Phoenix Earns High Marks From NFIB

City judged one of five best in nation for welcoming small business

In an e-newsletter to its more than 330,000 members nationwide today, including 7,000 in Arizona, the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s voice of small business, ranked Phoenix as one of the top five cities in the country “Opening Their Doors to Small Business.”

“Phoenix’s rebounding economy, favorable climate and entrepreneurial culture attracts many transplanted residents,” said the NFIB article. “Two years ago, the Phoenix City Council implemented reforms that shifted a significant portion of city permitting and inspection functions to the private sector and created 24-hour turnarounds for projects such as city and building permits that used to take four to six months. With quicker turnarounds, doing business in Phoenix has become faster and more convenient.”

Noted Farrell Quinlan, NFIB’s Arizona state director, “The majority of people starting small businesses and prospering here were born somewhere else. That kind of new blood and vitality means opportunities in Phoenix aren’t encumbered by an old-boys network.”

In a news release issued by Mayor Greg Stanton, he said, “This ranking is a testament to the actions we’re taking to lift small and local businesses. We’re moving in a new economic direction – one that creates real opportunity for business owners and entrepreneurs.”

sal diciccio council chambers

Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio

City Councilman Sal DiCiccio added, “This puts Phoenix in a position to compete in the global economy, making us faster, smarter and better than our competitor cities. Getting 24-hour permitting and the ability to submit plans online allows businesses to open today, not months from now. The Mayor and Council recognized that it grows our economy faster when we help businesses take off quickly.”

DiCiccio, a longtime NFIB member, led the 125-member Ad Hoc Development Task Force that produced the reform recommendations for how to streamline the city’s permit process.

Phoenix has also been helped by a better state climate, Quinlan pointed out. “The state has been a leader in low tax rates and regulatory reform. For instance, Arizona simplifies the process state agencies must follow when creating rules and regulations they impose on Arizona businesses. That leadership ensures government serves as a facilitator of economic dynamism rather than a frustrator of job creation.”

Other cities making the top five list were Caspar, Wyoming; Jackson, Mississippi; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Orlando, Florida.

For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.

Martha McSally: Who does Ron Barber Really Stand With?

Martha McSally

TUCSON – Martha McSally, Congressional candidate for Arizona’s Second District, released the following statement today after the Obama Administration announced new energy regulations on states. The regulations are expected to increase energy prices on families and businesses while eliminating jobs across the country.

“At a time when both parties should be working together on bipartisan efforts to empower small businesses and get people back to work, President Obama appears to be pushing a hyper-partisan agenda to please his campaign donors over the needs of hardworking families. Plain and simple, this is a betrayal of middle class families who will be paying more in energy costs and will see many well-paying jobs disappear. What’s more, the poor and struggling who have the least ability to afford these higher costs will be hardest hit. I call on Congressman Barber to join bipartisan opposition to these harmful regulations and stand up for families of the Second District against his party’s job-destroying agenda.”

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced draft rules that would require 30% reductions in CO2 emissions across the country over the next 15 years. Under the proposed rules, Arizona would be forced to cut emissions by 52%, the second-highest mandate for any state in the country.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated last week the new regulations would cost the U.S. economy $50 billion and eliminate 224,000 jobs. The EPA also has admitted the new regulations will increase energy costs for American consumers.

LegisTraitors Drunk with Power Demand Increase in Deficit Spending

LegisTraitors(picture from Arizona Capitol Times)

Drunk with power, or simply dazed from visions of hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars dancing in their heads, Jeremy Duda from the Arizona Capitol Times, captures Heather Carter, Ethan Orr, Kate Brophy McGee, Doug Coleman, Rob Robson, and Jeff Dial leaving the House before the gavel to make their case to spend-increase-expand with money we lowly taxpayers have not even made yet.

Geez Louise Republicans! The budget you passed in the Senate only has a $400 million structural deficit. That is just not enough!  The Coalition of Corruption including these six and all the Democrats (again) want bigger government – more agencies – increased spending – and to expand on the expansion of last session.  If we are going to borrow money to pass a democrat budget then let’s go all the way!

No money into the rainy day fund. No money to buy back our buildings. No money to decrease our debt. Actually they are demanding that money is spent that does not exist.  In their power-induced-drunken-state the LegisTraitors are blind to the plight of Arizona taxpayers preferring to prioritize the interests of the crony capitalists who bankroll their campaign committees.

The amendments and increased spending requested by the Coalition of Corruption has been scored by the non-partisan JBLC to give Arizona a $1 Billion deficit by 2017. This is “recurring spending” meaning the spending will occur every single year.  

So another day and no budget for Arizona.  The taxpayers, small businessmen, and Principled Conservatives will have to wait and see who is offering what to whom before we will know what is being shoved down our throats this year.  Will there be a fundraiser with a gift-in-kind equal to the amount it takes to educate one child for half a year in a Charter School?

Will we see a new traitor or will the traitors have a traitor? And how much does a LegisTraitor vote go for?

The vote is tied at 30-30. It will be an interesting day.

Stay tuned.

Christine Bauserman
Chair, Alliance of Principled Conservatives

Phoenix to comply with court order, stop funding union activities with taxpayer monies

Great news for Phoenix taxpayers, Councilman Sal DiCiccio and the rule of law!

