Arizona sales-tax hike gets shiv on shady iPad contest promoted on Facebook, Twitter

Below is the complaint letter submitted to Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett earlier this week by Tom Jenney of Americans for Prosperity Arizona challenging the legality of initiative petitions turned in by the “Quality Education & Jobs” campaign based on signatures gathered by ‘volunteers’ with the promise of winning an iPad — thereby calling into question any and all of these petitions not disclosing that they were collected by a paid circulator. In the grand scheme of things this complaint likely reveals a small violation that will probably not invalidate enough petitions to drop their signature tally below the number required to earn a spot on November’s ballot.  However, this pattern and practice also reveals another instance where the troubled “Quality Education & Jobs” campaign has played fast-and-loose with the rules regarding gathering signatures… all in service to “The Children”… and government unions and brazen special interests who stand to reap hundreds of millions in government contracts. No wonder it has been thrown off the ballot. Let’s hope an activist judge doesn’t disregard the black-letter of the law and force this massive tax increase onto November’s ballot.  

BONUS: Click here to listen to the initial reaction from top “Quality Education & Jobs” campaign officials (Chairwoman Ann-Eve Petersen, Associated General Contractors honcho David Martin, consultant Joe Yuhas and others) upon learning their campaign’s 290,000 petition signatures are invalid.

June 25, 2012

The Honorable Ken Bennett
Arizona Secretary of State
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007-2888

Dear Secretary Bennett,

On behalf of the 70,000 taxpayers in this state who are members of our organization, the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity wishes to bring to your prompt attention an important matter regarding the potential failure by one or more ballot initiative organizers to fully and properly disclose their use of paid signature petition circulators. 

I-16-2012 has filed for inclusion on the November ballot and signature petitions have been circulated by its initiative supporters for qualification.  This initiative, commonly referred to as “Quality Education and Jobs,” has already submitted petitions to your office for certification.

Based upon the enclosed information, we believe that circulators have been compensated and incentivized with the promise of future compensation for collecting a specific number of signatures on behalf of the initiative.  We believe that repeated solicitations over Facebook and Twitter accounts maintained by initiative organizers, as well as at least one email sent by organizers or on their behalf, clearly demonstrate that the collection of fifteen (15) petition signatures were directly exchanged for “a brand new iPad 3” by at least two individuals.

A.R.S. § 19-118 defines a paid circulator as “…a person who receives monetary or other compensation that is based on the number of signatures obtained on a petition or on the number of petitions circulated that contain signatures.”  Those who satisfy the criteria of paid circulators are required to disclose their paid circulator status by noting the same on the petition.     

Organizers of I-16-2012 have apparently twice awarded an iPad 3, valued at $499, to certain individuals on or about May 11 and June 1.  Although the solicitations characterize the circulators as “volunteers,” the nature of those awards qualifies them as paid circulators by law.

We therefore request that your office immediately investigate this matter to determine whether the actions of the “Quality Education and Jobs” initiative organizers constitute a violation of A.R.S. § 19-118 and to take any and all necessary action. 

Furthermore, please accept this letter as a formal complaint with regard to the possibility that the “Quality Education and Jobs” initiative organizers may have circulated petitions using ballot language that differed from the official initiative language.  Given the discrepancies uncovered by the Arizona Tax Research Association (please refer to the attached article from the June 22, 2012 issue of the Arizona Capitol Times), we believe that the organizers of the “Quality Education and Jobs” initiative acted in violation of A.R.S. § 19-112, which requires that petition signature sheets be attached “at all times during circulation to a full and correct copy of the title and text of the measure or constitutional amendment proposed or referred by the petition.”

Thank you very much for your consideration of these matters, and for taking the time and effort to provide written responses to these complaints.

For Liberty,

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity

Arizona’s Truth-Teller-in-Chief Eyes Tried-And-True Violation of Truth-In-Taxation Law to Balance Her Unbalanced Budget

The state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee official estimates say Arizona is $368 million in deficit already and we’re only a week into the fiscal year. Add to that the $400 million in federal Medicare matching dollars that was counted on that’s not coming. That’s a budget out of whack by nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars and we really haven’t gotten started on this year’s faux-balanced budget fashioned under the flinty Governor Brewer last February.

Oh yeah, that Brewer budget is also predicated on passage of both Prop. 301 and Prop. 302 this November. The former steals $125 million from the Growing Smarter fund for land preservation and the latter steals $325 million from the First Things First fund for “the children”. Well-funded “no” campaigns are already gearing up to defeat those measures ironically consisting of many of the same interests behind Prop. 100’s grand coalition of multi-millionaire spenders.

