OUTRAGE! Reason for Governor Brewer’s tax increase is to reward lobbyist/employee Chuck Coughlin

We have received inside information that lobbyist Chuck Coughlin, who founded High Ground and now works for Governor Brewer, is behind Brewer’s insistence on a tax increase. Coughlin originally led Governor Napolitano’s TIME initiative which would have increased sales taxes in order to generate more road construction and light rail construction jobs for Coughlin’s client, the Association of General Contractors. Fortunately, the initiative failed to get on the ballot. Now, Coughlin is hoping to get voters to approve a tax increase that would permit the state to use the money however it likes – sneak the TIME initiative back through that way.

Brewer keeps claiming that the need for a tax increase is about the children, and that she doesn’t want to cut programs like subsidized daycare. But this isn’t accurate. Brewer has agreed to accept ALL of the federal bailout money (except for a program lengthening unemployment pay, because that would require additional state spending and bureacracy). There is now more than enough money to pay for subsidized daycare. Brewer also has a reserve left that she can spend in any way she’d like – if she can’t agree with the legislature on something as crucial to her as subsidized daycare, she can fund it without the legislature’s approval.

Coughlin is trying to bully the legislature into having it his own way. But the state legislature is not a subsidiary of Chuck Coughlin. Coughlin’s bullying style has made Brewer many needless enemies at the legislature. The legislature sees through his threats and is not going to cave in and raise taxes to subsidize his businesses.

There are some ridiculous programs in the budget that should be cut and this economic downturn presents an opportunity to get rid of them. One of these useless programs involves sending people to the homes of developmentally disabled children to play guitar music for them. This is absurd, if the children need therapeutic music, why aren’t their parents turning on the stereo to play music for them?

Coughlin needs to go back to High Ground and it should be renamed to Low Ground, before he can  do anymore damage to Brewer.


  1. It seems to me the damage has already been done. If Brewer is willing to risk everything with the base of the party for one lobbyist I don’t think we want her as our Governor anyway

  2. This story is a little far fetched. Didn’t Coughlin and company help Russell Pearce fend off Sproul’s attacks and ensure that Russell was elected? I think the “inside” information will turnout to be little more than unsubstantiated rumors. Such is the way in politics I suppose.

  3. Republican activist says

    PHX, that was Stan Barnes who helped Russell Pearce, not High Ground.

  4. It was indeed HighGround who defended Russell Pearce.

  5. Doug E. Fresh says

    Classy post, Chewie:

    “One of these useless programs involves sending people to the homes of developmentally disabled children to play guitar music for them. This is absurd, if the children need therapeutic music, why aren’t their parents turning on the stereo to play music for them?”

    Your compassion is only surpassed by your commitment to elevated discourse.

  6. You know what the real outrage is? The fact that you are allowed to post and bring down the otherwise distinguished character of this website.

  7. When will Sonoran Alliance realize that Chewie Shofir taints the reputation and credibility of the site?
    This is just the latest in a forever growing list of posts by him that proves to be blatantly wrong or outlandishly inaccurate.
    If Shofir were to say today the sky is blue, my first inclination would be to think it were green and begin checking his sources and how he came to his conclusion.

  8. Ginger Lamb says

    Nice photo of Chuck. It needs to be attributed to Bill Coates, Arizona Capitol Times, Best of the Capitol, 2007.

  9. Wow, this post was just a smear job. I don’t know Chewie or what his/her beef is with Coughlin and Governor Brewer, but the budgets being considered have no money for anything even remotely related to the TIME Initiative. Claiming that the tax increase is designed to be a back door funding exercise for TIME is total garbage. At least using “OUTRAGE!” to headline the post displays an ironic sense of humor. Still, SA needs to explain to its writers that permission to post here is not the same as permission to pursue vendettas.

    BTW, is was High Ground who ran Russell Pearce’s race in 2008, as he stomped Kevin Gibbons in what was a truly great moment for conservatives and decent people all over Arizona. Let’s give credit where credit is due!

  10. George of the Desert says

    This is an absurd argument. I know Chuck makes enemies, but he doesn’t just make up tax revenue projections – those are factual. Income tax collecttions are down about 22% and sales tax collections are also way down. Lawmakers are in a real bind because they only have so much control over the budget a vast percentage is voter-protected.

    The real enemy here are the voter-approved boondoggles that are untouchable. If those could be cut, we would not have to look at cuts to education or health care. Reform that now!

    As for the stimulus dollars – much of that is formula-based, meaning the feds send it here and the state uses it on existing federal programs. The Gov’s discretionary fund of nearly $200 million is not gojng to go very far and will be used up easily.

    I hope we don’t have tax hikes. I would like to see aggressive efforts made to make Arizona more business-friendly to attract jobs and therefore more taxpayers.

    I heard from a major business figure last week that for every California business that relocates to Arizona, five choose Texas instead. Much of the reason for that is a less-cumbersome regulatory environment in Texas. Texas, by the way, is in far better shape financial than Arizona right now.

    I wish the Gov and legislature would push very hard to ease the business regulatory burden and create incentives for luring more businesses here. That’s far better than taxing in a recession (or any other time) and it’s a more productive argument than an ad-hominem attack on Coughlin.

  11. I thought the behavior of the fab freshman and fearless leaders who bucked the Governor was poor political play, but recently I learned “from a major business figure” just how bad the sweeping of encumbered Science Foundation Arizona funds impacted our state. It has left us with the horrible reputation that contracts are not safe. There are huge contracts to be tendered by the state and vendors who are choosing Texas and even more mid-western states are taking that into consideration. How good is the contract if at the whim of a handful of legislators it can be cancelled and your invoices left unpaid?

    If Arizona wants to be pro-business and bring in a revenue stream to shore up the loss in housing, proving the state to be a shady business partner is not the way to do it.

    There are folks out there doing bad things in the name of good, Coughlin isn’t one of them.

  12. Chewie Shofir must be a Nathan Sproul buddy.

  13. Conservative Majority says

    Chuck Coughlin is a jerk and deserves every smear he gets. He tries to bully Conservatives at the legislature for his client, the Association of General Contractors. I read that Ron Gould single-handedly stopped Coughlin from pushing through a tax increase (referral from the legislature) and that is why the had to take TIME to the ballot by citizen’s initiative. Stop lying, Chuck!

  14. I hear that Ron Gould single-handedly stops a lot of things at the legislature:

    Like their ability to get things done, their ability to work with others, their ability to fix Arizona’s problems, on yeah, and their credibility.

  15. @5
    Compassion is voluntary. The program you describe is an example of wealth redistribution.

    One definition of character is “the set of qualities that make somebody or something distinctive” (MSN Encarta).

    You assert that Mr. Shofir is blatantly wrong or outlandishly inaccurate and yet you apparently are unable to point out any inaccuracy. This isn’t TV news, the comment box has space for more than unsupported assertions.

    Good point.

    Ron Gould doesn’t prohibit anything from getting done, he just thinks that most activities don’t have to be performed by government with tax money. People can continue to work with others, just without coercive government assistance. As for credibility if you have a truly credible program, you won’t need government to pay for it.

  16. The five most feared words in the Arizona Senate “Senator Gould Has An Amendment”


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  2. […] posted an over the top hit piece on local lobbyist/political operative Chuck Coughlin who runs a firm called Highground.  Chuck has […]

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  4. […] Here’s one from the file of “WE TOLD YOU SO!” […]

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