Gaming On the Budget

Sonoran Alliance has learned that a poll conducted earlier this year (February, 2009) by Arizona Opinion (Margaret Kenski), also included questions about voter attitude toward using gaming as a source of revenue to solve Arizona’s budget crisis.

According to a source close to details on the polling data, public opinion toward gaming has improved markedly since a poll was taken a year ago by another reputable pollster, Public Opinion Strategies. Both pollsters surveyed 600 likely voters.

Sonoran Alliance was able to obtain a summary of the results for each of these polls. Kenski’s poll further drilled down into specific legislative districts where gaming was prevalent and active. Districts with horse and dog track gaming operations were more supportive and comfortable with the gaming proposal because of their familiarity with gaming.

Here are several of the questions asked in the May 2008 Poll:

“As you may know, Arizona is facing budget deficits. In general, which of the following options do you support most to eliminate the deficit…”

10% – Raise taxes
43% – Decrease spending   …or…
37% – Find a new source of revenue for state government?

“As you may know, Arizona will have a budget deficit of two billion dollars or more next year. State economists are forecasting additional deficits in succeeding years too. Rather than raise taxes or cut existing programs, some people suggest that part of the solution would include allowing casinos at the six existing horse and greyhound tracks in Arizona. This is projected to raise between $500 million to one billion dollars in tax revenue annually for the state and help close the state’s budget deficit and allow for tax cuts or spending for key state programs in future years. In general, would you say you support or oppose allowing casinos at six existing horse and greyhound racing tracks in Arizona to address the budget deficit?”

The levels of support were 61% in favor, 36% opposed and 3% undecided.

Arizona Opinion’s poll included the following questions:

“In general, which of the following options do you support most to help eliminate the deficit?”
(1. Raise taxes, 2. Decrease spending; or 3. Find a new source of revenue for State government.)

15.3% – Raise taxes
33.3% – Decrease spending
30.3% – Find new source of revenue
19.7% – Mix, other
1.3% – Don’t know, refused

“There is another proposal that is intended to help fix the State budget deficit rather than raising taxes or cutting important programs. Allowing casino gaming at the six existing horse and greyhound racetracks in Arizona would raise between $300 million and $500 million in tax revenue each year for the State. This money could be dedicated to closing the State’s $3 billion budget deficit, cutting taxes or providing additional funding for state programs. In general, would you say that you support or oppose allowing casino gaming at Arizona’s six existing horse and greyhound racetracks to help Arizona taxpayers solve the State budget deficit?”

38.8% – Definitely support
24% – Probably support
8.7% – Probably oppose
24.3% – Definitely oppose
4.2% – Don’t know/undecided/refused

The levels of support were 62.8% in favor, 33% opposed and 4.2% undecided.

Both polls tested arguments for and against the proposals, using language most likely used by opponents and advocates.

After hearing all sides of the issue, the levels of support and opposition varied only slightly.

Of all the arguments tested pro and con, the one people most agreed with was the following:

“One of the Indian tribes plans to spend $550 million to build Arizona’s largest casino in Glendale right next to the University of Phoenix football stadium and 200 miles from its main reservation. If a tribe can build casinos away from their main reservation, it seems only fair to allow the horse and greyhound racetracks to have casino gaming at their six locations, making the playing field a bit more level and helping both the racing industry and state revenues.”

So as you can see the big question is will the Governor and Legislature place another option on the table? Rather than resort to a “temporary” sales tax increase, will the Governor advocate for sources of revenue in order to make up lost revenue?

Tea Party 2.0

Here’s something you won’t see in Arizona given that our Republican governor is pushing for a tax hike as part of her 5-point plan.

Hoping to recapture the grassroots energy of last month’s “tea parties,” Republican Govs. Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Rick Perry of Texas will host a tele-town hall Thursday that’s being dubbed “Tea Party 2.0.”

The Republican Governors Association said it is expecting 30,000 people to participate in the town hall, which will take place roughly one month after the much-publicized anti-tax tea party rallies held in hundreds of locations across the country on April 15, the tax filing deadline.

Sanford and Perry will each speak for several minutes before opening up the town hall to up to an hour-long question and answer session.

(Politico – “GOP govs plan Tea Party sequel” - May 12, 2009)

No Respect

This video says it all and no, it does not mean the White House special ordered a shipment of drugs.