So, add the $768 million in known shortfall to $450 million in evaporating voter-protected funds and on or about November 3, 2010, Jan Brewer’s balanced budget achievement will be more than $1.2 billion in the red four months into the fiscal year.

How will that deficit be closed in an environment of a 64% mandate to raise taxes before cutting education, public safety and health and human services programs? The past might be a guide to this inevitable future.

Governor Brewer embraces the honorific “Truth Teller” for the selfless and heroic sacrifice of her unblemished anti-tax credentials in championing Prop. 100’s three-year, one-cent sales tax increase. On countless occasions she would start her pitch for Prop. 100 with, “In my 28 years of public service, I’ve never voted for a tax increase…” But how spotless is that record really?

One could fairly claim Brewer lost her anti-tax virtue in 2009 by, not once, but twice being the sole vote (or veto) to raise property taxes $250,000,000 per year, every year until the tax is repealed in some distant future (if ever). There is no need to get twisted around the vagaries of a temporary vs. permanent tax cut. The indisputable fact is that on two occasions in the summer of 2009 Brewer vetoed legislation that would have kept property taxes from being hiked a quarter-billion dollars every year going forward. In doing so, she followed in the footsteps of Governor Napolitano who vetoed similar tax-killing legislation the year before. If she couldn’t stomach signing the bills she could have allowed the legislation retiring the state property tax forever to become law without her signature. But she did exhibit leadership and vetoed them. Twice. That’s cold.

But Jan Brewer has a distinguished and controversial history of property tax increases. Her tax promiscuity caused her great stress and embarrassment in 2002 when she was called on it by her opponent for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State, Sal DiCiccio, the former and current Phoenix city councilman. The Arizona Republic’s Bob Robb laid out the dust up in his July 19, 2002 column titled, “Of all the races to brew a rumble: Secretary of State?”

“Brewer hotly denies the charge, pointing out that the property tax rate declined while she was on the board. As it did. But the resourceful Arizona Tax Research Association got the Legislature in 1996 to pass a bill, called “Truth in Taxation,” to expose the game politicians play with tax rates as opposed to tax levies.”

“Property values are, of course, rapidly rising, particularly in the Valley. That means the same, or even somewhat lower, rate can produce higher tax bills. “Truth in Taxation” requires that the previous rate be rolled back to reflect subsequent appreciation in previously existing land and improvements. Governments then have to provide public notice and vote on increasing the rolled-back truth-in-taxation rate.”

“Clearly Tax Research’s intent was that the truth-in-taxation rate would become the base against which the question of whether property taxes are being increased would be measured. And Jan Brewer, who was in the Legislature at the time, voted for “Truth in Taxation.” Since she has been a county supervisor, the county has fairly consistently voted to exceed the truth-in-taxation, and Brewer has voted with the majority. So DiCiccio is right: Brewer did vote several times as a county supervisor to raise property taxes, properly understood.”

The Arizona Daily Star backed up DiCiccio’s in an August 22, 2002 ad watch examining the truth of his charge in a campaign spot.

“When Brewer was chairwoman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, county officials boasted that the 2001-02 budget marked the third consecutive year the board reduced the tax rate. In the 2001-02 budget, the county even notified residents that it was able to afford a 3-cent tax cut for its citizens.”

“At the same time, however, property values rose steeply, resulting in higher average tax bills. According to the Arizona Tax Research Association, it would have required a 4.7-cent cut in the rate in 2001-02 to hold taxpayers at existing levels. In fact, supervisors actually increased the primary levy for operating revenues by nearly 2 cents, although it was offset by a reduction in the secondary rate for past bond sales.”

Yeah, but that’s a decade ago—a youthful indiscretion however repeated and chronic.

Not so fast.

On December 21, 2009, in her best Yuletide cheer and after triumphantly concluding a special session that didn’t balance the budget, Brewer conducted a public cabinet spectacle where she outlined how bad our budget situation was at that time. In an eerie foreshadowing of Brewer’s tried-and-true abuse of truth-in-taxation she bemoaned the lowering of the “qualified tax rate” to a $2.74 rate in 2010 from a $4.40 rate back in 1998 all in keeping with the above mentioned ‘Truth in Taxation” law that the State of Arizona, if not Brewer’s Maricopa County, stayed faithful to. She quantified the amount of money Arizona was losing at $700 million per year. (See Page 19 of this PowerPoint presentation from the Governor’s official website).

