Special Interest spends nearly $700K to re-elect Bob Burns

SIspends
NEARLY THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLION DOLLARS SPENT
AND THEY AREN’T DONE YET!

In campaign finance reports submitted today, it’s reported that Save Our AZ Solar spent $667,082.04 with the hopes of getting Bob Burns re-elected to the Corporation Commission. When you dive a little deeper into the numbers you’ll see that Save Our AZ Solar received $700,000 from SolarCity. And ALL of this spending took place over a 16 day period – August 2 – August 18.  You can review the finance report here.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

Mailing services (mail pieces) – $436,097.16
Digital ads – $225,000
Robocalls – $5,984.88

In Burn’s campaign rhetoric he speaks often about “special interests” trying to stack the deck at the Corporation Commission.

This infusion of cash from SolarCity in support of Burns is starting to make us believers.

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Solar Money Buying the Election for Bob Burns?

The past few years have seen an explosion of outside money to aid campaigns. Outside money is not new to politics and has been around since the dawn of democracy. What is new, however, is that much of it can be spent without knowing who is funding it. In the fights over election spending in Arizona, a lot has been made of outside money that the utilities may have given to aid Corporation Commission candidates. The Commission regulates utilities, so it seems to be a fair question. In the newspapers’ zeal to find out everybody’s sources except their own, (which they conveniently feel a 1st amendment right to do) they have launched some serious charges against local utility companies. What they haven’t done is given the same level of scrutiny to solar companies who have used outside money to aid pro-solar commission candidates.

Recently, Chris Mayes, Janet Napolitano’s spokeswoman and a Napolitano appointee to the Corporation Commission, has been leading efforts by solar companies to spend millions of dollars to aid the already largely subsidized solar industry. Voters should be wary when they see mail and hear calls from Mayes and solar dark money so that they don’t fall for the attacks on the current commission or commissioners. The current commission supports Arizona’s renewable energy mandate, which requires the utilities to use a mix of renewable energy already for distribution to Arizona homes. However that does not seem to be enough for the solar industry that wants to make profits off of government tax credits and federal dollars. Conservatives shouldn’t be deceived by claims made by solar alleging that those who want the market to decide the best energy sources are somehow anti-solar. Solar is already a part of the energy mix and will continue to be prevalent for quite some time. How much it should be subsidized by other rate payers is the real question before voters this November. Should a small percentage of solar users get tax credits and raise the cost for other energy users? Voters will weigh in August and November on these critical issues.

Has Andy Biggs Become A Globalist?

By East Valley Evan

Andy Biggs supported Ron Paul for President in 2008. His wife, Cindy, even donated to Paul’s campaign in 2008. He identified himself as an anti-establishment conservative but something changed. Andy Biggs was put into leadership and political power changed him. He started to get comfortable with lobbyists and the political establishment. He became cozy with interest groups like the Payday Loan industry and he opposed reforms to the lobbying process, such as bans on gifts to legislator’s.

To see how far Biggs has come, look at the compromises he’s already making in his run for congress.

Biggs supports the Export-Import Bank.

This bank is the pet project of the political elites and those with a globalist agenda. Biggs will tout his opposition to bringing money back to citizens in Arizona from the Feds, but has no problem spending tax dollars on a federal government bank to fund defense contractors, and businesses with large lobbying interests.

I think every conservative in CD-5 should know who Andy Biggs really is.

Here is what Andy Biggs said during the East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance debate when asked by Arizona Capitol Times reporter, Jim Small, if he supports renewal of the ExIM Bank:

 

Priorities: Governing vs. Campaigning

By East Valley Evan

It’s that weird time of the political season when conflicts arise revealing where politicians’ priorities really are.

Yesterday, leaders of the Arizona House and Senate reached a deal on how to divvy up sections of Governor Ducey’s budget proposal. That deal will be revealed today.

Setting aside the details of the deal, it’s worth pointing out where leaders of both chambers are spending their time as this process unfolds.

Every legislator acknowledges that the most important part of their job is to pass a budget that establishes the financial priorities for the State of Arizona. It’s what voters elect candidates to do and it’s the epitome of responsibility for legislators once elected.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]When it comes down to governing or campaigning, governing should always take priority.[/pullquote]

Citizens would think and expect leadership in the House and Senate to treat this constitutional obligation with the utmost attention. Apparently that obligation can take a back seat  if you’re a candidate for another office while holding down your leadership position in the legislature.