City of Phoenix Announces Today it Will Stop Using taxpayer monies to fund All Union Activities. Will Comply with Court Ruling

Last week, it was announced that the city of Phoenix will be forced to stop funding Phoenix Law Enforcement Association’s (PLEA) union activities, Today, the City’s administration has decided to apply the ruling to all City of Phoenix unions. (View Court Decision and City Manager’s memo below) 

“This is big news for the taxpayers of Phoenix. Instead of using taxpayers’ money to fund union activities, we can use this money on vital City services. This money should be used to end domestic violence, end human trafficking, and put more police on the street,” said Councilman Sal DiCiccio.

The following quote is from page 8 of the court ruling released on January 29: “This evidence supports the conclusion that the City Council abused their discretion in approving the release time at issue.” This was approved on a 5-4 vote with Mayor Stanton being the swing vote.

It is disappointing that the Mayor and Council were complicit in funding union activities which in turn supported their candidates and then, once those candidates were elected, continued to give millions of taxpayer dollars back to the unions. It was a vicious circle which has caused the large budget deficit we have seen this year.

Mayor Stanton was the swing vote to use taxpayer monies to fund union activity, the swing vote to keep pension spiking and presented a budget supporting the food tax (which was immediately proven to be false).

“It’s time for the Mayor and those council members to protect taxpayers and not the government unions,” said DiCiccio.

-30-

To view the court decision: http://phoenix.gov/webcms/groups/internet/@inter/@pcc/@dist6/documents/web_content/d6statementattachmentjan2914.pdf

To view the City Manager’s memo: http://phoenix.gov/webcms/groups/internet/@inter/@pcc/@dist6/documents/web_content/d6citymgrmemo.pdf

Mark Levin, Kelli Ward, Article V, and the Mt. Vernon Conference

LevinWardOn Mark Levin’s January 13 radio show, Levin spoke briefly to Dr. Kelli Ward, Arizona State Senator from LD5. Along with Arizona State Rep. Kelly Townsend (LD16), Ward was part of the Dec 7, 2013 Mt. Vernon Conference where the stage was set for a Convention of States (COS) to propose amendments to the US Constitution.

Convention of States and the Compact for America (CFA) project seek to use Article V of the US Constitution, as intended by the Framers, to rein in our runaway federal government. While they are separately run projects, COS and CFA are complementary and implicitly allied, as discussed here.

It is still a surprise to most Americans to learn that our own state legislatures can amend the Constitution without the permission or approval of Congress, the President, or the Supreme Court. Details may be found in the links at the bottom of this article.

COS, CFA, and other Article V initiatives got a big boost with the August 13 publication of Mark Levin’s book, The Liberty AmendmentsIt is one of the few books I read cover-to-cover last year, and I recommend it highly.

Godspeed to Arizona’s two “Kellies”, Ward and Townsend, and all other state legislators across our country who are awakening to the power of Article V to restore our republic.

See/hear Levin and Ward, and read the rest of the article at this link.

Representative Brenda Barton issues statement on recent Facebook post

As many are aware, some recent comments of mine on Facebook have touched a sensitive nerve with many people.  Additionally, many have simply taken my posting out of its contextual environment.  Had I chosen my words differently, or had the President offered to use the power of his office to lessen or mute the public impacts of this impasse in Washington, we might not be having this discussion.

Let me clarify that I never used the word or said that President Obama was “Hitler.”   That was a creative assumption of the Capitol Times reporter, who also reported that I referred to our government as a “Constitutional Democracy.”  I would never use that description because, we are in fact – through law and history – a Constitutional Republic.

What I did suggest, rather directly, was that the National Park Service enforcement personnel (referring to them as “thugs” for their reported behavior) were simply following orders of “their leader” – and I used the German phrase for emphasis, Der Fuhrer.  I am referencing the Presidents behavior as indicated by his actions. The Merriam-Webster New Collegiate Dictionary defines “Fuhrer” as “(2) a leader exercising tyrannical authority.”

Consider that the Affordable Care Act  (ACA) originated in the U.S. Senate.  The U.S. Constitution directly states that laws establishing new revenues must originate in the House of Representatives, so the House closest to the people can decide if they want to pay for the new spending.  The way the ACA was established was in direct contradiction to the Constitution.

President Obama has unilaterally changed the ACA several times, through waivers and exemptions, without returning it to Congress.  A president changing established law unilaterally?  Is that Constitutional or “exercising tyrannical authority”?

Consider the reports of the U.S. Park Service Supervisor in Washington, who spoke to the media and said that the Park Service was told to “make things as uncomfortable as possible.”  I ask you, who has the authority to give such a directive?

Please remember, that someone in the Administration directed the IRS to seek out and harass conservative groups and groups identifying themselves with the Tea Party.  Is that not “tyrannical authority” and did it not seem that IRS office personnel obeyed enthusiastically? What President of the people orders the NSA to spy on his citizens and sends the IRS against his enemies?  Is this not behavior in accord with tyrannical authority?

