Hundreds pack AZ Federation of Taxpayers’ 3rd Annual Legislative Awards Luncheon

Chad KirkpatrickTom JenneyThe AZ Federation of Taxpayers/Americans for Prosperity put on the biggest AZ conservative event of the year, their third annual Legislative Awards Luncheon. In addition to crediting the guys who put it on, Chad Kirkpatrick and Tom Jenney (on the left), the governor should be credited for frightening so many people into coming this year.

This year’s award for the biggest government spender and taxer was renamed from the Vladimir I. Lenin award to the Empty Wallet Award and went to Rep. Steve Farley, who received a 14% rating from AZ Taxpayers, the lowest of any legislator. Farley did not show up to receive his award, Tom Jenney speculated that he must be lying in bed at home dreaming of light rail. This year Rep. Kyrsten Sinema actually scored higher than 18 otherSen. Ron Gould Democrat representatives; she must have been sicker a lot longer missing more votes this year than she was last year when she came in 2nd place (she won the award two years ago). Sen. Ron Gould (to the right) received the top rating for the 3rd year in a row, the Barry M. Goldwater Award for Legislative Excellence.

Sen. Pamela Gorman was the only other Senator to rank along with Gould as a Hero of the Taxpayer. Representatives Andy Biggs and Russell Pearce were the only two Representatives to rank in that category. RINO Senator Carolyn Allen scored a 39%, Friend of Big Government, lower than FIVE Democrats, Albert Hale, Paula Aboud, Jorge Luis Garcia, Leah Landrum Taylor (yes – Allen has a worse record than Leah Landrum Taylor – aren’t you RINOs glad you voted for Allen over Rosati?) and Amanda Aguirre. The next lowest ranking Republican Senators were Robert Blendu and Marsha Arzberger.

In the House, RINO Pete Hershberger scored even lower than several Democrats, including Ben Miranda, in the category of Friend of Big Government, with almost exactly the same score as Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (37% v. 36% – why even bother electing Republicans?). Also scoring in that category were Republicans Jennifer Burns, John Nelson, Marian McClure, Bill Konopnicki, and Lucy Mason. The highest scoring Democrat in that category was Rep. Mark DeSimone, with a 54% in the Needs Improvement category, followed by Tom Albert in the Friend of Big Government category, Ben Miranda, Olivia Cajero Bedford, and David Lujan.

Legislative District 6 got the award for the best district thanks to Sen. Pamela Gorman (90%), Rep. Sam Crump (87%), and Rep. Doug Clark (80%).

The Kendrick Prize for Legislative courage went to Rep. Rick Murphy and Democrat Sen. Ken Cheuvront. The John W. Dawson Local Hero Award went to Ray Carroll, Pima County Supervisor. Carroll received the award for stopping the county from increasing spending by double the growth. Tom Jenney said he used to live in Tucson and that it was run by a gang of socialists. Carroll acknowledged that the town was full of hippies.Wally the Wallet

Wally the Wallet made a guest appearance. Tom Jenney criticized him for having an IOU from the government in his wallet and nothing else. Wally defended himself saying, “If you can’t go into debt now, when can you?” Tom responded, “Are you sure you’re not from the governor’s office?” Carry the Coin Purse was in the audience, although she should have been with Wally, since he has no dollar bills he needs at least his change to scrape by.

Former U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth cryptically alluded to the possibility that he may be considering another run for office in the future. “This is not a campaign speech, at least not for 2008.” J.D. berated the IRS for not giving taxpayers a presumption of innocence like we do for criminals in the court system, and noted that if taxation of income was so important, it would have been put in the U.S. Constitution.

State Treasurer Dean Martin told the audience it was Hillary Clinton who got him into office. Not personally. Since he took office as treasurer, he’s begun balancing the state checkbook – reconciling the amount in the state’s bank account with the government’s records. When he presented his results to the governor’s office and her accounting office, they claimed there was an extra $28 million they’d spent. Turned out the $28 million wasn’t authorized to have been spent; the state had taken $28 million of money authorized for federal healthcare and used it elsewhere. Dean noted that no one had heard about this scandal of course, obviously the big spenders and their comrades in the media don’t want taxpayer abuses like this to get out. He emphasized the importance of his office’s oversight role; the big spenders have no problem spending millions on welfare but not one penny on its oversight. He said his office made $732 million last year, and ironically observed that both the governor and himself want to bring in money, just for different reasons. He wants to cut taxes, she wants more money so she can spend more. The only reason why the state has a rainy day fund to dip into now is because the governor missed spotting that money earlier since it was placed in one of three different areas; if she’d found that source earlier it would have been spent long before now.

