Pima GOP unites against the Governor

Tim Stellar Arizona Daily Star,  March 6, 2013

GOVERNOR’S POSITION ON MEDICAID REPELS PARTY IN PIMA, PINAL

Highlights from the story:

A galvanizing opponent is finally bringing Southern Arizona’s fractious Republican Party groups together into a nearly united front.

Not the Democratic president – the Republican governor.

The Pima County GOP approved a resolution last month opposing Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposed expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Chairman Carolyn Cox argues the proposal would cost Arizona taxpayers and unwisely expand a social program that will be hard to cut back in the future.

“We’re saying, ‘Please, Governor Brewer, don’t make this mistake,’ ” Cox told me Tuesday. “We honestly believe that it will not be a service to the people.”

Most of the party’s persistent factions – conservatives, libertarians and even some moderates – seem to agree. On Feb. 12, the executive committee passed the resolution unanimously – and the police weren’t called.

That’s not always been the case with the local Republican Party groups, here or in Pinal County. …..

Police were called to the Pinal County Republican Committee’s annual meeting a week before that, and a similar united front against the governor’s plan is forming there now, too. The Pinal party apparatus passed a resolution Feb. 16 opposing the proposed Medicaid expansion, with just one dissent and no call to police………

Seraphim Larsen was elected Pinal County Republican chairman that day, and he’s opposing Brewer’s Medicaid proposal now. The opposition began building in January, when Brewer presented her ideas on Medicaid at a meeting of party chairs from the state’s counties and legislative districts, Larsen said in an email.

“I suppose the main message is that there is very widespread opposition among Republican leadership and activists to the governor’s position,” he said.

The governor argues we should take advantage of federal government obligations under the Affordable Care Act by using it to restore health care that Arizona voters have promised the state’s poor in ballot initiatives.

Under Obamacare, the federal government will cover the cost of restoring Medicaid coverage to approximately 300,000 childless adults – many of them mentally ill – who lost coverage due to recent budget cuts. The catch: To get that federal money, Arizona must raise the eligibility cutoff for the state’s Medicaid program from 100 percent of the federal poverty line to 133 percent.

If federal subsidies drop in the future, the governor would pay for the lost federal payments by putting assessments on hospitals.

The governor’s spokesman, Matt Benson, insisted to me Tuesday that there is significant Republican support, including among business interests.

“I think what you have is a number of individuals who are opposed on the principle that they oppose the Affordable Care Act and the president,” Benson said. “Trust me – the governor understands that sentiment. But she needs to govern.”

State Rep. Ethan Orr, a Catalina Foothills Republican, said he’s helping to write the bill that will be introduced, but he has not committed to the governor’s proposal.

“Until there’s a bill, it’s difficult to weigh the specific merits,” he said Tuesday. “I’m making a deliberate decision to have an open mind.”

That makes him a member of a dwindling minority among Arizona Republicans. For most, the GOP governor has them happily united – in opposition to her.

Complete story:

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/elections/tim-steller-ariz-gop-unites-against-its-own/article_25f0e5de-8a56-5dca-ae82-8d5c999b6992.html

 

The Shadow of Big Government

By Thomas Purcell

Shadow GovernmentIt’s been said that ennui and employment are simply incompatible. Obviously the person that said that has never lived in a country run by statists.

Yesterday I spoke with an old friend; we worked together for a few years back in the early 90’s during a roaring economy here in Arizona. He was still in the same business today, but was explaining that he was going to leave the business to sell something else, as his business was awful.

He explained some issues revolving around his financial situation, living condition etc. but basically all his problems revolved around a lack of money.

“People just aren’t buying stuff. It’s not 1995 you know” he explained.

As the conversation ended I realized that this was not the first time I heard it. Everywhere people were saying that exact expression, ‘it’s not the 1990’s you know’ or ‘it’s not what it was’. Funny thing though, the President swore his policies were the same as Clinton’s just a few short months ago at the Democratic convention.

Even people who are working are taking on roommates, working two jobs, or doing something more to make ends meet. They stay in unhappy or violent relationships because they have no other place to go; they stay in jobs with bosses they hate because they are uncertain about their prospects for another job, they take less money than they think they are worth to avoid layoffs.