Arresting veterans for visiting their war memorials? Prohibiting Catholic priests from volunteering to perform the Mass for our Catholic men and women in uniform?  Closing businesses on federally leased land?  When did volunteering to minister to our armed forces become a bad thing in America?  How would you classify that; Constitutional authority or Tyrannical authority?

And tell me, how many times in eight years did the Progressive Left and the media depict President Bush with a funny little black mustache, or worse? Yet there was no indignant outrage shown by those who are today outraged at my choice of words. Actions speak louder than words; President Obama’s actions are what I have to base my observation of “tyrannical authority” on.

Nancy Pelosi has called conservatives “terrorists” and “legislative arsonists.” If I had simply said “the leader” in my Facebook post, would we be having this community discussion today?  My purpose was to bring to the public’s attention the actions and behaviors of our president and his administration since this government shut-down began.
For the record, I was suggesting that President Obama was behaving as a tyrant.  Didn’t the Founders of our country call their king a tyrant and worse?

The Declaration of Independence asserts that a government derives its powers and authority from the consent of the governed, and that governments are instituted among peoples to protect the people’s inherent rights endowed by their Creator. President Obama’s actions contradict these fundamental and foundational cornerstones of our Constitutional Republic.

Andrew Thomas receives standing ovations before and after speech

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Sunday, September 22, 2013

 

Leading candidate for Arizona governor discusses out-of-control activist judiciary
Text of speech given to the East Valley Action Alliance Pro-Life Conference on September 21, 2013 

Deserve Victory in 2014

By Andrew Thomas

How do we win in the 2014 elections? In the past, we have defined winning as electing a large crop of candidates who describe themselves as pro-life.

But we now know this not victory, properly defined. True victory means an end to abortion. In political terms, winning entails electing candidates who will move us decisively towards that goal. Given the stakes, and to paraphrase General Douglas MacArthur, there is no substitute for such victory.

Roe v. Wade was handed down forty years ago. The time has come to ask whether we are truly any closer to victory, properly defined, now than we were four decades ago. If not, what must we do differently?

The hard truth is this: We are not winning. This is not for lack of effort, as everyone here well knows. We have tried various strategies over the decades. But the statistics and reality tell a very sobering story that we must honestly confront.

Hitting a Wall

Since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, the number of abortions in the United States reached its peak of 1.6 million a year in 1990. Ten years later, that number had leveled off slightly to 1.3 million. Since then, for the last 13 years, that figure basically has not budged. Last year, there were just over 1.2 million abortions.

This number is the bottom line, and is now essentially static. Regardless of how many pro-life leaders we elect, the pro-life laws they pass, or the pro-life lawsuits they file, nothing has lowered that number. The goal of ending abortion, in turn, has become ever more elusive. In short, we have hit a wall.

Why are we not winning? The answer is simple and obvious for those who have eyes to see. Liberal elites control the judiciary. They have captured it lock, stock and barrel. Every time we pass a law or file a lawsuit to advance the pro-life cause, the ACLU and their allies simply go to court and enlist activist judges to block us.

It was not supposed to be this way. The founders of our nation intended for the judiciary to be, as Alexander Hamilton stated in the Federalist Papers, the “least dangerous” branch of government. Thomas Jefferson warned that a judiciary of unchecked power would grow into tyranny, an American oligarchy. Over the years, unelected judges have sought to make good on that prediction. They have amassed absolute power over our government and society.

Unelected judges can throw out any law they do not like. They do so typically without any regard to the text or original meaning of the Constitution. They do this for the purpose of advancing a liberal worldview that is popular among lawyers and elites but contrary to the will of the people.

Three recent examples in Arizona show us what we are up against. This year, the Arizona Legislature passed two important pro-life bills. One ended Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood. The other banned abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. Our leaders should be commended for these actions.

However, within weeks after passage of this legislation, federal judges struck down both measures. Today, neither is the law of the land.

Then there is the fate of Arizona’s parental-consent measure. Arizona first passed a law requiring parental consent for abortions for minors in 1989. Federal courts overturned the law. Ten years later, I lobbied for passage of a new version of this law as a lobbyist for Arizona Right to Life. Finally, after two decades of litigation, the parental-consent law was allowed to go into effect. That means we won, right?

No, we did not. Recently, Arizona news outlets have reported that in three out of four cases, judges simply allow minors to bypass the consent of their parents and obtain the abortions anyhow. In other words, this law is still being circumvented by activist judges. Even when we manage to win a case after decades of litigation before a hostile liberal judiciary, we lose in the end.

Consider also the cultural climate in which these events are unfolding. For fifty years, unelected judges have driven organized religion from public institutions while permitting every conceivable vulgarity in their place. We avert our eyes even as things worsen every year. Marriage is crumbling around us. Genuine fatherhood is mocked by Hollywood and becoming a relic of the past. Even the most dedicated parents can no longer preserve the innocence of their children amidst a constant barrage of smut and filth from the airwaves. Is it any wonder that more than one out of four teenage American girls, and almost half of African-American teenage girls, are infected with a sexually transmitted disease? Our children are crying out to us for help. Their cries are an indictment of the activist judges and cultural elites who have engendered this moral crisis.

