Tempe’s Private Little Fiscal Cliff

By Michael Gibbs

Lemmings

What Tempe Council believes

I can’t think of the right adjective to use. Discouraged? Shocked? Appalled? Dismayed? Incredulous? That’s how this week’s Tempe City Council candidate forum left me feeling.

At one point candidate Matt Papke responded to a question by expressing concern about the city’s finances. Several current members of the council dismissed the issue by telling the audience that, by law, the budget has to be balanced. The attitude went beyond nonchalant–they implied that the city’s debt is a GOOD thing.

When Papke showed that in the last ten years alone Tempe’s debt has increased three-fold to nearly three quarters of a billion dollars his opponents made fun of him and one even asked if he had a mortgage on his house. Another stated flatly that you cannot run a city without incurring debt.

It’s this kind of thinking that has driven the entire nation to a $17 trillion dollar deficit, the only difference being that Tempe doesn’t have a printing press in the basement to make more dollars! No wonder Tempe is digging an ever deeper hole despite having the highest property taxes in the valley–it’s run by a bunch of profligates with no regard for their fiscal responsibilities. The spendthrifts in Detroit must be very proud to have Tempe following in their footsteps.

Americans for Prosperity: Congress and the President are shortening the fuse

By Christine Harbin Hanson and Tom Jenney

Imagine paying an extra $15,000 a year in taxes. For 50 working years.

That is the burden Washington is placing on our children and grandchildren.

America’s unfunded government liabilities over the next 75 years are between $100 trillion and $200 trillion, depending on how you crunch the numbers. Those are the spending promises our politicians have made through Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. and other federal programs, including “Obamacare.”

According to realistic estimates by the Congressional Budget ­Office, the unfunded liabilities in Medicare alone are $89 trillion.

Let’s take a midway total liability estimate of $150 trillion. If we divide by the 90 million children in this country who are under the age of 18 (and who did not vote for the politicians who made the spending promises), it comes to more than $1.5 million per child over their lifetimes — above and beyond what they are currently scheduled to pay in taxes.

Over a 50-year working lifetime, that’s $30,000 a year. Lucky for them, financial markets will put some of that burden on those of us who are currently working adults. But if they absorb half of the burden, that would be an average of $15,000 a year in extra taxes per child or grandchild.

Of course, any attempt to actually collect that much extra revenue from American workers or their employers would create massive, long-term structural unemployment and destroy economic growth by causing even more capital and jobs to move overseas.

Unfortunately, Congress and the president are doing nothing to defuse America’s gigantic bankruptcy bomb; instead, they are shortening the fuse.

These past few months were a critical time for conservative members of Congress to stand firm behind their promises to get runaway government spending under control. Congress considered two of the biggest spending bills of the year, the Ryan-Murray budget deal and the farm bill ­conference report.

The first disappointing vote was on the budget resolution in October. Crafted by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray, the deal boosted discretionary spending to a whopping $1 trillion a year for each of the next two years. Worse, the plan shattered previously agreed-upon spending caps for fiscal year 2014 by $45 billion — an alarming increase and a broken promise.

The deal also further nickel-and-dimed American families by hiking airline ticket taxes and making changes to military pensions.

Most alarming is the fact that the Ryan-Murray deal traded higher spending now in exchange for the promise of $28 billion in cuts in 2022 and 2023. American taxpayers deserve spending cuts now, not promises to cut spending in the future.

The second vote was the farm bill conference report in February. This legislation authorized $1 trillion in spending over the next decade. Passed under the false guise of helping small farmers, the bill expanded a number of corporate welfare programs such as crop insurance, massive taxpayer subsidies and revenue guarantees for politically connected farmers.

It also neglected to make any meaningful reforms to ballooning food-stamp spending, which has more than doubled since President Obama took office and is rife with abuse.

Americans for Prosperity urged legislators to vote against both bills, and we will include these votes in our next congressional scorecard.

We are grateful to report that a number of Arizona’s legislators stood up for American taxpayers and voted against both of these bloated bills. House members who voted the right way included Trent Franks, Paul Gosar, Matt Salmon and David Schweikert.

On the Senate side, Jeff Flake also voted correctly. AFP applauds these members for standing up against more government handouts and higher spending.

A number of Democratic legislators voted against the bills, but for much different reasons. Some Democrats overwhelmingly felt that the budget resolution and the farm bill conference report didn’t spend enough.

Worse, a disappointing number of Republican legislators cast a “yes” vote for both the Ryan-Murray budget deal and the farm bill conference report, signaling their support of higher federal spending. Remember: This is the party that claims to support controlling spending and limiting the size of government.

Meanwhile, the fuse continues to burn on America’s bankruptcy bomb.

Americans for Prosperity is committed to defusing that bomb and securing a bright fiscal future for our children and grandchildren.

Tom Jenney is director of Americans for Prosperity’s Arizona chapter. Christine Harbin Hanson is federal issues campaign manager for Americans for Prosperity. More information: www.americansforprosperity.org.

Ally Miller: Pima County Board of Supervisors Vote to Issue MORE DEBT

I have continued my pledge to eliminate nonessential spending and the resulting burden on the taxpayers with my most recent suggestion at the December 3, 2013, Board of Supervisors meeting.

