Solar Money Buying the Election for Bob Burns?

The past few years have seen an explosion of outside money to aid campaigns. Outside money is not new to politics and has been around since the dawn of democracy. What is new, however, is that much of it can be spent without knowing who is funding it. In the fights over election spending in Arizona, a lot has been made of outside money that the utilities may have given to aid Corporation Commission candidates. The Commission regulates utilities, so it seems to be a fair question. In the newspapers’ zeal to find out everybody’s sources except their own, (which they conveniently feel a 1st amendment right to do) they have launched some serious charges against local utility companies. What they haven’t done is given the same level of scrutiny to solar companies who have used outside money to aid pro-solar commission candidates.

Recently, Chris Mayes, Janet Napolitano’s spokeswoman and a Napolitano appointee to the Corporation Commission, has been leading efforts by solar companies to spend millions of dollars to aid the already largely subsidized solar industry. Voters should be wary when they see mail and hear calls from Mayes and solar dark money so that they don’t fall for the attacks on the current commission or commissioners. The current commission supports Arizona’s renewable energy mandate, which requires the utilities to use a mix of renewable energy already for distribution to Arizona homes. However that does not seem to be enough for the solar industry that wants to make profits off of government tax credits and federal dollars. Conservatives shouldn’t be deceived by claims made by solar alleging that those who want the market to decide the best energy sources are somehow anti-solar. Solar is already a part of the energy mix and will continue to be prevalent for quite some time. How much it should be subsidized by other rate payers is the real question before voters this November. Should a small percentage of solar users get tax credits and raise the cost for other energy users? Voters will weigh in August and November on these critical issues.

Andy Tobin, Al Melvin & Rick Gray Form Team To Run For Corporation Commission


July 20 – (Phoenix, AZ) Republican Corporation Commission candidates Andy TobinAl Melvin and Rick Gray announced that they are running as a team for the three Arizona Corporation Commission seats that are up for election.

“Already being on the Commission I appreciate the importance of quality commissioners who are working together to provide stability to both providers and ratepayers, and that’s what I believe this team will do,” said current Commissioner Andy Tobin.
“As three conservative Republicans who are equally committed to ensuring a plentiful supply of clean and safe water and electricity to our great state, the team approach just made sense,” said former State Senator Al Melvin.

State Representative Rick Gray said, “With our team of Tobin, Melvin and Gray the people of Arizona will have strong leadership that will work to protect the ratepayers while providing affordable, reliable utilities.”

Collectively, Tobin, Melvin, and Gray have all been awarded Friend of the Taxpayer and Friend of the Family awards, and have extensive private and public sector expertise.

AP: Ducey won’t restore welfare cuts made during budget crunch

Conservatives across the state should rejoice — we finally have a conservative governor who will do what’s always right, and not what’s always popular.

Gov. Doug Ducey speaks to a town hall meeting at the Department of Economic Security on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo by Luige del Puerto)

Gov. Doug Ducey speaks to a town hall meeting at the Department of Economic Security on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo by Luige del Puerto)

 

(Reposted from the Arizona Capitol Times)

By: Bob Christie, Associated Press | October 22, 2015

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Thursday that he won’t seek to reverse cuts to the state’s welfare program made when the state appeared to be facing a major budget crunch, despite a dramatic turnaround in finances.

The Republican governor said that he instead wants government to provide opportunities for the poor and prevent them from being ‘trapped in these government programs.”

Ducey was asked about his plans by The Associated Press after he told hundreds of Department of Economic Security employees: “Our No. 1 obligation not only as public servants but as human beings is to care for those who cannot care for themselves.”

DES is the state’s social welfare agency and oversees welfare, unemployment, child support services and many other programs.

Ducey’s first-year budget limited Arizona families to no more than one year of cash welfare benefits in their lifetime, the shortest period in the nation. The state was facing a possible $1 billion deficit when the law passed in the spring but now expects a $650 million surplus next year.

The general relief welfare program provides up to $278 a month for a family of three and was limited to two years of eligibility.

The cuts approved by the GOP-led Legislature and signed into law by Ducey will lead to 1,600 families being thrown off the state’s welfare rolls starting July 1, 2016. There are exemptions in the new law for some people, including those with disabilities are who are homeless.

The plan is expected to save $4 million in spending in the 2017 budget year and will use the money instead to help fund the state’s child safety agency.

