Following Schwarzenegger’s Lead

This post is especially targeted to Governor Jan Brewer.

Normally I would not advocate taking the lead from the left coast but in this case, I think our Executive Branch could take a lesson from Governor Schwarzengger.

Here are the first two paragraphs from the lead story on the Los Angeles Times:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this morning ordered state workers to take a third day off without pay each month after Republican lawmakers acting with his support blocked a Democratic proposal to ease the state’s deficit and allow the government to keep paying bills.

The Republican governor unveiled billions of dollars in additional proposed cuts to schools and public universities to deal with a deficit that he says is now $26.3 billion, an increase of $2 billion. He also announced an emergency special session of the Legislature that would allow lawmakers to act on them immediately.

The good news is that Arizona is not in the same shape as California. The deficit is not as bad and we have a Republican Legislature for the most part dominated by conservatives. Our problem is with the Executive Branch which has become increasingly politically skew divergent.

Sending an 18% sales tax increase to the ballot would be political suicide not just for the referendum itself but for any reelection hopes.

It would also be a very expensive request only to receive a resounding “NO” from the voters.

This is one time I would have to agree with the Governator. It’s time to cut and cut more, especially in the area of education that has lost the bang for the buck.


  1. DSW, I just don’t understand how you honestly can say sending an “increase to the ballot would be political suicide not just for the referendum itself but for any reelection hopes.” Why? Because Grover Norquist said so? Really? Our party and the future of our state come down to him because he interprets his piece of paper a certain way?

    How can you not equally weigh the political fallout for Republican’s who slash and burn education? I know what the real cuts are but lets be honest, that’s the message that is out there and will be out there come election time.

    What honestly is the harm of a tax going to the ballot? If it loses like you say it will, then that’s fine. It’s a mandate by the voters to cut the daylights out of the budget, and gives those R’s vindication that cuts were the way.

    If it passes though, R’s have the cover they need- the people and democracy made the choice, not them. We are all big kids and don’t need daddy legislator making decisions for us because we don’t know better.

    Finally, the most disappointing part about this entire post, and confirming point that the voters should have a choice- IS THAT CALIFORNIA VOTERS HAVE SPOKEN AT THE BALLOT BOX ABOUT A TAX INCREASE. It’s not hard for Arnold to take that stance, he has the backing and confirmation of the California voters. In fact, HE is the one with the mandate to cut the hell out of government and blow off any consideration of a tax increase.

  2. Roger,

    I just don’t understand how you honestly can believe that raising taxes will make things better. There seems to be a gross conceptual misunderstanding that raising taxes will yield more revenue – especially a sales tax. And more importantly during a serious recession in which unemployment continues to rise.

    Maybe you haven’t noticed but there is a growing movement of citizens, particularly taxpayers (not to be confused with tax dependents) who are starting to advocate for not paying taxes. Yes, that means a tax revolt. Much of it is based on the sentiment that people no longer have faith in government to be fiscally responsible with their money. At some point in time, the system will come to a grinding halt because no one is paying into the system and too many people are sucking money out of it.

  3. For the sake of clarity: I understand that the proposed sales tax increase would be from 5.6% to 6.6%. The term currently being used: “18% increase” is unclear, and connotes an increase from 5.6% to 23.6%, which is absurd.

    I understand that some people like to provoke outrage, but please don’t sacrifice the clarity of the message.

  4. Citizen,
    Listen up, raising sales tax from 5.6% to 6.6% is an increase of 18%.
    Here is why.
    If one purchases, let’s say a car for $10,000.00, the Government collects now 5.6% sales tax and that means the buyer pays the Government $560.00.
    After a sales tax increase to 6.6% the car buyer would have to give the Government $660.00. That is exactly one hundred dollars more.
    Now then, if to days $560.00 is all there is on tax, that is 100%, and 1% would be $5.60.
    Now then if you pay an increase of $100.00 what is this expressed in per-cent?
    Simple it is 100 divided by 5.60 and that equals 17.85 or rounded up to 18% and that is the “Sales Tax Rate Increase.”

  5. Diogidog says

    I say that we input dollars into education equal to the tested output results of learning. With a 68% graduation rate in Arizona, and all of the dumb responses to the recent Goldwater poll from the ‘highly educated’ kids, the taxpayers are due a refund. The administrators and teachers are worth about eight bucks and hour. Period. Dollars in equal performance and results out. End of budget discussion on education.