Agenda Item 15, Resolution 2013-109 authorized the issuance of $58 million in Certificates of Participation debt (COPs) to fund additional construction on the Public Service Center (previously known as the Pima County Justice Court/City of Tucson Municipal Court Complex).  Certificates of Participation debt may be issued with only a Board of Supervisors majority vote - voter approval is not required.

In the 2004 bond election, voters approved $76 million for the “so called” Pima County Justice Court/City of Tucson Municipal Court Complex.  Since this election, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has stated the $76 million would only cover the shell construction of this courthouse.  Voters weren’t aware they would eventually have to pony up more cash to pay for interior finishes.

The City of Tucson had agreed to contribute $18 million to the construction; however, without a signed Intergovernmental Agreement, the Tucson City Council chose to withdraw from the project in November 2012 – eight years after the bond election.  This left Pima County to make a choice:Cancel the project or go it alone.  The Board chose to move forward with the project despite the added burden of bearing all construction costs.  I presented my argument to my fellow board members suggesting the County should lease the additional space to an outside party versus investing more taxpayer dollars in the courthouse.

My argument to the Board was it would be wiser to lease the remaining area to an outside entity to provide their own improvements which could be a winning scenario for the taxpayers.  This option would have allowed for the interior improvements to be completed at the cost of the tenant and at the same time Pima County would have increased revenue by leasing the excess space at the current market rate.

Despite my argument, the Board majority voted to use the building as collateral for an anticipated amount of $58 million in COPs.  In effect, the Board authorized borrowing an additional $58 million on top of the $22 million previously invested from the General Fund in 2011 thereby overrunning the original bond amount presented to voters by $80 million.

This is more than a 100% overrun of the original bonded amount voters approved for this court complex.

Pima County will now repurpose the space to house the Pima County Assessor, Treasurer, Recorder, and Constables. The issuance of these additional COPs will fund all interior tenant improvements for the remainder of the courthouse along with parking facilities.

I voted against this Resolution to issue more debt.  My argument is the movement of County offices to this facility is not necessary or prudent at this time and any additional space improved should be leased at market rate.

Pima County currently has more than 3.5 times the debt of all other counties in the State of Arizona combined as of November 21, 2013.

Source: Huckelberry, C.H. Memo to the Pima County Board of Supervisors, Resolutions Relating to Debt Issues, 3 December 2013.

Supervisor Ally Miller represents District 1 on the Pima County Board of Supervisors.  Supervisor Miller began her term on January 1, 2013.

The President of No – Obama!

By Raoul Lowery Contreras – Former Marines and friends knocked federal government barriers aside so they could visit the iconic and world famous outdoor bronze statute memorializing the raising of the American flag on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima Island in 1945 by six U.S. Marines and one Navy Corpsman. The barriers were placed there across the river from Washington, D.C. on orders from the Obama Administration on “shutdown day.”

Obama shutdown iwo jima memorial civil disobedience

Marine veterans breached the barrycades at the Iwo Jima memorial

Obama Shutdown iwo jima memorial barrycades

Marines reached the summit at Mr. Suribachi at Iwo Jima Memorial

Republican Congressmen and veterans and their friends knocked away barriers put up on Obama Administration orders to block off the outdoor World War Two memorial built by almost $200 million dollars of private money on the first day of the “shutdown,” October 1, the first day of the new fiscal year.

Veterans and friend visitors at the outdoor Vietnam Wall Memorial were turned away from the memorial under orders from the Obama Administration because there is no money authorized for spending.

Vietnam Veterans move barricades barrycades

Vietnam War veterans move barricades at Vietnam war memorial in Washington DC

Parking lots at the privately funded George Washington’s Mt. Vernon Estate, were closed by the Obama Administration on “shutdown” day.

Obama shutdown civil disobedience

“Barrycades” at George Washington’s Home in Mt. Vernon

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid answered why the Senate didn’t vote for a House-passed bill re-funding with “Why save one child with cancer?”

Democrat after Democrat parroted their President – NO NEGOTIATIONS with Republicans. The clock is ticking towards the United States of America led by President Barack Obama defaulting for the first time in world history.

We see the Obama legacy developing in front of our eyes. He would destroy the United States singlehandedly in order to destroy his political opposition.

A fire broke out on Marine Base Camp Pendleton outside Oceanside, California, causing the base Naval Hospital there to be evacuated as were 200 base residential units on Sunday.

On the first day of “Shutdown” the Obama Administration had ordered military commissaries closed. Hundreds of evacuees were taken to church and recreation buildings without supplies that normally would come from commissaries such as diapers for babies, bottled water, food and other things they couldn’t bring with them.

With the base on emergency shut down because of the Saturday/Sunday wildfire, crying babies and small children suffered through hours of isolation and fear. The base fire department wasn’t answering its phones because they are civilian union firemen and they had been essentially shut down while infantrymen fought the fire.

Left untouched by the Obama Administration were golf courses on federal property. Interestingly, the Obama Administration placed barriers on a highway in South Dakota so motorists cannot park on the road shoulders to take photos of Mt. Rushmore. The highway is a state highway.

