That wailing and moaning you’re about to hear

 

AFP

Dear Arizona Taxpayer:

The wailing and moaning you’re about to hear on your television and see in your newspaper is the sound of Arizona’s spending lobbies after they read the executive budget released today by Arizona’s new Governor, Doug Ducey.

TAKE ACTION TO SUPPORT GOV. DUCEY’S BUDGET

Supporters of Big Government will HATE this budget:

●  The school district bureaucrats who steal money from the students and teachers in our classrooms will loathe the fact that Gov. Ducey’s budget reduces administrative bureaucracy by $113 million (with no cuts to actual classroom spending).

●  The corporate crony capitalists will wail about the $100 million slush fund Gov. Ducey wants to take away from the Arizona Commerce Authority.

●  The educrats who waste taxpayer money and student tuition dollars at our community colleges and universities will scream about the $84 million in reductions to their budgets.

They and their hundreds of lobbyists are going to fight hard to try to stop these cuts.  We need Arizona’s taxpayers, producers and consumers to STAND UP NOW and support Gov. Ducey’s budget reforms.

Ducey’s budget has more than $660 million in spending reductions for the fiscal year starting July 1 ($360 million is permanent and $304 million is temporary).  The permanent reductions will increase to nearly $450 million in the following fiscal year, when – for the first time since the go-go days of the real estate boom – the state budget will actually be structurally balanced.  WITH NO TAX INCREASES.

For real.

We’re not kidding.

We have always had a core of real fiscal conservatives at the Arizona Legislature who believed in balanced budgets and wanted to protect Arizona’s taxpayers, producers and consumers.  But for the first time in recent memory, an Arizona governor is actually taking the leadership role of holding the line against the growth of Big Government.

The executive budgets of Governors Napolitano and Brewer had absurdly high revenue predictions and dangerously high spending proposals that had to be cut down by the real leaders in the Legislature.  But it’s a new day in Arizona!  (For you budget wonks out there, Gov. Ducey’s $9.1 billion budget is well under the prudent budget limit of population-plus-inflation.)

Thank you for TAKING ACTION TODAY to fight Big Government in Arizona!

Also, if you want to send a personal thank-you note to Governor Ducey, you can find his contact page HERE.

For Liberty & Prosperity, Tom

Tom Jenney
Arizona State Director
Americans for Prosperity

Don’t Embrace Big Federal Government, Support the Compact for a Balanced Budget

By Nick Dranias

Yes, it’s true. The handful of folks who still oppose states organizing behind the Compact for a Balanced Budget to advance and ratify a powerful federal Balanced Budget Amendment embrace big federal government. Of course, they may not mean to do so. But the truth is that by hugging and holding the political status quo, the Balanced Budget Amendment fear-mongers are in a death embrace with the things they claim they oppose.

Why is that? Simply put, we no longer enjoy the form of federal government the Founders originally created. This is because the Constitution as it currently exists has three fatal flaws, which will inexorably lead to tyranny unless they are fixed with a constitutional amendment.

The first is the federal government’s unlimited borrowing capacity. This enables politicians to promise at no immediate cost anything it takes to get elected. That’s like handing liquor and car keys to a teenager. It guarantees a system crash propelled by mindless spending.

The second is unlimited direct taxation authority courtesy of the 16th Amendment. This empowers politicians to make 49% of the nation pay for anything the 51% want; and also to impose complete economic destruction on political enemies and disfavored policy ideas. If this flaw persists, what the IRS did to conservative groups two years ago is just a small taste of what the future holds.

The third is the unlimited concentration of power over national policy making in Washington, DC courtesy of the 17th Amendment. This amendment removed the states from a position of control over the U.S. Senate. It has enabled the federal government to ratify treaties and laws, as well as populate the federal judiciary and federal agencies, without any respect for state sovereignty. And it allows a growing distant political class in Washington, DC to easily leverage overwhelming national power to crush dissent and policy diversity in the heartland.

