Congressman Andy Biggs Speaks Out on US National Debt

Thank you Congressman Andy Biggs for this statement:

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Andy Biggs commented on the U.S. national debt passing twenty trillion dollars:

“Late last week, the U.S. national debt topped twenty trillion dollars for the first time in history. Instead of debating how Congress could take action to reduce the risk of default and substantial payments our grandchildren will inherit, Congress continues to encourage reckless spending and unaccountable taxpayer-funded programs. Rather than making the hard choices now, we are forcing Americans into an even tougher situation in the future because of this rising debt.

“It will take courage to cut government spending in order to deal with our national debt. If we are to follow through with our commitment to reduce expenditures and create economic stability for our future, we must immediately take action. The time for words is over.”

TODAY: Help the Trump Administration Repeal Title II

Earlier this year, new FCC Chairman Avit Pai began the process of rolling back Obama era regulations which put a choke hold on innovation and liberty. In 2015, the Obama Administration, in a textbook example of regulatory overreach, began applying Title II regulations to the internet. These regulations placed exceptionally restrictive burdens on internet and threatened to dramatically decrease high speed access and open competition.

Chairman Pai’s unequivocal support for a free and open internet is worthy of our applause and our support. Moreover, we should be sure to thank our entire Republican delegation in Arizona, for standing up to the Soros-funded left and backing this important regulatory rollback.

Far left groups, many funded by George Soros, have declared today a “Day of Action,” in a final desperate attempt to keep this onerous regulatory regime in place. Several large corporations are joining them, worrying more about their bottom lines than about the freedoms that the internet provides all of us.

We know that our Republican elected officials are going to be getting a tremendous amount of pressure to oppose Chairman Pai’s efforts. Let’s make sure they hear from us today, thanking them for holding the line for fairness and a free internet. You can contact them through UnlockTheNet.com where you will see links from free market groups so that you can contact your representatives.

Congressional action ensures that never again will a free an open internet be threatened by the whims of an overzealous executive. A legislative solution is the best way to keep the forces of over regulation and burdensome rule making from interfering with the commerce and innovation of the internet.

Chairman Pai and the Trump Administration are taking a crucial step in maintaining a free and open internet. Now it’s our turn to seize control and demand that Congress pass legislation that will maintain these freedoms for generations to come.

https://m.facebook.com/FreedomWorks/photos/a.10150681417619548.418729.5633824547/10155363399994548/?type=3&source=44&ref=page_internal

Arizona Teachers Should Pay Off Debt BEFORE Retirement

A recent article in the Arizona Republic written by Alexa Chryssovergis caught my eye given that I now work in the world of public education.

Teachers across Arizona work multiple jobs to make ends meet,” gave several anecdotes of teachers who were struggling to survive just on their compensation. The article continued on the theme that Arizona public school teachers are among the lowest paid in the country. The data absolutely supports that.

One recurrent theme was that many teachers have student loans that they are struggling to pay off as part of their monthly budget.

Although the author provided no data as to the average student loan burden, stories I’ve heard (including during legislative testimony) reveal that teachers are carrying this form of debt that poses serious challenges to making ends meet.

However, what the article did not mention is that every public school teacher is forced to “contribute” 11.48% of their gross earnings into the Arizona State Retirement System. The contribution is mandatory but the rate is adjustable.

The bottom line is that teachers are paying student loan companies AND the State of Arizona retirement system before they even pay themselves.

In the wisdom of financial experts like Dave Ramsey, debt should always be paid off BEFORE putting money into a retirement account. And most student loan is manageable and can be paid down in a reasonable amount of time.

What if public school teachers were allowed to suspend their mandatory contributions to the Arizona State Retirement System in order to redirect that income toward paying down their student loan debt? This would lighten their financial burden, get them in the financial black and put them in a position to start building wealth with “gazelle intensity.”

Next year when the Arizona Legislature convenes, I hope to see several lawmakers sponsor a bill that gives teachers and other participants the option to suspend their mandatory contributions into ASRS so they can reduce or eliminate their student loan debt.

We all know that Arizona public school teachers are under compensated. Forcing them to divide their take-home pay between Sallie Mae and ASRS puts teachers further into a difficult financial position that sucks the joy out of doing their job.

Let’s give teachers a break by holding off mandatory contributions to the state until they dig out of student loan debt.

