Cutting my taxes, securing our border. That’s my AZ GOP

My truck sports that bumper sticker too.  I remember when I put it on the tailgate, I was so proud.  It said in short and concise words why my friends and neighbors should vote Republican.

Today that’s changing.  With a Republican involved attempt last election to gut Arizona’s Employer Sanction Laws, some major immigration legislation pending in Congress, and the Washington Times reporting “Hezbollah uses Mexican drug routes into U.S.” the part of the bumper-sticker about borders begins to wilt.

And now, with a proposed *temporary* tax from a Republican governor, the other half of the bumper-sticker sort of looses its zip.

This leads to the question (the balance of the bumper-sticker) “What’s my Az GOP?”

Here’s what looks to be taking shape.  Career politicans surrounded by career political consultants telling the candidates what they want to hear.  All with adoring wannabee groupies ready to defend or attack on signal.  And finally, some plain old fashioned Republicans out there who believe in the party and its platform.  You know, old folks who grew up standing for what they believed?  (Without taking a poll first)

Picture this:  the emperor (candidate) admiring his new clothes (being fawned over by the consultants) while in the streets below (with petitions and piles of junk mail donation requests) are the masses of peasants (the rank and file party members).

Sound like a familiar child’s story?  It should.  What say yea?  “What’s my AZ GOP”?


Comments

  1. This poll business and stuff with the Governor has started to get under my collar. Here’s how I see it. We have a Republican Governor by accident and are lucky we aren’t dealing with Napolitano who would be guaranteed to veto anything the R majority sent her.

    Our budget situation is horrendous and face it folks, cutting isn’t going to get us there. Even using Nappy methods like borrowing and gimmicks- we’re still $500 Million short. If you want to dispute that fact, show me the numbers.

    Veritas Vincent- you know as much as everyone else that Brewer came out with her plan before the poll was conducted. She is our Governor and from our party, she deserves our respect for stepping up and showing leadership.

    Come to grips with reality and be a part of the solution. Take the Governors offer to reform the growth and rainy day process. Put in every stopgap you can come up with to make sure the tax expires when it’s supposed to.

    If you keep focusing on the dead end route, nothing will get done, it will only get worse, and make it all the easier for the Dems to take control next year.

    I for one, am going to support the ONLY person who has stepped up with a plan that fixes the problem and showed leadership.

  2. Veritas Vincit says

    Roger, that’s just what’s bothering me; she hasn’t taken any leadership. Leadership is saying ‘Here’s my temporary tax increase, legislature; now pass it.’ (and insuring that the *temporary* part was iron clad and no one could dispute it)

    Going to the voters sounds nice, but where’ the leadership?

    As for the tax increase? Fixes the problem?? You never took economics in graduate school did you? Never has a tax increase ever alleviated an economic down turn, never. You simply can’t tax your way to prosperity.

    When the temporary tax fix has expired and the federal stimulus fix has expired, what will they do?

    How about living within their means? Now there’s a novel concept.

  3. Veritas Vincit says

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18dWjXkQXM4

    Here’s a place to begin addressing the economy

  4. Veritas Vincit says

    Leadership is breaking eggs. Leadership is doing what’s not popular and saying “The buck stops here.”

    Leadership isn’t saying “voters, you decide” (so if it fails we can blame you)

  5. Chewie is Chewy says

    Yeah, and leadership is getting elected. She’s not there yet, and probably won’t be.

  6. I know that folks seem to like blameing Napolitano for the overspending problem. People seem to forget that every budget from 05′ to 08′ passed with a MAJORITY of Republicans voting YES. 09′ was a another story, but we didn’t get here in one year! The path of least resistance IS NOT LEADERSHIP!

  7. We need to take this opportunity to right size Arizona’s government. A tax increase sends a message that we are o.k. with this spending level, that we are fine with the waste and duplication that exists and starts the spending spiral all over again

  8. At this point the legislature has done NOTHING. They’re no tax plan is $500 million short and wouldn’t have the votes even if it wasn’t short.

