The ObamacareRepublicans.com website is officially up!
Find out which Republicans voted for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and still support forcing Obamacare on all Arizonans.
And please donate to the effort to get the message out!
Arizona Politics, News, Commentary and Information with a Blatantly Conservative Worldview Presented by an Alliance of Writers, Activists, Consultants and Government Insiders.
The ObamacareRepublicans.com website is officially up!
Find out which Republicans voted for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and still support forcing Obamacare on all Arizonans.
And please donate to the effort to get the message out!
By Jose Borajero
Shortly, the Arizona Supreme Court will be ruling on whether the Medicaid tax imposed by the Democrats, aided and abetted by Representative Heather Carter and eight other Republicans in the House of Representatives is really a tax or something else, like a fee. The only question that will be resolved by the court is whether that move was legal or not. It will not determine whether it was good or bad. We all know that the mere fact something is legal does not automatically make it good, or desirable.
Whether we call it a tax, or something else, like a fee, an assessment, a contribution, an investment, or any of a myriad euphemistic terms that big government advocates use to disguise taxes, the fact remains that Heather Carter voted for bills that increase the amount of money that moves from the pockets of the taxpayers to the pockets of the government.
That fact is reflected in the results of the legislator evaluations done by three conservative leaning organizations.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP): This organization routinely keeps track of how legislators vote on issues having to do with economic matters, like taxation, spending, education, etc. (scorecard)
Goldwater Institute: These folks evaluate legislator performance across a wide variety of subjects, including tax & budget, education, constitutional government, and regulation.
National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB): This is a watchdog group for small businesses, which account for the vast majority of jobs in this country. They evaluate legislators on whether or not their votes enhance small businesses ability to operate in free and open market. (scorecard)
Currently in Arizona, we have 17 Republicans in the Senate and 36 Republicans in the House of Representatives, for a total of 43 Republican legislators. Let us see how Heather Carter was scored by all three organizations.
ORGANIZATION SCORE RANK
Americans for Prosperity – 48% or 39th out of 43
Goldwater Institute – 61% or 35th out of 43
National Federation of Independent Businesses – 75% or 43rd out of 43
Conclusion: Heather Carter is a friend of Big Government and an enemy of the tax payer. People should keep that in mind when deciding whether to vote for her or for her challenger(s).
Three of Arizona’s five Democrat members of Congress last week joined all four of their Republican colleagues from the state to accomplish what a similar bipartisan majority in the Arizona Legislature did earlier this year: It loaded a badly needed shot in the arm for the small-business owners who generate almost every new job in the state and nation.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to make permanent a tax provision that would allow small businesses to write off up to $500,000 in new equipment purchases, and some improvements to real property, instead of depreciating the costs over time. H.R. 4457, titled America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014, would provide small businesses with expensing levels that are permanent, predictable and at a level adequate to their needs.
This change to Section 179 of the federal tax code, which overwhelmingly passed the House on a 272-144 vote, would prevent the expensing level to fall all the way to $25,000 in 2014, after being at $500,000 from 2010 through 2013. It also indexes the level to inflation. In addition, the House also passed a bill that eases the tax burden on small businesses that change from taxable C-corporate status to S-corporate status.
A quick sample of the small-business owners benefitting from the H.R. 4457 expensing levels would include:
On June 12, Arizona Democrats Ron Barber, Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema joined Republicans Paul Gosar, Trent Franks, Matt Salmon and David Schweikert in supporting this pro-jobs legislation. Congressmen Raul Grijalva and Ed Pastor, both Democrats, voted against H.R. 4457. The measure now goes to the U.S. Senate for its consideration.
Earlier this year, a similar tax relief act, House Bill 2664, passed the Arizona Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. The legislation sponsored by state Rep. J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler) would have created an immediate state income tax allowance, similar to federal Section 179 expensing for qualifying business equipment investments valued up to $500,000.
In a tragic misreading of the needs of Arizona’s economy, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed HB 2664 because “the money would be better utilized” on her spending priorities. Undaunted, NFIB is committed to vigorously lobbying Arizona’s next governor and the new Legislature next session to finally realize our own $500,000 allowance to spur new job creation.
