NFIB Poll: Small Business Strongly Opposes Expanding Medicaid

NFIBforwebSurvey reveals Arizona entrepreneurs’ deep skepticism of federal funding promises

PHOENIX, Ariz., May 14, 2013 — In a poll released today by their leading association, small-business owners overwhelmingly oppose the high-stakes effort at the Arizona State Capitol to expand Medicaid coverage to all Arizonans at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level as envisioned by the federal healthcare law.

The recent survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB/Arizona) found 79 percent of Arizona small-business owners opposed to the proposed eligibility expansion for the state’s Medicaid program, also known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System or AHCCCS.

Eighteen percent support the Medicaid expansion proposal with less than 3 percent saying they are undecided.

NFIB Medicaid Poll ResultsThe controversial Medicaid proposal, a centerpiece of Gov. Jan Brewer’s legislative agenda, is principally backed by hospital systems and opposed by key legislative leaders like Senate President Andy Biggs and conservative activists.

The political impasse over Medicaid expansion has stalled the Legislature’s work on the state budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2013.

“Small businesses in Arizona clearly feel they are under siege by the Obamacare law, with its harsh employer mandates, new taxes and pervasive uncertainty,” said Farrell Quinlan, the Arizona state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. “Our survey found that Arizona’s small-business owners continue to strongly oppose expanding AHCCCS eligibility, because they have no faith in the federal government’s promises to pay for adding hundreds-of-thousands of Arizonans to our Medicaid rolls. Our small-business owners know Washington is more than $16 trillion in debt and Congress will be under increasing pressure to cut the biggest drivers of federal spending – entitlements like Medicaid.”

NFIB/Arizona’s May survey on Medicaid expansion reaffirms small business’ sentiments against expanding Medicaid found in a prior survey conducted before Governor Brewer announced her support for the policy change during her State of the State Address in January.

NFIB Medicaid Poll Results 1/13 and 5/13

In that poll, 77 percent opposed the expansion with 13 percent favoring it and 10 undecided.

“It’s instructive that after months of intense promotion and expensive radio and television advertising campaigns, pro-expansion forces have utterly failed to move the support needle with Arizona small business owners,” said Quinlan. “The public’s attitudes have clearly hardened on Obamacare and the fundamental transformation of health care occurring in the United States.”

Respondents to NFIB/Arizona’s survey were also given the opportunity to provide an open-ended answer on the Medicaid expansion issue and implementation of Obamacare in general. The majority viewpoint is best summarized by one respondent’s declaration: “Arizona won’t be able to afford AHCCCS expansion when Washington realizes America can’t afford Obamacare.” Another opponent expressed his profound ambivalence over the decision before Arizona lawmakers: “Either choice is going to be tough and expensive, but to trust the federal government is a mistake. I do not feel that they will make good on their promise to cover the expenses.”

A Medicaid-expansion supporter wrote: “As I understand it, the expansion goes away if/when the federal money goes away. That is the only reason I am supporting it now. When Obama doesn’t want to pay for it anymore, neither should Arizonans.” Another supporter exclaimed: “Believe we are trapped. If O C [Obamacare] stays this seems like the only way to go. But we must have the 90 percent funding from the Feds.”

The latest poll was conducted May 6 to May 13, 2013, as an online and fax-returned survey with 375 Arizona small-business owners responding. The prior poll mentioned above was conducted November 9, 2012 to January 4, 2013 consisting of 449 Arizona small business owners responding. Both polls tested the same question though the set-up explanations of what proponents and opponents say about the policy proposal were updated and expanded in the latest survey. The online version of the May survey can be viewed here.

NFIB routinely surveys its members to determine the organization’s public policy position on issues at the federal and state levels. Due to the overwhelming and consistent results of the two surveys, the upcoming votes by the Arizona Senate and Arizona House of Representatives on Medicaid expansion have been identified as ‘key votes’ eligible to be used on NFIB/Arizona’s legislative score card for the 2013 session.

Commemorating its 70th anniversary, the National Federation of Independent Business is the nation’s leading small-business association with 350,000 members nationwide and 7,500 in Arizona. NFIB has 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 sends its 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 about NFIB is available at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.

MIHS Meets in Closed Door Session to Discuss Controversial State Contract


The Maricopa County Integrated Health Systems Board of Directors
is currently meeting in closed-door Executive Session to discuss the current legal challenge and protest filed by Magellan and United RHBA against MMIC (Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care), MIHS CEO Betsey Bayless, and Maricopa County Special Health Care District.  The current agenda shows a 30-minute spot dedicated to discussion of this subject, all of which will be exempt from records requests and exempt from public inspection.