Arizona Business Owners React to Hearing in U.S. House Ways and Means Committee

Americans for Affordable Products

Hearing Showcases Border Adjustment Tax Based on Academic Theory, Not Real-World Reality

Scottsdale, AZ – Local business owners throughout Phoenix are sharing their reactions on the U.S. House’s recently-concluded Ways & Means Committee hearing focused on the border adjustment tax.  Anthony Cantelmo, owner of Fifth and Ford Cigars, said “The Border Adjustment Tax will cripple my business here in Scottsdale.  I cannot absorb a 20% increase in costs for the items that I import, which is everything. I’ll have to make some very painful decisions—scale back business, let employees go or close my doors. None of these are desirable. I hope that the committee will reconsider this proposal and think of the small business owners like myself.”

John Arterburn, owner of Ace Hardware in Scottsdale, also had a strong reaction to the hearing, saying “The committee wants tax reform that’s based on fairness and simplicity. The Border Adjustment Tax provides neither. Everyone will be touched one way or another by the price hikes it will impose.”

Jim Mapstead, owner of Accurate Signs and Engraving, released the following statement, saying “Retail accounts for 20 percent of the jobs in the U.S. That’s a big chunk of the economy to hit with a 20 percent price hike on the cost of doing business.  There must be a better way and hopefully the Ways and Means Committee is looking at alternatives.”

Americans for Affordable Products is a coalition of job creators, entrepreneurs, business leaders and consumers united against higher prices on everyday necessities. To learn more, please visit:

www.KeepAmericaAffordable.com.

Additional Information:

Border Adjustment Tax Could Derail Tax Reform

Americans for Prosperity - Arizona

By: Tom Jenney – Americans for Prosperity, Arizona

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gilbert and Chandler Place Well In Annual US City Fiscal Health Rankings

Town of GilbertCongratulations to the Town of Gilbert and City of Chandler for placing high in the annual US City Fiscal Health Index.

The index, prepared by The Fiscal Times, looks at five factors to derive the rankings including: ratio of city general fund balance to expenditures, ratio of long term obligations to total government-wide revenues, ratio of actuarially determined pension contributions to total government-wide revenues, change in local unemployment rate and changes in property values. Data is reported by the cities themselves from 2015. Only cities with populations of 200,000 were evaluated. (Tempe, Peoria, Surprise, Yuma, Avondale and Flagstaff have populations less than 200,000.)

City of ChandlerThe Town of Gilbert placed 17th while the City of Chandler placed 20th.

Other Arizona cities placed lower on the list:

Phoenix – 43
Glendale – 77
Tucson – 81
Scottsdale – 84
Mesa – 85

At the bottom of the list were Chicago and New York City.

To view the full index, click here.

Arizona Free Enterprise Club: The Harmful Effects of Prop 206 Begin to Sink In

Arizona Free Enterprise Club

It has only been a month and the recently approved minimum wage initiative, Proposition 206, is already inflicting permanent damage on Arizona’s Economy, hardworking taxpayers and our most vulnerable and needy residents.

Similar to previous proposals, Prop 206 was sold on the idea that Arizona could raise its minimum wage to $12 an hour (adjusted for inflation every year thereafter) and require employers offer mandated paid sick leave to employees without any negative repercussions.  Reading the fine print of Prop 206 exposed this fraudulent claim; as the funders of the initiative (California Unions) exempted collective bargaining agreements from critical components of the initiative.  If this was so good, why exempt themselves from it?

Now the debilitating impacts of Prop 206 are being felt, and they are far more widespread and catastrophic than even the opponents of the initiative realized.  While it wasn’t a secret that Arizona businesses would face hard choices in order to comply with the wage hike, some of the worst hit organizations will be those that serve the neediest and most vulnerable populations in our state.  Currently in-home care services, many of which aid fragile and feeble seniors, range from $20-$24 an hour.   These services will go up;pricing out many of these seniors on fixed-incomes from receiving the care they desperately need or force more individuals onto state welfare rolls.

The developmentally disabled in our community will also be devastated by Proposition 206.  According to the President and CEO of the Centers for Habilitation and member of the Arizona Association of Providers for People with Disabilities, some providers will be forced to close operations as soon as January 1, 2017.