Liberals realized decades ago that if they controlled the courts, they controlled the government. They systematically went about taking over the law schools, where conservative students are hissed and heckled if they dare speak out in class. They took over the bar associations and lawyer class, from which judges are drawn. The very few graduates of law schools who describe themselves as conservative and pro-life must keep their views to themselves, or they risk being professionally marginalized.

Judges have forbidden lawyers, at the risk of losing their law licenses, from publicly criticizing them or the judiciary. This gag order conveniently silences their most effective critics.

Kangaroos in Kansas

For decades, we’ve been told to campaign for Republican presidential candidates because they will appoint “strict constructionist” judges to the federal bench. What have we gained from this? On virtually every major case involving a significant cultural issue, the judges we fight to confirm flip to the other side. Though many of these judges surely tell themselves they would go to the gallows for their beliefs, the truth is that few of them are willing even to endure professional shunning by their self-righteous liberal colleagues. And so they defect, and we lose again and again.

We’ve been told to elect law-enforcement leaders who will enforce the legislation, pro-life and otherwise, we do manage to pass. But consider what happens to those officials who try.

As the elected Attorney General of Kansas, Phill Kline sought to investigate alleged crimes occurring in that state’s abortion clinics. In retaliation, the liberals who dominate the attorney disciplinary board of Kansas ginned up accusations of professional misconduct against him. They put him through a show trial they controlled, a process denounced by national conservative observers as a kangaroo court. Ultimately, a state judicial panel voted to suspend Kline indefinitely from the practice of law, which is disbarment by another name. Kline already has forfeited his law license by not paying his annual dues. Not content with that outcome, the disciplinary board now has urged formal disbarment by the Kansas Supreme Court; a decision is pending but obviously will not be positive for Kline. Sound familiar?

How do we begin to reform a legal profession and judiciary that are so openly hostile to conservatives and the pro-life cause in particular? Forty years after Roe, it is clear we cannot. These institutions are rotten and cannot be reformed from within. I believe I speak with some authority on the matter.

The only path to genuine reform is for the people to take direct control of these institutions and make judges accountable once again. In Arizona, voters must be given meaningful information so they can make informed decisions about whether to retain judges whose names appear on the ballot. Nationally, federal judges must be stripped of their jurisdiction over select areas of policy where they habitually abuse their powers. Nothing else will work. Be advised these will be very hard fights. The political and cultural left is without moral compass, has many powerful allies, and plays to win.

Our federal and state constitutions already authorize us to take such actions. We must find the courage to do so, so that we may start prevailing in this very difficult but most noble fight.

Jefferson’s Omen

If we fail, we will lose not only on the pro-life front. We will be forced to concede that Jefferson’s omen has proven true. We will have replaced the British crown with black-robed American oligarchs, swapping one unelected tyranny for another. Our democratic experiment will have failed. We cannot let this happen.

For attempting such changes, we will be savaged by the liberal media and legal establishment. We will be scorned and browbeaten in a manner familiar to the first Christians and anyone else throughout history who has advocated significant social reforms. But we must try. We can no longer accept repeated defeats in the culture wars simply because of reluctance to take on the liberal judiciary and their allies. Roe v. Wade was born in the courts, and it is there where it must be slain.

It is time for us to start taking ground again.

During the Second World War, the British put up posters throughout London featuring Prime Minister Winston Churchill flashing his familiar “V for victory” gesture. The slogan on the poster was: Deserve Victory.

We should follow the same standard. That starts with recognizing, in this next election cycle, what true victory requires of us all.

Thank you and God bless you.

Tempe: Your Money to Burn

money_on_fire_op_449x6001-2

Tempe leads the East Valley in crime, taxes and city costs, except for Mesa’s water and solid waste disposal charges.  In those two cases Tempe places second in costs behind Mesa.  Tempe  has a serious crime rate that is considerably higher than the rest of the East Valley.

Tempe officials continually blame Arizona State University for city woes, but I find it hard to believe the 35,000 or so students that attend classes at the Tempe campus are the culprits for all of Tempe’s fiscal and crime problems.

In the May, 2011 East Valley Tribune column, Tempe should spend less, cut more before raising taxes, it said “If Tempe spent per resident what Mesa spends on policing, they’d save taxpayers over $14 million a year.”  Those savings would pay for the new dam in two and a half years.  Even with reduced spending, Mesa continues to have a significantly lower crime rate than Tempe.

Average Amount a Residential Household Pays in Sales Tax
Chandler $481
Gilbert $423
Mesa $417
Tempe $555
City Property Taxes
Chandler $174
Gilbert $165
Mesa $51
Tempe $267
Water and Wastewater
Chandler $555
Gilbert $574
Mesa $820
Tempe $622
2013 Annual Rate for Solid Waste Pick-up Costs
Chandler $181
Gilbert $208
Mesa $287
Tempe $240
Source: City of Tempe
 2011 FBI Crime Rate per 100,000 Residents
             Violent Crime Property Crime
Chandler 284.4 3,096.90
Gilbert 84.2 1,823
Mesa 412.8 3,395.10
Tempe 479.9 5,446.70
Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports
http://www.bjs.gov/ucrdata/Search/Crime/Local/OneYearofData.cfm
Policing Costs per Resident
Chandler $350
Gilbert $176
Mesa $321
Tempe $410
City Employees per 1,000 Residents
Chandler 6.6
Gilbert 5.7
Mesa 8.2
Tempe 9.9
Source: East Valley Tribune, May 25, 2011
http://eastvalleytribune.com/opinion/columnists/article_

Until the residents step up and demand accountability and transparency the Tempe leadership will continue to act like it has money to burn, your money to burn that is.