House Speaker David Gowan got it right (although he is avoiding interaction with members of the media these days) when he skipped a CD-1 candidate forum in Casa Grande Monday night. He stuck around the legislature to make sure the House wrapped up the budget deal.

It wasn’t the same on the Senate side. Senate President Andy Biggs was nowhere to be found in the State of Arizona. Instead, he is making the rounds in Washington, DC trying to raise money for his next government gig. According to the Arizona Republic:

Senate Majority Leader Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler — who was acting as Senate president while Andy Biggs was in Washington, D.C., Monday fundraising for a congressional campaign… 

Senate President Biggs who has become the professional career politician obviously feels the need to fly back to Washington, rub elbows with lobbyists and return home with a bundle of campaign cash.

Meanwhile, his colleagues in the House and Senate will work through the details on how best to spend Arizona taxpayer dollars.

It’s all about priorities.

~ He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much (Luke 16:10)

There’s Nothing Conservative or Independent About the Current Rooftop Solar Industry

Rooftop solar is one of the greatest technologies one can invest in these days. The cost of the rooftop units are coming down; it allows individuals to move toward self-sustainability; It reduces our dependence on foreign oil; and it even allows individuals to go entirely off grid and operate independent of utility companies.

So why would I make a statement about rooftop solar not being conservative?

Don’t get me wrong. If I had the means, I’d take my entire home and business off the grid for the reasons I listed above.

It comes down to one word – Independence.

A few years ago, I jumped on the anti-utility bandwagon over net metering and the push to reduce the retail rate. I had to suspend common sense and all those years of economic education to make the argument. I didn’t have the whole picture and the mountains of research to back up that claim.

315344_AZHomesSolarPanelsThe rooftop solar industry is dependent on taxpayers – especially taxpayers who don’t have rooftop solar units installed on their rooftops. That’s consumers like me who cannot afford to lease a product and service that relies on subsidies from consumers like me. To clarify, rooftop solar is still too expensive that average consumers have to sign a lease over a long-term period in order to make it affordable.

[If you’re gonna invest in technology that gives you independence, pay cash. It really is a liberating experience not owing anyone money – including rooftop solar companies!]

The rooftop solar industry is also part of broader political agenda by those typically on the left and in environmental movement who seek to eliminate all non-renewable forms of energy production. This comes at a tremendous cost – especially to consumers.

Integral to this political agenda, policy makers and rooftop solar executives have created a climate in order to make an expensive industry appeal to average consumers. It comes down to manipulating the market and creating artificial incentives in order to attract more consumers to its product.

Imagine if the top executives of Mercedes, Jaguar and Rolls Royce sent their lobbyists to Washington to obtain taxpayer subsidies so they could attract you into a lease of one of their vehicles? You sign a lease to get into their car. They get a break through some tax loophole and the cost of taking care of our roadways is passed on to the individual who can only afford to drive a 10-year-old used car.

The reality is that many solar companies cannot even operate as a viable business without some form of government subsidy. It’s a clear example of corporate cronyism that puts taxpayers at risk or worse, leaves them footing the bill when the company goes bankrupt – as we’ve already seen several times.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The reality is that many solar companies cannot even operate as a viable business without some form of government subsidy.[/pullquote]

The rooftop solar has been benefiting from these market manipulations through the policy of net metering. They tell you that you can sell your solar-generated electricity back to the utility companies and pay less for your overall electricity. On a self-interest level, that’s great. But what they don’t tell you is that you’re selling back that electricity (actually, you’re receiving a credit) at an inflated rate and someone else is paying for it – a redistribution of utility costs.

Rooftop solar companies don’t own the grid and they don’t pay for the cost and maintenance of the grid. And because utility companies are paying above-market inflated rates, the cost of maintaining the grid is being shifted over to those without solar technology.

In effect, the rooftop solar industry has created a whole new level of dependency. They’ve made leasing consumers dependent on them. They’ve become dependent on net metering policy and utility companies have become dependent on non-solar customers. And when a solar company pulls its plant out of a state like what recently happened in Nevada, they leave a whole lot of people without jobs. There’s nothing sustainable about the overall climate and policy in which the rooftop solar industry operates.