Seven-hundred million dollars in faithless overturning of “Truth in Taxation” doesn’t fill a $1.2 billion hole but it does get you almost there. No single Brewer tax increase will balance her budget. So far, a $250 million property tax increase and $1 billion sales tax increase haven’t done the trick. Another $700 million property tax shift won’t solve our budget deficit either. But it is coming, like day follows night, from a lame-duck Brewer who may be awarded four years to conjure many more tax hike schemes that will surely earn the teachers union approval like Prop. 100.

 

Shocking Brewer Verbal Assault Video Should End Her Political Career

I fear for my state.  The video posted below by SoundAdvice is disturbing and very important for every voter to see before the August 24th Arizona Republican gubernatorial primary.  If you know someone who has not yet voted on Prop. 100, please show them this video and have them read the transcript I provide below before the May 18th special election.  This video is guaranteed to motivate the apathetic voter to rally to the “NO on 100” side and show up to cast their ballot in person on Tuesday.  

The Buz Mills campaign, please, carefully and fairly edit this spectacle down to 60 seconds and broadcast it on every Arizona television station.  You have the resources.  As a man who believes he has what it takes to lead us through these terrible economic times, you have a duty to Republicans and to Arizona to ensure Gov. Brewer never again takes the oath of office as Arizona’s governor.  There will be plenty of time to sort out Dean Martin and John Munger.  Expose Brewer now before it’s too late.

When I first watched it, I found the sound in the explosive Brewer Verbal Assault Video a little hard to make out.  So, I decided to create a transcript to clearly reveal the true offensiveness and creepiness of Brewer’s unprofessional and thoroughly inappropriate rant.

Please make sure this video and transcript get wide distribution before Tuesday’s important vote.  I’m honestly unsettled about having that woman in a position of trust and responsibility.  It might be too late to defeat Prop. 100 with all those early ballots already submitted.  But it is not too late to save our state from an over-her-head political flunky who has risen far, far beyond her Peter Principle level.

– MBW

VIDEO:

YouTube Preview Image

TRANSCRIPT:

[The exchange is largely inaudible until Voter holds up a penny in her left hand while Gov. Jan Brewer clutches her on her right side in an awkward embrace]

VOTER: Penny tax, Penny tax!

BREWER: You vote “yes.”

[Voter holds up her hand where “NO on 100” is written in marker on her palm]

VOTER: I voted “no.”  Sorry.

BREWER: Are they your children?

VOTER: These are my kids, yeah!  No, I’m sorry.  You know what? It’s been such a struggle for me.  And if, if there would have been a pay cut for…

BREWER: You know what?

VOTER: If there would have been…

BREWER: Know what?

VOTER: …a pay cut for those fat-cat administrators…

BREWER: Let me tell you something … let me tell you… if you vote “no” it’s going to be more trouble for you because you are going to have uneducated children, you are not going to have any jobs in the state of Arizona and no recovery and who will you have to blame but yourself?

VOTER: You know what I heard?  We can take the money for other programs…

[Brewer repeatedly points her finger or fingers at the chest of the voter throughout the following]

BREWER: That’s not true.  Do you think that Jan Brewer… do you think… do you think that I, whose has never voted for a tax increase in my life, would have done that? Do you think that I, who has stayed up night after night after night, week after week after week, making myself sick – to say we can’t raise taxes, it just can’t make it work?  There is no other way to turn our economy around.  If you say “no” just because you don’t have the facts… and I don’t think you have the facts… if you had the facts, I think you would vote “yes.”  You can’t do that to your children. You can’t do that to yourself and you can’t do that to the state of Arizona.  It’s a one penny tax, temporary, for three years so we can correct the structural deficit.

VOTER: That would be fine with me if, if other people would take a pay cut.  The $41 million in Paradise Valley…

BREWER: Who hasn’t taken… who hasn’t taken a pay cut?

VOTER: I think there needs to be…

BREWER: Who? 

VOTER: There needs to be more…

BREWER: Who?

VOTER: More…

BREWER: Who? Who? Who hasn’t taken a pay cut?

VOTER: I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  I don’t want to… I’m sorry… [inaudible]

BREWER: I’m just… You know I’m just so concerned because you’ve got your children. I have no… no… I don’t have, but I don’t have children in the schools.

[Fade to disgust]

Brewer Capitulates to Goddard in Preview of General Election Contest

Democrat President Harry Truman is reported to have once said, “Give the people a choice between a Republican and a Republican and they will vote for the Republican every time.”