Thomas Purcell

Thomas Purcell

Then they go home at night and sit in front of the TV or computer rather than going out because they are worn out from work and have no money for extras and take their medication to get through another day.

A quiet ennui has settled over the land as we continue to accept less, work more, and feed more of our money to a hungry government. We worry about government inspectors who look over our shoulder, we worry about that report that needs to be filled out for the state, and we read the emails from the boss on the new regulations and change our procedures once again.

This is the legacy of big government. It’s not the promise of a utopic society; it’s the nightmare of government telling us what to do and how to behave. It’s like living with your parents again and working for minimum wage hoping that you can save enough to move out.

We passed laws yesterday to enhance programs to protect women from violence, but fail to address the real issue causing societal unrest—the pressure of working too hard, for too little, with too much oversight—which leads to violence in the first place, not just at home, but at work and school. Like too many rats in cage with too little cheese, eventually the rats being to prey on each other. Men blame women for a feeling of emasculation and so they kill their wives in a fit of rage. School kids blame classmates for being bullied and the schoolmasters for allowing to happen and so they go ballistic and massacre them. Workers ‘go postal’ at the guy in the cubicle next to them as they pop their gum one too many times, or they fail to get that promotion that the boss decides they can’t afford.

How often do we see it happen where men prefer killing everyone rather than go through the financial chaos of divorce? Or criminals commit suicide rather than face the prospect of prison and humiliation?

Instead we decide more programs are necessary and exacerbate the problem. Each new program now costs 5 times what they say, since we have to borrow to pay for it, increase the taxes to compensate, and return the principle at compounding interest. The debt piles up and the pressure piles on. All those little programs are straws that beginning to break the camel’s back—we are bankrupt and are foolishly thinking of cutting the defense of our nation and the safety net for our elderly when we are sick and old.

A pall has fallen over the land; the shadow of big government.

Read more of Thomas Purcell at his blog: www.Thomas-Purcell.com

STOP Medicaid Expansion in Arizona!

Americans for Prosperity - Arizona

IMPORTANT ACTION ALERT!

To all Arizona Taxpayers and Health Care Consumers,

First, please register now for AFP-Arizona’s debate on the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion, which will take place from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Thursday, February 21 at the Goldwater Institute. To register, send an email here (For more info about the debate, scroll down.)

Gov. Jan Brewer and powerful lobbyists are pushing Arizona to impose statewide taxes, including a hospital bed tax, to fund an expansion of Medicaid (AHCCCS) under ObamaCare. It is vitally important for Arizona to stop the proposed Medicaid expansion, because the human and fiscal costs of that expansion would be enormous. TAKE ACTION NOW.

The most important issue in the Medicaid expansion is the human cost. If Arizona were to expand Medicaid, it would railroad at least 250,000 Arizonans into a low-quality, government-managed health insurance system. Medicaid patients not only have worse medical outcomes than patients with private insurance, but often have worse medical outcomes than low-income persons without insurance — even when they have the same medical conditions. Please go to http://tinyurl.com/gottliebwsj to learn more about this important issue.

But the proponents of the expansion are also trying to do an end-run around Prop 108, the most important taxpayer protection ever passed by Arizona voters. Thanks to Prop 108, the Arizona Constitution requires a two-thirds majority of the Legislature to raise taxes. But Medicaid expansion proponents want to allow unelected bureaucrats at AHCCCS to raise state taxes (mainly hospital bed taxes) by $369 million over the next three years — without a two-thirds vote of the Legislature! If Legislators use a simple majority to delegate to bureaucrats the authority to impose gigantic taxes on hospital patients, they will kill Prop 108 and destroy its protections for Arizona taxpayers. If that happens, we will blame those Legislators — not the lawyers and judges who help them carve out a gigantic loophole in Prop 108.

Gov. Brewer told Arizonans to “do the math” on the Medicaid expansion. With all due respect, she should do the same. According to Brewer’s projections, the Arizona Medicaid expansion would cause the (already bankrupt) federal government to spend $3.6 billion over the next three years alone. The people who will pay those taxes include most of the people of Arizona and — thanks to the federal debt — our children and grandchildren.