The money is actually federal funds provided to Arizona in a block grant for social welfare programs. Limiting general relief eligibility allows Arizona to use the money in other ways.

Democrats complained bitterly about the cuts when the budget that included the cuts was enacted in March.

“We’re talking about a cash benefit that ultimately goes to take care of food or diapers or whatever necessities the poorest of the poor need,” House Minority Whip Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix, said at the time. “In fact, it absolutely puts more of the most vulnerable in jeopardy.”

Ducey has defended the cuts, saying they are designed to encourage welfare recipients to find a job. On Thursday, he repeated that intent.

“I think the first role of DES is to help set a social safety net that allows people to enter the workforce, get the help they need and provide the services they need,” the governor said. “It’s part of the reason we’re so focused on growing our economy and having help wanted signs available and having educational opportunities or work training. I want to see people not stuck in a government agency or services. I wanted to see them be able to go out and work and have a productive life.”

The cuts bringing Arizona’s lifetime welfare benefits to one year are the third- time limit cut in five years. They were cut from five years to three in 2010 and to two years in 2011.

MEDIA BLACKOUT – 35% of AZDems, 47% of AZ Latinos Support Deportation

illegals

A recent poll conducted by ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy focused on several issues including the most important issue facing Arizona and our economy, illegal immigration.  The stunning results were intentionally muted by the local media in order to hide the fact that a large swath of Arizona Democrats agree with conservatives on the issue of deporting those in the country illegally.

Possibly more stunning than the fact that 35% of Democrats agree with conservatives on enforcing current immigration law is that Arizona Latinos agree with conservatives at a greater rate than Arizona Democrats — 47%.

What portion of the poll did the news editors choose to cover? Pot legalization.

Here are the main points from the poll:

  • 30% of AZ Dems & 51% of AZ Latinos disagree with the following statement – “Undocumented immigrants bolster Arizona’s workforce and we should do whatever’s necessary to make it easier for them to come to Arizona.”
  • 35% of AZ Dems, 47% of Latinos, & 53% of Independents agree with the following statement –  “Arizona should aggressively pursue the deportation of undocumented immigrants”

We at ArizonaInformer are waiting with baited breath for Phoenix New Slimes “Fat Bastard” Stephen Lemons, Laurie Roberts, and Brahm Resnik to label Arizona Democrats and Latinos as racist, nativists, who seek to ‘ethnically cleanse’ Arizona.

Tom Jenney, Taxpayer Activist, Endorses Jeff DeWit for State Treasurer

Jeff DeWit


Phoenix
 – Jeff DeWit, CEO/Investment Professional and candidate for Arizona State Treasurer, announced today that Tom Jenney has endorsed his candidacy.

“Jeff DeWit is for smaller government, free markets, and low taxes.  He is the only Treasurer candidate who opposes the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.  I believe Jeff DeWit will be a prudent custodian of taxpayer money, and I endorse him as the best choice for Arizona State Treasurer,” said Jenney.

“There is no one in Arizona more tirelessly fighting to protect hard-working taxpayers from government overreach, burdensome regulations, and over-taxation,” said DeWit.  “Tom Jenney is revered amongst Conservatives and the Grassroots for his efforts and successes, and I am deeply honored to have Tom’s endorsement and support of my campaign.”

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Our recent “Go and Vote” video has received over 3,100 views in 4 days.  If you haven’t seen it yet, click here.  Please help our campaign by sharing this video with others.

About Jeff DeWit: Jeff is a successful CEO/Investment Professional with over 21 years of experience. For more information about Jeff DeWit and his campaign for State Treasurer, please visit www.JeffDeWit.com. You can also follow campaign updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JeffDeWitAZ or on Twitter at @JeffDeWitAZ.  

Jenney

Mark Levin, Constitution Article V, and the “Liberty Amendments”

Mark LevinOn his July 10 radio show, Mark Levin previewed contents of his new book called The Liberty Amendments.  Levin points to Article V of the Constitution, which prescribes the methods by which the Constitution may be amended to reverse the federal power grab and runaway spending.

In the past, most conservatives have pushed off any notion of a Constitutional Convention or “Con-Con” because its agenda might be uncontrollable.  For example the 2nd amendment could even be repealed.  For years, Levin himself consistently said “no way” to a Con-Con.

