Archives for April 2010

Stick to the Facts and Take the High Road 3

Ronald Reagan said, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” Yet Jesse Kelly, in his April 29th press release, attacked Republican Jeff Flake, comparing him to Congressman Charlie Rangel, who is finally sinking in a sea of ethics charges. Here is part of Kelly’s press release:

 “Tucson, AZ  On April 22nd, Jonathan Paton attacked Representative Gabrielle Giffords for supporting the STRIVE Act. Paton benefactor and patron, Representative Jeff Flake is also a major sponsor of the STRIVE Act. How can Paton attack Giffords over this issue when one of his major supporters sponsored the very same bill? Worse yet, part of the money that Paton raised out of Maricopa County came from Jeff Flake’s campaign, no doubt given by people who supported Flake’s open endorsement of Amnesty! Just as Giffords returned the tainted donations from Representative Charles Rangel, Paton should return the Flake Amnesty funds.”

 Does this mean that the money Jesse Kelly received from a fundraiser with Tom Tancredo, who has said SB1070 goes too far, should be returned to the people in that fundraiser?  “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” as the old adage goes.

 What makes this interesting, though, is that Jesse Kelly apparently sought Jeff Flake’s endorsement but did not receive it. The Tucson Weekly  also revealed that Jesse Kelly sought John McCain’s endorsement but Kelly was rebuffed.

 Then Kelly denied he had asked for the endorsement but the Tucson Weekly quoted the Kelly campaign’s email asking for the endorsement. When Kelly did not receive McCain’s endorsement he endorsed J.D. Hayworth.

 History appears to be repeating itself with Jeff Flake. Kelly’s request for endorsement is denied, now he attacks Jeff Flake, comparing him to Charlie Rangel?

 The Arizona Daily Star also reported, “Republican Jesse Kelly in Congressional District 8 has been touting the support of U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, rumored as a possible future House speaker or 2012 presidential wannabe. So it drew some interest when the Indiana politician’s name disappeared from a list of endorsements on Kelly’s website. ‘The congressman has made no endorsement in that congressional race,’ said Bill Smith, Pence’s chief of staff, adding that his office asked that the Pence’s name be removed.”  Will Jesse Kelly next attack Mike Pence on some goofy charge?

 All Republican candidates in CD8 should stick to the facts, take the high road and observe Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment.

David Schweikert: Where is Harry Mitchell in supporting SB1070? Condemning Raul Grijalva’s boycott of AZ?

David Schweikert Calls on Harry Mitchell to Join Him in Supporting SB1070

Asks Mitchell to join him in condemning Grijalva’s call for a boycott of Arizona?

(Scottsdale, AZ)  Republican candidate David Schweikert today called on Congressman Harry Mitchell to join him in supporting SB 1070 – the anti-illegal immigration law recently passed by the Arizona Legislature.

“Because our state has taken the brunt of the federal government’s unwillingness to secure our southern border and crack down on illegal immigration, the Arizona Legislature correctly decided to act,” said David Schweikert.  “I applaud their action and support their commitment to protecting our state. I call on Congressman Mitchell to join me in supporting this necessary legislation,” continued Schweikert.

David Schweikert also asked Mitchell to join him in condemning Congressman Raul Grijalva’s  call for businesses to boycott Arizona.  “Harry Mitchell needs to immediately condemn Grijalva’s call for a boycott,” continued Schweikert. “Grijalva’s call for a boycott is irresponsible and Harry Mitchell should repudiate it.”

Race for the American Cure

Will John McCain ask for a refund from Charlie Crist?

Interesting response from Arizona’s senior senator today when asked whether he will ask for a refund from Charlie Crist over Crist’s decision to bail from the GOP primary in Florida:

Some senators who have personal ties to Crist will have a harder time than others in the money game.Arizona’s John McCain, in one of the toughest races of his political life, against tea-party favorite J.D. Hayworthowes Crist big. As Ticket reported Wednesday, Crist was courted heavily by Rudy Giulianiand made all the right noises about supporting him before endorsing McCain.

Asked Wednesday about whether he will seek a refund, McCain said he “hasn’t switched.”

and from the Washington Times:

Still, the immediate threat to Mr. Crist’s funds comes from Republican lawmakers, whose political action committees had given nearly $90,000.

