Tax Could Derail Tax Reform

Americans for Prosperity - Arizona

By: Tom Jenney – Americans for Prosperity, Arizona

One of the most enduring symbols of Arizona is the Grand Canyon.  In fact, many people have nicknamed us the Grand Canyon State.  This most famous of the national parks also illustrates the stakes for Arizonans in the debate that is currently being waged in Washington, D.C. over tax reform.

Let there be no mistake: the so-called Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) would blow a Grand Canyon-sized hole in our economy and the budgets of working families.

In Arizona, the retail industry is a significant source of jobs.  There are more than 64,000 retail businesses that support 828,000 jobs, contributing $53 billion to our economy every year.  If you lined up the workers who are employed because of retail in Arizona shoulder to shoulder, they would span just about the entire length of the Grand Canyon.  That’s a lot of jobs and many of them could be on the chopping block if Speaker Paul Ryan, and U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady move forward with the BAT.

The BAT is a national sales tax that would raise $1 trillion in new revenue over the next ten years by taxing imports.  Small businesses, particularly retailers would be discriminated against, while big multinational corporations that ship products overseas, would have their exports exempted from federal taxes.  This is a classic example of Washington picking winners and losers among industries, but in this case, it would be middle-income working families who get the shortest end of the stick and pay the ultimate price.

The BAT would drive up the cost of everyday necessities, such as gasoline, groceries, food and clothing, including prescription medicines.  According to the National Retail Federation, the average Arizona family could end up paying more than $1,700 per year in higher prices.  This is a lot of money that struggling, working families, who have seen their wages stagnate in recent years, simply can’t afford to pay.

Fortunately, the BAT is running into a buzz saw of political opposition.  Conservative organizations such as the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity have blasted the BAT as being anti-consumer and anti-free market.  Senator Jeff Flake should take note of this opposition and publicly oppose it.  Moreover, Congressman David Schweikert sits on the Ways and Means Committee and should work to keep this tax increase on Arizona families from ever getting out of his committee.

Arizona’s elected leaders could do the vital retail businesses in our state and middle-class families a great service by formally announcing their opposition and driving a nail in the coffin of BAT.  Tax reform is too important to the health of the economy and the pocketbooks of working households for it to be derailed by an exotic, anti-consumer, anti-small business tax.  The BAT is simply bad policy, and it deserves to die an early death, so conservative, free market tax reform can get back on the right track.

It is time to save tax reform, which is badly needed for families and businesses alike in Arizona, by saying no to and killing the BAT.  That is the first step to fairly and equitably lowering the rates for everyone and allow the free market to work.  Conservatives were not elected to Congress to put their thumb on the scale and pick winners and losers, and that is exactly what a trillion-dollar tax increase on Arizona families does in exchange for a permanent tax holiday for multinational companies, many of which already exploit loopholes and receive special deals from lobbyists in Washington.  Senator Flake and Congressman Schweikert, voters sent you to the nation’s capital to fight for their interests and are watching who you stand up for.

Tom Jenney is the State Director of the Arizona Chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

Fired Welfare Reformer Fights Back Against Left-Wing Hit Machine


Reprinted from Townhall

By Rachel Alexander

Tim Jeffries, a well-loved director of Arizona’s state welfare agency, the Department of Economic Security, was fired in November of last year. As I covered previously, this valiant conservative merely followed the governor’s orders to trim the agency of bad employees. Arizona’s left-wing media pounced on the firings — note that the left frequently takes the side of criminals — and sure enough, some of the fired employees had been caught stealing from the agency, stealing from the poor.

Jeffries was also targeted because he took on Democrat dishonesty. His predecessor was too afraid to take on a Democrat legislator who was illegally receiving food stamps. Jeffries discovered the full story from a DES investigator and had the fraudulent legislator prosecuted. Sadly, that honest investigator was later fired over this, even though a grand jury indicted Rep. Cecilia Velasquez on three felonies. A former Democrat state legislator, Leah Landrum-Taylor, received an appointment under Jeffries at DES, but used the position to undermine him, hoping to move up in the ranks. The Arizona Republic has still not revealed the actual facts, despite the fact there is photographic evidence proving her lies.