Matthew Papke is graduate of Corona del Sol and a Marine. He is running for Tempe city Council in 2014 on a platform of fiscal responsibility and civic duty. Matthew’s website is freetempe.com

“The bus stops here!” Tempe Council’s culture of compliance

By Matthew Papke (Reposted from freeTempe.com)

Monday a transportation crisis was averted in Tempe Arizona.  Throughout the previous week and leading up to the first day back to school many parents were faced with the unease of not knowing how their children would get to class. Could this have been avoided? What led to this near disaster?

7_28_08_school_bus

A Bad Deal
In November of 2012 the Tempe City Council voted unanimously and without pubic debate to move Tempe’s bus services management contract from Veolia to Regional Transportation Planning Agency (RTPA). In January the new transit agreement was signed without a minimum bus service requirement. This under sight is the reason for the near devastating Monday so many parents would have been affected by.

Culture of Compliance
Unlike our kitchen tables or work places, the Tempe City Council does not offer much in the way of discussion or debate. Speedily or perhaps hurriedly decisions are often voted on with super majorities in favor of almost every single measure that comes before the council. The RTPA contract was likely not read or fully understood by the Council for if it was it certainly would have had a clause to ensure minimum service requirements for our residents. It would seem they spent millions of your Tempe Tax dollars in minutes without READING THE FINE PRINT.

Council member Joel Navarro has been quoted as saying he was “Livid” at the lack of a minimum service requirement in the Tempe transit contract. “This is killing people,” Tempe City Councilman Joel Navarro said Friday. “We have tons of kids who take the buses to school. It can’t go to Monday.” The article went further on to state. “Navarro is livid that Tempe and Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority officials put out a bid for a transit contract that did not require the company to provide minimum bus service.”

While NAVARRO’s fervor is welcomed, we should remind him that on November 15th, 2012 Council members Navarro along with Robin Arredondo-Savage, Onnie Shekerjian, Shana Ellis and Corey Woods, all voted in favor of moving the management of Tempe’s transit needs from Tempe to a regional resource the Planning (RTPA), this vote occurred without any debate on November 15th, 2012 AND COSTS TEMPE RESIDENTS OVER $10 MILLION A YEAR.

In January Shana Ellis was quoted saying “Tempe’s priority is to provide connectivity to our residents, students and regional visitors while we also protect and enhance our transit network.” I wonder if she knew at the time the transit contract did not contain a minimum service requirement.

The Bus stops here!
Had the council been brave or knowledgeable enough to ask then what they were asking yesterday, in the middle of a crisis, Then perhaps the entire “HOW AM I GOING TO GET MY KIDS TO SCHOOL” fiasco could have been averted.

Matthew Papke is a graduate of Corona del Sol, a Marine and current resident of Tempe Arizona. Matthew is also a filed candidate for Tempe City Council 2014. Please send any questions or comments to Matt@freetempe.com

AZPIA Files Lawsuit To Halt Betsey Bayless’ Misuse of Maricopa County Taxpayer Funds

Moves Violate Constitution, Benefit Another County,  and Jeopardize Support for Healthcare District

(MESA, Ariz.)  An increasingly influential public interest group, Arizona Public Integrity Alliance (AZPIA), has filed suit in Maricopa County Superior Court alleging that Betsey Bayless has or is about to illegally give away $10 million of Maricopa County taxpayer funds to a private entity.

Bayless is the CEO of the Maricopa County Special Health Care District (District), which does business under the name Maricopa Integrated Health Systems (MIHS).  AZPIA has had success impacting local politics and public policy and is now challenging Bayless’ misconduct.

The District infamously spiked Bayless’ salary last New Year’s Eve, from $375,000 to half a million dollars.  The spike occurred despite her pending retirement, drawing the ire of media and taxpayers alike.

“The New Year’s Eve salary spike was outrageous, but not illegal.  However, the subsequent activities by MIHS to flagrantly disregard its voter-approved mission and invest $10 million to displace an award-winning private sector provider of behavioral health services was the last straw,” said Pace Ellsworth with AZPIA.

In its bid proposal for the three-year contract to serve as the Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) for Geographic Service Area 6 which includes Maricopa and parts of Pinal County, MIHS promised $10 million for its joint venture with Southwest Catholic Healthcare Network (d/b/a Mercy Care), to form and fund the entity called Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care (MMIC).

“Taxpayers authorized the District to provide certain services within Maricopa County.  This isn’t one of them,” Ellsworth said. Furthermore, the District is actually proposing to use Maricopa County Taxpayer funds to serve parts of Pinal County.

“Obamacare is so distasteful because it crowds out the effectiveness and efficiency of the private sector for a government takeover.  And that’s what is starting to happen now with MIHS.  They must not be allowed to stray from their core mission and the trust taxpayers have placed in them,” Ellsworth said.  He also called the use of Maricopa County taxpayer dollars to benefit Pinal County healthcare “outrageous.”

