Higher Taxes on the Horizon?

Register.gif  The latest word from the Capitol is that two lobbyists have formed a group, TIME, to push the legislature to put a referendum on the ballot asking voters to raise the statewide sales tax by at least a half cent to pay for new road construction. Nor are these run-of-the-mill lobbyists either. They are uber-lobbyists Marty Schultz, who has never met a major project he didn’t think was worthy of using your tax dollars to “invest in”; and Chuck Coughlin, who lobbies for the Associated General Contractors whose members would, coincidentally of course, stand to get paid mucho dinero to build all of these new roads.

West Washington’s Senate Eyes tell us that the process began when the lobbyists approached Senate Transportation Chairman Ron Gould with their tax hike scheme. Any guesses how short that meeting must have been? Everyone knows that higher taxes are a non-starter in Gould’s committee. Hopefully, Senator Gould’s Republican colleagues in the Legislature will have the same kind of backbone and say “No!” to increasing taxes. The last thing Arizona Republicans need right now is to be seen as the party of higher taxes. On the other hand, it would provide conservatives with great ammunition in the ’08 primaries against some of their more liberal colleagues.

If the lobbyists do get their way, West Washington would like to recommend a campaign slogan for the effort. How about “Finish the Freeways!”? Seems to have worked well enough last time (to the tune of $4 BILLION)… Say, now that we think about it, when will those freeways be done?


  1. Sonoran Truth Squad says

    Hey, anybody see where the light rail folks also want ANOTHER $1.7 Billion to finish light rail five years faster AND to add 20+ miles of track? Even funnier is that they don’t know where they would put the track… They are simply sure that they will want it, so they want the money committed now. Is there no end to this scam?

  2. Is there no end to the ability of Marty Schultz to impose his personal ideas, or those of APS, into the public persona? While Marty can be a great guy and is very good at the job for which he is paid very well, this idea that if you have the money and the time to pursue your agenda anything is possible really needs some balance. The big money of big business should not be given a greater opportunity to influence the legislative process than the cumulative ideology of the electorate. Our elected representatives need to remember they are the stewards of the system of our Republic.

  3. What a joke!! Republicans have always been for ecomonic development. Transportation lands squarely in this category. You pseudo-republicans need to take a class in economics instead of sitting on your porches smokin’ cigars and contemplating the new world order. There are things that need to be done in Arizona and citizens like me think transportation infrastructure is a worthy investment. How much do the citizens pay while waiting in traffic? Furthermore, what about the health of our citizens?

  4. From what I have heard, there has been no talk about taxes or any other funding source for that matter. Anyone who says that there isn’t a need for statewide transportation solutions is not thinking about our long-term economic growth.

  5. Road Kill and Chet (though probably shills for the lobbyists mentioned in the article) must really like higher taxes or at least their clients do. If they are in fact not shills for big-taxin Marty and Chuck then they really don’t get it now do they. They seem to think “higher taxes” equates “economic development”. Of course if they feel that way about higher taxes then I wonder if Marty supports higher corporate taxes for APS or the Contractors. All under the guise of “economic development”.

  6. Observer. You sound like a shill for the “black helicopter” coalition. Seen any lately? Call the cops. Wait! They’ll get to your house via a road. Who paid for it?

  7. Road Kill,

    If adhering to the belief that higher taxes are not good for the economy – a view shared by most Republicans – makes me, in your view, a part of the “black helicopter” coalition – would it then follow that you hold that view about most Republicans. What does that make you? A self-loathing Republican? Or perhaps not a Republican at all.

    As to your inquiry to who paid for the road to my house. The question itself reveals your inherent bias. You think the answer is that government did. Thus you reveal your inherent liberal bias. I, on the other hand, believe the taxpayers, including myself paid for the road. So, Road Kill, go on your merry liberal way and push for that higher sales tax. I suspect the majority of Arizonans, when given the chance to say, probably won’t agree with you and your tax-hiking ways.

  8. Observer:

    That’s what your black helicopter group said about Proposition 400 in Maricopa County, Proposition 400 in Pinal County and of Question one and two in Pima County. Have you looked at the results of those elections lately?

    It’s clear the PEOPLE are much smarter than you. They get it.

  9. Road Kill,

    It’s easy to see where you are coming from here. In your view of the world (quite liberal and pro-tax) you think anyone who opposes higher taxes must be part of a “black helicopter group”. Does this make people like Congressmen Flake, Shadegg, and Franks, and Senator Kyl who all oppose higher taxes and have taken pledges accordingly, members of the black helicopter group as well? And if so, what does that say about the people who voted for them?