It is not surprising that the MIHS Board is keeping a low profile and is remaining tight-lipped about this controversial contract after being awarded a possibly illegal $2 billion to $3 billion dollar contract from the State of Arizona.  This came on the heels of a controversial pay raise for MIHS CEO Betsey Bayless that raised her taxpayer salary to $500,000.

Accountability and SunshineThe board will apparently receive legal advice on the protest to the bid and discuss options moving forward.  An administrative law judge is likely to uphold the Department’s awarding of the contract, leaving a lawsuit targeting the state as a possible option.  Magellan has already filed a civil suit seeking financial damages in Maricopa County Superior Court against MIHS and MIHS’ CEO Betsey Bayless.  Magellan alleges MIHS was awarded the contract improperly and used proprietary information from Magellan to win the bid.

The new contract was set to begin on October 1, 2013, but the protest and lawsuit are likely to delay implementation.  Previously MIHS responded to the formal protest with the following statement:

“We are studying those protests and will respond in the appropriate venues,” the statement said. “We are confident in the strength of our bid, and we are proud to offer a unique, collaborative approach to meet Maricopa County Medicaid recipients’ behavioral-health needs and to integrate the behavioral- health and medical services for those with serious mental illness.”

If you recall, the lawsuit also alleges “serious conflicts of interest” by MIHS because Mercy Maricopa both manages the system and provide services, which is “prohibited by the contract and by state law.” Magellan also alleges that the bidding process contained “serious irregularities,” such as the state’s bidding process being amended twice to unfairly benefit MIHS over their private competitors.  Additional claims include conflicts of interest, improper scoring, licensing problems, and disclosure of proprietary information to competitors. Magellan originally serviced the state contract since 2007.

The serious allegations require attention and deserve public scrutiny.  MIHS should be holding discussions on the contract and the protest, but they should be doing this in the face of the public.  Not behind closed doors immune from public records requests. MIHS is a government entity that collects nearly $60 million dollars in property taxes every year and is run by a publicly elected Board of Directors.  When the state awards a contract that could be worth up to $3 billion dollars, possible bias in favor of a taxpayer funded MIHS over private competitors deserves more sunshine and certainly more accountability.

If you’d like to contact the MIHS Board of Directors and demand more transparency for taxpayers, they can be reached via email as follows:

 

Gary Nelson: Right On Crime, Right On Justice

A CALL FOR A TRULY CONSERVATIVE APPROACH TO JUSTICE

By Gary Nelson

Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” – George Washington

I once heard a story about a couple who bought a large, aggressive dog with the intent of protecting their family from criminals. Tragically, however, the dog attacked one of their young children and nearly killed her, scarring her for life. Ironically, the very thing they hoped would protect them proved to be the source of violence far worse than they were ever likely to suffer at the hands of a criminal. The protector became the perpetrator, and their worst fears became reality.

The United States finds itself in a similar predicament today. Our vicious dog is a justice system which has become the most punitive in the free world. The “tough on crime” paradigm that has dominated our justice system for the past three decades has brought about the criminalization and incarceration of a radically disproportionate number of our citizens. We created it to ensure our safety, yet it now threatens greater societal harm than we ever imagined.

The perceived need to “crack down” on crime has resulted in severe punishments for crimes involving everything from assaults with firearms to personal use of drugs. Mandatory minimum sentences and “three-strikes” laws have drastically restricted judicial discretion, denying judges the ability to custom-fit sentences according to the circumstances of the offense or the needs of the community.

As a result, the United States of America imprisons a larger proportion of its population than any other civilized nation, including Cuba, China, & Iran. The number of Americans incarcerated has increased 400% since 1980, and it is estimated that over 30% of young adults now have criminal records.

The “Land of the Free” was rapidly becoming the “land of the imprisoned.” Recently, however, many have begun to understand that this trend has to change.

The implications for our nation’s future are profound. People with criminal records, including those only charged with misdemeanors, have an extremely difficult time finding work. The vast majority of employers will flatly refuse to hire anyone with a record. It is becoming increasingly clear that our over-dependence on punitive justice is creating a vast army of unemployable citizens destined to be dependent on government, or more crime, for their livelihoods.

As a veteran law enforcement officer and lifelong political conservative, I have come to believe that we conservatives have made a serious mistake in supporting the expansion of governmental power that is the inevitable consequence of “tough on crime” policies. We have embraced an approach to justice that has resulted in exponential increases in spending on corrections, courts, and police, as well as the criminalization and vocational incapacitation of 1 in 33 Americans. We have acquiesced to the erosion of individual liberty and the expansion of government power through over-regulation of nearly every aspect of our lives.

It is time for a return to a truly conservative, and American, model of justice. We must break our addiction to “crack-downs” and “get-tough” legislation, and move towards a restorative model of justice that provides real opportunities for the offender to return to productive citizenship.