“Maricopa County voters would never have taxed themselves knowing of these plans and abuses. And they won’t pass further support for the District if they insist on proceeding,” Ellsworth said.

AZPIA attorney, Chris LaVoy, said this is a  plain violation of Arizona law and a serious misuse of taxpayer funds.

“We are not only going to pursue this legal action, but we are considering recall actions against each of the voter-installed members of the District board who never told voters about this money grab.  Between the ridiculous raise provided the CEO and now this, we think voters will revolt against the very people who empowered these abuses,” Ellsworth said.

For a copy of the lawsuit filed by Chris LaVoy of Tiffany & Bosco, please contact Michael Scerbo.

For more information or to make a contribution please go to www.azpia.org or visit them on Facebook.

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.

The Alliance of Principled Conservatives Stands for Founding Principles


In 1776 the British monarchy hired the Hessian mercenaries to terrorize the colonists in the New World. Ideas like “freedom” and “representation” were considered extreme and radical.

Today in Arizona we face a Governor willing to bypass the checks and balances put in place by our Founding Fathers. A Governor who purposely uses special privileges as a weapon against elected legislators. A Governor who is willing to subvert the spirit of the constitution, call a special session and suspend the rules just to force the largest socialistic takeover in U.S. history – the Obamacare/Medicaid Expansion – upon the people she was elected to serve.

She trampled on our rights. She took away our right to fair representation.  The end result of her actions will eventually lead to the full implementation of Obamacare which will force Arizonans to buy taxed tea ..oops.. I mean Federal health insurance.

Our Government is trampling on our freedoms at the National and State level.

The United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives is also labeled “extreme” and “fringe.” URAPC has risen up with pens and clipboards in hand to stop Obamacare using volunteer grassroots Arizonans. So the Governor’s Team forms an opposing committee that throws around outrageous accusations that if URAPC is   “successful, there are a lot of people who are going to get harmed” and then threatening “we’re going to be as aggressive as possible to get out to the public.” 

  • They cannot win on the issues.
  • They cannot get a bill passed without suspending the rules, and threatening to remove the President and Speaker.
  • Now they are “aggressively” misleading a.k.a. lying to people to stop us from gathering signatures.

In spite of a well funded $150,000 campaign to stop the gathering of signatures the Alliance of volunteer Republican Principled Conservatives grows. 

Swelling the ranks are activists who have been discouraged by the lack of conviction, the lack of pride in the basic Republican tenets of limited government and individual responsibility, and the courage to stand and say “that is wrong get out of the tent.”

URAPC is committed to maintaining the deep individualist spirit of Arizona and restoring freedom from an obtrusive government by leading the way to Veto Governor Brewer’s Medicaid Expansion.

Join us today and fill out a petition today!

www.urapc.org

Limiting Government Week Launches Online Petition

Limiting Government Week

State Representative Steve Montenegro, Co-Chair

State Senator Al Melvin, Co-Chair 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - June 26, 2013

Phoenix, AZ – Responding to the positive reactions we have received from Arizona voters to our Limiting Government Week proposal, we have launched an online petition to encourage the Arizona Legislature to agree to our proposal starting with the 2014 Legislative Session.

The online petition is available at:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/limiting_government_week_in_arizona

We encourage everyone who supports this idea to sign that petition.  Together, we can make positive changes here in Arizona!

ABOUT LIMITING GOVERNMENT WEEK – Limiting Government Week is a proposition by State Representative Steve Montenegro and State Senator Al Melvin that one week out of each legislative session be set aside exclusively for bills that reduce or eliminate arcane laws and burdensome regulations that do nothing to improve the lives of Arizonans or the economic health of its employers.

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Drive for Limiting Government Week Begins

Limiting Government Week

State Representative Steve Montenegro, Co-Chair

State Senator Al Melvin, Co-Chair

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - June 25, 2013

Phoenix, AZ – Earlier today we emailed our Republican colleagues in the State House and State Senate respectively to seek their support for what we are calling Limiting Government Week.

As Republicans, we are supposed to be believers in limiting government and maximizing individual liberty.  As conservatives, it is not just a line in a Party Platform but a guiding principle.

Yet the work of a State Legislator too often consists of revising laws, writing new laws, and only rarely scaling back or eliminating existing laws.  We would like to see that change and we believe that Arizona’s economy and taxpayers would be well-served by Limiting Government Week.

With enough support from both leadership and rank-and-file members, we propose that one entire week in the upcoming 2014 legislative session be dedicated to eliminating arcane laws and burdensome regulations that do nothing to improve the lives of Arizonans or the economic health of its employers.

There is little debate we are burdened by too much government and all of that government comes at the expense of our wallets and our freedoms.  Limiting Government Week is a good start to reversing that dangerous trend and it is our hope that the positive attention that Arizona garners will send a powerful message nationwide that Arizona is open for business and takes seriously the idea of limited government.

And for those who yearn for Limiting Government Month, we say “Stay Tuned!”

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LimitingGovernment@gmail.com

Government Contract Rigged for MIHS?