    As for Prop 400, wasn’t it sold to the voters as the solution that would “fix the freeways” and if so, what happened? Was it all a lie? And wasn’t it sold to voters as an “extension” not a tax increase?

    How are you and your ilk gonna sell the next one?

  10. Dear Observer a.k.a Not Getting the Point:

    I don’t think any of the fine representives and senator mentioned above believe in the absolute mantra that all taxes are bad. Some are. I agree. However, investments such as transportation HELP the economy. Any economist will tell you this.

    How do you suggest we pay for Arizona’s infrastructure?

    Are you a Reaganite?

  11. Observer,

    I am not a fan of taxing for the sake of taxing. I want my taxpayer dollars spent wisely and provide the greatest return on investment of my hard earned dollars. I don’t know where these guys and their plans are going to go, but I don’t default to assuming that they want to raise taxes left and right.

    I do, however, believe that we have a transportation problem. The population is growing as fast as ever and we are going to have a ton of people here and no way to get around without gridlock. This isn’t just in Maricopa and Pima, but we are going to see that the system is insufficient everywhere. I think that Prop 400 was a help, but what about I-17? What about I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix? Maricopa County voters would have pitched a fit if they would have been forced to fund these clearly interregional (heck, interstate) freeways.

    I just find it hard to believe it when people decline something out of the gate. The reason Republicans were doing so well for so long is that they had a plan for what to do. The plan worked and everyone prospered. Over time, they have become more and more like the Democrats (no plan of their own, just criticize those who come up with plans). You may think that signing a no tax pledge is honorable, I think its takes you right out of the game and completely cripples your bargaining position in a negotiation process.

    So, tell me, what would be your suggestion for fixing transportation in this state?

  12. Road Kill,

    I don’t think anyone disagrees that transportation improvements benefit the economy. But your claim ignores the detrimental effect that higher taxes have on the economy. Believe or not, when you tax people more they actually do have less to spend in the private sector. And who benefits from private sector spending? Business. And what do businesses provide? Jobs.

    Arizona currently has the 10th highest average sales tax in the country. Increasing sales taxes by another half percent would put Arizona in the top-five nationwide. That’s bad for business and bad for the economy.

  13. Observer:

    Signing off for the evening. Sorry. I’ll leave you with one last thought. If I can convince you that investing in tranportation infrastructure makes ECONOMIC sense will you vote for a funding mechanism?

    By the way you didn’t answer my question. Did you support Pres. Reagan?

  14. Sonoran Truth Squad says

    Road Kill – Your Prop 400 arguments actually reinforce the points made in the initial post. The “people” voted for it because they were told it would “finish the freeways”. They were lied to by the same campaign consultants who will lead the charge for more money for more projects. Just like the other $1.7 Billion they now want for more light rail…

    More taxes is a bad idea. If the need exists (which is a separate debate) then they need to fund it from existing revenue streams and cut out stuff we don’t need.

    No one, and I mean no one, will ever convince me that I’m not paying a) enough taxes, or b) my fair share. I, like every other Republican I know, will remember this vote when I show up on Primary Election Day!

  15. Road Kill,

    I have to confess that I didn’t know much about him when he first ran for President. I was in the fourth grade. Please feel free to try and convince me of the economic sense of raising taxes. But I suspect that in the end it will be futile. It would appear that you and I have very different political philosophies. I am a firm believer in limited government, free markets, and economic freedom. Higher taxes are always going to be greeted with high level of skepticism on my part. However, I will grant you this one point. “Funding Mechanism” has got to be one of the best euphemisms for higher taxes that I have ever heard. Can I borrow the term?

  16. Sonoran Truth Squad,

    As much as Road Kill would like to see a “funding mechanism” put in place, I tend to believe that it will likely not go far in the Legislature. I have a feeling that many Republicans in the Legislature – when faced with a choice of raising taxes and potentially losing a primary or voting no – will be unwilling to fall on their sword for the Contractors and the big government types. Call me cynical, but I suspect most would rather keep their jobs. I think the ghosts of the 2004 primary will be remembered.

  17. Just Curious says


    Earlier you pointed out that our sales tax is near the highest in the nation and that if raised a half percent we would be in the top five in the nation. Could that be due to the low property taxes that we pay? Anyone else, feel free to comment.