  6. DSW- I don’t know if it will make it better. I don’t know if it will pass. I do know this. Our elected officials are not being honest with us. They are lying. They have not fessed up that they don’t have a solution for 2011. They can’t cut what they need to make the budget balanced. It’s not possible lawfully in some areas, and it’s certainly not possible politically.

    I asked a few questions you did not answer so I’ll reword them.
    Are you willing to risk having majority control because of the possibility that voters would get a chance to vote on a tax increase?

    If a group wants to become tax evaders and break the law, so be it. I’ll cheer the day they are sent to jail. That’s not the answer to our problems. If you don’t like it, move to another state or country- I’m sure they’ll accept you with open arms. I meanwhile, will work for reforms and elect officials who will be responsible, make education and safety a priority so businesses decide to locate here and bring good jobs and money.

    You didn’t address my original point. You say following Schwarzenegger’s lead, yet your post contradicts the most blatant fact that following his lead would mean sending a tax proposal to the ballot. The reason he is able to take the stance he has is because the voters have given him the mandate to cut.

  7. Since when did Grover Norquist become the elected or appointed leader of Arizona conservatives? I’ve read the No Taxes pledge and it strains logic to suggest that legislators would be violating it by referring a tax increase to the voters. I submit that it should go to the ballot; it will fail; and conservatives will be in an even stronger position to enact solid tax reform. Grover–you need to get another gig.

  8. RonB Thank You!! Someone who gets it. Put it up to the voters to decide. If it fails, you get to make cuts you otherwise don’t have the political cover to make.

  9. Seriously? says

    I’d follow the Governator’s lead to and put it to the voters. Then, if they shut it down, start cutting like mad, just like he is doing now.

  10. I’ll offer two reasons why the legislature shouldn’t refer an increase of hundreds of millions of dollars in sales tax to the voters. 1) The voters may well reject it, 2) The voters may be swayed by the liberal media to pass it.

    Possibility 1 gives us the same results as we have now, the government needs to either sell assets, reduce its scope of operation or borrow more.

    Possibility 2 permits the government to continue spending money that I for one don’t have.

    Presuming that a defeat in November 2009 for a sales (or other tax) increase will motivate the spend more crowd to not spend more is to ignore their nature. The Democrats want more government school teachers, more police, more prison guards and more government employees. Even the possibility of more tax revenue will provide them with more support for their efforts to maintain the spending status quo.

    “More revenue is only 5 months away, perhaps we can borrow against it?”, they will say.

    The state government doesn’t have the money to pay for its current rate of spending, which anybody who has paid attention to Arizona state Treasurer Dean Martin would know. Has that motivated spending inclined elected officials to reduce spending (e.g. Jan Brewer and the Democratic minority)? No it hasn’t.

    Enough talk of increased taxes. The government of the state of Arizona needs to reduce spending.

  11. Don’t anyone be fooled by what is happening in CA. Schwarzenegger is trying to hobble along until the feds bail the state out.

  12. kralmajales says

    So this is what you all stand for. Advocating for hardworking Americans to get a pay cut.

    For shame! For ugly shame!

  13. kralmajales says

    If you are buying a car, I can about guaranee you Horst that $100 bucks will not matter a bit in anyone’s decision.

  14. Kral,
    You are missing the point, neither the car purchase nor the 100 bucks are relevant.
    What was illustrated here was that an increase in sales tax from 5.6% to 6.6% represents an 18% increase, if one does express the INCREASE in value of percentage.
    Likewise if one were to increases a 1% current tax by 1% to a 2% future tax, the INCREASE would be 100% or DOUBLE what it was before.
    Get it?
    Nah, you probably went to the same class as Citizen, and were taught by a liberal feather bedded member of a teachers union, where the union card was the only thing that mattered.

  15. Horst – the problem is sales taxes are already expressed in terms of percentages. So there is an ambiguity when stating there will be an 18% increase. Does this mean 5.6% + 18% or does it mean 5.6% + (5.6% * .18) . It appears that some want to make use of this ambiguity to imply a much higher increase than is being proposed.

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