One of the employees who was terminated was featured sympathetically in the Republic. What the yellow journalism didn’t reveal is that she was terminated for hostilely telling (threatening?) a member of the public who came in for services, “You’re lucky you’re on the other side of the counter!” In contrast, under Jeffries’ tenure, there was an outbreak of clients who sent DES letters of support, something which had never happened before.

Over 1,000 DES employees contacted Jeffries after he was fired, expressing their condolences. The newspaper didn’t bother to report that. His Facebook page is full of photos of DES employees smiling and joking around under Jeffries’ fun-filled leadership. Thousands of the 7,000-plus employees there loved how he transformed the stodgy, unhappy agency into a workplace environment that was fun and efficient. He called those he worked with colleagues, not employees, and responded personally to emails from each and every one of them.

Incredibly, 40 of the 475 fired DES employees are now being reinstated, and firings have slowed to a trickle. The liberal reporter at the Republic responsible for many of the hit pieces on Jeffries, Craig Harris, bragged, “Firings of state government workers plummeted during the final three months of 2016, with just 17 involuntary separations in December, following a series of Arizona Republic and azcentral stories that uncovered questionable and improper dismissals at state agencies.” The governor’s chief of staff admitted that agency directors are now afraid of seeing their names publicly linked to “wrongful” firings. However, the termination rate of Jeffries’ predecessor was about the same, approximately one a day.

Jeffries recognizes the names of many of the DES employees who are being hired back, and says they are “bad apples” who have no business getting their jobs back. He fired “bullies, racists, sexual harassers and slackers.” Fraudsters were arrested.

The “fake news” has continued since Jeffries’ firing. Incredibly, even after my article refuting much of the Republic’s hit piece on Jeffries’ firing came out, the Republic ran another piece repeating much of the fake news. It was such a well-done hit piece, if you only read that article, you’d likely think Jeffries really was a bad dude.

For example, the left-wing local media ignored the restructuring Jeffries implemented, which put in place better management. “People who had iron grips on their respected positions were exited,” Jeffries said about some really bad characters. The biased media deliberately did not report that the Arizona Department of Administration approved every firing — it wasn’t just done by Jeffries and DES. All state agencies are required to have a Human Resources chief who is actually an employee of ADOA. After Jeffries was fired, his HR director was fired as collateral damage. Now, ridiculously, the state HR chief will have to review every firing in the state. It’s “bureaucracy gone wrong,” Jeffries says.

Jeffries is fighting back, giving interviews to local news stations and submitting his opinion to the Republic. Why would a very successful private businessman in the private sector like Jeffries (I’ve known him for years) agree to head a state government agency? When the governor asked him if he wanted to head a state agency, Jeffries chose DES. It is because he comes from a poor background himself, and knew he could make DES much more efficient as he’d done running business in the private sector. Jeffries transformed the agency into something unimaginable. Originally a state agency with a bad reputation (the case in most states), DES became a part of government where both Democrats and Republicans were proud to work.

Jeffries is a role model for how state agencies should be run — not merely for efficiency, but for his compassion. Seven colleagues reached out to him as director and told him they were homeless, and he helped them. They have said they would speak to the press, but Jeffries has asked them not to, because he is worried something might happen to them. He and his wife spent over $40,000 of their own money helping others they met at the agency. One woman spent two weeks sleeping in a DES closet. Don’t expect the left-leaning media to report the fact that Jeffries helped her.

Does this sound like a state agency director who should have been fired, or more like a left-wing witch hunt against a kind, successful conservative reformer? “I was the governor’s top reformer, and I’m gone,” he told Arizona’s ABC-15. His final message to his remaining DES colleagues after being fired? He loves them and he looks forward to remaining their good friend. There may be litigation. Let’s hope this top reformer finds his way back into government. He’s desperately needed.