These three flaws will cause the federal government to gradually accumulate and centralize all political power over time. Over time, these three flaws will make it impossible for limited government and freedom-oriented elected officials to outcompete elected officials who favor big federal government for votes. Consequently, hugging and holding this fatally flawed system is doomed to produce the opposite of freedom. To mix metaphors, voting people in or out of the federal government under these conditions is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Only a constitutional amendment can fix the three fatal flaws of the Constitution as it currently exists. Nothing else will.

But it is irrational to expect two-thirds of each house of Congress to propose the necessary reform. The numbers did not add up in the 1980s, 1990s, or 2000s, and they just do not add up today. Instead, especially after the last election, there is a much more plausible pathway; that pathway involves organizing three-fourths of the states and simple majorities of Congress behind the necessary reform amendment in a targeted fashion. It means supporting the Compact for a Balanced Budget.

Simply put, the Balanced Budget Amendment advanced by the Compact for a Balanced Budget gives us the best shot of addressing each of the Constitution’s three fatal flaws with fundamental reforms.

To fix the flaw of unlimited federal borrowing capacity, the Amendment imposes an initially-fixed constitutional limit on available borrowing capacity. This limit gives the federal government an additional 5% in borrowing capacity above the outstanding federal debt upon ratification. This 5% cushion allows for a 1 to 2 year transitional period to responsible budgeting and fiscal planning. And there is no doubt the amendment will focus the mind during that transitional period. This is because the debt limit is coupled to a mandatory spending impoundment requirement that kicks-in when 98% of the debt limit is reached. Spending will be limited to available tax and fee cash flow if the debt limit is hit. There is no exception except for the referendum process described below. This one reform guarantees that Washington politicians will immediately lose the ability to promise anything at no immediate cost to get elected.

To fix the flaw of the unlimited centralization of national policy making in Washington, the Amendment empowers a majority of state legislatures to veto any increase in the federal government’s constitutionally-fixed borrowing capacity. To get any additional borrowing capacity above the initial constitutional baseline, simple majorities of Congress will have to refer-out a measure proposing the increase. The proposal will be deemed denied unless it is approved by at least twenty-six state legislatures within 60 days of the referral. With the federal government borrowing nearly half of discretionary spending, this referendum process divides power over national policy making between the states and the federal government in a big way.

Finally, to fix the flaw of unlimited federal taxation authority, the Amendment imposes a tax limit requiring two-thirds of each house of Congress to approve any new or increased income or sales tax. The current constitutional rule allowing for tax increases with simple majorities will be restricted to measures that would completely replace the income tax with a consumption sales tax, eliminate tax loopholes, or impose new or increased tariffs and fees. The reform will divert the pressure for new revenue to the places where special interest pushback will be the strongest, further ensuring that deficits are closed by spending reductions first.

National polling shows that each one of these policy fixes are supported by supermajorities of the American people. With Alaska and Georgia already on board, and at least ten states looking to join the Compact this session, the Compact for a Balanced Budget is an eminently plausible route to the reforms we need to save and restore the Republic.

Indeed, with demographic change threatening the supermajorities needed to get the job done, the Compact for a Balanced Budget may be our last best shot at preventing the federal tyranny that will otherwise inevitably result from the Constitution’s three fatal flaws of unlimited debt, unlimited taxation, and unlimited centralization of power in Washington.

Nick Dranias is President and Executive Director of the Compact for America Educational Foundation. Please visit their website at www.CompactforAmerica.org.

Don’t Give Your Money to Another Government-Run Hospital – Vote NO on 480!

Friends and supporters,

We are pleased to announce the launch of the first NO on Proposition 480 TV ad today.

Proposition 480 would impose a $1.6 billion tax increase on Maricopa County property owners for a new government run, county hospital. Many believe that the price tag for what amounts to a blank check is too high for a special district with a relatively narrow mission.