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to afford solar technology without signing a long-term lease contract with the rooftop solar industry. We wouldn’t have to rely entirely on the grid and utility companies wouldn’t have to worry about covering the cost of maintenance in order to provide a reliable source of electricity.

To move toward that perfect world, we can start by eliminating the policies that pick and choose winners and losers through subsidizing and manipulating the energy marketplace.

That’s where real independence can begin and energy independence can thrive.

Special Interests Bullying Innovative Competitors

It’s always bad when an entrenched, politically-connected special interest tries to use force to bully innovative competitors and drive them out of the marketplace.  It’s even worse when those same special interests blatantly lie to do so.

InnovationThe rideshare industry in Arizona is innovative, uses new and impressive technology, and provides customers with a new – and cheaper – method of transportation.  HB 2262 would provide a proper and fair regulatory structure for ridesharing companies and prevent government interference from crippling these innovative job creators with regulations that do not fit the services they provide.

However, opponents of this bill have resorted to lies and deception to ensure their politically-connected monopoly continues.  They have spent countless time spreading the falsehood that rideshare company drivers are not properly insured and are dangerous – which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Drivers for rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are more insured and more heavily vetted than the cab drivers you see on the streets of Phoenix – by far.  Grassroots activists cannot allow an innovative job creator to be forced out of existence through lies and intimidation.

Please contact the following members of the Arizona Legislature and let them know the conservative grassroots believes we should be encouraging innovators who create jobs and economic prosperity in Arizona!

The rideshare industry in Arizona is innovative, uses new and impressive technology, and provides customers with a new – and cheaper – method of transportation.  HB 2262 would provide a proper and fair regulatory structure for ridesharing companies and prevent government interference from crippling these innovative job creators with regulations that do not fit the services they provide.

However, opponents of this bill have resorted to lies and deception to ensure their politically-connected monopoly continues.  They have spent countless time spreading the falsehood that rideshare company drivers are not properly insured and are dangerous – which couldn’t be further from the truth.

UberLyftDrivers for rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are more insured and more heavily vetted than the cab drivers you see on the streets of Phoenix – by far.  Grassroots activists cannot allow an innovative job creator to be forced out of existence through lies and intimidation.

Please contact the following members of the Arizona Legislature and let them know the conservative grassroots believes we should be encouraging innovators who create jobs and economic prosperity in Arizona!

Then, please click HERE to ask your senator and representatives to pass this legislation and send it up to the Governor’s desk!

If you would like to engage on the rest of AFP-Arizona’s priority agenda, please go to our main ACTION PAGE to learn how you can help on all the individual issues we are working on.

Help us keep up the fight!

I hope you’ll continue to stand with us as we fight for the interests of Arizona taxpayers, consumers and producers!

For Liberty,

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity

Why is Don Shooter Giving Government Special Treatment?

Toby Farmer

Toby Farmer Asks Don Shooter to Explain Intentions of Immunity Bill

Republican candidate Toby Farmer is asking State Senator Don Shooter to explain his sponsorship and support of a bill that gives the state and state employees complete immunity when they commit negligent acts on state trust lands. Sen. Shooter sponsored a bizarre amendment in the Appropriations Committee last week to a state trust lands bill. The provision, which Shooter authored, condones negligent acts of the state and its employees.

Right now as written, Shooter’s proposal would give the state complete immunity in the future, for example, in tragic wildland forest fires such as the Yarnell tragedy where 19 hotshot firefighters were killed last summer in northern Arizona. Families of the victims and property owners currently have claims against the state alleging negligence.

Toby Farmer asked, “Is Don Shooter okay with families, business owners, property owners and victims not receiving fair compensation when the state is in fact negligent? Why is Don Shooter okay with property owners who have been harmed by the state’s actions having no recourse for recovery or just compensation?” Farmer continued, “The potential harmful ramifications for the rural portions of my district and the landowners in Arizona cannot be understated.”