Was Janet Napolitano Right?

This post may provoke some heated discussion so here goes…

If you’ve read the news today, you know that some *$%@#* drove by a photo radar van on the north 101 and shot and killed the Red Flex operator in the van. Many of us disagree with photo radar but that disagreement does NOT justify some *$%@#* to take to the street and express that anger.

We also know that Janet Napolitano is largely responsible for placing these photo radar vans along the highway.

What really bothers me is that Napolitano made the statement just last week about domestic terrorists and some *$%@#* has now gone out and given her report credibility or am I missing something?

Hell in a Handbasket

A photo can tell a thousand words…

Don’t Let $tupid Voter$ Decide

In the era of the stupid voter, I have to agree with the Senate President on this one.

Here are the key sentences from Howie Fischer and Capitol Media Services:

Senate President Bob Burns, R-Peoria, said Monday he has a “gut feeling” that a proposal for a temporary tax hike would turn into a one-sided campaign, with his personal position against the increase on the losing side. Burns said he believes that every group that hopes to get money from the taxes would pull out all the stops – and spend whatever it takes – to get it approved.

But the governor said that won’t be enough to deal with an anticipated $3 billion deficit. So she asked lawmakers to raise an extra $1 billion a year for up to three years in new taxes.

The governor said lawmakers are free to do that themselves. But Burns said there isn’t the necessary two-thirds margin in the House and Senate to do that.

Putting it on the ballot takes only a simple majority.

“This would probably not be a fair fight if it went to the ballot,” Burns said. “The group that would be loaded with resources to run a campaign would be those who would end up on the receiving end of those increased tax dollars.

“I don’t know we would have the same level of resources and so forth to hold that off. If it goes to the ballot and it’s a one-sided campaign, that’s dangerous.”

The same is true, he said, of a call by Brewer to alter a 1998 constitutional provision that now bars legislators from altering anything that voters themselves have adopted.

The governor said that change is necessary to give legislators maximum flexibility in deciding how to allocate the dollars they have to meet the state’s needs.

Voters also have mandated that everyone below the federal poverty level get free health care. And they also enacted an 80-cents-a-pack tax on cigarettes with the cash specifically earmarked for programs on early childhood development.

Burns said none of those special interests are likely to give up the funding without a fight.

How Bad Is It?

There has been quite a bit of discussion taking place amongst political insiders lately as Governor Brewer floats the idea of raising taxes. This is especially disheartening and disturbing to conservatives who have long trusted Governor Brewer to uphold her pledge not to raise taxes.

So many are asking what exactly is going on?

Is the economy REALLY that bad to warrant a temporary increase in taxes? Is there something Arizonans are not being told? Why did the Governor use the word “catastrophe” when discussing Arizona’s current economic status?

Many state legislators are standing firm against any form of a tax increase including calling a special election in which the voters would decide to self-tax.

Is Governor Brewer attempting to punt on the issue of raising taxes or is the State of Arizona really in desperate economic straits?

Many of us will be watching when the Governor addresses a joint session of the House and Senate this afternoon.

Militias Returning?

Glenn Beck had an interesting guest on this afternoon who suggested that individual militias are making a return.

Called “The Bubba Effect,” as the federal government begins to suppress individual freedoms, those opposed to such actions will begin to group together in communities, hoard food and arms and prevent outsiders from entering their “community.”

Could this be the return of militias? Stay tuned…

Glenn Beck’s War Room 1/3

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Glenn Beck’s War Room 2/3

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Glenn Beck’s War Room 3/3

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Now What?

If a photo speaks a thousand words, here’s one that shouts, “Time to clean up the mess and govern!”

Hopefully, the new administration will lead by example and ask the people to clean up after themselves and take care of one another.

Looking at the mess on the Capitol Mall, it appears our tax dollars will be put to work cleaning up instead of asking people to be responsible.

Questions Remain…

The more things change, the more they remain the same…

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City of Mesa’s Kavanaugh Wants Domestic Partner Registry

Mesa City Councilman, Dennis Kavanaugh, has requested the Mesa city attorney to draft an ordinance that will keep a list of couples who are not married but desire the city to keep track of their relationship(s). (Arizona Republic)

Following in the footsteps of the City of Phoenix, homosexual and straight unmarried couples would submit their names and possibly other information to the City of Mesa to retain on a registry. (We presume that such an ordinance would limit and define a relationship between two unmarried individuals.)