House Democrats Oppose Effort to Prohibit Public Money from Going to Political Parties

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The House of Representatives today failed to pass HB 2403, legislation sponsored by Representative Coleman which would prohibit Clean Elections candidates from contributing public funds to political parties.

Doug Coleman

Rep Doug Coleman

While a majority of House members supported HB 2403, it failed to achieve support from three-fourths of the body, which is required to amend statutes created through the initiative process.  Republicans overwhelmingly supported the measure, but Democrats opposed it.

“Clean Elections candidates are supposed to use public money to run for office, not to line the coffers of their political party,” said Representative Coleman.  “This is an abusive manipulation of the Clean Elections system and violates the trust of Arizona voters, yet Democrats would apparently rather protect the interests of their political party than taxpayers.”

Setting the record straight on AZGOP election records

By Timothy Schwartz

Yesterday, a spin doctor from AZGOP released a deceptive account concerning Gabby Mercer’s attempt to obtain records.

The facts: On January 28th at the annual State meeting, the race for Chairman was extremely close. Out of over 1,200 votes cast, there were 34 votes separating the candidates. O’Connor’s campaign chairman Tim Horn asked to see the records and was told he would be able to. The meeting did not happen.

Gabby Mercer, the newly elected Secretary began asking for the records. She was stalled with the excuse that the office was in transition. After the “transition”, no changes were made as the personnel running AZGOP were the same. Gabby was denied access to the records. Mercer persisted against continued obstruction. Each attempt was faced with a new excuse, none of them valid.

The Rules state that after an election of officers, there is a period of 10 days for all the records to be turned over to the newly elected official, the date of that deadline was February 7th. Obviously that deadline has passed, and Mercer’s attempts were still in deadlock. Her calls weren’t returned, and neither were her emails and text messages.

Several days ago, Mercer sent a letter to Chairman Lines asking for a meeting at HQ to obtain the records. On Monday, February 20th, Lines confirmed her appointment for that purpose.

With the confirmed appointment of Tuesday Feb.21 at 10 am, Gabby arrived with the support of Tim Horn, Timothy Schwartz and Lynn Breyer. Though Tim LaSota is lawyer for the party, Kory Langhofer and associate Thomas were there. We suspect that the lawyers were only there to learn of our desire, as it was never their purpose to give us the records. They reviewed our list of files requested, but after a meeting that lasted for more than 2 hours, never allowed us to see or obtain any of the files we came for. Avinash said all records were available on the website, but none of our requested items exist on the website except a preliminary list of State Committeemen that was dated January 9th and was never updated to the actual list.

Chairman Lines has advocated transparency, yet all the signs from the last 3-1/2 weeks show anything but transparency.

It is truly time for there to be a protest from every elected State Committeeman. We don’t give another 2 weeks for you to produce what should have been given weeks ago. The Credentials committee’s work ended on January 28th. What do you have to hide? Does 2 weeks give time to ‘make corrections’? This was an election! Those results should speak for themselves.

We demand immediate action!

Republican Faction Just Can’t Let It Go

By Millennial Maven

What the liberal mainstream media and Democrat elites are doing to President Trump is despicable. They tried to de-legitimize his election and cast doubt on it. Now they are putting off approving his nominees. Obama hold overs in the agencies are leaking information to try and damage the Trump administration. People are trying to make it impossible for President Trump to build the team he needs to accomplish the promises he campaigned and won on.

The same thing is happening in our own state GOP. Last month, Jonathan Lines, Gabby Mercer and Bob Lettieri were all fairly elected…from the credentialing process to the vote tabulation, the process was clear, open and transparent. No challenges were lodged to the credentials report, and no issues were raised during or immediately after the credentials committee submitted and the state body unanimously approved the credentials report. Now, Mercer and Tim Horne (not an elected State Officer) wants to undermine the election process, the credentials committee, and the duly elected State Committeeman by going on a self-proclaimed “fishing expedition.”