Obama shutdown Mt. Rushmore

The National Park Service put cones on a state highway to prevent viewing of Mt. Rushmore

The President disappeared for the weekend. The Senate did not meet because senators went home for the weekend, as ordered by Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The clock is ticking towards midnight Thursday, October 17th when the country runs out of authority to borrow money.

In the meanwhile, billions of tax revenues are flowing into the Treasury every day, week and month – BILLIONS. As much as ten times needed to pay maturing treasury notes and bonds for ever, thus making default impossible if prioritizing of expenditures are made.

Nonetheless, President Barack Obama keeps speechifying that, never in American history has there been negotiations on potential default. THAT IS A LIE!

During the 1973 Watergate scandal, Senate Democrats refused to pass debt limit increase legislation because they insisted on campaign contribution reform (during the Watergate scandal). They went so far as to filibuster their own Democrat-controlled senate which threatened default. Democrats also controlled the House. Simply put Obama lies about debt legislation.

Moreover, Senator Obama himself voted against increasing the debt limit in 2007 as he declared President Bush practically a criminal or at least a traitor for asking for an increase in debt limit.

He says he won’t negotiate with Republicans.

He won’t negotiate for America. No President in history has refused to negotiate in the face of default or a new recession and a potential worldwide economic earthquake.

The clock is ticking. Will the United State go into default next week? Only President Obama knows for sure.

####

Raoul Contreras Lowery

Raoul Contreras Lowery

Raoul Lowery Contreras (1941) was born in Mexico, raised in the USA. Former U.S. Marine, athlete, Dean’s List at San Diego State. Professional political consultant and California Republican Party official (1963-65)…Television news commentator, radio talk show host…published Op-Ed writer (1988 to present)…author of 12 books (as of 1-05-12). His books are available at Amazon.com

Ron Barber’s Blank Check To Obama

Pelosi And Barber Want to Give President Obama Unrestrained Power to Waste Money and Borrow from China

WASHINGTON – Over the weekend, Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi proudly proclaimed the cupboard was bare and there were “no more cuts to make” to wasteful government spending. Pelosi and Ron Barber are just completely out-of-touch when it comes to bringing fiscal sanity to Washington. They want to raise the debt limit without any meaningful reforms, increase spending, and fund wasteful government programs such as robotic squirrels and climate change musicals.

“Ron Barber and Nancy Pelosi may think there’s nothing left to cut out of the federal budget, but the American people aren’t stupid,” said NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek. “Instead of giving President Obama a blank check, Democrats should be working with Republicans to lower our debt and rein in wasteful spending.”

BarberCheck  

Nancy Pelosi Said There Are “No More Spending Cuts To Make.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says that while deficit reduction is a laudable goal, there are precious few spending cuts left to negotiate in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. ‘The cupboard is bare,’ the California Democrat said in an interview aired Sunday on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’ ‘There’s no more cuts to make.’ (Elizabeth Titus, “Pelosi Says ‘The Cupboard Is Bare’,” Politico, 9/22/13)

Democrats Have Vowed Not To Negotiate Over The Debt Ceiling. “House Democrats are pressing for a so-called “clean” extension of the debt limit in a letter to President Barack Obama – laying down their marker in what is likely to be a nasty battle over fiscal policy in the coming weeks. In the letter being circulated by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), a slew of House Democrats – including all five members of its leadership – warn of the dangers of defaulting on the nation’s debt and urge Obama to stand firm on his pledge to not negotiate on raising the debt limit.” (Seung Min Kim, “Dems Pledge Support For ‘Clean’ Debt Limit Bill,” Politico, 9/17/13)

Pelosi Has Called For Increased Spending. “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wants more spending than House Republicans have put in their stopgap spending bill in return for Democratic votes. Pelosi on Thursday came closer to suggesting that Democrats would withhold votes from a ‘clean’ continuing resolution that continued the sequester at $986 billion.” (Emma Dumain, “Pelosi Wants More Spending In Return For Democratic Votes,” Roll Call, 9/19/13)

The Federal Government Spent $325,000 To Develop A Robotic Squirrel. (2012 Waste Book, Office Of Senator Tom Coburn, Accessed On 2/27/13)

$697,177 Was Used To Develop A Musical On Climate Change And Biodiversity. (2012 Waste Book, Office Of Senator Tom Coburn, Accessed On 2/27/13)

Maricopa GOP Chair Rallies LD Censures

To all Arizona County and LD Republican Committee Chairmen -
Below is the front page article of the July 15 Arizona Capitol Times. I want to express my appreciation to those courageous and principled County and LD Republican Committees who have already conducted votes of “censure” and/or “no confidence.”
Jan Brewer, the legislators and their crony capitalist friends that support ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion have betrayed Americans, Arizona Republicans and the Republican Party Platform.  Their lack of ethics, integrity and egregious acts are motivated by only two things – greed and the lust for power – at the expense of hard working tax paying Americans.
The law was expected to cost $898 billion over the first decade when the bill was first passed, but this year the Congressional Budget Office revised that estimate to $1.85 trillion.  Money that will have to be borrowed from the Chinese or printed in the backroom of the Federal Reserve.  Latest polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in opposition.
During the past six months, we did everything we could to make a solid argument against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, we tried to reason with these people and even tried to make them see the light.  Unfortunately, our lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears and without success.
During one of Ronald Reagan’s difficult political battles he said,
               “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”
I’m asking all the County and LD Republican Committees to make these people feel the heat by passing public censures for their actions.  They are elitists who think what they have done should be forgiven. They are mistaken.  We are not going to be able to defeat all of them, but we can defeat a majority of them in the 2014 Primary Election.
You can go to “MCRC Briefs” and get examples of public censures that have already been passed.  http://briefs.maricopagop.org/  Just type “censure” in the search field on the left.
Warmest regards,
 A. J. LaFaro
Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
P.S.  Please encourage all of your PCs to keep up their daily efforts in getting petition signatures for www.urapc.org  Getting ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion on the November 2014 ballot will be historic for Arizona’s grassroots conservatives.

