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

By Christine Harbin Hanson and Tom Jenney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AZ Governor Candidate Al Melvin Signs “No New Taxes” Pledge

Melvin and Norquist

Sen. Al Melvin & Grover Norquist

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.

###

Ally Miller: Pima County Board of Supervisors Vote to Issue MORE DEBT

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.

Source: Huckelberry, C.H. Memo to the Pima County Board of Supervisors, Resolutions Relating to Debt Issues, 3 December 2013.

Supervisor Ally Miller represents District 1 on the Pima County Board of Supervisors.  Supervisor Miller began her term on January 1, 2013.

Educational Picketing of Arizona IRS Headquarters

FairTaxforAll

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.”

UPDATE: Hospitals Paying Traitors for Their Yes Votes on OBrewercare

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

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

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

OBrewercare Traitors Get Paid for Their Votes

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 McComishAdam 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: Your Money to Burn

money_on_fire_op_449x6001-2

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
Chandler $481
Gilbert $423
Mesa $417
Tempe $555
City Property Taxes
Chandler $174
Gilbert $165
Mesa $51
Tempe $267
Water and Wastewater
Chandler $555
Gilbert $574
Mesa $820
Tempe $622
2013 Annual Rate for Solid Waste Pick-up Costs
Chandler $181
Gilbert $208
Mesa $287
Tempe $240
Source: City of Tempe
 2011 FBI Crime Rate per 100,000 Residents
             Violent Crime Property Crime
Chandler 284.4 3,096.90
Gilbert 84.2 1,823
Mesa 412.8 3,395.10
Tempe 479.9 5,446.70
Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports
http://www.bjs.gov/ucrdata/Search/Crime/Local/OneYearofData.cfm
Policing Costs per Resident
Chandler $350
Gilbert $176
Mesa $321
Tempe $410
City Employees per 1,000 Residents
Chandler 6.6
Gilbert 5.7
Mesa 8.2
Tempe 9.9
Source: East Valley Tribune, May 25, 2011
http://eastvalleytribune.com/opinion/columnists/article_

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

Maricopa GOP Chair Rallies LD Censures

To all Arizona County and LD Republican Committee Chairmen -
Below is the front page article of the July 15 Arizona Capitol Times. I want to express my appreciation to those courageous and principled County and LD Republican Committees who have already conducted votes of “censure” and/or “no confidence.”
Jan Brewer, the legislators and their crony capitalist friends that support ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion have betrayed Americans, Arizona Republicans and the Republican Party Platform.  Their lack of ethics, integrity and egregious acts are motivated by only two things – greed and the lust for power – at the expense of hard working tax paying Americans.
The law was expected to cost $898 billion over the first decade when the bill was first passed, but this year the Congressional Budget Office revised that estimate to $1.85 trillion.  Money that will have to be borrowed from the Chinese or printed in the backroom of the Federal Reserve.  Latest polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in opposition.
During the past six months, we did everything we could to make a solid argument against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, we tried to reason with these people and even tried to make them see the light.  Unfortunately, our lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears and without success.
During one of Ronald Reagan’s difficult political battles he said,
               ”When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”
I’m asking all the County and LD Republican Committees to make these people feel the heat by passing public censures for their actions.  They are elitists who think what they have done should be forgiven. They are mistaken.  We are not going to be able to defeat all of them, but we can defeat a majority of them in the 2014 Primary Election.
You can go to “MCRC Briefs” and get examples of public censures that have already been passed.  http://briefs.maricopagop.org/  Just type “censure” in the search field on the left.
Warmest regards,
 A. J. LaFaro
Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
P.S.  Please encourage all of your PCs to keep up their daily efforts in getting petition signatures for www.urapc.org  Getting ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion on the November 2014 ballot will be historic for Arizona’s grassroots conservatives.

Rep. Paul Boyer: Budget Process Was Not “Democracy In Action”

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.

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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.

CAC Board of Governors Demonstrate Classic Hubris With a 35% Property Tax Increase

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.