But after his careful study of Article V and especially the record of the Founding Fathers’ debate on it (George Mason, James Madison et al), he argues we’ve all been missing something critical.

Namely –

Article V was specifically designed to cover the situation we face today — an over-reaching federal government.  The Founders knew that such a government, once entrenched, would never vote for amendments that would reduce its own hold on power.  So they deliberately included a separate amendment process in Article V that keeps Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court out of the loop.

The time for that Article V process has clearly come, says Levin.  It’s been there all along, clearly explained in the historical record, yet we’ve somehow disregarded it.

How would it work?  Consider the following simple, hypothetical amendment to the Constitution:

The debt of the United States shall not be increased except by three-fourths majority vote of both the House and Senate, nor may federal expenditures exceed 20 percent of gross domestic product except by three-fourths consent of the several state legislatures.

The merits of this particular amendment and wording aside, if 38 state legislatures were to ratify this amendment, it would be fully effective immediately as a formal amendment to the Constitution.  No permission from Congress, the president, or the Supreme Court need be sought, none is required, and there is no appeal.  The state legislatures are the ultimate authority — by designThis may come as a shock those who’ve always presumed Washington rules us all.

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Read the rest of the article and hear an audio excerpt from Mark Levin’s July 10 show — Click Here.

It’s the Morning After the First Debate, and I’m Giddy

Wow!  I’m giddy.  I was surprised and thrilled by Gov. Romney’s performance in last night’s debate (Oct. 3).  I watched the debate with 7 other Conservatives, time-delayed by a Tivo box so that we could halt the action and toss in our own comments.

Several of us were apprehensive at the outset, but by the end of the debate we had worked ourselves into a frenzy of excitement, shouting “Yes! Yes! Yes!” as he pounded home those key points that free-market, limited-government, fiscal-responsibility Conservatives have been trumpeting for years.

Now I have to confess.  I had no idea that Gov. Romney had this in him.  Sure, he’d had some brief flashes on the campaign trail, and his style turned for the better after naming Paul Ryan as his VP.  But like many Conservatives, I feared the Governor was just the next-in-line Establishment Republican candidate — doomed to be another gracious loser.

I’m still absorbing what I saw & heard, and I’ll have to go through the whole debate again, but I do remember Romney’s first home run of the evening (for me) when he pointed out the immorality of the debt we are piling on the backs of our children.  As I’ve written in the past (herehere, and here for example), we are effectively selling them into a modern-day version of debt bondage.  At last we have a candidate who leads with that point against all those “compassionate” Democrats, the people who supposedly “care”.

As for Obama’s own performance, a repeated interjection among my friends was “He’s flailing, he’s flailing!”.  Time and again he reached back for his standard campaign talking points, sometimes well off-topic, and he was visibly shell-shocked when Romney put them down emphatically, with compelling refutation points, nicely bulleted and driven home like nails in a coffin (puns intended).

If you can watch the debate again, keep an eye on Obama’s upper jaw near his left ear as he stares down at his podium.  One of our friends spotted it first.  You’ll see a light spot come and go as he visibly clenches and unclenches his teeth. This man is used to adulation and acquiescence, not reasoned confrontation.  Bound up in his Leftist ideology and surrounded 24/7 by sycophants and a fawning, collaborative media, he was totally unprepared to defend his indefensible record. He spent much of the evening staring down at that podium as if being scolded by his school master.

Obama will be better prepared at the next debate, and Romney will have to guard against over-confidence.  But I’m no longer worried.  Obama’s hand is incredibly weak — almost everywhere, he’s holding a pair of deuces against Romney’s full house.  And Romney’s better at the game — much better.

Of course, the election ain’t over ’til it’s over, and the Obama machine, the Great American Left, and the Democrat Media Complex won’t go gently into the night.  But we have ourselves a candidate in Mitt Romney, and I have a new-found confidence that he and his staff might just run this campaign right across the finish line going away, and leading by several lengths.

Then, the long hard path to recovery begins.

[This article cross-posted from WesternFreePress.com]

Arizona Proposition 204 is Bad Policy

Arizona Proposition 204

Arizona Proposition 204 is bad policy. A close look at the fine print in Proposition 204 reveals the true purpose of the initiative.