It is for this reason I am pleased to be affiliated with Right On Crime, a campaign dedicated to “fighting crime, restoring victims, and protecting the taxpayer.” Endorsed by prominent conservatives like Grover Norquist, Marc Levin, and William Bennett, as well as eminent criminologists John DiIulio and George Kelling, Right On Crime is leading the way in returning our system of justice to a cost-effective,    restorative direction. If you are concerned about the future of our nation and want to see “justice” once again be the focus of our legal system, I encourage you to visit RightOnCrime.org and get involved.

The Actual Costs of Expanding Medicaid in Arizona – What Really Happened

The main argument being made to expand Medicaid dependency in Arizona is “to do the math.” Well the Texas Public Policy Foundation did the  math for what really happened in Arizona the last time Medicaid was expanded and here is the graph depicting the cost to Arizona. These numbers cover a six-year period beginning in 2002 and ending in 2008.

Medicaid Expansion

The actual cost of expanding Medicaid in Arizona

Here is the article posted on the Texas Public Policy Foundation website:

This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on 3/21/2013. 

If state lawmakers really want a clear picture of what Medicaid expansion under Obamacare will look like, they should start with Arizona, where expansion was tried more than a decade ago — with disastrous results.

In 2000, Arizona received a federal waiver to extend Medicaid to all childless adults and parents earning less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level. This is nearly the same group that would be eligible for Medicaid under the federal health care law, except that Obamacare would include those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, a slightly larger group.

At the time, Arizona lawmakers and expansion advocates promised that expanding Medicaid would lower the uninsured rate, reduce uncompensated care costs, decrease the “hidden tax” on private insurance for uncompensated care, and save about $30 million a year in state funds.

These same promises — lower uninsured rate and reduced uncompensated care costs — are being made by those calling for Medicaid expansion in other states.

None of the promises came true. In fact, the opposite happened. Enrollment of parents was more than triple what was forecast, while enrollment of childless adults was more than double.

As a result, costs skyrocketed. Spending per enrollee was much higher than anticipated, especially among childless adults, who proved to be twice as expensive to cover as parents. By 2008, Arizona had spent $8.4 billion on Medicaid expansion — more than four times what had been forecast.

What about the promise that expansion would lower the uninsured rate? In 2002, about 18.7 percent of Arizona’s non-elderly population was uninsured. By 2011, that group had actually increased to 19.4 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of Arizonans with private insurance dropped from 61.8 percent to 55.5 percent, while Medicaid enrollment grew far beyond what had been predicted.

When the recession hit in 2008, Arizona faced a budget shortfall and scaled back Medicaid benefits for childless adults, including organ transplantation. It later froze enrollment for that group, which dropped from 227,000 to 86,000.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s January announcement that she will support the Obamacare Medicaid expansion should not have come as a surprise. Arizona’s waiver expires in 2013, and the state had no choice but to go along with expansion. If it did not, the feds would likely not renew the state’s waiver, which would force some 86,000 people out of the Medicaid program and into the ranks of the uninsured.

The Arizona experience is not unique. In 2002, Maine implemented an almost identical Medicaid expansion — with almost identical results. Within two years, enrollment was more than double what had been forecast, with childless adults costing more than four times as much as parents. Between 2002 and 2011, the uninsured rate remained the same, while the share of those with private insurance shrank, from 66 percent to 59 percent.

Proponents of Medicaid expansion claim it will reduce the uninsured rate and therefore reduce uncompensated care costs. The hope and expectation is that federal expansion dollars will free up state funds and relieve taxpayers, much like advocates of expansion hoped for Arizona and Maine.

Earlier this month, Methodist Health Care Ministries and Texas Impact published an estimate of Medicaid expansion savings. At first glance the figures are impressive; some $900 million in state funds could be freed up for the upcoming biennium, according to the report. The groups’ earlier study claimed counties and local taxpayers could expect relief from having to pay for uncompensated care costs, which the report said would decrease dramatically with Medicaid expansion.

But these projections are in fact nothing more than thin hopes. In Arizona, uncompensated care costs increased by an average of nine percent each year after expansion, and in Maine charity care rose from $40 million in 2000 to $215 million 2011.

Other states that have toyed with expansion — Delaware, Oregon, Michigan, Utah — have all had similar experiences: costs and enrollment exceeded expectations, uninsured rates stayed the same or increased, and the number of people on private insurance shrank.

If states are the incubators and laboratories of public policy, then the results of decade-long experiments with Medicaid expansion are in. In Arizona, Maine, and everywhere expansion was tried, none of the promised benefits materialized.

If lawmakers in other states choose to go down the road of expansion, they now know what to expect: skyrocketing costs, huge enrollment growth, a static uninsured rate, and more — not fewer — uncompensated care costs. Just ask Arizona.

 

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.

YouTube Preview Image

 

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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