The current JLBC projection of $325 million per year in tax increases in 2016 (as bad as that is!) hides the actual future cost of the proposed taxes. By 2019, Arizona will have to pick up at least 10 percent of the cost of the expansion, which will be hundreds of millions of additional dollars annually. And the Obama Administration has already proposed several times to shift additional costs of the expansion to the States.

TAKE ACTION!

Please use this link to send a quick and easy email to your Legislators, asking them to resist the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion. At the very least, even if they are tempted to engage in short-term thinking and take a bunch of “free” money from Washington, legislators should comply with the voter-imposed constitutional requirement to raise taxes with a two-thirds majority.   

REGISTER FOR THE DEBATE!

Please register now for AFP-Arizona’s debate on the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion, which will take place from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Thursday, February 21 at the Goldwater Institute.

At the event, Michael Cannon of  the Cato Institute, Goldwater Institute health care policy analyst Christina Corieri, and Phoenix surgeon Jeff  Singer will take on any three pro-expansion advocates who want to debate these issues publicly. We have extended the invitation to debate to the Brewer Administration, to Brewer advisers Chuck Coughlin and Peter Burns, AHCCCS director Tom Betlach, Democratic Legislators, and members of the hospital and insurance lobbies. All concerned citizens who wish to attend the debate should RSVP here.

LEARN MORE!

For more about the problems with the proposed Medicaid expansion, read AFP-Arizona’s line-by-line refutation of Gov. Brewer’s pro-expansion arguments in her January 14 speech.

For Liberty,

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director, Americans for Prosperity

Congressman David Schweikert discusses upcoming debt ceiling fight on CNBC

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

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Four More Years?

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

East Valley Chamber Alliance Releases 2012 Voter Guide

East Valley Business Community Opposes Propositions 121 and 204

GILBERT – The East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance (EVCCA) today released its 2012 Voter Guide. The Voter Guide recommends positions on the November ballot measures.

“The EVCCA Voter Guide is a powerful consensus tool for chamber members as they head to the polls,” said EVCCA Chair Angela Creedon. “The EVCCA only takes a position on a ballot measure when all seven chambers agree.”

The East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance is the largest chamber of commerce organization in Arizona. It includes the Apache Junction, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa Queen Creek, Scottsdale and Tempe Chambers of Commerce representing more than 5,500 businesses in the East Valley.

Proposition 121 would eliminate the current partisan primary system in Arizona and establish an open primary in which the two (or more for offices in which more than one individual is elected) candidates receiving the most votes move on to the general election.

Proposition 204 would create a permanent $.01 sales tax increase to fund educational programs, public transportation infrastructure projects and human services programs. The tax and funding allocations are preserved in perpetuity.

For more information on the EVCCA’s ballot positions, please contact Tom Dorn, Eric Emmert or Heather Wilkey at (602) 606- 4667.

For more information on the ballot measures themselves, please visit the Arizona State Legislature’s website at http://azleg.gov/BallotMeasureAnalyses.asp or the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.azsos.gov/election/2012/general/BallotMeasurePage.htm.

Richard Carmona’s Status Quo Approach to Medicare Guarantees its Bankruptcy

Jeff Flake

Richard Carmona’s new ad ignores that he supports a massive $716 billion cut to Medicare 

PHOENIX – Democratic Senate candidate Richard Carmona’s new ad says that he’ll protect Medicare. However, he supports President Obama’s expensive health care law, which harms Medicare by cutting $716 billion to pay for it.

Moreover, Richard Carmona doesn’t have a plan to deal with the long-term solvency of the Medicare program. Neither do his fellow Democrats in Washington. If nothing is done, Medicare will go bankrupt.

Offering Arizona voters nothing but bromides and support for the President’s expensive health care law, Richard Carmona is the last person seniors can trust to protect Medicare,” said Andrew Wilder, communications director for Flake for Senate.  “Arizonans expect leadership on the tough issues facing our country. Richard Carmona is unwilling, while Jeff Flake has a proven record of it.”

Jeff Flake supports a plan that will protect current Medicare benefits for people 55 and older, and makes commonsense reforms to strengthen and preserve the program for future generations. Richard Carmona opposes such aplan, preferring to do nothing.