Clint Bolick from the Goldwater Institute’s Center for Constitutional Government said he was glad to share the stage with Rep. Shadegg and Dean Martin, not only because they’re great speakers but because they’re two of the only government officials he doesn’t intend to sue. He brought up Phoenix’s $100 million dollar subsidy to CityNorth to develop a ritzy mall in North Phoenix, referring to it as the “Taj Ma-Mall.” This “gift” violates the AZ Constitution’s gift clause. He said to expect a lawsuit from the Goldwater Institute soon defending the free speech of bloggers (yay!)

Jennifer Perkins from the Institute for Justice discussed the San Tan Flat case, where a restaurant owner is being prohibited from allowing his patrons to casually dance after dinner because then his restaurant would be a “dance hall” which the area isn’t zoned for and dancing outside is prohibited. One attendee made the wry observation that the owner should put up a pole outside his restaurant, because the “rights” of strip clubs are defended to the hilt. Perkins said that the ACLU said in 1956 that “liberty is an unfinished business” but we’ll be taking that quote for ourselves now.
Tom Borelli from the Free Enterprise Action Fund (a mutual fund) in NJ discussed the left’s strategy to take over corporate boardrooms, using liberal activists to turn corporations into lobbying groups for their causes.

Tom Jenney acknowledged Rep. Patrick Henry from Virginia sitting in the audience. The guy really looked like the original founder. How quaint. Dec. 15 is Bill of Rights Day.

U.S. Rep. John Shadegg discussed his new label for the Democrats in Congress, “Tax Increases R Us,” for trying to pass a $280 billion dollar tax increase. The Maricopa County Democrat table looked like they didn’t want to be there. Eric Novack, an orthopedic surgeon, discussed a proposed amendment to the AZ Constitution he is working on with Dr. Jeff Singer, called The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act. It would be interesting to find out what the meaning of this part of the Act means, “no law should be passed that restricts a person’s freedom of choice of private health care systems or private plans of any type.” Would this prohibit passing laws against abortion?

The keynote speaker was former Governor Gary Johnson from New Mexico. Other than his anti-death penalty position, he was outstanding. He once vetoed a bill that would have required people to exercise their dog AND CAT for 2 hours a day, 3 times a week. Another bad bill he vetoed was a motorcycle helmet law – he noted there is an organ donor shortage in NM. An accomplishment of his was eliminating 1000 state employees (one member in the audience wondered if that was why he was no longer governor and over here in AZ – that takes principles and guts). And during his term, he discovered that health insurance under Medicaid cost more per person than his own health insurance, prompting him to get that reformed.

Steve Lonegan from Americans for Prosperty in NJ told how they were able to defeat an initiative for government funding of fetal stem cell research with 60% of the vote – the only state where that was defeated. He said if you can defeat something in NJ, you can defeat it anywhere.

Groups attending with tables included AZ Right to Life, AZ for the Fair Tax, AZ Citizens Defense League, LD 4 Republicans, AZ Young Republicans, Ron Paul for President, Mingus Mountain Republican Club, AZ Tax Revolt, Valley Conservative League, Valley Business Owners, Maricopa County Libertarian Party, Maricopa County Democrat Party (they must have been there to spy since have you ever heard of the Democrat party advocating for tax cuts or lower spending?), St. Paul’s Preparatory Academy, Pima Association of Taxpayers, East Valley Republican Assembly, Pachyderm Coalition (the real conservative Pachyderm), Maricopa County Republican Party, and Prop. 13 AZ (property tax reform). Luncheon sponsors included the Free Enterprise Club, AZ School Choice Trust, and Medical Choice for AZ. There were numerous individual sponsors as well.

Chad Kirkpatrick, Chairman of the Federation of AZ Taxpayers, said between 420 and 450 people attended, and credited “this growth in our organization to the success of our message. That the role of government is not to pick winners and losers, but create a free and fair society where people who work hard, play by the rules and make good decisions are rewarded.”


Comments

  1. Pat,

    Excellent report on the luncheon! Sorry I couldn’t make it!