 

 

Friday Poll: Do You Support/Oppose Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion in Arizona?

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.

Medicaid Expansion: Been There, Done That

AFP Arizona

To all Arizona taxpayers and health care consumers:

When it comes to the fiscal costs and human damage of expanding Medicaid/AHCCCS under ObamaCare, we know that things will turn out badly.  How do we know?  Because we’ve been there, and we’ve done that.  Here is what past experience, here in Arizona and elsewhere, tells us about the proposed expansion:

1)   The Medicaid expansion will cost much more than projected.
2)  The expansion may do nothing to help low-income Arizonans — and could hurt them.
3)  The so-called “hidden health tax” won’t get fixed.
4)  Arizona must bargain hard to get a better deal.
5)  The disgusting ploy to gut Prop 108 taxpayer protections will lead to more tax hikes.

You can read more about each of those items below, and TAKE ACTION HERE.  And click onthis link for info about the health care freedom protest at the Arizona Capitol on May 15.

1)  The Medicaid expansion will cost much more than projected.

None of the promised fiscal results of Arizona’s last Medicaid/AHCCCS expansion (enacted by voters through Prop 204 in 2000) actually materialized.  Prop 204 backers promised that the AHCCCS expansion would save money in the state budget.  The Joint Legislative Budget Committee was somewhat wiser, knowing that the expansion would cost the state money.  The committee projected that covering the Prop 204 population would cost $389 million in 2008.  But the actual cost was $1.623 billion — four times as expensive as projected!

And of course, the projected $2 billion in federal matching funds is not “free.” Certainly not for federal taxpayers — including millions of Arizonans.  According to the Goldwater Institute’sChristina Corieri, if Arizona and 11 other fence-sitter States join the 18 States that have already said No to the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion, the country could save $609 billion by 2022. That’s real money — even in Washington!

2)  The expansion may do nothing to help low-income Arizonans — and could hurt them.

Several studies
 suggest that Medicaid may actually hurt its supposed beneficiaries, but there has been only one randomized study (the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment) comparing persons on Medicaid to persons having no insurance at all.  According to results released last weekthe study has so far failed to find any evidence that putting people on Medicaid saved any lives or made any improvements in several objective health markers (blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and diabetes).

Things will get worse in AHCCCS the longer ObamaCare goes without being repealed.  In Arizona, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 23 percent of doctors say they will not accept AHCCCS patients.  Combine large increases in the Medicaid population with a declining number of doctors, and the result will be longer waiting times for patients.  In medicine, longer waiting times often mean discomfort, disability and death.  Read more about the human cost of the Medicaid expansion HERE.

3)  The so-called “hidden health tax” won’t get fixed.

The proponents of the current Medicaid expansion estimate that there is a “hidden health tax” of $2,000 per family per year in higher insurance premiums caused by uncompensated care(uninsured or underinsured people using the emergency room).  13 years ago, backers of the Prop 204 Medicaid expansion made the same argument, claiming that the expansion was going to relieve the state’s uncompensated care problem.  But according to a Lewin Group study,uncompensated care in Arizona increased by an average of nine percent per year during the first seven years of the Prop 204 Medicaid expansion, and the average family’s health insurance premium increased from $8,972 in 2003 to $14,854 in 2011 – a 66 percent increase.

Before you believe the hospital lobby’s arguments about uncompensated care, be sure to read Christina Corieri’s latest post: Medicaid expansion will line hospitals’ pockets.

4)  Arizona must bargain hard to get a better deal.

The main reason Arizona’s Medicaid system (AHCCCS) is not as bad as that in most other States is that Arizona waited two decades to join the Medicaid program.  Because we held out, we were able to bargain for a better deal – a Medicaid program that has been better at controlling costs and has provided better options for patients than in many other States.