BACKGROUND… 

According To The Nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Obamacare Cuts $716 Billion From Medicare. (Congressional Budget Office,Letter To Speaker John Boehner, 7/24/12) 

President Obama’s Senior Campaign Aide Has Bragged That President Obama “Achieved” $700 Billion In “Cuts In Medicare.”CUTTER: “Well, you know ask the wealthy to pay a little bit more. Cut waste from the government. Reform Medicare. More than $300 billion in savings from Medicare. On top of the savings we’ve already achieved. You know I heard Mitt Romney deride the $700 billion cuts in Medicare that the president achieved through health care reform.” (CBS’s “Face The Nation,” 8/12/12)

 

Over The Next 10 Years, ObamaCare Will Cut $11.8 Billion From Medicare Plans That Arizona Seniors Rely On For Their Health Care Needs. (Robert A. Book and Michael Ramlet, “What Is The Regional Impact Of The Medicare Fee-For-Service And Medicare Advantage Payment Reductions,”University Of Minnesota’s Carlson School Of Management, 9/12)

Stay up to date on Richard Carmona’s campaign to be a rubberstamp for Democrats’ liberal agenda in Washington by visitingwww.RubberstampRich.com.

For more information on Jeff Flake and why he’s running for the U.S. Senate, please visit his website at www.JeffFlake.com.

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New Ad: What’s Missing from Richard Carmona’s Bio?

Jeff Flake

After running up $46 million in debt for the Pima County Health System, Carmona was forced to resign

PHOENIX – Richard Carmona tells an impressive story about himself on the campaign trail. But we’re learning that a lot has been left out.

While Richard Carmona ran the Pima County Health System, their debt skyrocketed to over $46 million dollars. That was a 28 percent increase in just one year! As a consequence, Richard Carmona was forced to resign.

A new television ad that debuting today statewide on broadcast and cable television begins to complete the picture of Richard Carmona’s resume.

Click the image below or this link to view the ad:

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Transcript:

JEFF FLAKE: I’m Jeff Flake, and I approved this message. 

VOICE OVER: Richard Carmona talks a lot about his bio.

VO: But, what’s missing?

VO: Carmona’s bio doesn’t say that while he ran the Pima County Health System, their debt ran up to $46 million dollars. (“Pima County’s Health Care Debt Growing,” The Associated Press, 4/28/99)

VO: A jump of 28 percent in one year. (“Pima County’s Health Care Debt Growing,” The Associated Press, 4/28/99)

VO: Carmona was forced to resign. (“The Doctor is Armed,” Time Magazine, 3/31/02)

VO: Richard Carmona, another Obama big spender. 

“We’ve seen Richard Carmona’s record when it comes to financial management,” said Andrew Wilder, communications director for Flake for Senate. “Now he wants to go to Washington and spend Arizonans’ hard earned tax dollars with his fellow liberals. That’s a prescription for disaster.”

Stay up to date on Richard Carmona’s campaign to be a rubber stamp for Democrats’ liberal agenda in Washington by visiting www.RubberstampRich.com.

For more information on Jeff Flake and why he’s running for the U.S. Senate, please visit his website at www.JeffFlake.com.

 

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Arizona League of Cities and Towns opposes Prop 204

August 8, 2012

City and Town Officials:

At a Special Meeting of the Executive Committee on July 6, a decision was made that the League of Arizona Cities and Towns take a position in opposition to the Quality Education and Jobs Ballot Initiative and in support of Proposition 119, land exchanges around military bases.

The decision on the Quality Education initiative was based solely on its impact on cities and towns. As written, the initiative does not continue the present distribution formula for shared revenue from the state sales tax which currently goes to cities, towns and counties. The estimated amount lost to cities and towns by not having the shared revenue formula apply to the new one-cent tax is approximately $84 million per year. Furthermore, if enacted, the total sales tax rate will make it exceedingly difficult for any municipality to increase its own sales tax rate to meet future local needs.

I want to make it clear that the League of Arizona Cities and Towns does not oppose proper funding for public education in the state, nor is it making any comment about the appropriateness of its funding levels. Our opposition to the initiative is based purely on the impact it will have on cities and towns, and our future revenue streams.