  2. What a great meeting of like minded folks involved in and outside of government!

    In addition to the keynote speakers it was a wonderful opportunity for many of Arizona’s movers and shakers to learn of the Arizona Property Tax Revolt initiatives to rollback both levies, (property tax revenue to each taxing entity) and valuations which will no longer cause tax increases because of real estate price inflation. Though inspired by California’s famous Prop 13, with an identical 2% maximum tax increase, several improvements including a baseline rather than an acquisition based valuations system will assure that even our kids and grandkids will not pay more takes due to real estate price inflation.

    To learn more about the Arizona Tax Revolt, to join as a volunteer or to contribute in other ways please visit our WEB site: http://www.ArizonaTaxRevolt.ORG

    Marc Goldstone, Chair.
    Arizona Tax Revolt
    (928) 754-8305

  3. Bahamamamasmama says

    Congratulations on your work keeping taxpayers informed and involved in policy decision-making. Wally the Wallet’s IOU reminds us that the programs elected officials implement “for the children” end up leaving a legacy of debt for those future taxpayers. Keep up the great work!

  4. Thanks for the rather self-serving post there Marc. Still, while we’ve got you here, how do you address my concern that we will create two classes of real estate under your initiative.

    Old homes that have been capped at 2% for 30 years that are NOT revalued when they are sold, so like rent-controlled apartments they are well below the second group of homes which are new or newer and do not have the artificially low taxes.

    I’d prefer something where the valuation was adjusted when the property was sold. If you’re paying $600,000 for a house you expect a tax bill based on a valuation of $600,000, and from there it couldn’t go up more than 2% per year. But buying a $600,000 home that will continue to be valued as a $250,000 home is just plain wrong.

    What am I missing?

  5. Dear Tim,

    If my post appeared to be self serving, I apologize but given the 1 1/2 years I have devoted to this project without compensation and out of a sense of frustration with the present taxation system, I am understandably proud of what it will do for you and all present and future Arizona property owners!

    You have a good question and it has a simple answer. Government revenue will be controlled by the levy limits. Valuations under our system merely divide that tax burden between the property owners based on value. Today value is based on market, which is about the purchase price for a new home. Since the Tax Revolt no longer uses the market value (Full Cash Value) to compute your taxes it is allowed to change to reflect inflation in the real estate market. The Uniform Property Value (UPV) that we define and limit to a 2% increase each year is used to compute your taxes.

    Now UPV is set equal to the UPV of homes in your immediate area of equal FCV. Since inflation will be reflected in FCV for each such property it drops out of the equation and your UPV only reflects the intrinsic or 2003 baseline value of your property. To put this in perspective when you purchase your home you will pay the same tax as the previous owner because your UPV does not change!

    If this is not clear give me a call and let’s talk.

    Marc
    (928) 754-8305

  6. Thanks for the clarification. I’m going to have to read it a few more times to understand it, but that’s likely a reflection of me, not you! Hopefully there is a sound-bite version of your answer that you can pull out at campaign time. Good luck to you and your campaign!

  7. This was a great luncheon and I was grateful to get further educated thanks to Chad Kirkpatrick and his invitation to attend.
    As someone who has made the run at Phoenix City Council and now taking a shot at LD11 Representative, this luncheon and the large number of folks attending sends a clear message – it is about Good Government, not More Government.
    People want their government to be responsive for those things we need the most – public safety, taking care of those at risk, public infrastructure. People should have to pay for more government that serves only making more bureaucracy.
    I was especially impressed with the gentlemen from New Jersey who, while legally blind, got his MBA and still had to work hard against the system to say he simply wanted to work and carry his load in life – and not live off the public dole. We are supposed to have evolved a system to provide for equal access for those who have challenges – instead, the system is the challenge along with other short-sighted employers. Just think, Thomas Edison today would have been told to get food stamps and SSI payments.
    I am proud of the many fine Arizonans who have worked hard to establish a voice for the common man – i.e., the taxpayer. I, for one, am for the “little guy” because I am one – and any of us working in and around public office must always keep that focus.

  8. Clarification of a minor item: Your article misses the point made by long standing Hero Of The Taxpayer, Treasurer Dean Martin. Considering Mr. Martins outstanding track record of efficient and open government I wanted to clarify. Your article states Mr. Martin said Hillary Clinton got him into office…Here is what he really said. “Ronald Reagan piqued my interested in politics, but it took Hillary Clinton to cause me to run for office.”
    Thank you,
    Mark Z.

  9. nice submit, its helpful to my family.

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