Last week’s strong bipartisan House vote to pass H.R. 4457 is very encouraging to small business, especially as demonstrated by the votes of Arizona’s congressional delegation. If Congress and the president do succeed in making it federal law, Arizona’s next governor must match it. If Washington fails, then establishing the small-business expensing allowance in Arizona’s tax code will be all the more critical.
Farrell Quinlan is Arizona state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.
Will Sinema Help Uncover the Truth Behind the IRS Scandal or Will She Help the Administration Cover Up Another Scandal?
WASHINGTON – Last week, the IRS sent a letter to the House Ways and Means committee explaining that they lost Lois Lerner’s emails from January 2009 to April 2011 due to a “computer crash.” These “missing emails” demonstrate the lengths the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats will go in order to cover up the IRS’ effort to target tax-exempt conservative groups based on their political beliefs.
Sinema’s silence solidifies the fact that she has become a Washington insider and is out of touch with Arizona taxpayers. Instead of demanding answers and holding the IRS accountable, Sinema is helping the Administration cover up a scandal in hopes of political support for her re-election.
“First Lois Lerner refused to comply with Congressional investigations and now her emails are ‘missing’. That just doesn’t pass the smell test,” said NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek. “Kyrsten Sinema has the opportunity to protect Arizona taxpayers from being wrongfully targeted by holding the Administration accountable and condemning the IRS officials responsible for this scandal.”
IRS claims Lois Lerner’s e-mails are lost due to a computer crash.
(Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, The IRS claims that Lois Lerner’s e-mails were wiped out by a ‘computer crash’, The Washington Post, 6/15/14)
Congress can help where Arizona fell down
PHOENIX, Ariz., June 10, 2014—Today’s release of one of the nation’s most trusted economic surveys casts in sharp relief how pervasive our political leaders’ inattention to small-business job creation is, according to the Arizona state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s voice of small business.
As it does very month, NFIB releases its Index of Small Business Optimism, which measures the pulse of the nation’s largest employer group—Main Street entrepreneurs. Although the index rose to its highest level since 2007, the underpinnings of a strong economy are still not seismically sound.
“What stood out for me in the latest optimism index was Arizona’s missed opportunity to spur capital spending and new job creation by our own small businesses when Governor Brewer vetoed House Bill 2664 earlier this year,” said Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director for NFIB. The bill, which passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, would have created an immediate state income tax allowance for qualifying business equipment investments valued up to $500,000, similar to federal Section 179 expensing.
Indeed, in summarizing the latest optimism index, economist William Dunkelberg, its author, noted, “May’s numbers bring the Index to its highest level since September 2007. However, the four components most closely related to GDP and employment growth (job openings, job creation plans, inventory and capital spending plans) collectively fell 1 point in May.”
“Shifting capital spending into a higher gear is essential to a full and sustainable economic recovery,” said Quinlan. “Now, even though Arizona’s capital expensing vehicle stalled, Congress can turn on the ignition of job creation by passing H.R. 4457, the Small Business Tax Relief Act, when it comes up for a full House vote Thursday.
H.R. 4457 would allow small businesses to immediately deduct on their federal taxes the full value of equipment in the same year the investment is made, instead of depreciating the investment over time. This simplifies accounting and frees up cash to be reinvested and grow the business.
“The job-creation user’s manual is pretty straightforward and easy to follow,” said Quinlan. “If business owners have an incentive to invest in more equipment, they will need to hire more employees to meet the increased sales that equipment will generate. But I worry H.R. 4457 may face a similar grim fate in Congress as House Bill 2664 suffered in Arizona, despite everyone—Democrats, Republicans, business and labor—favoring it, a tragic misreading of the economy’s weakness will lead to continued inertia and another missed opportunity.”
Despite broad, bipartisan support, small-business federal expensing fell from $500,000 to $25,000 this year because previous extensions were temporary. H.R. 4457 would provide small businesses with expensing levels that are permanent, predictable and at a level adequate to their needs.Click here to read a letter 154 business associations signed and sent to Congress.
NOTE: The NFIB Research Foundation has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since 1974 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. For almost 40 years, NFIB’s Index of Small Business Optimism has been one of the nation’s bellwether economic barometers, used by Federal Reserve, chairmen, congressional leaders and presidential administrations.
For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.
Kyrsten Sinema Will Have to Choose Between Saving Jobs or Backing her Friends in D.C.