Although our position has been reported in some media outlets, we have not publicly announced it yet, because it is not yet officially on the ballot. The final decision on that issue will be made by the Arizona Supreme Court.

The timing of our meeting was due to the deadline for submission of statements for the publicity pamphlet on July 11th.

The decision to take this position was not made lightly, and not all Mayors in the state are in support of it.

In the attachments, you will find the statement that was submitted for the publicity pamphlet and our Talking Points on the initiative.

Also included is the statement filed in support of Proposition 119 regarding land exchanges to prevent development encroachment on the state’s military bases.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or Ken Strobeck, League Executive Director. I look forward to seeing you all at the League Conference later this month.

Doug Von Gausig, President

Mayor of Clarkdale

No New Taxes, No on 204 Releases First Television Ad, “Temporary”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

No New Taxes, No On 204

October 4, 2012

No New Taxes, No on 204 Releases First Television Ad, “Temporary”

PHOENIX – Today, the No New Taxes, No on 204 committee released its first television advertisement titled, “Temporary.” The special interest groups that promised voters that the temporary sales tax increase would expire are now looking to create a permanent $1 billion a year tax increase making Arizona the second highest sales tax state in the nation. Arizona families were promised a temporary tax and can’t afford to fund special interest projects in a still struggling economy.

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Script For “Temporary”:

VIDEO TEXT: SPECIAL INTERESTS ARE BACK…PROP 204

VOICEOVER: “The special interests are back…with Prop 204”

VIDEO TEXT: MAKES “TEMPORARY” TAX INCREASES PERMANENT 

Proposition 204

VOICEOVER: “Prop 204 makes those “temporary” tax increases permanent.”

VIDEO TEXT: RAISES TAXES $1 BILLION A YEAR

Arizona Legislative Council, 8/23/12

VOICEOVER: “Prop 204 raises taxes one billion dollars a year.”

VIDEO TEXT: NOT TO SUPPORT STUDENTS

TO FUND BIGGER BUREAUCRACY

NO REAL EDUCATION REFORM

Proposition 204

VOICEOVER: “Not to support students, but to fund bigger bureaucracy…with no education reform…”

VIDEO TEXT: NO GUARENTEE MONEY WILL EVER REACH THE CLASSROOM

VOICEOVER: “…and with no guarantee the money will ever reach the classroom.”

VIDEO TEXT: GIVES ARIZONA SECOND-HIGHEST SALES TAXES IN THE U.S.

The Tax Foundation, 7/31/12

VOICEOVER: “Prop 204 would give Arizona the second highest sales taxes in the US.”

VIDEO TEXT: VOTE NO ON PROP 204

CHECK THE FACTS AT: VOTENOON204.COM

VOICEOVER: “Check the facts for yourself, and vote no on Prop 204.”

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Paid for by No New Taxes, No on 204. Major funding by Americans for Responsible Leadership, Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, and the Arizona Chapter of NAIOP

Dr. Craig Barrett Speaks Out Against Prop 204

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

No New Taxes, No On Prop 204

October 02, 2012

Dr. Craig Barrett Speaks Out Against Prop 204

Former CEO and Chairman of Intel Corp. Shares Why $1 Billion More in Taxes Won’t Reach the Classrooms

PHOENIX – Dr. Craig Barrett has joined Governor Jan Brewer and State Treasurer Doug Ducey in their outspoken opposition to Prop 204. Barrett currently serves as BASIS School Inc.’s President and Chairman of the Board, and as Chairman of the Arizona Ready Education Council.

“If you’re looking to improve education, there are many systemic things we need to change like the introduction of the Arizona Common Core Standards, paying teachers based on their performance in the classroom, and helping failing schools to improve,”   said Dr. Barrett.  “Prop 204 throws money at education and numerous other special interest groups, but doesn’t tie that money to performance improvements. Unless we fix the system, we won’t see any improvement in results.  I also think sales taxes are the most regressive taxes we have; it puts more strain on the middle class and working poor than any other group. Prop 204 is bad for our economy, and if our recent history is any indication, these dollars will not make it to the classroom and lead to any improvement, like we’re always promised they will.”