Supporters of Prop 480 don’t want to talk about the price tag. Neither do they want to explain how they are spending $600,000 of taxpayer money to run a feel good branding campaign in conjunction with the referendum campaign.

If you agree that Prop 480 is a bad idea at a bad time, please forward this ad to your friends via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets. Please help us get out the word that the price of Prop 480 is just too high.

Click below to view the ad, coming to a TV near you. Also please go to our website,VoteNOon480.com for additional information.

Andy Tobin: The Kirkpatrick Plan: Gut Our Schools

Andy Tobin

While Andy Tobin Was Joining With Democrats and Republicans to Protect Our Schools, Kirkpatrick Was Playing Partisan Politics

Andy Tobin today criticized Ann Kirkpatrick for failing to support a bipartisan solution he helped pass to protect our schools in Arizona and balance the budget, pointing out that under her plan, cuts to our schools would have skyrocketed.

Tobin was chief sponsor of Proposition 100, a bipartisan measure passed with 65 percent of the vote in 2010. The proposal, which Tobin sent to the ballot, was supported by a broad, bipartisan coalition including the education and business communities to protect funding for schools, public safety and health and human services.

However, Ann Kirkpatrick took a partisan approach and opposed the measure, offering no solutions to protect school funding during Arizona’s recession and budget crisis. In fact, even the Democrat who replaced Kirkpatrick in the state Legislature after she resigned to run for Congress, State Rep. Tom Chabin, voted with Tobin for this bipartisan, common-sense approach.

“I welcome a discussion about education and schools in this campaign,” Tobin said. “This race provides a clear contrast. As a father of five children who attended public schools, I’m proud to have helped lead bipartisan efforts to protect school funding, keep Arizona tuition low, provide additional dollars to our universities and community colleges, all while balancing our budget. I know Ann Kirkpatrick and her friends in Washington can print money, but in our state we have to act responsibly. When Arizona needed her, Kirkpatrick opposed our bipartisan plan to protect education funding and balance our budget.”

Take The Quiz! Who Said It?

Who Said It!

It’s time to have a little fun and see if our readers can tell the difference between Fred DuVal and Scott Smith. We’ve pulled a number of quotes from or about each candidate on issues important to Arizonans. We’ll post the issue followed by the quote and then let the readers guess who said it. (And no using Google search to cheat!)

COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM

A. “…we cannot continue with a broken system that keeps millions of people living in the shadows of our communities.”

B. “he supports driver’s licenses for young immigrants awarded work permits under a new Obama administration program. He also praised the U.S. Senate’s Gang of Eight for working on comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

DREAMERS

A. “My first action as governor will be to rescind Gov Brewer’s Executive Order against driver’s licenses for Dreamers.”

B. “The federal government’s half-steps on immigration are not doing us any favors, taking us further from the goal. These side discussions, such as the driver’s licenses discussion, are a distraction. The end game is a fair and just immigration process that includes allowing our DREAMERS to become legal.”

SB 1070

A. On Gov. Brewer “I think she got 1070 wrong…

B. “It’s not exactly the law I would have written.”

COMMON CORE

A. “I believe (Arizona’s) College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core) accomplish these objectives, and I support their implementation.”

B. “I fully support Common Core and applaud Governor Brewer’s efforts to ensure the implementation of these vital standards despite opposition from some members of her party.”

C. “And what we have proposed here, whether you call it common core or ready achievement or whatever, I don’t care the label you put on it, we have to do it. …”

D. “Rather than a top-down, one-size-fits-all, Washington, D.C. approach to education, Common Core is a perfect example of how states can lead the way on improving education.”

OBAMACARE MEDICAID EXPANSION

A. “It would be a terrible mistake not to expand Medicaid on federal dollars.”

B. “I supported the governors Medicaid restoration because she did what was best for Arizona.”

TAXES / BUDGET

A. “After the massive cuts to K-12 schools, defunding all-day kindergarten, and ending the once-cent sales tax that funds our children’s schools, the last thing the folks at the Capitol should do is to set another tripwire on our children’s road to opportunity.”