WASHINGTON – Is Kyrsten Sinema going to listen to Arizona voters and save American jobs, or will she fall in line with her Democrat allies and support President Obama’s latest cap-and-trade scheme that could cost the U.S. economy $50 billion a year and eliminate an estimated 224,000 jobs?
A recent study, issued by the United States Chamber of Commerce, found that President Obama’s new cap-and-trade edict will force more than a “third of the coal-fired power capacity to close by 2030.”
“Not only will this new Obama regulation cost billions of dollars for taxpayers, but it will limit American energy production and spike electricity prices – hurting families across America,” said NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek. “Arizona families deserve a Republican leader in Congress that will stand up to President Obama and his Administration’s job-destroying regulations.”
Will Kyrsten Sinema Support Obama’s Job Destroying Cap-and-Trade Scheme.
(Michael Bastasch, EPA To Unilaterally Push Cap And Trade On Carbon Emissions, The Daily Caller, 5/27/14)
“President Obama’s climate rule change will force more than a “third of the coal-fired power capacity to close by 2030.”
(Mark Drajem, Chamber Study Predicts Obama Climate Rule Will Kill Jobs, Bloomberg, 5/28/14)
Cost nearly $50 billion and eliminate an estimated 224,000 jobs
(Energy Institute Report Finds That Potential New EPA Carbon Regulations Will Damage U.S. Economy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 5/28/14)
It will limit American energy production and spike electricity prices.
(Ralph Vartabedian, U.S. electricity prices may be going up for good, LA Times, 4/25/14)
ELECTRICITY: “U.S. electricity prices may be going up for good. There is a growing fragility in the U.S. electricity system, experts warn, the result of the shutdown of coal-fired plants, reductions in nuclear power, a shift to more expensive renewable energy and natural gas pipeline constraints. … ‘We are now in an era of rising electricity prices,’ said Philip Moeller, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…” (Los Angeles Times)
HEALTH CARE: “More employees are getting hit with higher health insurance premiums and co-payments, and many don’t have the money to cover unexpected medical expenses, a new report finds. More than half of companies (56%) increased employees’ share of health care premiums or co-payments for doctors’ visits in 2013, and 59% of employers say they intend to do the same in 2014, according to the annual Aflac WorkForces Report.” (USA TODAY)
FOOD: “Rising food prices bite into household budgets. Prices are rising for a range of food staples, from meat and pork to fruits and vegetables, squeezing consumers still struggling with modest wage gains.” (USA TODAY)
FLYING, THE MOVIES, OIL CHANGES, AND MORE: “David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff, said other areas beyond food and energy … are getting costlier as well. ‘Airline fares are on the rise,’ he said in his morning note Tuesday. ‘Movie tickets and other such recreational services are on the rise. Repair service fees are on the rise. Shelter costs in general are on the rise. Tuition costs are on the rise. Medical service prices are on the rise.’” (NBC News)
By Christine Harbin Hanson and Tom Jenney
Imagine paying an extra $15,000 a year in taxes. For 50 working years.
That is the burden Washington is placing on our children and grandchildren.
America’s unfunded government liabilities over the next 75 years are between $100 trillion and $200 trillion, depending on how you crunch the numbers. Those are the spending promises our politicians have made through Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. and other federal programs, including “Obamacare.”
According to realistic estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, the unfunded liabilities in Medicare alone are $89 trillion.
Let’s take a midway total liability estimate of $150 trillion. If we divide by the 90 million children in this country who are under the age of 18 (and who did not vote for the politicians who made the spending promises), it comes to more than $1.5 million per child over their lifetimes — above and beyond what they are currently scheduled to pay in taxes.
Over a 50-year working lifetime, that’s $30,000 a year. Lucky for them, financial markets will put some of that burden on those of us who are currently working adults. But if they absorb half of the burden, that would be an average of $15,000 a year in extra taxes per child or grandchild.
Of course, any attempt to actually collect that much extra revenue from American workers or their employers would create massive, long-term structural unemployment and destroy economic growth by causing even more capital and jobs to move overseas.
Unfortunately, Congress and the president are doing nothing to defuse America’s gigantic bankruptcy bomb; instead, they are shortening the fuse.
These past few months were a critical time for conservative members of Congress to stand firm behind their promises to get runaway government spending under control. Congress considered two of the biggest spending bills of the year, the Ryan-Murray budget deal and the farm bill conference report.