Dr. Barrett has been committed to true education reform for a number of years. In 2001 he supported Prop 301, which created the Classroom Site Fund. In 2010, he supported Prop 100, which promised a temporary one cent sales tax increase. Prop 204 breaks that promise.

“Real education reform happens inside the classroom,” added Barrett. “Prop 204 doesn’t address the key areas that will make education better in Arizona. Our tax dollars need to be better focused on attracting, training, rewarding and retaining the best teachers in the nation – that’s what will get us the results we’re looking for.”

Craig Barrett joins a number of business organizations opposing the permanent $1 billion annual tax increase, including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, North Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Small Business Association and the Arizona Retailers Association.

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Paid for by No New Taxes, No on 204. Major funding by Americans for Responsible Leadership, Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, and the Arizona Chapter of NAIOP

Proposition 204 Hurts Arizona’s Middle Class and Low Income Families

 

Proposition 204 disproportionately hurts Arizona’s middle class and low income families

What is a regressive tax? Simply, if a taxes’ burden falls more on the middle class or the poor than those who are wealthy, the tax is considered regressive or disproportionately punitive on those who can least afford it.

Proposition 204 is the perfect example of a regressive tax, targeting those Arizona families that can least afford to pay more for the goods that they need. Proposition 204 makes Arizona’s “temporary” sales tax “permanent,” making Arizona the second highest sales taxed state in America. Incredibly, the only state that has a higher sales tax is Tennessee, a state with no income tax.

Proposition 204 is marketed for education, but the revenue raised is not required to go to teachers or the classroom. In fact, the measure is a grab bag for special interest groups, containing over $100 million dollars for public transit and roads. So, while Proposition 204 contains money for politically connected special interest groups, the revenue raised is coming from those who cannot afford to be politically connected.

By their very nature, sales taxes are regressive because expenses such as clothing, shelter, food, and other household goods tend to be the primary costs of a middle class and low income households’ budget.

That’s why opposition to Proposition 204 is coming from all sides, from those who know it is bad for business and job creation and from those who know it will hurt poor Arizona families. Why are we “permanently” raising taxes on those people who can least afford it? Why are we “permanently” increasing taxes during a time when Arizona’s unemployment rate is still high? Why are we raising taxes under the auspices of education, but sending that revenue to groups not related to education?

There is nothing more important than the education of our children. Arizonans want a bright future for their kids and improving education is an important priority. But, we need real education reforms, not permanently mandated tax increases devoid of independent oversight or accountability.

Proposition 204 is bad for Arizona middle class and low income families, it is bad for teachers, and it is bad for Arizona’s economy. We need to Vote No on Proposition 204.

To learn more about Proposition 204, please visit our Website or our Facebook Page for more information.

There is nothing more important than the education of our children. That is why we oppose Proposition 204, a broken promise to make Arizona’s temporary tax increase “permanent.” Proposition 204 brings a permanent, billion-dollar-per-year price tag to Arizona families. While raising your taxes, Proposition 204 provides no real reform and contains no real accountability.

Arizonans want a bright future for their kids and improving education is an important priority. Although wanting to improve education, throwing money at the problem is not the answer. We need real education reforms, not permanently mandated tax increases devoid of independent oversight.

Additionally, Proposition 204 was written by special interests for special interests.

While Arizonans continue to struggle, do we really want to continue to raise their tax burden? Are we willing to have the second highest sales tax in America?

Arizona needs real education reform and jobs. Proposition 204 will make Arizona less competitive while providing very little benefit to Arizona’s education system.

Proposition 204 is too taxing on Arizona families, Vote No on 204.

 

Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen Releases No on Proposition 204 Op-Ed

Proposition 204 (“Permanent Sales Tax Increase, Education & Transportation”) is NOT the same temporary tax that is in place now and that will expire in 2013. This is a whole new tax with many changes written into the initiative.

Prop 204 is very dangerous, because it changes our constitutional form of government that requires the legislature to appropriate the tax dollars. The tax in place now did not make constitutional changes. Prop 204 decreases the power of the people by taking away their vote to check the legislature in the budgeting process. If Prop 204 passes, it will be nearly impossible for the legislature to change the sales tax rate, one of the highest in the nation, in the future.