But Governor Brewer’s team has failed to even try negotiating with Obama’s department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  In its most recent message about the Section 1115 waiver, HHS said “we do not anticipate that we would authorize enrollment caps or similar policies” while still letting States get 2-to-1 matching dollars.  But of course, “we do not anticipate” is not the same thing as saying “No.”  Right now, HHS is in the position of having to negotiate with States, because 18 States have already said No to the Medicaid expansion, and 12 States are still on the fence.  At this point, we don’t know if HHS really means “No,” because the Governor’s team simply threw up the white flag and capitulated to the demands of the Obama Administration.

Further, the Governor’s cost projections are based on AHCCCS coverage under cookie cutter Medicaid rules – in other words, how much things will cost if we capitulate and run AHCCCS according to federal diktat, without negotiating for better ways to run the program.

5)  The disgusting ploy to gut Prop 108 taxpayer protections will lead to more tax hikes.

Proponents of the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion are trying to do an end-run around Prop 108, the most important taxpayer protection in the Arizona Constitution.  Under Prop 108, it is supposed to take a two-thirds majority of the Legislature to raise taxes.  But Medicaid expansion proponents want to allow an unelected bureaucrat at AHCCCS to raise state taxes (mainlyhospital bed taxes) by hundreds of millions of dollars per year — without a two-thirds vote of the Legislature!

In their efforts to squeeze a giant hospital bed tax (“provider tax”) through a tiny loophole in Prop 108, Governor Brewer and others are trying to pretend that the provider tax is not a tax — even though the provider tax is a TAX under the Social Security Act.  They are also trying to pretend that: the provider tax is not allocated according to formula, although it plainly is; the provider tax does not have a limit, although it is limited by federal law to six percent; and, we don’t know how much money will be raised by the tax, even though the Governor and some Legislators are building budgets around the expected revenue.

History shows that removing taxpayer protections inevitably leads to higher taxes.  If Arizona’s Legislators delegate to an AHCCCS bureaucrat the authority to impose gigantic taxes on hospital patients, they will kill Prop 108, clearing the way for other departments and agencies to raise taxes without getting approval by legislative supermajorities.

To block the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion and to stop the end-run around Arizona’s constitutional taxpayer protections, TAKE ACTION HERE. For more information about the May 15 health care freedom protest at the Arizona Capitol, go here.

For Liberty, Tom

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity
www.aztaxpayers.org

Phoenix Business Owner Says Mayor Needs To Keep Campaign Promise Regarding Food Tax

(Phoenix, AZ) It seems there were a lot of questions directed at Mayor Stanton at a community meeting held at the Mayo Clinic on April 23rd. But it wasn’t zoning laws or the need to fix our streets that was on most people’s minds, it was the food tax. In fact some of the residents that attended wanted to know why Mayor Stanton isn’t keeping his campaign promise that he made to repeal it like he did during his campaign. While Mayor Stanton continued to tell residents that the tax is needed to keep fire and police services operating, Phoenix business owner and city resident Nohl Rosen reminded him that he needs to keep his promise to the people.

“As a business owner when I make a promise to a customer, I honor it as that is what your supposed to do because it’s good service. I simply reminded the Mayor that he made a promise to the citizens of Phoenix and that he needs to keep it,” Rosen said.

However, during the meeting which was also attended by City Council members Jim Waring and Bill Gates, it was revealed that the food tax was used to give pay raises to city employees and also fund golf courses.

“When the food tax was put into affect 3 years ago, the citizens were told that it was to keep fire and police services going. Now we find out that the money wasn’t used for its intended purpose. Still, Mayor Stanton during his campaign said he would repeal the food tax and hasn’t done it. That would be the honorable thing to do and also sets things right. Just what is the Mayor waiting for?” Rosen further asked.

Rosen says he’s considering doing more of his shopping in Scottsdale and other neighboring cities to fulfill regular household needs until the food tax is repealed and encouraging others to do the same.

Sal DiCiccio: Phoenix Food Tax, Broken Promises

Sal DiCiccio

Follow me on FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/DiCiccioSal
Follow me on TWITTER: http://twitter.com/PhxDistrict6

Mayor Stanton made an announcement on Thursday that he would not fulfill his campaign promise to repeal the food tax.  Along with many Phoenicians, I am very disappointed in his decision.  The citizens have relied on this commitment and, once again, their city is letting them down.