Some of these providers have contracts with the State of Arizona that set the reimbursement rates.  This means the state will be forced to allocate more taxpayer money to cover the higher costs.  If the state doesn’t cough up more tax dollars to address these needs, thousands of developmentally disabled in Arizona will be left without vital care.

It only gets worse from here.

Many subdivisions of the state such as school districts will also be deeply impacted by the voter mandate.  Positions such as cross walk guards cafeteria workers and bus drivers, many of which are part time positions, represent a significant aggregate cost to schools; costs which were neither anticipated nor planned for by districts or the state.

For Chandler Unified School District, Prop 206’s passage represents a $1.1 million hit to their budget.  Agua Fria Union High School District in the West Valley, $123,500.  Peoria Unified District – $1.1 million by 2020.  And Sahuarita District in southern Arizona $907,576.   These are tremendous costs which will necessitate the diversion of other resources from teachers and students or require more monies from taxpayers.

And although the law does not apply to state or federal agencies, many government departments will still be on the hook.  The State of Arizona has expenditure obligations for school districts as well as private contracts through AHCCCS (Arizona Healthcare Cost Containment Center System).  But the legislature has already passed a budget for 2017.  These additional costs were not included in the state’s budget.

Many voters that supported Prop 206 were not aware of the harmful effects this initiative would cause. Yet unlike bills proposed and passed at the legislature, there was no independent review, hearings, or public comment process of the initiative language to inform voters of these inevitable issues.

Now, even if voters wanted these issues fixed, Prop 206 can’t be modified because Arizona initiatives are bound by the strictest voter protection law in the country.  Once a measure is passed at the ballot, it can’t be changed unless it is sent back to the voters, and that can’t happen for two years.

As the saying goes, “elections have consequences.”  We suspect that the consequences of Prop 206, however, are not what Arizona voters signed up for.

Andy Biggs Crony Capitalist Supports Export-Import Bank

By East Valley Evan

If you look up the definition of corporate cronyism in the dictionary, the Export-Import Bank will be its prime case study. Although the Ex-Im Bank was created to finance and bolster America’s exports, the taxpayer funded bank has not only not improved exports but has been by expert accounts a financial disaster.

In fact, the only group that has benefited is well connected global elites, many of which are foreign corporations with deep Washington, D.C. connections.

During the East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance debate, former Arizona Senator President Andy Biggs enthusiastically supported the re authorization and creation of the Ex-Im bank. Despite the Bank’s terrible financial record, Andy Biggs had no problem supporting an inefficient subsidized institution that benefits the few at the expense of the many.

Ex-Im Bank is an example of the corruption in Washington. Although clearly a fraud, well connected financiers and subsidized loan recipients have heaped money and influence on Congress to continue the authorization of the Bank’s corporate welfare gravy-train.

Academics and experts have criticized the bank for becoming nothing more than a welfare bank for globally connected elites. As experts have said:

“An increasing body of evidence shows that the Ex-Im Bank provides subsidized financing to big businesses at the expense of smaller businesses and taxpayers while doing little to promote exports, create jobs, or improve competitiveness of US firms. Removing this source of government-granted privilege can only help US exporters.”

This great video explains why it is such a huge welfare failure.

As a reminder, in 1986 the Ex-Im Bank was embroiled in a controversy for funneling money to communist Angola. Almost a year later, the Ex-Im Bank losses were so staggering that it had to receive an Obama-esque bailout out by Congress.

As a reminder, the Ex-Im Bank does not improve our American exports.

C3-Total-Jobs-Export-Value-large

 

Although there are not too many conservative free-market litmus tests left in the world, the Export-Import Bank is a shining example of cronyism at its worst.

If we cannot trust Andy Biggs to oppose something so obviously corrupt as the Ex-Im Bank, how can we trust him to rein in spending in Washington?

Christine Jones – Conservative Business Leader For Congress

When you want problems in government fixed, you send a businessperson to do the job. This has been the successful solution since the Founding Fathers set our country in motion and it’s still a successful strategy today.

Individuals from the business community know best how to balance budgets, deal with government regulations and most important, how to create jobs and prosperity.

Government does not create prosperity. Government sucks resources out of the economy, creates deadweight losses and does a horrible job of providing services that the private sector can provide much more efficiently. With the exception of certain public goods such as defense, law enforcement, justice, etc., government is a drag on the economy and a burden on the lives of free individuals.