  18. Just Curious,

    If we are going to look at property taxes, then we should probably look at all taxes. Currently Arizona is ranked the 21st highest state in the nation for cumulative tax burden. Now some might say, “hey at least we are not in the top 20, but let’s look at where are neighbors in the West rank. Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, New Mexico, Montana and Oklahoma all rank lower. Only California and Utah have higher cumulative tax burdens than Arizona. Now, in fairness, some of these are smaller, more rural oriented, and some have gambling and oil revenues. But what about some of our true contemporaries like Colorado (ranked 37 th highest) and Washingon (ranked 24th) According to the Tax Foundation we are sandwiched in between California and Michigan. Are these the kind of states we really want to be in the same neighborhood with?

  19. Sonoran Truth Squad says

    I just got my property tax bill and “low” is not how I would describe it. Observer must be making a lot more money than I am to be able to pay these tax bills with such a carefree attitude…

  20. Observer:

    Yawn….you’re boring. Same ol’ same, same ol’.

    Bye Bye!!

  21. And good riddance.

  22. azundercurrent says

    Observer and Road Kill:

    I’ve been reading with humor your exchange and have concluded that both of you bring up great points. However, I must admit that Road Kill wins the battle. You never answered his overarching question of what your solution would be. I applaud people, Road Kill included, that take a step out to support our economy. Anyone can be a nay sayer especially under the guise of “no taxes”.

    Thats the easy argument.

    Road Kill – 1
    Observer – 0

  23. azundercurrent,

    What solution did Road Kill offer? Higher taxes? Is that really a solution? If it was, then I guess we should just raise taxes even higher and then our economy will be smokin hot.

    Has Road Kill and any of the other pro-taxers even considered other free market alternatives like privately financed toll roads like those in California or congestion pricing like they have in Minnesota.

    Also, in reviewing the exchange between road kill and observer nowhere did I see road kill offer any substantiation that there would be a net positive effect in raising taxes to build roads. I know it is convenient for pro-taxers or as road kill likes to say pro-“revenue enhancers” to ignore the detrimental effects that higher taxes have on the private sector, but I, for one, am disturbed at the continual trend in our state for higher taxes and worry about the effects that this will have on the economy.

    Aren’t you just a little bit disturbed by the fact that this idea is being pushed by the lobbyist for the industry that stands to benefit most from this –the contractors??

    In the end, I suspect that most liberals will side with road kill and most conservatives will side with Observer. I, for one, am a conservative and thus I side with Observer.

  24. azundercurrent says


    Hellooo. The a original article talked about how these uber-lobbyists are pushing to solve congestion problems. Road Kill was supporting the premise that investing or as he/she put it finding a “funding mechanism” is appropriate and is consistent with republican principals. Have you ever heard of the term “opportunity cost”? That was Road Kills’ point. How much does it cost us each day as we wait in traffic? Also, what is the opportunity cost of the health of our citizens, specifically as it relates to air quality?

    Finally, Road Kill asked what Observers’ solution was. Mike responds by saying haven’t “they” considered free market alternatives like toll roads. Senator Gould cast the final vote to kill the toll road bill. Again, what are the conservatives offering? Last I checked Gould is a conservative.

    Interestingly…. so am I.

  25. azundercurrent,

    Yes, I have heard of the term “opportunity cost”, but I believe mine and Observer’s point of contention is that the costs of fixing the “opportunity cost” do not occur in a vacuum. You seem to assume that the costs associated with traffic will somehow be fixed magically without any detrimental effects on the economy. This is simply misinformed. The money that it will cost to fix this under road kill’s tax and spend scheme has to come from somewhere and raising taxes will take this money out of taxpayers and businesses pockets. Money that can’t be spent in the private sector which believe it or not is actually the engine that drives our economy.

    As for Senator Gould killing Tibshraeny’s toll bill. I would suggest getting your facts straight before making a blanket assertion here. My understanding is that the bill was killed for among other reasons because it was larded up with little mini MAGS. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Gould’s own toll road bill pass out of committee?

    As for your contention that you are a conservative. I have found through experience that those who feel the need to reiterate the fact they are conservatives while at the same time shilling for higher taxes or “revenue enhancers” usually aren’t.

    But, just for fun, if you do truly believe you are the rare tax-hiking conservative, then name for me a couple of other examples of conservatives in Arizona who support raising taxes.

  26. Sonoran Truth Squad says


    you lie, lie, lie… the original post says nothing about how the lobbyists are trying to “solve congestion problems”… what kind of spin are you trying here? Sonoran Alliance is a No Spin Zone my friend!

  27. azundercurrent says

    No spin zone? Look at all the crap you write!!!


  1. […] Brewer’s insistence on a tax increase. Coughlin originally led Governor Napolitano’s TIME initiative which would have increased sales taxes in order to generate more road construction and light rail […]

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