    Brewer at least came out with a plan where the numbers work and is out selling it. While her plan isn’t perfect, it’s the ONLY plan I’ve seen that actually reforms government and prevents crazy spending like the past few years. Had her reforms been in place 5 years ago we wouldn’t be in this situation.

  9. Tortoise says

    Sen. Gould, Bullseye! The majority AZ voters are behind you and like minded legislators. We didn’t expect our new conservative majority legislature to be tested this severely or this early. Coming out of this with spending cuts and no tax increases will assure a stronger Arizona and greater 2010 election results. Cut until it bleeds and then cut some more. Govt. needs to provide only those basic services the people cannot provide themselves. Rock on!

  10. Nameless says

    Leadership right now would be testing the constitutionality of voter protection and entitlements. The issue is whether the legislature has the power of the purse or not. That power goes pretty far back in in history. We’re also guaranteed a republican form of government under the US Constitution, so elected representatives can’t have their hands tied by statute, only by the state constitution.

  11. Veritas Vincit says

    Roger (in post #8): how is simply taking from the voters more money out of their bank accounts in order to satisfy unsustainable spending levels actually reforming anything?

    Where’s the discipline Where’s the reform?

    The city where I live is painfully downsizing from unsustainable budgets without tax increases. So far folks who’ve retired have not been replaced. All city workers from the bottom to the top may be looking at a 4 day work week. And the city council is looking at every penny being spent from paper clips to vehicles.

    Please understand, what governments are good at is pandering to the loudest special interests and then spreading the costs among the many in order that those directly benefiting from the program don’t really have to foot the bill.

    Its like “public transit”. The costs are spread out so it looks ok to the many, but in reality the program only benefits the few who use it. Additionally it creates more unsustainable employment that is never trimmed. What do public bus drivers earn in Phoenix or San Diego? Do fares really cover costs? Of course not. The costs are subsidized by the many taxpayers in the economic system.

    Bottom line? The taxpayer has less to spend on what he/she thinks she/he needs while being forced to spend that amount on a public transit system they never use.

    True reform is bringing state government into line with what the many consider necessary, and letting the few loud vocal special interests find the dollars they need from other sources.

    Now setting a course and communicating it (there’s a job for Chuck here) that brings Arizona government back into line with what the many feel is what their state government should be doing – and cutting the rest – now there’s L*E*A*D*E*R*S*H*I*P

  12. So, what are the areas that “many consider necessary” or what must be done to “right size Arizona’s government”? A sincere question, no sarcasm intended.

    The people who provide the answers and who do not just continue pointing to the need are true leaders. I have NO desire for a tax increase, neither do I have a desire for this to be an opportunity for some to eliminate pet peeve programs. That behavior is as much a poor excuse for government as pork.

    I’m sure there are answers but who will be brave enough to do the hard work and not just call out others who attempt a response? And what if…what if…there is no more to cut without getting into areas that “many consider necessary” or raise taxes?

    A twist to a classic old directive; put more than your mouth where my money is!

  13. Veritas Vincit says

    Ann, that is the difference between a democracy and a representative form of government.

    That is a challenging question, and a darn good one too. One that calls for a restructuring of what government’s role should be and that of the private sector.

    Here’s an example to chew on. Roads are considered the responsibility of government because they are too cost prohibitive for the individual and, they are a benefit to the “many”. But should they include (for example) photo radar and camera monitored intersections? Is that beyond the pale?

    Are you familiar with the story about Senator David Crockett titled, “Its not your money”?

    At one time I recall, the City of Tempe employed a “Homeless Coordinator”. One of their job duties was to provide sleeping bags to the vagrants found in various parts of the city.

    This individual’s salary at the time was quite reasonable and, they enjoyed city benefits and a considerable about of “travel for training” too.

    The point is, citizens are woefully unaware of the many ways government employees find to spend “their” budgets (and you thought it was “your” money).