That was then, this is now.

Accidental Governor Jan Brewer’s sales tax increase compulsion has rewritten that sentiment, “Give the people a choice between a Democrat and a Democrat and they will vote for the Democrat every time.”

What a disgrace.

– MBW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May, 11, 2010                                                         

GODDARD STANDS WITH TEACHERS

Having Killed Irresponsible Corporate Tax Giveaways, Attorney General Supports Prop 100 For Schools

Phoenix – Today Attorney General Terry Goddard stood with teachers to support the temporary sales tax increase, Prop. 100. His support came after Governor Jan Brewer finally heeded Goddard’s call to reject a massive corporate tax giveaway which would have been detrimental to Arizona’s economy, costing Arizona taxpayers up to $950 million per year. Today Brewer said that there was “no way” she would “do the business tax cuts.” 

In March, Goddard sent Governor Brewer a letter calling on her to promise to veto the fiscally irresponsible measure.  “The corporate tax giveaways that were proposed were always the wrong thing to do for our state-and thankfully we stopped them,” said Goddard. 

Now that the corporate tax giveaways are off the table, Goddard announced his support for Prop. 100.  “Prop 100 is not the long term solution that we need, but we cannot balance the budget on the backs of our children.”  

In contrast to the current approach taken at the Capitol, Goddard has promised an administration that will put aside political labels, and bring together leaders of all parties in order to find solutions to Arizona’s budget problems. 

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%.

Does Kyl, McCain coming out against sales tax hike doom Prop. 100, Brewer’s primary hopes?

mccain-65-logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, March 8, 2010

JOINT STATEMENT BY SENATORS JOHN McCAIN AND JON KYL REGARDING PROP. 100

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) released the following joint statement regarding Proposition 100:

“We appreciate the hard work that the Governor and the Legislature have done to try to solve the state’s fiscal problems, and though we hadn’t planned to comment on what is rightly a state issue – the proposed increase in the state’s sales tax – we’ve been asked by various news media for our views.

“We support the right of Arizonans to decide the issue of a short-term sales tax increase on the local level.  However, as Arizonans and Americans across our nation continue to face perilous economic times, we fundamentally oppose increasing taxes on small businesses and working families.

“We recognize the difficult fiscal situation Arizona finds itself in and we appreciate the tireless dedication by our state’s elected officials to solve the budget problems.”

###

Please post the McCain vs. Hayworth comments on the prior post… here, let’s discuss what the Sonoran Alliance‘s readership thinks of the prospects for passage of Proposition 100… and, for that matter, the prospects for Jan Brewer’s campaign to capture the GOP nomination for governor if the sales tax increase fails on May 18th?   — MBW    

Appropriate Tool: AZGOP Chairman Pullen Pushes Sales Tax Hike

[The following “Dear Voters” letter will appear in the official Secretary of State’s Ballot Proposition Voter’s Guide that will be mailed to Arizona’s 3,116,089 registered voters before the May 18, 2010 special election. It’s ironic that Randy Pullen paid the full $100 to submit this argument rather than saving $25 and paying only $75 had he provided the text in electronic format. But hey, it’s only money!  MBW]

Dear Voters,

As you consider Proposition 100, I think it is important to look at Arizona’s budget crisis in context:

In just 3 years, state tax revenues have declined by over 35%. This is the worst recession the state has ever faced. Arizona’s state revenues are at or below 2004 revenues [sic] levels. At the same time, since 2004, Arizona has grown – adding over 140,000 students to K-12 and the University system, over 11,000 new prisoners and over 475,000 Medicaid enrollees. The result is Arizona is trying to do more today with less – to serve a growing population.

Arizona must continue to attract new businesses and new talent to the state, as well as support our existing small businesses throughout the state. With new business, future tax cuts for individuals and businesses will help attract investment and grow our future economy. Making Arizona as business friendly as possible is the key to our long-term economic success.

However, in the interim, it is appropriate for Arizona to look for a temporary revenue source to maintain critical government functions such as public safety and education services to our growing population. As such, a temporary one-cent sales tax increase is a reasonable solution to this problem. A majority of Republican legislators, along with Democrats in both state houses voted to place Proposition 100 on the ballot.

Combined with a comprehensive tax reform package that reduces future taxes for both individuals and businesses, Prop 100 would be an appropriate tool to help Arizona build towards economic recovery and meet the needs of a fast growing state.