In committee, other Republican members and individuals who testified expressed their concerns and opposition to the language. In regards to the immunity language, Republican Senator Rick Murphy stated, “I’m not sure the Constitution would permit it.” A lawyer for one of the deceased hotshots and several landowners harmed by the fire called the provision “regrettable” and an “insult to firefighters.”

Farmer continued, “Why should government have special protections when there is clear negligence that businesses and regular people do not? It’s a scary world where a government can’t be held liable for its actions.”

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 To learn more about Toby’s campaign, visit www.FarmerAZ.com.

Toby Farmer Calls on Don Shooter to Provide Proof of Suspicious Campaign Expenses

Toby Farmer

Toby Farmer Calls on Don Shooter to Provide Proof of Suspicious Campaign Expenses

Yesterday, Republican candidate for Arizona State Senate legislative district 13, Toby Farmer, criticized reported campaign expenses in Senator Don Shooter’s most recent campaign finance filing. The Arizona Republic recently uncovered troubling items in Shooter’s finance report, which includes:

● More than $18,000 in travel related expenses including fuel, mileage reimbursement, auto repair, and lodging.

● Over $15,000 in legal fees, including $10,100 in fees directly related to his three misdemeanor charges for barging into his grandson’s classroom and confronting a school teacher last year.

● Nearly three quarters of the $43,000 Shooter raised last cycle came from lobbyists and other special interests who have business at the State Capitol.

The Arizona Republic also uncovered that in addition to his $24,000 per year taxpayer salary, Shooter collected another $8,029 directly from taxpayers as part of his reimbursement for commuting to the Capitol to conduct legislative business. This amount is on top of the more than $18,000 he transferred from his campaign account for fuel and mileage reimbursement.

“The contents of Don Shooter’s campaign finance report are extremely troubling,” said Buckeye businessman Toby Farmer, who is challenging Shooter in the Republican Senate primary. “Senator Shooter appears to be transferring personal campaign contributions from lobbyists and special interest groups and lining his personal pockets by collecting both mileage reimbursement and gas money in addition to mileage reimbursement from the taxpayers of Arizona.”

If the Arizona Republic is correct, Senator Shooter would have driven over 30,000 miles in the last campaign cycle according to the legally binding reports he filed with authorities. Remarkably, that’s enough mileage to travel around the globe one-and-a-half times.

“Remarkably, when I speak with voters in his district in Maricopa County, no one seems to know who Don Shooter is,” said Farmer. “Mr. Shooter owes the taxpayers of Arizona and the voters of my district an explanation and proof of what he is spending this substantial amount of money on.”

Earlier this year, Don Shooter notoriously made headlines when he told a local television reporter that he wouldn’t give up free tickets from lobbyists to events like the Fiesta Bowl unless the taxpayers of Arizona gave him a pay raise.

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For more information on Toby’s campaign, please visit: www.FarmerAZ.com.

UPDATE: Hospitals Paying Traitors for Their Yes Votes on OBrewercare

Monday’s, September 23’s, Yellow Sheet Report reported that the Friday, September 20 fundraiser thrown by the health care-industrial complex for their bought-and-paid-for legislators (Sens. McComish [LD 18], Pierce [LD1], Driggs [LD 28], and Worsley [LD 25], and Reps. Shope [LD 8], McGee [LD28], Carter [LD 15], Coleman [LD 16], Dial [LD 18], Goodale [LD 5], Orr [LD 9], Pratt [LD 8], and Robson [LD 18]) who voted to expand Medicaid rolls under Obamacare is expected to raise $350,000 meaning that the 13 Republican traitors for whom the event was thrown will receive almost $27,000 for their campaign warchests in exchange for their votes assuming the cash is split evenly.  The article states that the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association is holding another fundraiser for these traitors in roughly a month on October 23.  Assuming that this upcoming fundraiser collects as much as the one on September 20, the hospital-industrial complex will be halfway to fulfilling their promise to give turncoat legislators $100,000 for their campaign warchests.

To additionally show that this is a quid pro quo, note that the recipients of this campaign cash DIRECTLY matches the traitorous Republicans that voted to expand Arizona’s medicaid program under Obamacare’s provisions (HB 2010 in the First Special Session of the 51st Legislature).  Also, the Yellow Sheet reports that a lobbyist at the event stated that the fundraiser was to support those Republicans that voted for OBrewercare who would likely face primary opposition .  The unnamed lobbyist indicated that the hospital-industrial complex crony corporatists wanted to do “everything we can to assist them.”  In other words, the traitors lined the hospitals’ pockets, now, it’s time for the health care industry pay these corrupt politicans back by giving them the resources necessary to be nigh undefeatable in an election.