    See the conflict? Where does government end and private responsibility begin? And, is that line moving more towards big government as more and more residents view the government as the solution to everything? [and there’s a willing well meaning bureaucrat ready to oblige]

  14. Veritas-If you are wondering about the “Reform” part, I have a feeling you don’t quite understand Brewer’s 5 Point Plan. Her rainy day fund and spending reform plans are pretty crystal clear. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that even with Brewers plan we’ll reduce government more than any previous governor, but I am realistic in the fact that 1-1=0 not 1.

    Tortoise- if you think cutting $3billion (which leadership has admitted they can’t do) will help on 2010 elections, better prepare yourself for a Dem controlled legislature and Governor.

  15. If Republicans would stop giving political cover for the spenders in our caucus, the spenders might actually feel the need to CUT.

  16. Sen. Gould,

    This is not a challenge but a sincere request for answers over rhetoric. Cover is given in committee by allowing the bills to proceed in a normal economy. So, in an environment of cutting….where is the cover? Isn’t it the responsibility of all to bring forward realistic options and have the interests of the people first and foremost? Transparency in government is needed now like never before.

    Again I ask, what is the right size and what can be cut?

    Veritas,

    If the people believed the hard work of cutting the budget involved more than nit-picking personal pet peeves and political grandstanding they would trust the validity of the end result. Right now, that is pretty shaky.

    Telling the governor she is wrong is a no-brainer for anyone who wants to be seen as a hard-line low tax crusader but having a serious solution beyond objections to the suggestions of others takes real cognitive capacity.

    The taxpayers are waiting.

  17. Keep on waiting Ann but don’t be shocked or saddened when these folks come up empty with no plan, solution or even statement other than “cut”. This has been going on for months now with NOTHING buy rhetoric and ideologies. Come up with ideas and maybe you’ll be taken seriously.

  18. For those looking for some long term spending cuts, how about a state constitutional amendment that would allow school voucher programs. Gov. Brewer has issued a statement concerning the state supreme court decision, but has not shown any leadership on this issue by proposing that the legislature put an amendment on the ballot. Expanding school choice in this way would improve education quality while cutting per student expense to the state from about $9000 to $5500 for those students taking the vouchers.That might involve leading people who are reflexively against freedom in education to see its benefits which would involve some political risk (teachers unions, school boards, and public school Parent-Teacher organizations will go ballistic in opposition).

    This should also give the Republican Party an opening into lower income areas where some of the parents would love to have the opportunity to send their children to a private school of their choice.

    If Republicans stood for freedom and individual choice over big government, we would be much better off.

    Admittedly, this won’t solve any budget problems for the next two years, but it will provide future opportunities for savings and reducing the size of government.

  19. To reduce state government payroll expense, how about cutting government pensions to levels more comparable to what are provided in the private sector?

    Also, cuts to state government employment have not yet been even close to private sector employment reductions.

    Another thing that should be kept in mind is that beneficiaries of taxpayer subsidies should make some contribution by easing the burden on taxpayers by getting reduced benefits. Why should only taxpayers feel the higher burden?

    These changes could solve some budget problems over the next two years.

  20. Veritas Vincit says

    Ann,

    Here’s the problem. In free market economics, there are no “plans”. Often, the best course of action is to simply reduce expenses and or increase revenues.

    Its kind of like the times the old Soviet Union or China used to have their “5 Year Great Leap Forward” plans. They always bombed because economies are much more complex than centralized planning can handle.

    Return to the basic household’s budget. Right now many folks are buried in debt and revenues are in decline. The results are painful asset restructuring (homes up for foreclosure sales).

    What has to happen is collectively, and through sound representation, expenses have to be reduced and, decisions have to be made as to exactly what is the role of state, and federal government.

    Economics is a construct of cycles, picture a sine wave, and because economics is composed of the many parts – all competing for a scarcity of resources from which to fund an infinite list of perceived needs – hard decisions must be made that may not satisfy the perceived needs of all.

    When left to market forces, this system usually works quite well. When government intervenes too much the results are an imbalance and the “sine wave” becomes distorted.

    More government intervention most often skews the sine wave even further out of balance and the results are disastrous.

    This happened in the 30 or so months following the stock market crash in 1929 and ushered in the Great Recession.