NFIB Poll: Small Business Strongly Opposes Expanding Medicaid

NFIBforwebSurvey reveals Arizona entrepreneurs’ deep skepticism of federal funding promises

PHOENIX, Ariz., May 14, 2013 — In a poll released today by their leading association, small-business owners overwhelmingly oppose the high-stakes effort at the Arizona State Capitol to expand Medicaid coverage to all Arizonans at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level as envisioned by the federal healthcare law.

The recent survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB/Arizona) found 79 percent of Arizona small-business owners opposed to the proposed eligibility expansion for the state’s Medicaid program, also known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System or AHCCCS.

Eighteen percent support the Medicaid expansion proposal with less than 3 percent saying they are undecided.

NFIB Medicaid Poll ResultsThe controversial Medicaid proposal, a centerpiece of Gov. Jan Brewer’s legislative agenda, is principally backed by hospital systems and opposed by key legislative leaders like Senate President Andy Biggs and conservative activists.

The political impasse over Medicaid expansion has stalled the Legislature’s work on the state budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2013.

“Small businesses in Arizona clearly feel they are under siege by the Obamacare law, with its harsh employer mandates, new taxes and pervasive uncertainty,” said Farrell Quinlan, the Arizona state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. “Our survey found that Arizona’s small-business owners continue to strongly oppose expanding AHCCCS eligibility, because they have no faith in the federal government’s promises to pay for adding hundreds-of-thousands of Arizonans to our Medicaid rolls. Our small-business owners know Washington is more than $16 trillion in debt and Congress will be under increasing pressure to cut the biggest drivers of federal spending – entitlements like Medicaid.”

NFIB/Arizona’s May survey on Medicaid expansion reaffirms small business’ sentiments against expanding Medicaid found in a prior survey conducted before Governor Brewer announced her support for the policy change during her State of the State Address in January.

NFIB Medicaid Poll Results 1/13 and 5/13

In that poll, 77 percent opposed the expansion with 13 percent favoring it and 10 undecided.

“It’s instructive that after months of intense promotion and expensive radio and television advertising campaigns, pro-expansion forces have utterly failed to move the support needle with Arizona small business owners,” said Quinlan. “The public’s attitudes have clearly hardened on Obamacare and the fundamental transformation of health care occurring in the United States.”

Respondents to NFIB/Arizona’s survey were also given the opportunity to provide an open-ended answer on the Medicaid expansion issue and implementation of Obamacare in general. The majority viewpoint is best summarized by one respondent’s declaration: “Arizona won’t be able to afford AHCCCS expansion when Washington realizes America can’t afford Obamacare.” Another opponent expressed his profound ambivalence over the decision before Arizona lawmakers: “Either choice is going to be tough and expensive, but to trust the federal government is a mistake. I do not feel that they will make good on their promise to cover the expenses.”

A Medicaid-expansion supporter wrote: “As I understand it, the expansion goes away if/when the federal money goes away. That is the only reason I am supporting it now. When Obama doesn’t want to pay for it anymore, neither should Arizonans.” Another supporter exclaimed: “Believe we are trapped. If O C [Obamacare] stays this seems like the only way to go. But we must have the 90 percent funding from the Feds.”

The latest poll was conducted May 6 to May 13, 2013, as an online and fax-returned survey with 375 Arizona small-business owners responding. The prior poll mentioned above was conducted November 9, 2012 to January 4, 2013 consisting of 449 Arizona small business owners responding. Both polls tested the same question though the set-up explanations of what proponents and opponents say about the policy proposal were updated and expanded in the latest survey. The online version of the May survey can be viewed here.

NFIB routinely surveys its members to determine the organization’s public policy position on issues at the federal and state levels. Due to the overwhelming and consistent results of the two surveys, the upcoming votes by the Arizona Senate and Arizona House of Representatives on Medicaid expansion have been identified as ‘key votes’ eligible to be used on NFIB/Arizona’s legislative score card for the 2013 session.

Commemorating its 70th anniversary, the National Federation of Independent Business is the nation’s leading small-business association with 350,000 members nationwide and 7,500 in Arizona. NFIB has 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 sends its 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 about NFIB is available at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.

Congressman David Schweikert discusses upcoming debt ceiling fight on CNBC

There is no one better able to discuss and debate our pending economic crisis than Congressman David Schweikert. Watch as he schools two CNBC business reporters on what’s really happening with the debt ceiling debate.