The first disappointing vote was on the budget resolution in October. Crafted by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray, the deal boosted discretionary spending to a whopping $1 trillion a year for each of the next two years. Worse, the plan shattered previously agreed-upon spending caps for fiscal year 2014 by $45 billion — an alarming increase and a broken promise.
The deal also further nickel-and-dimed American families by hiking airline ticket taxes and making changes to military pensions.
Most alarming is the fact that the Ryan-Murray deal traded higher spending now in exchange for the promise of $28 billion in cuts in 2022 and 2023. American taxpayers deserve spending cuts now, not promises to cut spending in the future.
The second vote was the farm bill conference report in February. This legislation authorized $1 trillion in spending over the next decade. Passed under the false guise of helping small farmers, the bill expanded a number of corporate welfare programs such as crop insurance, massive taxpayer subsidies and revenue guarantees for politically connected farmers.
It also neglected to make any meaningful reforms to ballooning food-stamp spending, which has more than doubled since President Obama took office and is rife with abuse.
Americans for Prosperity urged legislators to vote against both bills, and we will include these votes in our next congressional scorecard.
We are grateful to report that a number of Arizona’s legislators stood up for American taxpayers and voted against both of these bloated bills. House members who voted the right way included Trent Franks, Paul Gosar, Matt Salmon and David Schweikert.
On the Senate side, Jeff Flake also voted correctly. AFP applauds these members for standing up against more government handouts and higher spending.
A number of Democratic legislators voted against the bills, but for much different reasons. Some Democrats overwhelmingly felt that the budget resolution and the farm bill conference report didn’t spend enough.
Worse, a disappointing number of Republican legislators cast a “yes” vote for both the Ryan-Murray budget deal and the farm bill conference report, signaling their support of higher federal spending. Remember: This is the party that claims to support controlling spending and limiting the size of government.
Meanwhile, the fuse continues to burn on America’s bankruptcy bomb.
Americans for Prosperity is committed to defusing that bomb and securing a bright fiscal future for our children and grandchildren.
Tom Jenney is director of Americans for Prosperity’s Arizona chapter. Christine Harbin Hanson is federal issues campaign manager for Americans for Prosperity. More information: www.americansforprosperity.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan began a proud tradition of conservative candidates putting pen to paper and pledging to protect taxpayers by promising to oppose and veto any effort to raise taxes.
State Senator Al Melvin joined that tradition as a candidate running for Governor of Arizona when he signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge while on a recent trip to Washington, D.C.
“I have a long record of fighting for lower taxes while in the State Senate, and I have every intention of continuing that fight as Governor.” said Melvin, adding “Arizona’s economy is doing better than most other states largely because we have lowered taxes and created an environment where businesses can come and thrive. My goal is to make Arizona the most prosperous state in the country, and we will get there by freeing our taxpayers from their too high tax burden.”
“I want to congratulate State Senator Melvin for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The people of Arizona have clearly stated what type of leadership they want in Phoenix. They want leaders who offer real solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and jumpstart the economy.” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.
The third-term Senator has an ambitious agenda for Arizona that includes the eventual elimination of the state’s income tax. Melvin’s plan, and his conservative voting record, have helped him to attract conservative and Tea Party support from across the state.
Melvin serves as Chairman of the Commerce, Energy and Military Committee and founded the highly successful Mining Caucus and Tourism Caucus. He has had a long business career in international trade and transportation and received his MBA degree from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, AZ.
Melvin is a military veteran and graduate of the US Naval War College.
I have continued my pledge to eliminate nonessential spending and the resulting burden on the taxpayers with my most recent suggestion at the December 3, 2013, Board of Supervisors meeting.
Agenda Item 15, Resolution 2013-109 authorized the issuance of $58 million in Certificates of Participation debt (COPs) to fund additional construction on the Public Service Center (previously known as the Pima County Justice Court/City of Tucson Municipal Court Complex). Certificates of Participation debt may be issued with only a Board of Supervisors majority vote - voter approval is not required.
In the 2004 bond election, voters approved $76 million for the “so called” Pima County Justice Court/City of Tucson Municipal Court Complex. Since this election, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has stated the $76 million would only cover the shell construction of this courthouse. Voters weren’t aware they would eventually have to pony up more cash to pay for interior finishes.