Some of those waved off questions Thursday about what they’ll do.

“He hasn’t switched,” said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, who is locked in a primary battle with former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

Op Ed: Daniels, Lewis Speak Out for Gilbert Taxpayers

As elected leaders in the Town of Gilbert we feel a responsibility to the citizens of Gilbert to explain our rationale when it comes to our votes.  We voted “no” when it came to putting a permanent .25% tax increase dedicated to public safety before the voters because we believed then, and still do, that we have more work to be done, that government CAN become more efficient and because tax increases should only be used as a very last resort and only to provide essential services.

Much has been said about Proposition 406.  Here are the facts:

  1. This is a PERMANENT tax increase.  There is no sunset clause or expiration date.
  2. The tax increase, if passed, will put our town sales tax rate at 1.75% – it will include food but due to a recently passed state law, will not include construction tax.  The construction tax rate will remain at 1.5%.  (As a reference, Chandler’s is 1.5% and Mesa’s is 1.75%)
  3. The .25% is “dedicated” to public safety.  The first year projections of the tax would raise $5.1 million.  In a statement made by former Manager George Pettit, these will be the first dollars in the public safety budgets.  The remaining money needed to fund public safety at the current levels (approx. $55M) will need to come from the General Fund – the same fund used to pay for the majority of town operations.

We firmly believe that we can balance the ‘10-‘11 budget without a tax increase.  There are efficiencies to be found in Gilbert and the citizen’s budget committee, town staff and council members have spent countless hours finding those efficiencies.  A long list has been generated and we have a responsibility to the citizens to see those recommendations through – to properly vet them through the public process and to make decisions based on the best interest of the community as a whole.  We receive more value from our tax dollar in Gilbert than through any other government entity.  However, we cannot assume that we have exhausted all possibilities for better, more efficient ways of doing business.  There is work to be done and a tax increase is not the answer.  Make no mistake, funding our public safety departments is, and should always be, our first priority.

As stewards of your tax dollars, we feel a responsibility and obligation to validate the spending of each and every penny.  Until we have proven that all other options have been exhausted, we simply cannot ask you to reach into your pocket and provide the government with your hard-earned resources.  Government can do better.  The Town of Gilbert has a wonderful reputation in the valley for setting an example of properly using government funds. Let’s continue.

John Lewis, Mayor, Town of Gilbert
Jenn Daniels, Councilmember, Town of Gilbert

John McCain vs. John McCain

Original Phoenix Tea Party Organizer Endorses Andrew Thomas For AG

PHOENIX, ARIZONA. APRIL 28, 2010.  Founder of the original Phoenix Tea Party group and Arizona State Chair of the Patriot Caucus group, Keith Sipmann, has formally endorsed Andrew Thomas in the Arizona Attorney General race.
“With immigration issues at the forefront, Andrew brings the promise of prosecuting illegal immigrants under the state’s human smuggling laws.  He has a track record of reducing crime and illegal immigration which we can rely on,” Sipmann said.
Thomas has also been endorsed by Mohave County Attorney Matthew Smith, Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan, Pinal County SheriffPaul Babeu, Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
During Thomas’ time in office, crime rates plummeted.  The 19 percent drop is more than twice the national rate of decline, in despite of an 11 percent increase in the county’s population during that time.  The illegal immigrant population has dropped by anywhere from 18 percent (Dept. of Homeland Security estimate) to 30 percent (Center for Immigration Studies estimate). Like the fall in crime rates, this dramatic decline in illegal immigration is far greater than the average in the rest of the nation.
Thomas has a track record of successfully defending illegal immigration crackdowns in our courts, including his successful efforts to prosecute illegal immigrants for conspiring to violate the state’s human-smuggling law and to defend Prop 200’s voter ID requirements and the employer-sanctions law, which he defended along with the Attorney General’s Office.
If elected Attorney General Thomas has pledged to expand that office’s prosecutions of illegal immigrants under the state’s human smuggling laws. The office is not currently pursuing such prosecutions.
Thomas is married with four children.  He is a graduate of Harvard Law School.  Prior to serving as Maricopa County Attorney, Thomas served as an assistant attorney general for Arizona, deputy counsel and criminal justice policy advisor to the Governor, special assistant to the Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, and a deputy county attorney.
To schedule an interview please contact Jason Rose.  For more information about Andrew Thomas, please go