B. “Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a state legislator cutting spending without raising taxes.”

ENVIRONMENT

A. “It’s the Senate’s turn to pass energy-climate legislation.”

B. “I welcome the opportunity to join with 1,000 of my peers in this truly bipartisan effort to improve not only the environment, but our communities and our nation.”

POLITICAL LEANINGS:

A. “…a self-described moderate, said serving in the House would be a “wonderful opportunity to reach across the divide.”

B. “He will allow himself to be called a progressive, but takes pains to note the lowercase ‘p’…”

 

Feel free to post your answers in the comments!

Scott Smith’s Pursuit of Big Pay Raises

At a time when millions of Arizonans have struggled to make ends meet through the Great Recession, there’s one gubernatorial candidate who’s been indifferent to the plight of his paycheck-to-paycheck neighbors.

Former mayor of Mesa Scott Smith, whose net worth still remains undisclosed (although we know it’s well over $100K), pushed hard twice while mayor of Mesa to increase his pay and the pay of his fellow council members.

Prior to the increase, the charter for the city of Mesa locked in the mayor’s compensation at $33,600/year with a $1,800/year vehicle allowance and $960/year phone allowance. To change that compensation, the mayor and council are required to vote rather than send the issue to voters.

Smith made the first push to increase his salary on December 10, 2012 during a regular session of the mayor and council. In the video, Smith argues for increasing his pay and not to reject the recommendations of an independent commission.

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During that first attempt, he asks the council to support him for the 118% pay raise and allowance increase of 122%. As the video shows, Smith’s temperament reveals a man on a mission to make more money as mayor.

If you haven’t worked out the math yet, the 118% pay raise would take the mayor’s salary to $73,300/year and the vehicle allowance to $6,600/year. Keep in mind, this is for a part-time mayor and council.

During the first attempt, the vote fails with Smith visibly upset that the council turned down his request.

One year later, On December 9, 2013, Smith makes the push to hike his salary once again using the same commission recommendations. He chides the council, “it was right a year ago and it’s right now.” This time Smith is successful in pressuring the council to raise his and their pay.

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The Mesa Charter is amended with the new and outrageous increases but what the average citizen never sees (unless they watch the December 9, 2013 video) is that the mayor and council also voted to make themselves eligible for benefits “consistent with those provided to executive level City employees.” So now in addition to the pay raise, Mesa’s mayor and council are now receiving the same benefits as senior city management.

Mesa Mayor & Council Compensation Footnotes

One comment that sticks out during the debate, is that Smith notes that Mesa is the 38th largest city in the country and its mayor and council deserve to be compensated as such.

Given Mesa’s population is ranked between Tucson and Chandler, we reviewed their compensation rates to see if Mesa ball parked itself proportionally on elected official compensation rates.

Tucson, which is the second largest city in Arizona, compensates its mayor at $42,000/year. Chandler, ranked as the fourth largest city, pays its top elected executive $49,500/year. Mesa ranked third, is well above the Arizona cities above and below it by $23,800.

But we also took it a step further and looked at Mesa in terms of its population ranking among other US cities. Just above Mesa is Kansas City, Missouri which pays its mayor $123,156/year. Right below Mesa, is Virginia Beach whose mayor makes $10,000/year. Quite a variation but more like comparing apples to oranges.

Finally, we reviewed 2012 US Census data to see what the average median income is for the city of Mesa. According to this latest data, the average family in Mesa earns $47,256/year.

For the mayor of Mesa to relentlessly push for a dramatic pay raise during a time when many Mesa citizens remain in financial hardship due to reductions in salaries, hours or even job loss, anyone can see that Smith’s crusade to raise the mayor and council’s salary was not the right thing to do.