The City of Tucson had agreed to contribute $18 million to the construction; however, without a signed Intergovernmental Agreement, the Tucson City Council chose to withdraw from the project in November 2012 – eight years after the bond election. This left Pima County to make a choice:Cancel the project or go it alone. The Board chose to move forward with the project despite the added burden of bearing all construction costs. I presented my argument to my fellow board members suggesting the County should lease the additional space to an outside party versus investing more taxpayer dollars in the courthouse.
My argument to the Board was it would be wiser to lease the remaining area to an outside entity to provide their own improvements which could be a winning scenario for the taxpayers. This option would have allowed for the interior improvements to be completed at the cost of the tenant and at the same time Pima County would have increased revenue by leasing the excess space at the current market rate.
Despite my argument, the Board majority voted to use the building as collateral for an anticipated amount of $58 million in COPs. In effect, the Board authorized borrowing an additional $58 million on top of the $22 million previously invested from the General Fund in 2011 thereby overrunning the original bond amount presented to voters by $80 million.
This is more than a 100% overrun of the original bonded amount voters approved for this court complex.
Pima County will now repurpose the space to house the Pima County Assessor, Treasurer, Recorder, and Constables. The issuance of these additional COPs will fund all interior tenant improvements for the remainder of the courthouse along with parking facilities.
I voted against this Resolution to issue more debt. My argument is the movement of County offices to this facility is not necessary or prudent at this time and any additional space improved should be leased at market rate.
Pima County currently has more than 3.5 times the debt of all other counties in the State of Arizona combined as of November 21, 2013.
Supervisor Ally Miller represents District 1 on the Pima County Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Miller began her term on January 1, 2013.
Shut Them Down!
On October 15th, The FairTax For All is organizing educational picketing at IRS Buildings in Tucson and Phoenix. According to The FairTax For All this is the beginning of a movement to shut down the IRS. FairTax For All is a 501(c)3 dedicated to educating the public and elected leaders on the importance of replacing the IRS Income-Production Tax with a simple, fair, and transparent national consumption FairTax - HR 25/S 122.
“No American is safe from IRS targeting, intimidation, and harassment; everyone is a bull’s eye,” said FairTax For All spokesperson Dr. Yale Wishnick. “These types of abuses are nothing new,” said Dan Mastromarco, tax attorney and co-author of HR 25 / S 122. He added, “In 1819, Former Chief Justice John Marshall warned in McCulloch v. Maryland that, ‘An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy.’ The FairTax Act is the only way in which Congress can once and for all eliminate the harassment, political exploitation and selective enforcement against perceived dissidents. It levels the playing field and redistributes power to the citizens who pay the taxes.”
The FairTax Plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll based taxes with a national retail sales tax, a prebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes on spending up to the poverty level, dollar-for-dollar federal revenue neutrality and, through companion legislation, the repeal of the 16th Amendment, which authorized the creation of the Income Tax.
Protests are scheduled for Tucson and Phoenix IRS Headquarters from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm.
Wishnick concluded, “Clearly after years of partisan wrangling about tax policy, our country is at a stalemate. Taxation is not a Democrat or Republican issue – it’s an American issue. The FairTax is the only option that will generate the revenue we need to run our nation in a way that eliminates special interests, creates a vibrant economy, provides security for seniors, and paves the way for future prosperity for the youth of our nation.”
Monday’s, September 23′s, Yellow Sheet Report reported that the Friday, September 20 fundraiser thrown by the health care-industrial complex for their bought-and-paid-for legislators (Sens. McComish [LD 18], Pierce [LD1], Driggs [LD 28], and Worsley [LD 25], and Reps. Shope [LD 8], McGee [LD28], Carter [LD 15], Coleman [LD 16], Dial [LD 18], Goodale [LD 5], Orr [LD 9], Pratt [LD 8], and Robson [LD 18]) who voted to expand Medicaid rolls under Obamacare is expected to raise $350,000 meaning that the 13 Republican traitors for whom the event was thrown will receive almost $27,000 for their campaign warchests in exchange for their votes assuming the cash is split evenly. The article states that the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association is holding another fundraiser for these traitors in roughly a month on October 23. Assuming that this upcoming fundraiser collects as much as the one on September 20, the hospital-industrial complex will be halfway to fulfilling their promise to give turncoat legislators $100,000 for their campaign warchests.