Arizona Needs Spending Limit to Prevent Future Budget Crises

GoldwaterInstitute News Release

PHOENIX – Arizona state government has become a victim of the boom-and-bust economic cycle. Policymakers ramp up state spending when tax revenues are rising, then they must rush to cut back programs when the economy contracts and tax revenues fall. Voters expected to stop such yo-yo spending when they amended the Arizona Constitution 30 years ago by capping the annual amount of money the state can spend.

A new study from the Goldwater Institute reports that reform of the spending limit could prevent financial problems like those Arizona is facing today from happening in the future. “Put Arizona on a Real Budget: New Spending Limit Can Restore State’s Fiscal Health” outlines why the state should use population growth and inflation to set the spending limit, instead of the current measure of personal income.

“Arizona needs an effective spending limit that prevents the budget rollercoaster and allows core government services to keep pace with our growing state,” said Byron Schlomach, Ph.D., author of the study and director of the Goldwater Institute’s Center for Economic Prosperity.

Colorado adopted this type of spending limit in 1994. That state has had the greatest reduction in poverty since then and has weathered the current recession better than most states. Colorado voters did suspend the spending limit in 2005 for five years, largely because the limit adopted there prompted state spending growth to fall below population growth and inflation during recessions.

A new Arizona spending limit could prevent that situation by directly tying the limit to the historical sum of population growth and inflation, by allowing voters to circumvent the limit for specific purposes, and by including provisions for a fully funded budget cash reserve and for an emergency fund, the study says.

Arizona’s current spending limit based on the total personal income of everyone in the state has been ineffective, allowing spending to rise and fall rapidly with the economy without ever reaching the annual cap. As a result, Arizona is now in the midst of one of the worst fiscal crises in the country. The state budget expanded by 17 percent in 2006 and just two years later faced a $1.5 billion deficit.

“If a limit based on population growth and inflation had been in place since 2001, the state could have had a $500 million budget surplus instead of a billion dollar deficit when the recession hit in 2007, which would have meant fewer budget reductions now,” Dr. Schlomach said.

Read “Put Arizona on a Real Budget: New Spending Limit Can Restore State’s Fiscal Health” here.

The Goldwater Institute is an independent government watchdog supported by people who are committed to expanding free enterprise and liberty.

Government employees now take higher salaries than private workers

by Byron Schlomach, Ph.D.
Goldwater Institute
When I worked for a state legislator in Texas, his policy was his legislative offices were open any time his private business was open. I spent many a lonely day in a largely abandoned Texas Capitol on government holidays that were ignored by the world in general. I also enjoyed marvelous health insurance benefits. The birth of my third child cost me personally a total of $20.

Wonderful benefits, extra holidays, and job security for government employees are often justified as relatively inexpensive perks that compensate for comparatively low government pay. That justification, however, no longer applies.

The Cato Institute recently pointed to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that show just how well state and local government employees are paid. On an hourly basis, government employees receive salaries that, on average, are 34 percent higher than private workers. Benefits are even better, with government paid leave worth 77 percent more and health insurance valued at 118 percent higher. Most government workers enjoy a lifetime claim on taxpayers’ wallets when they retire, too.

State-level statistics are not as easy to break down. However, the Tax Foundation has shown that in 2007, Arizona’s average state and local government employee made $300 a year more in total compensation than the average private worker. The latest federal statistics show that in 2008, the margin had grown to more than $1,000.

Considering today’s budget problems,  it’s time to get government employee pay and benefits under control, including paid leave, health insurance and retirement pensions. We could start by moving government employees to high-deductible health insurance plans coupled with tax free Health Savings Accounts. This could save the state millions in annual premium increases. We should also convert government pensions to defined contribution plans–like a private sector 401k–instead of defined benefits. This won’t be a huge short-term money saver, but it will keep the state solvent in the long-run.

Dr. Byron Schlomach is an economist and the director of the Center for Economic Prosperity at the Goldwater Institute.

American Majority Candidate & Activist training – May 15

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