Keep an eye out, voters.  We could be seeing two additional fundraisers for these criminals and it will give them almost insurmountable cash to ensure that they are re-elected.  Not only did these people take money out of your pocket to line their own, but they are also trying to subvert your choice in who represents you.  You should be very angry.  Again, follow the money.  When their campaign finance reports come out, read them.  Learn exactly who is pulling their strings.  FINANCIALLY support their primary opponents!  Tell everyone you can about what you know about these criminals that are fleecing you.  Remember what you’ve learned when you go to the polls and urge your friends to do the same.

AZ Electric Utility Rates: Regulated Monopoly or Free-Market Competition?

gavel1-300x223In May, 2013, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) opened a docket to gather information on how Arizona might allow competition among electric companies. On September 11, they shut down the docket with a 4-1 vote, citing “legal issues” that were apparently just too much trouble to tackle. Maybe the ACC will tell us more about that later(?).

So until & unless a new docket on the subject is opened, it’s over.  Of course, Arizona residents do still have a choice: either sign up with the one company legally allowed to provide electric service in your area or go without electricity altogether.

APS and SRP are regulated monopolies. The ACC sets the rate of return that they are allowed to earn on their capital investment in generating stations, transmission lines, and so on*. Their day-to-day operating expenses, depreciation expenses, taxes, etc. are fully covered, dollar-for-dollar, by their customers (you and me). That’s the law.

power-transmissionIs that so bad? Yes, it can be. This is the classic problem of regulated monopolies. While their rate of return is firmly capped by ACC, what are the incentives these monopolies have to hold down their capital expenditures on which they earn that guaranteed return? And what are their incentives to minimize expenses such as payroll? Technically, there aren’t any, other than their own good will and the ACC looking over their shoulder.

So can’t the ACC guarantee that the monopolies are run efficiently?  Oh, would that it were!  No, ACC politicians can’t hope to micromanage a monopoly for efficiency.  On the other hand, if there were competition, the utility would have to run itself efficiently or lose customers to a more efficient competitor that could charge lower prices.

Even when the monopolies are run by people of good will and good intentions**, they can easily slip into inefficient behaviors when there is no overriding free-market, profit-motivated, competitive incentive to stay efficient and keep prices down.

Bell_System_1939I’ve been through deregulation before. From 1969 to 1984, I worked at Bell Laboratories, the research arm of the biggest regulated monopoly ever — the old Bell System (“Ma Bell”).  We even had our own tightly coupled manufacturing arm called Western Electric.  The old Bell System was heavily regulated at the federal, state, and (in some states like Texas) local level.

In the old Bell System our advertising proudly claimed that we provided the world’s best telephone service at the world’s lowest prices. And we really did. But the DOJ Antitrust Division broke up AT&T anyway in 1984, opening the long-distance and equipment manufacturing businesses to competition. It was traumatic for us.  It was complicated.  But the job got done, and today’s telecom industry is much more competitive, innovative, entrepreneurial, and a lot cheaper than it would be if we still had one grand national monopoly.

powerlinesWouldn’t it be nice if the same thing happened with electric power in Arizona?  It could — but not until the ACC opens another docket and attacks those “legal issues” anew.

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*Correction: As shown on the ACC website, ACC regulates rates for APS, but on SRP, ACC is only involved when SRP wants to build large power plants (100 Megawatts) or very high voltage transmission lines (115 kVolts.)  ACC also regulates Tucson Electric Power (TEP).

** Regarding good intentions:  A look at the SRP and APS websites will show that these utilities are indeed responsible corporate citizens, offering ratepayers tips, a choice of rate plans, rebates, and other assistance to help customers lower their electric bills. Both utilities and their employees are involved in conservation, and I know first-hand of their contributions to public education in Arizona. But business is business, and there’s nothing like the pressure of competition and the incentive of higher profits to drive a company to run the most efficient operation and offer the lowest prices possible.