CASH

Magellan Health Services filed a “formal protest and a lawsuit” against Maricopa Integrated Health Services or MIHS. Magellan had managed a contract that included serving Maricopa County’s poor since 2007. Magellan’s complaint alleges numerous irregularities:

In its protest, Magellan alleges that Mercy Maricopa has “serious conflicts of interest” because Mercy Maricopa intends to both manage the system and provide services, which is prohibited by the contract and by state law. Magellan also claims that Mercy Maricopa should have been ineligible to bid on the contract but that state procurement officials improperly amended the request for proposals “to permit the winning bidder to qualify as an eligible bidder.”

Magellan Arizona CEO Richard Clarke told The Arizona Republic that there were “serious irregularities in the bidding process,” such as the state twice amending the proposal request “at the last moment” to allow bidders to subcontract services, which benefited the Mercy Maricopa proposal.

Magellan also claims that the bids were improperly scored and that “there was an overall bias in favor of the winning bidder.”

For example, Clarke said, both organizations proposed eliminating the separate provider network for children’s treatment and using the administrative savings for direct services. Mercy Maricopa earned points for that portion of its proposal, but Magellan did not, he said. “There are a number of errors like that where it’s really clear to us that the two entities were judged very differently,” he said.

Magellan’s complaint targets not only MIHS but Betsey Bayless, MIHS’ CEO. Bayless has previously been under scrutiny for receiving a $125,000 taxpayer funded pay raise earlier this year, bringing her annual salary to $500,000 - in taxpayer money.  Bayless was viewed by many as a spoiler in the 2002 governor’s race between Matt Salmon and Governor Napolitano. Napolitano won by less than 10,000 votes and in return, Bayless was appointed as director of the Department of Administration. Bayless’ appointment would serve as a launching pad to her lucrative position at MIHS, a position which many view is beyond her qualifications.

The Arizona Republic also states an interesting fact about the state contract:

The contract, worth $2 billion to $3 billion, depending on whether the state expands Medicaid, is the states first for integrated health care, which blends physical- and mental-health treatment.

The difference between $2 billion and $3 billion is staggering. The Arizona Republic understates the amount and ignores the underlying possible nefarious motive for the changing of state law, bidding processes, and why MIHS would want the contract.  To put this into context, the difference between $2 billion and $3 billion is the difference between, say, Jerry Jones and Steven Spielberg.

Another key factor easily glossed over by the Arizona Republic is that MIHS receives nearly $60 million dollars in property taxes each year.  So, you essentially have a taxpayer-subsidized government entity bidding against private providers for the largest behavioral health contract the state has ever offered.  Does that seem fair?

The legal challenge by Magellan will hopefully shed light on the seemingly back door deal and reveal what really took place in the bidding process. When $3 billion in taxpayer dollars is at stake, the people deserve complete transparency on state contracts.

Ten Reasons to Decline Medicaid Expansion in Arizona

By Christina Corieri, Heath Care Policy Analyst, Goldwater Institute

1. Expanding Medicaid will cost Arizona hundreds of millions of dollars.

For the first three years, the federal government has promised to cover 100% of the medical costs for the newly eligible Medicaid enrollees, and yet the cost to Arizona’s General Fund for the first year alone would be $154 million. The costs to the state are a result of the fact that the federal reimbursement rate of 100% applies only to the direct medical expenses of the newly eligible enrollees, not the additional administrative costs. Additionally, the 100% reimbursement rate does not apply to those new enrollees who were previously eligible but either did not know it or otherwise failed to enroll.

The true costs to Arizona have been hidden by projections that reflect only the first three years of the expansion, not the later years when the state’s share increases. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that the total cost to Arizona for 2014-2019 could be as high as $739 million depending on how many newly eligible people enroll.

2. A supermajority vote is required to authorize new taxes.

In 1992, Arizona voters passed Proposition 108, which requires approval of 2/3 of both chambers of the Legislature to impose a new tax or fee or to increase an existing tax or fee. There is a narrow exception for “fees and assessments that are authorized by statute, but are not prescribed by formula, amount, or limit, and are set by a state officer or agency.”

The proposed Medicaid expansion disregards the spirit and letter of the law. Because the Governor’s office has explicitly prescribed the assessment amount in the proposed budget, the tax increase doesn’t fall within the exception in the law.

If legislators authorize a provider tax by a simple majority vote, they will circumvent the will of the voters and will be vulnerable to a lawsuit that, if successful, will leave the legislature with an expensive Medicaid expansion that lacks a funding mechanism.

3. The federal government is unlikely to maintain promised funding rates.

President Obama has already proposed cutting the promised reimbursement rate to states in his last two budgets.

The Governor’s office has acknowledged that Washington will likely cut its promised funding level. A publication released from the Governor’s office in January entitled Difficult Choice: Expanding Adult Medicaid Coverage states “it is probable that, at some point, the federal government will choose to reduce reimbursements to the states as a consequence of its own fiscal challenges.” In fact, the circuit breaker, which is intended to protect Arizona from additional costs, is not activated until the federal government cuts the reimbursement rate for the newly eligible enrollees to less than 80% – effectively allowing the federal government to double Arizona’s share of the costs before the state would react.