Arizona voters are worried that this style of governance will be more of the same business-as-usual. Conservatives reformers are trying to put an end to runaway spending, backroom union deals and corporate cronyism. Scott Smith’s style of management proves he’ll push the former and disturbingly his own self-interest no matter what it cost the citizens he’s supposed to serve.

Tempe’s Private Little Fiscal Cliff

By Michael Gibbs

Lemmings

What Tempe Council believes

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

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

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

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

New Website! Exposing the Obamacare Republicans!

Obamacare Republicans

The ObamacareRepublicans.com website is officially up!

Find out which Republicans voted for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and still support forcing Obamacare on all Arizonans.

And please donate to the effort to get the message out!

Will Kyrsten Sinema Support Obama’s Job Destroying Cap-and-Trade Scheme?

NRCC

Kyrsten Sinema Will Have to Choose Between Saving Jobs or Backing her Friends in D.C.

WASHINGTON – Is Kyrsten Sinema going to listen to Arizona voters and save American jobs, or will she fall in line with her Democrat allies and support President Obama’s latest cap-and-trade scheme that could cost the U.S. economy $50 billion a year and eliminate an estimated 224,000 jobs?

A recent study, issued by the United States Chamber of Commerce, found that President Obama’s new cap-and-trade edict will force more than a “third of the coal-fired power capacity to close by 2030.”

“Not only will this new Obama regulation cost billions of dollars for taxpayers, but it will limit American energy production and spike electricity prices – hurting families across America,” said NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek. “Arizona families deserve a Republican leader in Congress that will stand up to President Obama and his Administration’s job-destroying regulations.”

Will Kyrsten Sinema Support Obama’s Job Destroying Cap-and-Trade Scheme.
(Michael Bastasch, EPA To Unilaterally Push Cap And Trade On Carbon Emissions, The Daily Caller, 5/27/14)

“President Obama’s climate rule change will force more than a “third of the coal-fired power capacity to close by 2030.”
(Mark Drajem, Chamber Study Predicts Obama Climate Rule Will Kill Jobs, Bloomberg, 5/28/14)

Cost nearly $50 billion and eliminate an estimated 224,000 jobs
(Energy Institute Report Finds That Potential New EPA Carbon Regulations Will Damage U.S. Economy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 5/28/14)

It will limit American energy production and spike electricity prices.
(Ralph Vartabedian, U.S. electricity prices may be going up for good, LA Times, 4/25/14)

ELECTRICITY: “U.S. electricity prices may be going up for good. There is a growing fragility in the U.S. electricity system, experts warn, the result of the shutdown of coal-fired plants, reductions in nuclear power, a shift to more expensive renewable energy and natural gas pipeline constraints. … ‘We are now in an era of rising electricity prices,’ said Philip Moeller, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…” (Los Angeles Times)

HEALTH CARE: “More employees are getting hit with higher health insurance premiums and co-payments, and many don’t have the money to cover unexpected medical expenses, a new report finds. More than half of companies (56%) increased employees’ share of health care premiums or co-payments for doctors’ visits in 2013, and 59% of employers say they intend to do the same in 2014, according to the annual Aflac WorkForces Report.” (USA TODAY)

FOOD: “Rising food prices bite into household budgets. Prices are rising for a range of food staples, from meat and pork to fruits and vegetables, squeezing consumers still struggling with modest wage gains.” (USA TODAY)

FLYING, THE MOVIES, OIL CHANGES, AND MORE: “David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff, said other areas beyond food and energy … are getting costlier as well. ‘Airline fares are on the rise,’ he said in his morning note Tuesday. ‘Movie tickets and other such recreational services are on the rise. Repair service fees are on the rise. Shelter costs in general are on the rise. Tuition costs are on the rise. Medical service prices are on the rise.’” (NBC News)

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

By Christine Harbin Hanson and Tom Jenney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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