This opens the door to city government now defining and controlling the definition of relationships.

Instead of couples registering their “relationship” with the City of Mesa, why don’t they seek the services of an attorney and simply obtain a power of attorney?

Liberals are the first to complain about government intruding into our bedrooms and rights of privacy. Now the most local form of government wants to do just that by creating another list. Let’s keep the San Francisco politics where it belongs – on the far left coast.

The Politics of Race and Entitlement

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I was stunned by the statements made by Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush at the press conference conducted by embittered and disgraced Governor Rod Blagojevich. During the press conference, in which Blagojevich named Roland Burris to replace Barack Obama, Rush arose from the audience and injected a statement. Congressman Rush made the following comments:

There are no African-Americans in the U.S. Senate. And I don’t think any U.S. senator who’s sitting in the Senate right now wants to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate

I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer and separate the appointee from the appointer.

Don’t misunderstand me. Roland Burris is probably highly qualified to fill this vacancy but am I missing something? I was under the impression that the election of Barack Obama put the politics of race behind us. Language like this only seems to reignite issues of race.

The Pink Triangle List

The Phoenix LGBT community must be applauding the Phoenix City Council’s decision to establish a domestic partners’ registry but those concerned about their right to privacy may want to rethink their jubilation.

LGBT members will now be placing their trust in the City of Phoenix to maintain their name on a list that would subject them to the authority of Arizona’s largest municipality.

Although the City of Phoenix is expected to protect the list, it will certainly know who’s on it and should the council ever change hands or the list be “exposed,” LGBT members may find their privacy compromised. We wonder if the Arizona ACLU reared its head in opposition prior to the council taking its vote.

The compilation of a list by a government entity also revisits the issue of whether or not any type of personal relationship status should be entangled in church-state jurisdictionary matters. Paying the City of Phoenix $50 for a domestic partner certificate allows anyone on the council to call the shots. It’s also a symbolic gesture to recognize the City of Phoenix as the authority of any such matters.

A “certificate” recognizing a personal relationship choice may seem like a good way to circumvent the will of the voters (Proposition 102), but LGBT domestic partners may want to reconsider placing their names on a “pink list” that may eventually become black.

Conspiracy Theories, Mushroom Clouds, and Doomsday

Here’s a “fun” Sunday read brought to us by the struggling Los Angeles Times.

The Parowan Prophet, Leland Freeborn, who is hunkered down in Southern Utah with his group of follower survivalists, is predicting that Barack Obama will not become President because nuclear holocaust will strike the United States over the Christmas Holidays.

I haven’t read a conspiracy theory this good in a long time.

Be sure you run down to Wal-Mart and stock up on ammo and canned goods before Christmas.

Lessons from the Left Coast

This is what you get when Democrats control a majority of a legislative body and a liberal Republican Governor cannot say “No!”

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California is on track to run out of cash in February or March and faces a $15 billion cash shortage by the end of its fiscal year in June unless officials plug an $11.2 billion budget gap, according to the state’s budget director.

Additionally, if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers fail to close the current fiscal year’s budget shortfall soon, California, the most populous U.S. state, may in March delay payments to its vendors or hand them notes promising payment, according to a December 1 letter to top lawmakers from the director of the Department of Finance, Michael Genest.

Read the rest of the online article at Yahoo News.

Barack’s Rhodium Bailout

Drudge Report is reporting that Barack Obama will be buying his wife, Michelle a $30,000 Rhodium Diamond encrusted ring for her support during the campaign. If that isn’t payback, I don’t know what is.

In case your wondering what the ring looks like here is a photo.

Obama Ring

If you’ve never heard of Rhodium like me, you’ll want to read the Wikipedia entry on this precious metal mined in South Africa.

Obama’s Choose Sidwell Friends

Once again, elite liberals show their hypocrisy by sending their children to a private religious based school while they tell other Americans, “No Vouchers for You!”

The Obama’s have decided to send their daughters to the elite Sidwell Friends Quaker-based private school. Meanwhile millions of inner-city African American children will have to continue attending failing public schools.

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