4. The provider tax, which is the proposed funding mechanism for the expansion, could be limited or eliminated.

A provider tax is a scheme by which states tax healthcare providers in order to draw down additional federal matching dollars. The tax paid by healthcare providers is returned to them via increased Medicaid spending in the state or increased Medicaid reimbursement rates to providers.

There are growing calls from both sides of the aisle in Washington to limit or eliminate the ability to assess a provider tax. Attacks have come from President Obama, Majority Whip Durbin (D-IL), Senator Corker (R-TN), House Republicans, and the Simpson Bowles Commission. If the provider tax is limited or eliminated, Arizona will be left holding the bill.

Eliminating or limiting the provider tax will not trigger the circuit breaker despite the fact that it would leave the expansion in place with no funding source besides the general fund.

5. The circuit breaker may not be enforced by a future governor and future legislature.

The circuit breaker is designed to automatically abolish the Medicaid expansion if the federal reimbursement rate for the newly eligible enrollees ever falls below 80%.

If circuit breaker is triggered, the sitting governor and legislature would face a media storm as thousands of people who had become dependent on free government health care were removed from the Medicaid rolls. Arizona has already experienced such a media storm when the state did not drop coverage, but merely froze enrollment for childless adults up to 100% of the federal poverty level in 2011.

6. The Woodwork Effect is likely to be much larger than anticipated.

The federal health care law’s higher reimbursement rate does not apply to the costs associated with those individuals who are newly enrolled but who were previously eligible – this is referred to as the “woodwork effect.”

When Arizona passed Prop 204, it was estimated that roughly 129,000 people would fall into this category. But by 2003 it was approximately 250,000 – almost double the original estimate, costing the state hundreds of millions in unexpected money.

7. Uncompensated care is unlikely to decrease.

The Governor’s office has stated that uncompensated care results in a hidden tax of $2,000 per family per year that is reflected in the family’s insurance premium. Proponents of the expansion claim that it will solve the problem of uncompensated care and eliminate this hidden tax.

The same claims were made by proponents of Prop 204, but neither claim proved true. Uncompensated care increased by an average of 9% a year during the first seven years of the Prop 204 expansion according to a study by the Lewin Group. And the average family premium increased from $8,972 in 2003 to $14,854 in 2011 – a 66% increase. There is no reason to believe the results will be different this time.

8. Cost projections are likely incorrect, as Arizona’s last Medicaid expansion illustrates.

The Prop 204 expansion was four times more expensive than the projected cost each year. For example, in 2008, the cost of covering the Prop 204 population was projected to be $389 million, but the cost was actually $1.623 billion.

9. There is no rush because a state can choose to expand Medicaid at any time.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have made it clear that states may opt into the Medicaid expansion at any time. It would be wise for Arizona to wait and see how the expansion plays out in other states before committing Arizona to an expansion that will be incredibly expensive and difficult to roll back.

10.There is no such thing as free federal money.

This “free federal money” is borrowed money which taxpayers must pay back.

By agreeing to the Medicaid expansion, Arizona legislators would be committing current and future Arizona taxpayers to billions of dollars in new federal debt, and each Arizona legislator who votes for the expansion will be complicit in Washington’s spending problem.

Click here to download “Ten Reasons to Decline Medicaid Expansion in Arizona.”

Congressman Matt Salmon: Medicaid Needs Reform, Not Expansion

Matt Salmon

First bill repeals Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, gives states more flexibility 

WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Matt Salmon (AZ-05) introduced his first piece of legislation in the 113th Congress. Salmon released the following statement regarding H.R. 1404, The Medicaid Expansion Repeal and State Flexibility Act:

“Today, I’m honoring my pledge to fight with everything I have to eliminate Obamacare before it causes more damage to our economy. 

“My first step in this fight addresses Medicaid expansion at the federal level. 

“One of the big-ticket items included in Obamacare was a provision that essentially bribed states to expand their Medicaid eligibility requirements to 138% of the poverty level, and to have the Federal government pay for 100% of the expansion.  As with most other aspects of Obamacare, unwanted strings are attached. 

Obamacare only covers the full cost of this expansion for the initial years, but leaves the onerous federal mandates to stay.”  

“Medicaid needs reform, not expansion.” 

“Instead of more federal mandates, I support giving States the maximum flexibility to provide services to their most vulnerable populations.  My bill strikes the Medicaid expansion from Obamacare, and provides this flexibility without the strings attached. 

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to repeal this and more of Obamacare’s harmful federal policies.”

Additional Information:

  • Since the creation of Medicaid in 1965, the focus of this program has been on providing health care to vulnerable low-income individuals.
  • Under current law, the Medicaid expansion is expected to cost Federal and State governments over $500 billion dollars from 2014-2019.
  • Currently, Medicaid provides health care to over 60 million Americans and consumes a growing portion of State and Federal budgets.
  • By adopting the Medicaid expansion to cover up to 138% of the federal poverty level provided in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), states will be expanding Medicaid to a different population of able-bodied adults, the vast majority of whom are single and without dependents.
  • Adding more people to the already distressed system only further exacerbates Medicaid’s underlying problems.

Click here to read the text of H.R. 1404

Click here to view a video message from Rep. Salmon on H.R. 1404.

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