YouTube Preview Image

The First BBA That Will Check and Balance Washington without Brinkmanship

By Nick Dranias, Goldwater Institute

According to the Financial Times, at least one U.S. Senator has declared the nation should jump off the fiscal cliff rather than compromise on a budget that brings the national debt under control.

No wonder why Thomas Jefferson said over two hundred years ago, “I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for their reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.”

With unbridled fiscal brinkmanship in Washington, no doubt the federal government deserves to have its credit cards cut up. But we shouldn’t forget that there is a legitimate role for a reasonable level of debt in responsible hands. That’s why the Balanced Budget Amendment advanced by the Compact for America Initiative would do the next best thing: It would require a majority of state legislatures to approve any increase in federal borrowing above an initial debt limit. In other words, 26 state legislatures would be required to cosign on the federal government’s credit card. In addition, to ensure the initial debt limit is respected, the President would be empowered and required to designate spending cuts when 98% of the debt limit is reached. Congress would then be required to override those designations within 30 days with alternative cuts.

Unlike the current national debt brinksmanship, the Compact for America Initiative is designed to force Washington to agree upon a budget that can command a wide national consensus long before the midnight hour arrives. The Compact for America would keep the nation’s credit rating from being held hostage to a game of chicken between the President and Congress. With the states serving as Congress’ fiscal control board, and the buck stopping at the President’s desk, the Compact for America Balanced Budget Amendment Initiative would powerfully check and balance Washington.

This initiative is just the sort of powerful, yet pragmatic reform that could only be originated outside of Washington, D.C. It’s time for the states and the people, led by their Governors, to seize the day.

Nick Dranias holds the Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan Chair for Constitutional Government and is director of the Joseph and Dorothy Donnelly Moller Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute.

Learn more:

Financial Times: Don’t Fear the Fiscal Cliff

Compact for America: Home page

U.S. Debt Clock: Home page

Ann Kirkpatrick: A reckless and irresponsible record that cannot be repeated

Jonathan Paton

Kirkpatrick broke the public’s trust, bankrupted our country 

Jonathan Paton warned Thursday that Ann Kirkpatrick’s record in Congress was reckless and irresponsible, and said that if she’s elected again, Kirkpatrick will continue to add to our deficit and destroy American jobs.

One of Kirkpatrick’s first votes as a member of Congress was for Nancy Pelosi’s budget, which would have added $1.2 trillion to our national debt. The budget was called “the most fiscally irresponsible budget in the history of the federal government.” (The Union Leader, April 5, 2009)

That’s in addition to her voting for the failed stimulus and ObamaCare – two massive spending packages the country cannot afford.

And who can forget how Kirkpatrick wasted more than $100,000 on bonuses for her staff and campaign aides after she lost her election.

“Ann Kirkpatrick was reckless and irresponsible with taxpayer dollars, voting for policies and spending packages that further bankrupted our country. As if that wasn’t enough, Kirkpatrick went on a personal spending binge after losing her race, burning through more than $100,000 to reward her staff and political aides,” Paton said. “Ann Kirkpatrick has broken the public trust. She simply cannot be trusted ever again.”

###

Four More Years?

YouTube Preview Image

Sometimes, we must see the future clearly to act boldly in the present.
Take a glimpse into the darkness of Obama’s America in 2016.
High unemployment. Record high gas prices. The Middle East in chaos.
Religion on the run. Record debt levels. America downsized.
America downgraded.

Legislative Analysis of Prop 117

Vote No on Prop 117!

This is from JLBC’s own fiscal note.   It’s clear this will hurt the State General fund and shift more property tax to homeowners.

 

http://www.azleg.gov//FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/50leg/2r/fiscal/scr1025.doc.htm&Session_ID=107

 

BILL #   SCR 1025 TITLE:   property tax assessed valuation; limitation
SPONSOR:   Yarbrough STATUS:   As Introduced
PREPARED BY:     Hans Olofsson

Description

 

SCR 1025 would amend the Arizona Constitution, upon voter approval, by limiting the annual growth of locally assessed real property to 5%, beginning in Tax Year (TY) 2014.  By way of comparison, current law limits the annual valuation growth of such property to the greater of:  (1) 10% or (2) 25% of the difference between the parcel’s full cash value in the current year and the parcel’s limited value in the prior year.  In addition, under current law, as well as under the resolution, a parcel’s limited value can never exceed its full cash value.

Under current law, primary taxes are levied on a parcel’s limited value, whereas secondary taxes are levied on its full cash value.  Primary taxes are levied to pay for the maintenance and operation of local governments and secondary taxes are levied to pay for debt service, budget overrides, and special taxing districts.  SCR 1025 would provide that all property taxes be levied on the limited value.

If approved by voters in the 2012 General Election, SCR 1025 would become effective in TY 2014.  Under the state’s valuation calendar, the 5% cap would first apply to 2013 property valuations, which are not subject to taxes until FY 2015. For this reason, the fiscal impact of the valuation growth cap would not occur until earliest FY 2015.