To additionally show that this is a quid pro quo, note that the recipients of this campaign cash DIRECTLY matches the traitorous Republicans that voted to expand Arizona’s medicaid program under Obamacare’s provisions (HB 2010 in the First Special Session of the 51st Legislature). Also, the Yellow Sheet reports that a lobbyist at the event stated that the fundraiser was to support those Republicans that voted for OBrewercare who would likely face primary opposition . The unnamed lobbyist indicated that the hospital-industrial complex crony corporatists wanted to do “everything we can to assist them.” In other words, the traitors lined the hospitals’ pockets, now, it’s time for the health care industry pay these corrupt politicans back by giving them the resources necessary to be nigh undefeatable in an election.
Keep an eye out, voters. We could be seeing two additional fundraisers for these criminals and it will give them almost insurmountable cash to ensure that they are re-elected. Not only did these people take money out of your pocket to line their own, but they are also trying to subvert your choice in who represents you. You should be very angry. Again, follow the money. When their campaign finance reports come out, read them. Learn exactly who is pulling their strings. FINANCIALLY support their primary opponents! Tell everyone you can about what you know about these criminals that are fleecing you. Remember what you’ve learned when you go to the polls and urge your friends to do the same.
Tonight, those traitorous Republicans in the Arizona state legislature who voted for Medicaid expansion are getting paid for their yes votes on OBrewercare by the hospital-industrial complex. The Governor is hosting a fundraiser for Sens. Steve Pierce, John McComish, Adam Driggs, and Bob Worsley, and Reps. Heather Carter, Kate McGee, Doug Coleman, Jeff Dial, Doris Goodale, Ethan Orr, Frank Pratt, Bob Robson, and T.J. Shope at the home of hospital CEO Reg Ballantyne. This is, quite clearly, a quid pro quo: they’re getting paid off for their yes votes to swell the rolls of Medicaid recipients at the cost of not only sick people (via a bed tax), but the American taxpayer as well (via increased Medicaid payments from the feds to Arizona, then to the hospitals). There is no other way to characterize this as anything but legal corruption. The Governor, the legislators, consultants Chuck Coughlin and Peter Burns, and the hospital-industiral complex donors should all be going to prison for a very long time for corruption.
To fully illustrate that this is a quid pro quo, harken back to Loren Heal’s article on the subject on FreedomWorks.org‘s website on June 13 of this year. In that article, Heal stated that in August of 2012, a “consortium of the state’s hospitals, insurers, and left-wing groups” hired consultant Chuck Coughlin of High Ground and socialized medicine proponent and leftist Peter Burns to ensure that Medicaid expansion, a part of Obamacare, was passed in Arizona. Coughlin, who is the Governor’s puppeteer, told Brewer to push for expansion. As if Brewer were a ventriloquist’s dummy sitting on Coughlin’s lap, she parroted what Coughlin told her to say in her State of the State address in January 2013: expand Medicaid as Obamacare directs. According to beforeitsnews.com, Rep. Warren Petersen stated that Coughlin held a fundraiser to show legislators that if they voted for expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, the hospital-industrial complex could help raise money to give them immense campaign warchests for their re-election efforts. Well, enough traitorous Republicans took the bait, voted for OBrewercare, and tonight, they’re getting their payoff. While the invite, sent out by Rep. Heather Carter, suggests a $500 donation for each legislator, rumor has it that the hospital-industrial complex donors have to have $6,500 to get in the door ($500 for EACH)! That’s how they plan on rewarding each one of these traitors with at least $100K for their 2014 campaigns.
Follow the money, people. This is corporate cronyism at its worst. Hospitals have used the power of government to take money right out of your pocket to line their own pockets. The perpetrators should be punished severely, but they likely will not be. If the failure to put Obamacare on the ballot is any indication, you are not mad enough at these criminals and they will have the warchests necessary to keep their seats and the low-information masses will re-elect them. Until you get angry enough to change things, expect more of this in the future. Call these legislators. Shame them (granted, they are shameless since their actions are so brazen)…but you’ve GOT to do more than shame them: you’ve GOT to collect signatures for their opponents, DONATE to their opponents, talk to your neighbors about how corrupt these corporate cronies are, and VOTE against them AND get your NEIGHBORS to vote against them too. If you’re NOT THAT angry, you’re not paying attention.