The middle class and the poor are the ones who will be impacted the most.  What makes this decision even more unfortunate is that over $106 million in pay raises have been doled out to city employees while Phoenix citizens have not seen one penny of relief.

You have my commitment to protect you and your family.  I will continue to push for the repeal of this tax that was passed deceptively with barely 24 hour notice.

The credibility of the City of Phoenix has been damaged.  The ability of people to trust the word of Phoenix officials has further diminished.  As I continue my fight to repeal the food tax, I will also strive to restore people’s faith in government.

AZ Republic columnist Laurie Roberts’ article on Stanton’s announcement

My best to you and your family,

Sal DiCiccio
City of Phoenix Councilman, District 6
602-262-7491
council.district.6@phoenix.gov

*Any e-mail you send to council.district.6@phoenix.gov will be subject to the Arizona Open Records Law and may be reviewed by the Arizona Republic.

Provider Taxes: The Medicaid Funding Scam

Medicaid is a complex and burdensome system, nationally covering 55 million low-income individuals, and costing taxpayers $400 billion per year. Watch the video below to find out how states work with providers to fleece federal taxpayers – that’s You! – by using “provider taxes” as an excuse to increase funding.

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#SayNOtoMedicaidDependency

Maricopa GOP Votes Down Medicaid Expansion in Arizona

March, 2013

A RESOLUTION OF THE EXECUTIVE GUIDANCE COMMITTEE (EGC) OF THE MARICOPA COUNTY REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE (MCRC) MARICOPA COUNTY, STATE OF ARIZONA

IN OPPOSITION TO

THE ARIZONA GOVERNOR’S PROPOSED EXPANSION OF MEDICAID (AHCCCS) IN SUPPORT OF OBAMACARE

WHEREAS, Arizona voters clearly expressed their will to reject implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the individual mandate by amending the Arizona Constitution in 2010 via the Arizona Health Insurance Reform Amendment, Proposition 106; and

WHEREAS, the “circuit breaker” clause is insufficient to prevent out of control escalation of enrollment and the long term costs will cause severe financial hardship on Arizona’s budget; and

WHEREAS, the “assessment” on hospitals is actually a tax and a disingenuous attempt to subvert Arizona’s Constitution and legislative process requiring tax increases receive supermajority approval in the legislature; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court ruled that each State may reject the expansion of Medicaid and Insurance Exchanges, the two cornerstones of Obamacare, without which it collapses; and

WHEREAS, the best method to honor Arizona voters’ wishes to reject Obamacare is for each State to refuse implementation and allow Obamacare to fail; and

WHEREAS, supporting a government takeover of Arizona’s health care system, even to secure large amounts of federal funds, does not reflect the values of the Republican Party or the interests of the taxpayers of Arizona.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Executive Guidance Committee of the Maricopa County Republican Committee, Maricopa County, State of Arizona, does affirm and declare our opposition to the Governor’s plan to expand Medicaid; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the Executive Guidance Committee of the Maricopa County Republican Committee, Maricopa County, State of Arizona, demands that the Arizona State Legislators uphold the rule of law set forth by Proposition 108 requiring a supermajority vote in this matter; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED by the Executive Guidance Committee of the Maricopa County Republican Committee, Maricopa County, State of Arizona, demands that the Arizona State Legislators stand with the people of Arizona in opposition to the Governor’s plan to expand Medicaid by defeating any bill to such ends.

Author: Eric Morgan, Chairman, LD22 Republican Committee

PASSED & APPROVED this 7th day of March 2013, by a vote of 26 (ayes) to 2 (nays) to 0 (abstentions) of the Executive Guidance Committee of the Maricopa County Republican Committee, Maricopa County, State of Arizona.

MARICOPA COUNTY REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE

MARICOPA COUNTY, STATE OF ARIZONA:

A. J. LaFaro

________________________________________

by: A. J. LaFaro, Chairman

Maricopa County Republican Committee

[Download Resolution]

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