Estimated Impact

When future property values grow by more than 5%, there could be a relatively small increase in the state’s General Fund cost for the constitutional 1% Cap provision (see discussion below).  The timing of this fiscal impact is uncertain, however, since it depends on when residential and commercial property values will begin growing again, which cannot be determined in advance.  Additionally, it is also difficult to predict the exact rate at which future values will grow.

Analysis

According to historical county levy limit worksheets, the statewide annual growth in locally assessed real property values has varied over time.  For example, primary assessed real property appreciated at an average annual rate of 4.8% between TY 2000 and TY 2006.  This was followed by average annual growth of 9.7% between TY 2007 and TY 2009, and average annual decline of (11.5)% between TY 2010 and TY 2012.

Preliminary notice of value data indicates that real property values will decline in TY 2013.  It is still uncertain, however, whether real property values will increase or decrease in TY 2014.  It is also difficult to predict exactly when statewide locally assessed valuation growth will first exceed 5%.  When this occurs, however,  the resolution’s growth cap would result in a higher truth-in-taxation (TNT) rate for the K-12 qualifying tax rate (QTR) and state equalization tax rate (SETR) than under current law.  Under TNT, the QTR and SETR are adjusted each year to offset the change in statewide existing property values.  For example, if property values grow by 7% under the current law, the QTR declines by 7% to hold the tax levy on existing property constant.  Under SCR 1025, the growth will be limited to 5% and the QTR will only decline by 5%.

Unless the Legislature decided to override the automatic rate adjustments under TNT, SCR 1025 would have essentially no impact on Basic State Aid to schools since the higher K-12 tax rates would be offset by commensurately lower property values.

(Continued)

The 5% growth cap would also result in higher maximum allowable tax rates for local governments than under current law.  The Arizona Constitution allows counties, community colleges, cities and towns to increase their primary property tax levies on existing property by 2% each year.  While levy limits would not change under SCR 1025, the lower tax base under the resolution could result in higher local property tax rates than under current law.  These higher local tax rates could potentially raise the cost of the “1% Cap.”  Under the Arizona Constitution, the total combined primary tax levied on owner-occupied residential property is limited to 1% of the parcel’s value.  When the combined tax rate exceeds 1% of residential property values, the state holds school districts harmless by paying them the amount in excess of 1% that otherwise would have been paid by homeowners.  The estimated statewide cost of the 1% Cap was $6.8 million in FY 2012.  The increased cost of the 1% Cap under SCR 1025, if any, cannot be determined in advance.

Local Government Impact

Since all property taxes under SCR 1025, including taxes to pay for bonds, overrides, and special districts, would be based on limited value rather than full cash value, the resolution would limit future bonding capacity for local governments in years when full cash value would grow faster than 5%.

 

2/17/12

Sewers vs. Sports Arenas

By Stephen Slivinski, Goldwater Institute

When government issues debt, you probably think it’s paying for the construction of a highway or water and sewer improvements – the sort of things that we usually expect government to provide.

For almost a quarter of state and local government debt in Arizona, however, the bonds pay for projects that directly benefit private interests instead of the public at large. And none of this debt is subject to the constitutional debt limits, nor did voters approve much of it.

The city of Glendale, Ariz. is a prime example of what can happen when government is not bound by constitutional debt limits. Over 40 percent of Glendale’s current long-term debt load ($475 million out of just over $1.12 billion in debt) goes to finance the hockey arena, the Cardinals stadium, hotel and retail centers, and subsidies to retail giant Cabelas. Glendale has used financing methods that keep its debt outside of the debt limits in the state constitution.

Repayment of the bonds is premised on the revenue that these projects are expected to generate from, say, well-attended hockey games or highly popular retail centers. But if that revenue never materializes, as has happened often, someone else will have to pay the bonds. Taxpayers are the likely target.

One way to protect the public’s money from special debt-financed subsidies to private interests is to put an overall cap on all government debt and to subject all local debt issuance to voter approval. These steps would require elected officials to make the case to voters that a bond to give subsidies to a sports team or a big retail corporation is more important than keeping open some of their bonding capacity for things like sewer improvements or public safety. When the trade-offs are so explicit, it’s unlikely that voters will approve letting local governments abuse their power to issue debt.

Stephen Slivinski is a senior economist at the Goldwater Institute.

Learn More:

Goldwater Institute: Cutting up the Credit Cards: Seven Ideas to Reform the Culture of Debt in State and Local Government

Goldwater Institute: Debt and Taxes: Arizona Taxpayers on Hook for $66 Billion Tab Run Up by State, Local Governments

City of Glendale: Debt Management Plan

Obama’s Failing Agenda Tour in Tempe this Monday!

Americans for Prosperity - Arizona

Dear Freedom Fighter,

 

AFP-Arizona will be traveling the state this week educating citizens about President Obama’s failing agenda and putting grassroots pressure on him.

Join us this Monday in Tempe to get the tools you need to educate your neighbors and family about Obama’s failing agenda!

WHAT: Obama’s Failing Agenda Bus Tour Stop in Tempe

WHEN: Monday, September 17th – Bus Stop Rally, Noon to 1:00 pm and Freedom PhoneBank Training, 1:00 to 2:00 pm

WHERE: 12 PM at Monti’s La Casa Vieja, 1 W. Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ

REGISTER TODAY!