Tempe leads the East Valley in crime, taxes and city costs, except for Mesa’s water and solid waste disposal charges. In those two cases Tempe places second in costs behind Mesa. Tempe has a serious crime rate that is considerably higher than the rest of the East Valley.
Tempe officials continually blame Arizona State University for city woes, but I find it hard to believe the 35,000 or so students that attend classes at the Tempe campus are the culprits for all of Tempe’s fiscal and crime problems.
In the May, 2011 East Valley Tribune column, Tempe should spend less, cut more before raising taxes, it said “If Tempe spent per resident what Mesa spends on policing, they’d save taxpayers over $14 million a year.” Those savings would pay for the new dam in two and a half years. Even with reduced spending, Mesa continues to have a significantly lower crime rate than Tempe.
|Average Amount a Residential Household Pays in Sales Tax|
|City Property Taxes|
|Water and Wastewater|
|2013 Annual Rate for Solid Waste Pick-up Costs|
|Source: City of||Tempe|
|2011 FBI Crime Rate per 100,000 Residents|
|Violent Crime||Property Crime|
|Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports|
|Policing Costs per Resident|
|City Employees per 1,000 Residents|
|Source: East Valley Tribune, May 25, 2011|
Until the residents step up and demand accountability and transparency the Tempe leadership will continue to act like it has money to burn, your money to burn that is.
Matthew Papke is graduate of Corona del Sol and a Marine. He is running for Tempe city Council in 2014 on a platform of fiscal responsibility and civic duty. Matthew’s website is freetempe.com
As a legislative liaison for an agency of the executive branch, I witnessed numerous budgets from their initial framework through the finished product, including negotiations and committee hearings. I was also a House majority staffer, where I helped outline and communicate several state budgets. It was shocking and frustrating to have my first budget as a state legislator be the least transparent in recent memory.
It is unprecedented for the Legislature to pass a budget without an Appropriations Committee hearing and public input. That happened here. It is also unprecedented for a sponsor to refuse to answer a single question on budget bills in his or her name. That happened here.
Further, our Committee of the Whole, which includes all members, gathers to debate and shape bills. That did not happen here. In our case, the only debate that mattered convened behind closed doors with the governor and a handful of lawmakers who made a deal to pass the governor’s Medicaid expansion.
The Gov. Jan Brewer’s legislative cadre consists of 24 Democrats and nine Republicans in the House. They passed what is arguably the largest federal takeover of Arizona’s economy in state history with her Medicaid-expansion plan. They accomplished this through suspending House rules, refusing to answer questions and prohibiting public testimony.
We repeatedly asked the budget sponsor, Rep. Frank Pratt, R-Casa Grande, to answer questions on the 654 pages of budget bills and amendments in his name. He refused to answer a single question, later saying he wanted to keep the budget process as short as possible.
The governor’s spokesman had the audacity to call these actions “democracy in action.” It’s unnerving to suggest suspending the rules, refusing public input, pushing a budget through without an Appropriations Committee hearing, passing amendments with no time to read them and refusing to answer questions, democracy in action.
Supporters argue this violation of the process was acceptable because they believe the Medicaid expansion is good policy. Regardless, we should always respect the process. We have three branches of government, not two.
While the legislative and executive branches may not always agree, it is critical we have mutual respect and honor the integrity of the process. That did not happen here.
The public still needs to know what impact this budget and massive government expansion will have on our economy.
Does this budget spend more than we bring in? For example, the governor said her budget spends $15 million less over three years than the conservative House budget. However, she does not include her hospital bed tax in this equation and actually counts that against new spending, which is actually $286 million higher than our budget.
If the state Capitol is truly the people’s house, then the people have a right to know what the Legislature is proposing before we pass it.
Arizonans sent us here to discuss and debate what we pass publicly so all Arizonans know how the Legislature is spending their tax dollars.
And that wasn’t all of it. The Governor’s legislative caucus was ready to push out her Medicaid expansion and her budget in one day until the Rules attorney told them couldn’t without 2/3rds (40 Members), an Arizona Constitutional requirement and they only had 33 votes.