Our national economic future is uncertain. Congress is wrestling with their $1.4 trillion budget deficit and the $16 trillion debt, and has passed a budget reduction bill that will cut aid to the state by 9% in 2013. The Arizona Legislature, which is elected by the people and accountable to the people, will need the ability more than ever to appropriate our tax dollars in the best interest of the public’s welfare and safety to keep all state responsibilities functioning.

In addition to the significant structural change in our management of tax money, Prop 204 also has language written into the bill stipulating that the legislature cannot reduce education funding from the 2012 levels going forward. This is reckless, considering that school enrollment can go up or down, and education funding should reflect that reality.

The proposition also has language that gives the Arizona Department of Transportation millions of dollars that can’t be touched and yet there is no reduction in the state gasoline tax that citizens are paying at the pump.

Those who wrote Prop 204 were also generous with other areas concerning welfare and healthcare, throwing millions of dollars into programs, and again tying the hands of the legislature in the budgeting process.

As the teachers union and others talk about the reductions to education these last three years, remember the $3 billion deficit that was brought about by increases in spending that could not be sustained. Between 2008 and 2010, the state lost 33% of its revenue, yet education received a reduction of 3.4%, in comparison to other state agencies which received reductions from 15.8% to 53%.

In 2008, state aid was $5,431 per student. Today it is $5,244. (Schools also receive federal and local dollars we have no control over.) This last session we increased funding to education by $56 million and as revenues improve, the legislature will add more.

The Arizona Legislature worked hard to bring our state budget back into balance. Along with other good legislation we have been able to improve our state economy whereas national job growth is stagnant. Arizona is now Number 4 in the nation for job creation opportunities.

Please vote NO on Prop 204 and protect your ability to have a say in the budgeting process through your elected legislator.

Senator Sylvia Allen
District 5
President pro tempore

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Proposition 204 is the Wrong Choice for Arizona Families

Proponents of Proposition 204 – the so-called Quality Education and Jobs Initiative – have hit the television airwaves with an ad that hides the measure’s wasteful spending and the special interests that back it.

In fact, a large portion of the funds will never see the classroom, but will be redirected to other projects unrelated to education spending.

With the usual appeal to helping the children, the ad hammers the point that the $1 billion a year permanent sales tax hike will put increased education funding out of the reach of state legislators. That is the fatal flaw in the measure. The peoples’ elected representatives will have nothing to say about how the money is spent.

If you read the measure, there is no accountability or oversight on how they money is to be spent either. The legislature will be “exempted” from meaningfully guarding against wasteful spending.

The direct appeal to voter emotions says that Proposition 204 will create a stable and permanent source of funding for K-12 classrooms. What it fails to say is that few of the dollars will actually reach the classroom and millions will go to programs that have nothing to do with education.

Glaringly absent from the ad is any mention of the $100 million a year subsidy that will go directly to road building and public transit. Including the construction industry in the taxpayer-funded payout is a clever way to get contractors to help finance the pro 204 campaign.

Also missing is any mention of funds sent to social service programs. Absent too is mention of the millions that will go to databases and monitoring that bypass the classroom.

Arizona needs real education reform. But Arizona has continued to invest in education, as Arizona’s education funding has increased over time. We have suffered two recessions since 2001 and consequently local and state tax revenue has changed.

Arizona needs transformative education reform and not higher taxes for special interest groups. Proposition 204 is too taxing on Arizona families, please Vote No on Prop 204.

For more information, please visit our Facebook Page.

Arizona Proposition 204 is Bad Policy

Arizona Proposition 204

Arizona Proposition 204 is bad policy. A close look at the fine print in Proposition 204 reveals the true purpose of the initiative.

The measure creates 14 separate carve outs for special interest groups, creating a grab bag of taxpayer funded giveaways. While special interests are getting enriched, Arizona families will see a $1 Billion dollar PERMANENT tax increase. If passed, Arizona will become the second highest sales tax state in America, just behind Tennessee, a state with no income tax.

But, how does Proposition 204 reward politically connected groups? The device is a list of “designated funds” that would dictate how the money is spent. Students and teachers in the classroom are barely in the equation.

Arizonans need only to read the ballot language to see that Prop 204 is more about “pet projects” and less about improving the state’s education system.