We’ve faced a government health care takeover, burdening Americans with over $500 billion in new taxes, four straight years of spending trillions of dollars we don’t have, billions wasted on green energy companies like Solyndra which then went bankrupt, and over 42 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent.

It’s time for President Obama to change his failing agenda and support policies that will help families and not drive America deeper into debt.

Hope to see you this week; it’s time to make your voice heard!

Yours in Liberty,

Tom Jenney
State Director
AFP-Arizona

Every Arizonan Owes More than $7,500 in State Debt

Contact: Lucy Caldwell, (602) 633-8986

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

Phoenix, AZ—Every Arizona household’s debt is getting bigger—but most people don’t even know they owe. In Arizona, every man, woman and child owes state and local governments more than $7,500 for bills ranging from sports stadiums to parking garages.

State and local per-person long-term debt grew from $4,568 per Arizonan in 2000 to $7,587 in 2009, an increase of 66 percent in less than a decade. Arizona’s per-person debt load is almost $1,000 more than the national median of around $6,800 in per-person debt.

The $7,587 owed by every Arizonan to pay off state and local debts is in addition to the $51,000 per-American share of the mounting federal debt.

In a new report, Cutting up the Credit Cards: Seven Ideas to Reform the Culture of Debt in State and Local Government, Goldwater Institute Senior Economist Stephen Slivinski examines the vastness of the state’s debt and recommends seven key reforms to rein in Arizona’s debt culture.

“In economic times like these, most people have their hands full trying to balance their own checkbooks,” said Slivinski. “Yet our policymakers can’t restrain themselves from committing to more and more new debt that Arizona families ultimately will have to pay off.”

Although Arizona’s framers established a constitutional debt limit to cap state debt to $350,000—roughly $8 million in today’s dollars—the limit is not effective at actually limiting debt. This is because the courts have interpreted the debt limit to apply only to a specific type of debt: the “full, faith, and credit,” or general obligation debt. Politicians are able to commit current and future taxpayers to paying off a variety of debt instruments—usually called “non-guaranteed debt”—that are not subject to the constitutional limit and often do not require voter approval.

Debt-service payments were the fastest growing category in Arizona’s noncapital budget for state general expenditures in the last decade, growing 170 percent from 2002 and 2009. Almost one quarter of all state and local debts in Arizona are for projects primarily benefitting private interests, such as shopping centers or sports arenas.

For many local governments, debt payments have caused cities to cut essential services.

For example, Glendale, Arizona recently fired 49 employees, including a handful of policemen, to help cover its $35 million spending gap. The city has paid the National Hockey League $50 million over the past two years to keep the Coyotes hockey team in the city’s taxpayer-financed Jobing.com Arena, fearing that if the Coyotes move, the city will be unable to pay off the debts it owes from constructing the arena in 2002. Meanwhile, the city has had to table plans to complete the remodel of the city’s courthouse and to build a new library.

“When our elected officials commit funds to private-interest projects like sports stadiums, it doesn’t just drive up our families’ tax bills—it often means cutting the services we rely on, like law enforcement in our neighborhoods and libraries for our children,” said Slivinski.

In his paper, Slivinski recommends seven reforms to rein in Arizona’s debt, including a strict cap on debt for state and local governments, voter approval of all debt at the local level, and transparency requirements for all state and local debt.

To read the entire report, click here.

For a bio and high definition photo of Goldwater Institute Senior Economist Stephen Slivinski, click here.

The Goldwater Institute protects America’s greatest inheritance – the liberty and economic freedom of the individual – by holding government accountable and standing up for regular taxpayers just like you.

NEW REPORT: “Uncertainty” Dominates the Top Five Small-Business Concerns

Only the cost of health insurance is greater

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 22, 2012 — Small-business owners prominently rank “Uncertainty Over Economic Conditions” and “Uncertainty Over Government Actions” as their second and fourth most serious problems in the quadrennial National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) report, Problems and Priorities. The top problem remains “Cost of Health Insurance,” which has historically been the No. 1 problem for small employers; 52 percent labeled it as “critical”. Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed said that economic uncertainty is the most critical problem, followed by 35 percent who identified “Energy Costs, Except Electricity” as critical for their firms; another 35 percent of owners named  “Uncertainty Over Government Actions” as their most critical issue.

“This year’s survey was conducted on the heels of the worst U.S. recession since the 1930s; historically high levels of unemployment and housing foreclosures, and historically low levels of consumer confidence and hiring still plague the small-business community,” said Holly Wade, senior policy analyst and survey author. “The high level of uncertainty cited by small employers helps to explain the sector’s inability to recover and expand. Fears over increasing health insurance costs continue to dominate the list of concerns for small businesses, very much in spite of the president’s health insurance reform law—certainly not an endorsement of the policy, nor a good sign for the future of the sector.”

The “Cost of Health Insurance” has been the top problem for small employers for the 25 years of the survey history. The percent of small-business owners who cite this problem as critical overshadowed the runner-up by 14 percentage points. Health-insurance costs for small firms have risen 103 percent in the last decade, an increase outpacing wages and inflation, and rendering insurance unaffordable for many small-business owners. The contention around the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called “Obamacare,” has proven valid, as it has failed to address the fundamental causes of rising health-care cost while opting to focus on coverage. NFIB challenged the law in the Supreme Court of the United States, after the overwhelming majority of its membership expressed a desire to have it repealed. Without a major refocus of current thinking, the cost of health insurance will almost certainly be the most critical business problem facing small-business owners again in four years.