Sincerely,

Randy Pullen

NFIB Poll: Arizona small business owners rejecting Proposition 100

[Ran across this press released today and now the Arizona Guardian is reporting that Sen. Thayer Vershoor has formed the “Axe The Tax – No on 100″ committee to fight Jan Brewer’s signature policy priority… apparently the Arizona GOP Governor Primary has been advanced to Tuesday, May 18th.  MBW]

Seven in 10 entrepreneurs saying ‘No’ to 1¢ sales tax increase

PHOENIX, Ariz., Feb. 25, 2010 – Results from a special poll of Arizona small business owners released today by their leading representative association show 71 percent of them voting ‘No’ on Proposition 100, the May 18 ballot referendum seeking a three-year, 1¢ increase in the state sales tax.

“The response to this special survey of our members on Proposition 100 came back fast and emphatic,” said Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, Arizona’s and America’s leading small business association. “NFIB/Arizona is actively exploring how our organization and members can be most effective in the campaign to defeat Proposition 100. Small business owners’ opposition to increasing the sales tax is overwhelming and their voice will be heard during the statewide debate over raising our taxes.”

Unique among most associations, NFIB bases its legislative lobbying positions and political action solely on what its members tell it, through regular balloting, are the issues vital to their survival as small business owners. The special ballot on Proposition 100 was faxed and e-mailed February 17-19.

“In conversations I’ve had with many of our members, there seems to be an over-arching attitude that they spend their daily lives balancing revenues with expenditures so they expect state government to do the same,” said Quinlan. “Arizona is not an under-taxed state. We have the fifth-highest sales-tax burden in the nation. The average Arizonan annually pays $1,440.83 in sales taxes, which is 43 percent above the national average. Add to this income taxes and the new state property tax we all pay and Arizonans are indignant that the state must make do with what it has.”

Should Proposition 100, adding 1-cent to the state sales tax rate for 3 years, be passed into law?

Yes   24.8%
No  70.6%
Undecided  4.6%

NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists send their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.

Brewer’s Organ Grinder Implicated in Seedy City Pork Schemes

The Goldwater Institute’s outstanding investigative reporter Mark Flatten has produced one of the most important pieces of Arizona journalism in many years called Shifting The Burden: Cities Waive Property Taxes for Favored Businesses.  In it he methodically and devastatingly deconstructs the complicated “government property lease excise tax” or GPLET scheme that insiders close to Gov. Jan Brewer and other top Arizona politicians use to shift hundreds of millions of dollars from small businesses and homeowners to their special interest friends.  The topic is a bit dense but any taxpayer who has asked why their property tax liability keeps going up should work through it so they can understand how the powerful and their lobbyists like Brewer’s man Chuck Coughlin game the system to the misfortune of average guy and gal.

Shifting The Burden: Cities Waive Property Taxes for Favored Businesses

By Mark Flatten
Goldwater Institute Special Investigation
February 18, 2010

Special deals between cities and hand-picked developers have exempted more than $2 billion in development projects from property taxes in Arizona, shifting the tax burden to surrounding property owners and creating a competitive disadvantage for other businesses, an investigation by the Goldwater Institute has found.

Those high-rise office buildings and sprawling retail centers would generate more than $30 million annually in property taxes if they were not exempted through lease agreements with the cities. As a result of those deals, the owner of a $200,000 home near Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix pays about $183 in additional property taxes every year. A similar home in downtown Phoenix is charged an extra $90 annually, according to state legislative studies.

The unpaid property taxes are supposed to be replaced by the Government Property Lease Excise Tax or GPLET. However, the Institute’s investigation found GPLET payments amount to a fraction of what would be paid in property taxes.

Virtually every high-rise office tower that has been built in downtown Phoenix in the last decade is covered under a GPLET lease. The tax exemption also has been granted to a now-shuttered dog racing track in Phoenix, a tattoo studio in Clifton and regional shopping malls in the East Valley. In coming years, additional projects worth billions of dollars will be covered under GPLET leases.

Last year efforts by state lawmakers to curb the lucrative breaks in the law were blocked by Mesa officials and the developer planning to use the exemption for a $1 billion resort on the eastern outskirts of the city. But, State Representative Rick Murphy has introduced a bill again this year to curb these agreements.

A recent Arizona Supreme Court decision also puts the property tax exemption in jeopardy. The court ruled that sales tax rebates for a shopping center in Phoenix amounted to an unconstitutional gift of taxpayer money to the developer. Promises of future job growth or other tax revenues are not enough to justify special sales tax breaks, the court ruled. Those are the same arguments that are used to justify GPLET agreements.