They were also prepared to remove the Speaker and the President if Leadership didn’t do what they wanted. One freshman legislator was quoted as saying they would remove Speaker Tobin if “he didn’t play nice,” when the entire time we all knew they had a vehicle to get Medicaid expansion up to the Governor (SB 1057) and we just put our conservative House budget on the Appropriations agenda for that Thursday. Given they had 33 votes, they could’ve easily added whatever they wanted to what we passed out of Appropriations, i.e. none of this was necessary. They still could have pushed for everything they wanted without violating the process and giving Arizonans a chance to weigh in and know exactly what they were passing. Most of the Governor’s legislative caucus didn’t even know what they voted for.
Not to mention President Andy Biggs found out about the Special Session from a reporter as he was driving home. I was with House Leadership when we found out about the Special Session that began at 5pm on Tuesday after it had already begun.
Representative Justin Olson from his floor testimony was correct. The Governor and her legislative cadre have promised entitlements we will never be able to pay for. And the core, necessary services government is obligated to provide will suffer as a result, along with every other legislative priority.
Republican State Representative Paul Boyer, represents Legislative District 20, which covers parts of Phoenix and Glendale. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
The Central Arizona College (CAC) Board of Governors has approved a tentative budget that will require a 35% in crease in property taxes for Pinal County homeowners. This tax translates to approximately a $100 tax increased per $100,000 assessed valuation on a home. A lot of retirees live in $400,000 homes and a $400 increase in taxes will hit them very hard.
Currently, Pinal County has the second highest primary tax rate in the State at $3.7999. Pinal County Board of Supervisors reduced the property tax rate by $.10 last year. The Board of Governor’s property tax increase obliterates the County tax reduction.
What is going on in CAC? Since 2009, the CAC property tax rate has increased by over 72%, while Pinal County’s property tax rate has increased almost 13%. The CAC property tax rate has grown over 5.5 times faster than the Pinal County tax rate.
The proposed CAC tax rate will make CAC the most expensive community college in Arizona yet CAC serves only 3% of Arizona’s full-time student equivalent (FTSE) in all Arizona community colleges. How can this be? Are salaries excessively high?
The President of CAC, Doris Hemlich, was invited to a meeting of concerned citizens on May 16th. She was totally unprepared for the reaction of SaddleBrooke residents. Resident after resident stood up to speak against the egregious tax increase. Dr. Helmich attempted to frame the tax increase issue as critical to building an educated workforce that will attract businesses.
Unfortunately, Dr. Hemlich had it backwards. Currently, approximately 56% of Pinal County’s work force leave Pinal County daily to go to work. If you look at Maricopa county , businesses are located along the Pinal County line but very few in Pinal County. The reason: Pinal County has the second highest primary property tax rate in the State at $3.7999. Maricopa County, at $1.2407, ranks 11th.
The CAC proposed primary and secondary property tax rate is over twice that of Maricopa County’s primary rate alone. The CAC Board of Governors, through its egregious tax increase, is, in effect, telling businesses to stay away.
Let me quote a CAC student, who shall remain anonymous to protect the student from any CAC administration retaliation:
“CAC couldn’t fill their existent classrooms when they received money to buy the satellite campus at Trekell and Florence. Next they used our tax dollars to get hold of another satellite facility in the Palm Center mall just off I10 and Florence. I use these two facilities constantly and have observed they have a running ratio of administration to students at roughly 7:1. The classrooms are always empty. At the facility on Trekell, the guy running things has his computer screen facing the door. He spends much of his day of time poking around on the internet . . .
The computer lab there was being monitored by a student employee. When she had to study for finals, tests, etc. she’d simply close the lab and leave… leaving students who paid money to use those computers nowhere to go other than out to the main campus . . . The computer labs rarely have more than three students (20 computers) at any given time . . .
This college is NOT about education: it is the new WPA and operates without ANY responsible supervision . . .”
The proposed CAC property tax represents 62% of Pinal County’s property tax rate. The Board of Governors and its decision to increase the CAC property tax by 35% do not pass the proverbial sniff test. The CAC “truth in taxes” meeting on May 21st should be very interesting, indeed.
In case you missed it, the Arizona Executive and Legislative branches are embroiled in a battle over expanding Obamacare’s Medicaid program in Arizona. Here is the latest Friday poll gauging our reader’s position on this issue. Votes are scheduled in the Arizona House next week.