Uncertainty has emerged as a major hurdle to small-business recovery and growth, prompting the addition of two new problems, “Uncertainty over Economic Conditions” and “Uncertainty over Government Actions” to this year’s survey. Small-business owners ranked these two problems as the second and fourth (respectively) most severe problems facing their businesses. In the last four years, the federal government has enacted significant policy changes of an immense nature; their impact will continue as the regulatory system works to implement new policy directives. Uncertainty also surrounds pending government action on the expiring 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, the debt ceiling and the federal budget. All of these policy changes create a huge “question mark” for small-business owners, impeding their ability to make short and long-term business decisions.

Other notable survey findings include:

  • As a category, “Taxes” takes the top position as the most severe problem cluster in the 2012 survey, followed by the category “Regulations.” Five of the top 10 most severe problems are tax-related, including “Tax Complexity,” “Frequent Changes to Tax Rules and Regulations,” and “Federal and State Taxes on Business Income.” Comparatively, the most severe problem cluster in 2008 was “Costs.”
  • Regulations and financing lead the problems of increasing importance to small-business owners. “Environmental Regulations” topped the list, rising 20 positions from a rank of 47th in 2008 to 27th in 2012. “Finding Out about Regulatory Requirements” increased 13 positions from a ranking of 38th in 2008 to its current 25th position. “Obtaining Long-Term (five years or more) Business Loans” moved up 17 positions from 73rd to 56th. “Obtaining Short-Term (less than 12 months or revolving) Business Loans” follows moving 14 positions from 72nd to 58th.
  • The least severe problems identified by small-business owners include: “Exporting My Products/Services,” “Undocumented Workers,” “Access to High-Speed Internet.” Exporting, the least severe problem proves critical for three percent of small business owners, virtually unchanged from 2008. “Undocumented Workers” and “Access to High-Speed Internet” are both a critical problem for seven percent of respondents.
  • While the critical nature of some problems increased, for others, it declined, perhaps as a sign of the times. The largest decline in the ranking was “Interest Rates”, falling 30 positions from 32nd to 62nd. Also declining in importance and severity were “Finding and Keeping Skilled Employees” and “Employee Turnover”. Both fell 21 positions from 17th to 38th for the former and 51st to 72nd for the latter.

While small-business owners tended to evaluate most problems in the 2012 survey as they did in 2008, the major changes that did occur are largely related to the recession and increased regulations. The magnitude and duration of the recession significantly altered the small-business landscape along with the problems owners now face in operating their businesses. The four years between the last edition published in 2008 and the current edition saw a near collapse of the financial system and housing market, unprecedented government bailouts of the banking and automotive industries, and the enactment of massive economic stimulus programs. While the economy is over two years into its recovery, progress is painfully slow as economic headwinds and uncertainty remain. The effects of the recession and fragile economic recovery are reflected in owners’ assessment of business problems.

The findings of this publication are based on the responses of 3,856 NFIB small-business owner/members to a mail survey conducted from mid-January through April 2012. A sample of 23,000 members was drawn for a response rate of 17 percent. Owners evaluated 75 potential business problems individually and assessed their severity on a scale of “1” for a “Critical Problem” to “7” for “Not a Problem.” A mean (average) was calculated from the responses for each problem. Problems are ranked by mean score. A copy of the report is available at http://nfib.com/priorities. More information about the NFIB Small Business Research Foundation is available at http://nfib.com/research.

# # #

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.

Congressman Paul Gosar Votes to End Business as Usual and “Audit the Fed”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) voted for the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, H.R. 459. This bill, which was introduced by Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) and co-sponsored by Congressman Gosar, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 327 to 98.

Congressman Gosar played an active role in advancing the “audit the fed” legislation to the House floor. In addition to being an early cosponsor of the legislation, he was instrumental in passing the legislation through the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

“The decisions made and executed by the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors affect the monetary policy of the entire nation, yet for too long these activities have been carried out in secret,” said Congressman Gosar. “Though the Federal Reserve is only a quasi-government entity, quasi-transparency is unacceptable to the American people. The continued secrecy surrounding the actions of the Federal Reserve is exactly the type of ‘business as usual’ my freshman class was sent to Washington to end, which is what makes today’s vote so important.”

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act would provide the congressional oversight, through the Government Accountability Office, to audit the monetary actions of the quasi-private Federal Reserve. Current law prohibits full congressional access and review of the Federal Reserve’s lending practices.

YouTube Preview Image

Click Above to Watch My Opening Statement from Oversight and Government Reform

Current restrictions on GAO audits include the examination of any transactions made under the Federal Reserve’s open market operations and Federal Open Market Committee directives, any deliberations and discussions on monetary policy, or any agreements made with foreign governments and central banks. Since the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has tripled to $3 trillion dollars. The Federal Reserve Transparency Act, H.R. 459 will remove restrictions and require a one-time audit within 12 months of enactment.

###