CHAPTER 28

STATE INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING 
ARTICLE 1. ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR STATE INFRASTRUCTURE

28-9301. State infrastructure fund

A. THE STATE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND IS ESTABLISHED CONSISTING OF LEGISLATIVE APPROPRIATIONS, FEDERAL MONIES, PRIVATE GRANTS, GIFTS, CONTRIBUTIONS, DEVISES AND MONIES DEPOSITED IN THE FUND PURSUANT TO SECTION 42- 5029.02. MONIES IN THE FUND ARE CONTINUOUSLY APPROPRIATED TO THE DEPARTMENT FOR THE PURPOSES PRESCRIBED IN THIS SECTION AND ARE EXEMPT FROM THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 35-190 RELATING TO LAPSING OF APPROPRIATIONS.

That’s why Doug Ducey, Arizona’s State Treasurer said, “Prop 204 is genuinely bad policy. It makes a permanent, billion-dollar-a-year spending commitment; it provides for no oversight as to how the money is spent; and it makes no reforms that actually improve accountability or the quality of education. Prop 204 amounts to just throwing money at a problem and hoping that somehow, magically, things will just get better.”

Out of the $1 billion collected every year, only $125 million would go to the state’s general fund for “inflation adjustments” for K-12 education. Then the spending begins to disburse $875 million to the initiative’s pet projects through the designated funds.

  • The largest share, $500 million, goes to something called the quality education and performance fund to assist K-12 schools with “assessment and accountability” rules. Sounds good right? But the ballot language specifically uses the word “may use the monies.” There is no guarantee that they will be used effectively, again no oversight or accountability, just words on a page.
  • The state infrastructure fund gets $100 million for road-building and public transportation.
  • The family stability and self-sufficiency fund receives $100 million to support families living below the poverty level.

That takes care of $700 million projected for the designated funds. The first fund feeds bureaucratic record keeping. The second supports contractors and transportation subsidies. The third funds a social services program outside the purview of education.

The rest of the money — $175 million – goes to fund areas that again lack accountability and oversight.

To fund the $1 billion a year initiative, taxpayers will be forced to pay a one-cent increase in the state’s sales tax rate. The initiative forbids the Governor and State Legislature from any participation in spending the funds.

In fact, Prop 204 prevents the Auditor General, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee or the Governor’s Office from doing any performance audits on how the money raised is to be spent. So much for sunshine and accountability.

If Arizona wants long-term education reform, Proposition 204 is not the answer. Proposition 204 is just too taxing on Arizona families.

To learn more, please visit VoteNoOn204.com or Vote No on 204′s Facebook Page.

Education Policy Expert Vicki Murray Alger to Speak at NE Valley Pachyderm Coalition Meeting

Vicki Murray Alger will be speaking at the NE Valley Pachyderm Coalition meeting Wed, September 12, 2012.

Treat yourself to an informative evening about how the bulk of your non-federal tax dollars are spent and how they SHOULD be spent (or not spent).

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Here are the meeting details:

Our September 2012 meeting features the

 
Nationally Renowned Education Policy Expert

Vicki Murray Alger
Talking about the benefits of school choice including a review of Education Benefits for Veterans which is one of the largest school choice activities in our nation’s history.

This is a great opportunity to meet an intelligent, nationally recognized education policy expert and get a first hand account of cutting edge research on education issues from a conservative perspective. When you consider that education spending accounts for the bulk of non-federal taxes we pay, this is a critical issue for taxpayers as well as students and their parents.
As always, there will be plenty of opportunity for questions and answers.


 

Location:

Rock Bottom Brewery at Desert Ridge Marketplace
21001 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050
(Near intersection of N Tatum and Hwy 101)

Date: Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (2nd Wed of Month)
Time: Dinner (order from menu) available at 6 pm.

Meeting from 7-8:30 pm


Contact Information:
RSVP to Howard Levine,
NE Valley Chapter Chairman

Howard_Levine@rocketmail.com , www.pachydermcoalition.com

480-269-1467 

 

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

Only the cost of health insurance is greater

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

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

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

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

Other notable survey findings include:

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

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

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

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NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C., and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists send their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.