    You ask for a solution and I suggest that its the same solution a family must employ when their living becomes beyond their means.

    Decide what is truly important and cut the rest out of the budget. At the same time, seek new means of revenues without placing a burden on the family members. Its all about balance.

    When personal economies are contracting, its unwise for the state to consider a tax which will further contract personal economies leaving little left from which to fund a recovery.

    Its a tough call. And, in this sports oriented culture in which politics is viewed as a sporting event – the crowd is chanting for a long pass, while good wisdom suggests that a short steady ground play will yield the better result.

  21. Veritas Vincit says

    Hunter,

    School vouchers right on.

    State Employee Retirement, no way can do.

    State employee cut backs equal to the private sector, proceed with care.

    Evaluate plant and equipment spending, you’d be surprised how something like “office supplies” can grow.

  22. Political cover has been given to big spending Republicans by running polls paid for and run by Governor Brewer’s political consultant and put out as a press release to shore up the “Temp. Tax Hike/Re-election program”. Cover is also given by bloggers that write how tax increases will be required to ballance the budget. When legislators believe that no one thinks they have to cut, they won’t.

  23. Gould, no one thinks you don’t have to cut. We’re just realistic that your cuts don’t fix the problem because the hole is too big.

  24. Veritas Vincit says

    Roger,

    Your employment of fallacy is admirable but does not make your case. You know, the bandwagon argument: Posting #1; paragraph #4, sentence 1 and Affirming The Consequent; Posting #1, paragraph #5.

    Sen. Gould is correct; when legislators believe they don’t have to cut, they won’t.

    Ann,
    Did you notice what DES did when threatened with budget cuts? Proactively they sent letters to the parents of all day-care children receiving state assistance ‘advising them’ of the pending ‘legislative funding cuts’.

    All the parents rallied and pressure was brought to bear. In other words, bureaucrats are highly skilled in employing the least educated and using fallacy to achieve budget cut avoidance.

    A cheap trick. It worked however, and DES will receive $18m in federal stimulus monies which in fact will do nothing to stimulate the economy.

    Stunts like these are repeated over and over again. There are even trade magazines for government supervisory level and above employees with articles advising the reader how to maneuver around a budget cut and how to bring public pressure on the legislative body.

    State government is an inverted hour-glass and it is the fat over the belt where the greatest cuts are needed – but rarely made.

    Turf protection is the great force field around the state budget.

    As for DES? The Governor should have fired the top 12 employees in order of salary at the DES and, replaced them with the next 12 in line. Orders given, find us $18M for this program or walk and we’ll replace you until someone does the job.

    Harsh? Happens all the time in most small businesses. Used to happen in most corporations too …

  25. I’m trying to figure out if you are saying that Brewer had the survey data before she rolled out her plan. If so, her address was on March 4th, the survey was completed a few weeks later. Not sure where your disconnect is.

  26. Veritas Vincit says

    Roger, seems everyone is ignoring that one third of the state spending locked up by voter initiative.

    Before we go off on a tax increase (forget the polls), we should at least unlock another big chunk of the budget and see what can be cut. There are budget increase formulas that were codified by initiative which may have to be revised.

    Secondly, we should inform the Fed that without the funding, mandated programs will cease until the fed provides the funding.

    Once these two steps are accomplished, then we can see where we may have to increase taxes.

  27. It’s 2/3’s isn’t it?

    Brewers 5 Point Plan does that. Everyone wants to focus on one point but fails to recognize that there are still tons of cuts, lots of reforms, and yes a temporary tax increase. Don’t give me that no tax increases are temporary. Participate in the discussion and makes sure they stay temporary.

  28. Veritas Vincit says

    Ok, name 3 tax increases that were temporary in the past 35 years.

    Here’s the problem with *temporary*… the federal stimulus money is good for 2 years; the temporary tax increase money good for 2 years and then what happens?

    Think of a heroin junkie getting a fix. Unless he goes through DT’s, he’ll always be obsessed with yet another fix.

    Governments are like that too.

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