Here in Arizona, we’ve seen an example of great leadership coming out of the private sector business community.

Governor Doug Ducey started his service in executive leadership in 2011 as Arizona State Treasurer. Prior to that, he started out as a successful entrepreneur and CEO who grew a small ice cream shop from the ground up into a nationwide franchise. Since elected as Governor, Doug Ducey has been successful reforming, consolidating and downsizing government and getting it out of the way of small businesses like Uber and Air BnB. Having a successful businessman in leadership is great for the economy, creating jobs and expanding technology.

Christine Jones for CongressNow the voters of Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District have the opportunity to elect a very successful conservative businesswoman to Congress.

Christine Jones has scored success wherever she has served. As the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Go Daddy, she helped take the company from a small internet company to a giant corporation whose servers now touch one-third of all internet traffic. When she first began at GoDaddy, the company only had a few dozen employees. During her watch, she helped grow the company to over 4,000 employees – that’s over 4,000 private sector jobs contributing to the economy. And that doesn’t include the 10 million entrepreneurs and small businesses that have grown and prospered through GoDaddy’s products and services.

After leaving GoDaddy, Jones next went on to lead another Arizona success story when she accepted the position of Interim CEO of Great Hearts Academies. There, she oversaw the tremendous accomplishments of thousands of students on the road to college and successful careers.  This role also testifies to her strong understanding and commitment to education and how a quality education is inherently linked to jobs and the economy.

Christine Jones is no stranger to success. Unlike her opponents, who have spent their careers being assimilated into government and politics, Christine Jones possesses a healthy resistance to growing government and becoming another career politician.

This election year, the voters should take the opportunity to send another real Arizona success story to Congress. Christine Jones is a conservative business leader who has proven she knows how to grow small business, create thousands of jobs, control the growth of government and get government spending under control.

This August the voters have a real choice between a handful of career politicians or a successful private sector businesswoman in Christine Jones. Let’s hope they choose the latter.

Arizona Free Enterprise Club: Minimum Wage Initiative a Ploy to Unionize Workers

Free Enterprise Club

Reposted from The Arizona Free Enterprise Club.

Currently there is a massive effort underway to get several “California-style” initiatives on the ballot in November. The Club encourages anyone approached on the street by one of these petition carriers to “decline to sign.” One of the initiatives likely to get the signatures necessary to qualify jacks up the minimum wage and mandates minimum state-wide paid sick time.

Specifically, the measure increases Arizona’s minimum wage from the current $8.05, to $10 starting January 1st, 2017 – and tops out at a whopping $12 an hour in 2020, then defaulting back to increases based upon the cost of living index. Additionally, if passed, it would mandate businesses with more than 15 employees provide 40 hours of paid sick time and 24 hours of annual paid sick time for businesses with less than 15 employees.

This voter protected act would have a devastating effect on Arizona’s economy. Minimum wage schemes set an arbitrary floor on every industry, every business, and every job – and divorces wages from the actual economic value a position creates. As a result, minimum wages do not heed any more buying power for the people they purport to help, but instead increase costs and therefore create an eventual pressure to increase prices. Mandatory paid sick leave is another invention of the left which seeks to create policies in a vacuum outside any economic realities.

However the real intent of these “worker welfare” movements is more and more obvious. The campaign “Arizonans for Fair Wages and Healthy Families” is being pushed by the union-backed organization LUCHA (Living United for Change in Arizona) who since 2013 has advocated the “Fight for $15” for fast food workers and other out-of-state union groups. The battles are for minimum wage and paid sick leave; the war is unionization of the total workforce. This is evidenced by the fact that this very initiative exempts workers under a collective bargaining agreement. In other words, we have hit a new level of hypocrisy. If this was about creating the workers’ paradise, and not about incentivizing unionization, there would be no exceptions.

As if this all wasn’t damaging enough, the initiative has another kicker, which allows cities and towns to pass more generous wage and benefit mandates. With cities such as Tempe, Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Tucson – Arizona can expect to have a patchwork of employment laws – making doing business across city borders an arduous endeavor.

Arizonans should be wary this election season. Union groups and leftist interests are out in full force – trying to make the Grand Canyon State look more like an increasingly bankrupt California. If voters are wise, they will reject destructive ballot initiatives such as this one.

Follow Arizona Free Enterprise Club on Facebook and Twitter.