The measure creates 14 separate carve outs for special interest groups, creating a grab bag of taxpayer funded giveaways. While special interests are getting enriched, Arizona families will see a $1 Billion dollar PERMANENT tax increase. If passed, Arizona will become the second highest sales tax state in America, just behind Tennessee, a state with no income tax.

But, how does Proposition 204 reward politically connected groups? The device is a list of “designated funds” that would dictate how the money is spent. Students and teachers in the classroom are barely in the equation.

Arizonans need only to read the ballot language to see that Prop 204 is more about “pet projects” and less about improving the state’s education system.

CHAPTER 28

STATE INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING 
ARTICLE 1. ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR STATE INFRASTRUCTURE

28-9301. State infrastructure fund

A. THE STATE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND IS ESTABLISHED CONSISTING OF LEGISLATIVE APPROPRIATIONS, FEDERAL MONIES, PRIVATE GRANTS, GIFTS, CONTRIBUTIONS, DEVISES AND MONIES DEPOSITED IN THE FUND PURSUANT TO SECTION 42- 5029.02. MONIES IN THE FUND ARE CONTINUOUSLY APPROPRIATED TO THE DEPARTMENT FOR THE PURPOSES PRESCRIBED IN THIS SECTION AND ARE EXEMPT FROM THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 35-190 RELATING TO LAPSING OF APPROPRIATIONS.

That’s why Doug Ducey, Arizona’s State Treasurer said, “Prop 204 is genuinely bad policy. It makes a permanent, billion-dollar-a-year spending commitment; it provides for no oversight as to how the money is spent; and it makes no reforms that actually improve accountability or the quality of education. Prop 204 amounts to just throwing money at a problem and hoping that somehow, magically, things will just get better.”

Out of the $1 billion collected every year, only $125 million would go to the state’s general fund for “inflation adjustments” for K-12 education. Then the spending begins to disburse $875 million to the initiative’s pet projects through the designated funds.

  • The largest share, $500 million, goes to something called the quality education and performance fund to assist K-12 schools with “assessment and accountability” rules. Sounds good right? But the ballot language specifically uses the word “may use the monies.” There is no guarantee that they will be used effectively, again no oversight or accountability, just words on a page.
  • The state infrastructure fund gets $100 million for road-building and public transportation.
  • The family stability and self-sufficiency fund receives $100 million to support families living below the poverty level.

That takes care of $700 million projected for the designated funds. The first fund feeds bureaucratic record keeping. The second supports contractors and transportation subsidies. The third funds a social services program outside the purview of education.

The rest of the money — $175 million – goes to fund areas that again lack accountability and oversight.

To fund the $1 billion a year initiative, taxpayers will be forced to pay a one-cent increase in the state’s sales tax rate. The initiative forbids the Governor and State Legislature from any participation in spending the funds.

In fact, Prop 204 prevents the Auditor General, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee or the Governor’s Office from doing any performance audits on how the money raised is to be spent. So much for sunshine and accountability.

If Arizona wants long-term education reform, Proposition 204 is not the answer. Proposition 204 is just too taxing on Arizona families.

To learn more, please visit VoteNoOn204.com or Vote No on 204’s Facebook Page.

Preschool on the 9th Floor

So yesterday Gov. Brewer threatened to veto all non-budget bills that aren’t already on her desk – no matter what.  “The governor has indicated to leadership that, outside of the bills that are on her desk now, she won’t sign any more bills until there’s a budget,” Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson said.

Anyone who pays attention to the AZ Capitol scene knows well her propensity to act like a four-year-old when she doesn’t get her way.  However, her newest negotiation tactic seems particularly reckless.

A few conservative members have suggested responding to her threat by immediately sending up HB2721, the CPS reform bill.  This approach is especially tempting since the bill is the bi-partisan consensus result of her own highly-publicized CPS Task Force from last fall.  She’d either cave and sign it, which would look weak, or veto it, which would look as childish…well, as her threat was.

The conservatives are trying to budget for the long term by keeping the state from having another budget meltdown in a couple of years.  Brewer wants to spend MORE than the Democrats.  Since she’ll be on her way out by then, she doesn’t really care much whether she leaves a funding cliff for the next administration.  For some reason, she wants applause from the K-12 and welfare spending lobbies.  She still hasn’t learned that no amount will ever be enough for the spenders.

If this is how she negotiates with her “friends”, it’s a wonder she ever accomplished anything as a legislator.