In further evidence of Mercer’s disruptive agenda are the events that took place on the morning of February 21, 2017. Chairman Lines invited Mercer to the State Party to review all of the documents that she is responsible for and begin planning the upcoming Excomm meeting. Instead, Mercer arrived with Horn, along with Timothy Schwartz, and the three of them proceeded to badger and threaten AZ GOP staff. While Secretary Mercer had requested a number of documents to review, it was clear that her only intention, and the only intention of her group, was to attempt to obtain control of the proxy forms and credentialing documents, ostensibly to remove them from the office. For obvious reasons, these demands were rejected, causing another round of belligerence and threats.

Like the Democrats and mainstream media in Washington, DC, it’s time for O’Connor and his minions to accept the results of the election and move on. While it’s true that the race was close, Lines actually won by three times as many votes as Bob Lettieri, our new treasurer. Yet neither Eric Morgan nor Wes Harris has attempted to challenge the results.

To review:  The credentials report was given multiple times and less people voted in each of the three elections than were credentialed and yet they continue to try and cast doubt on Chairman Lines term as chairman. They continuously spread rumors, attack his staff, and now Mercer, Horne and Schwartz want to review all the proxies and look for non-existent “fraud. This is a direct attack not only on Chairman Lines, but on the dozens of activists, credentials committee volunteers and State Committeemen who openly and transparently conducted the election.

Never before has a new chairman been attacked so much in his first month in office. Chairman Lines hasn’t attended his first RNC meeting yet,  hasn’t been given the time to get his team in place, nor has he even had his first fundraiser and executive committee meeting. Yet the constant campaign, procedural maneuvers, rumors, and fake news have been designed to keep him from governing.

Let’s hope the AZGOP has had enough of the nonsense and is ready to move forward as a board and as a body to accomplish conservative victories and elections success here in Arizona. Don’t let LD 23 and the AZRA club disrupt our ability to have success in Arizona as we work to Make America Great Again.

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Opposing views are more than welcome to respond.

Maricopa County GOP Chairman Chris Herring Appoints Lisa Gray As Executive Director

Maricopa GOP

Cites Gray’s personal integrity and extensive record of service as instrumental in decision

PHOENIX, AZ – Today, Maricopa County GOP Chairman Chris Herring named Lisa Gray as the new Executive Director of the Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC) under his direction. The position is crucial to the activation of the chairman’s objectives and the day to day operations of the largest Republican county committee in the nation. Gray, a former District Chairman and campaign manager for Jeff DeWit’s bid to be state Treasurer, has also developed a website dedicated to PC recruitment and been instrumental in PC training.

Herring, who was elected by a 2-1 margin at the Maricopa County Statutory Meeting on January 14, 2017 was confident in his pick, “Lisa has been tirelessly working to advance the principles of our party and doing so with integrity and outstanding results. The election of Treasurer Jeff DeWit is a perfect example of her vision and tenacity.” Chairman Herring continued, “From the grassroots to the grasstops, there is not one step of activism that Lisa is not personally experienced in, making her uniquely qualified for this position. She supports my expectation of a highly functioning committee, focused on building and growth with inclusivity and transparency.”

As the Chairman of the nation’s largest Republican county, Herring has already met with several legislative districts, other shareholder groups, and is actively organizing the MCRC to move forward in preparations for the 2018 elections.  Filling additional appointed positions, Herring has tapped Kathy Petsas, District Chairman of LD28 to serve as the county Parliamentarian; Wes Harris, Member-at-Large from LD20 as Assistant Parliamentarian; and John Eaton, First-Vice Chairman of LD27 as Sergeant-At-Arms.

About the Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC): The MCRC is comprised of all elected precinct committeemen (PC’s) from the 20 legislative districts within Maricopa County. By statute, PC’s are elected during the party primary and represent 1 PC for every 125 registered voters in the precinct. The Chairman is elected every two years by the elected PC’s at the Statutory Meeting as defined ARS Title 16.

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