Read Shifting the Burden here

Sidebar: Scottsdale’s SkySong Avoids Property Taxes Without GPLET lease

Investigation Analysis by Clint Bolick

Does corporate assist for Brewer fundraising plea soil a “Clean” campaign?

A friend forwarded me the below fundraising solicitation on behalf of Gov. Jan Brewer’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign.  She found it interesting that a 501(c)(6) corporation sent this disclaimer-free $5 dollar political solicitation to their entire membership though it’s made clear it’s coming from the former U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters in her role as co-chair of the Brewer campaign.  The provision of the Associated General Contractors’ e-mail distribution list has real value to a political campaign as the administration@azagc.org mail stamp indicates.

I’m not an election lawyer nor the son of an election lawyer but does the fact that our governor is running “Clean” make this kind of corporate campaign largess particularly squalid? Does this potential corporate contribution warrant a Citizens Clean Elections Commission investigation?  I don’t know but maybe someone in the Munger, Parker, Mills or Graham campaigns might look into it.

Regardless of the legalities of this assist from the road-building Associated General Contractors, isn’t it interesting whose providing the Brewer campaign with it’s five-dollar qualifying contributions?  The fact that Gov. Brewer “will continue her strong efforts to provide funding for transportation upon her re-election” pretty much says it all.  Those with their snouts deepest in the federal stimulus trough are lining up behind their girl for governor.  Just like they did in 2006 when they lined up “unanimously” behind their other girl for governor, Janet Napolitano.

__________________________________________________________________________

From: Mary E. Peters [mailto:administration@azagc.org]
Sent: Tue 12/29/2009 10:17 AM
To:
Subject:
Important message from Mary Peters

Dear AGC Member and Industry Partner:

As we approach the end of what has been a very challenging year for our nation and for Arizona, it is a time for reflection on what is really important.  It is a time to focus on what it will take to resolve our significant economic challenges.  It is a time when we as an industry need to band together and chart a course to a more prosperous future. 

We have the opportunity to support a Governor who will lead our state out of today’s challenges and a return to economic stability. 

These tough times call for a tough leader – a proven leader who is not afraid to make the right decisions for our State.  We need a leader who will put the people’s interests above political interests.  We need a leader who will make the right decisions for Arizona’s future.  That is exactly why we as an industry need to band together and create a united front to support a Governor who will do just that.  

Jan Brewer is that leader, but she cannot do it alone — she needs our support.

She understands that Arizona’s families and businesses are going through hard times.  She knows that we have to balance the budget today and provide long-term, sustainable solutions to stabilize and grow our economy for the future.  Governor Jan Brewer has made over $1 billion in cuts in order to put us on track to balance Arizona’s budget while still making sure the most critical programs are meeting the needs of individuals who need them most. Her plans for the future include high-paying jobs, investments in Arizona’s infrastructure and a strong education system for our children.

  • As a State Representative and State Senator Jan Brewer supported transportation funding for the State.  Under her watch at the State Legislature from 1983 – 1996, she placed emphasis on transportation projects, such as funding for Prop. 300 freeways. 
  • As a County Supervisor, Jan Brewer helped balance the county budget to provide resources for Maricopa County transportation priorities.
  • As Secretary of State, Jan Brewer supported Prop. 400 to ensure a continued revenue source for Maricopa County freeways to build the critical infrastructure we need to continue to build a business friendly environment in Arizona. 
  • As Governor, Jan Brewer has worked to ensure Arizona receives every dollar due to the state in the ARRA/Stimulus bill, advocated for the Canamex Corridor and designation of I-11. She works diligently to prevent further erosion of transportation funds by the State Legislature, and is working to make sure Arizona receives our fair share of federal funding from both high speed rail funding and the reauthorization of Surface Transportation programs.   
  • Gov. Brewer recognizes the important link between transportation infrastructure and economic development.  She appreciates the significant value Arizona contractors and consultants provide to our economy, and will continue her strong efforts to provide funding for transportation upon her re-election.

Jan Brewer is making, and will continue to make, the tough decisions for Arizona to put our state on a permanent, strong economic foundation. But, she can’t do it alone. She needs you to stand behind her, fight with her and support her.

Please click here now to support Governor Jan Brewer’s re-election campaign.

The time to act is now.  The time to join together to support a proven leader is now.

Sincerely,

Mary E. Peters
Governor Brewer 2010 Co-Chair
Former United States Secretary of Transportation