Was Sen. Gould Willing To Support Gov. Brewer’s Sales Tax Increase?

Gould Pointing 2According to media reports, Senator Ron Gould says that he would have supported the ballot referral of a three-year increase in the sales tax in exchange for a three-year phase out of the state income tax.  We have to admit, we honestly had no idea.  So much has been made of the Senator’s absolute refusal to support any increase in taxes and so much coverage in the media and on the blogs was focused on the single-minded purity of his votes against it, that we never even considered the possibility that he would vote to refer Brewer’s tax hike to the ballot.

If what the Senator is saying is true then much of his absolute language regarding the referral must be taken with a rather large grain of salt.  If his offer was genuine, then he was in fact willing to vote to refer the sales tax increase to the ballot, so all of his vocal and rather scathing critiques of his fellow legislators ring somewhat hollow.  On the other hand, if he was merely tweaking the Senate President by asking for something so out of reach that he knew in advance he could not get it, then his protestations at this point that he was somehow reasonable and amenable to a deal are likely disingenuous at best.

Naturally, any insistence on eliminating the state income tax over three years would have make the entire deal unworkable because it would have dramatically increased the state’s deficit, leaving the Legislature farther from the solution instead of closer to it.  But one assumes that Gould’s rational for supporting such a package would have been that a) the tax referral could always be voted down, and b) the size of the tax cuts would have been greater than the sales tax increase, and they would have lasted long after the sales tax increase had ended.  Ironically, the same arguments were made for the conservative package that Gould voted against.  It had hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts for individuals and businesses, as well as property tax cuts, all to boost the economy.  And it cut more in taxes than the sales tax increase would have raised, assuming it would even pass.

What is clear is that Senator Gould has nothing good to say about any Republicans who would have exchanged larger, lasting tax cuts, for a referral of a shorter, smaller tax increase.  He has even been quoted as saying “If Republicans do a tax increase, our party’s dead. The voters will throw us out if we do a tax increase.”  The fact that he proposed to make the very same kind of deal is more than just curious, even to seasoned Capitol observers that have grown accustomed to the public posturing of politicians.


  1. Antifederalist says

    Sales taxes create fewer economic distortions than regressive income taxes. And VAT taxes are even better than sales taxes. I understand Gould’s thinking.

    Additionally, I couldn’t care less if a repeal of the income tax would result in Arizona state government having fewer taxpayer dollars. Government doesn’t need our money like the earners do. This is a starve the beast tactic and I’m all for it. I agree w/ the likes of Grover Norquist when he says, “Government should be small enough to drown in a bathtub”.

  2. Conservative First says

    I’m in agreement with you. It just makes Gould’s vote more confusing though, because the bill he voted against would have cut income taxes and property taxes in exchange for the sales tax referral. I guess that’s why Norquist’s group supported it. I guess that’s why all of the conservative tax groups supported it. But Gould didn’t (neither did Carolyn Allen and Pamela Gorman to be fair). They could have made government smaller and they didn’t. I thought I understood his reason, even if I disagreed with it. But with this post, I’m more confused than ever.

  3. “AZ Insider” supports higher taxes and higher spending. Time to join the Dems!

    It is decidedly NOT conservative to balance the budget by increasing taxes.

    Since 2011 looks no better than 2010, then NOT cutting now is the height of irresponsibility.

    What that means is that Ron Gould is the ONLY completely responsible legislator at the capitol since he obviously sees this and is exercising common conservative sense.

  4. I Hate Taxes says

    Oberserve, I think you missed the point of the piece. Actually, I think you missed several points. Whatever praise you have for Gould you should also have for Gorman. You should even like Gorman more, because she has never said that she was open to higher taxes in exchange for concessions. According to Gould’s own words, he was though. That is the story here.

    Gould was unwilling to refer the tax hike to the ballot in exchange for income and property tax cuts, but he would have done so in exchange for a different package of tax cuts.

    So the “principles” that Gould always cites in his usual absolute way when defending his votes aren’t actually that iron clad for the guy.

    FACT: Ron Gould would vote YES on referring a tax hike to the ballot.

    He and the State Senate merely couldn’t come to an agreement on the price of his vote.

  5. Presumably Sen Gould’s district is a conservative one and the voters there know him, like him, and have been electing him. I don’t understand why leadership punishes elected officials for voting how they deem appropriate. Perhaps the mistake our elected legislators made was not in the votes they cast in the budget but in the votes they cast for Senate leaders. Any one know if there is a rule to call for a vote of confidence here? Seems like our leaders at the top are the ones making the real mess of things and someone else might be better at the job before taxes are hiked and more jobs are Obamaed (lost).

  6. Yah gotta be kidding. says

    I expect you to abjure ronald reagan as not a real conservative, and quit his party forthwith, since he signed a tax increase as a Governor of California.

    You guys are showing how stupid you are, with this antitax obsession.

  7. Yah and Others,

    You think that the representatives of the people are there to represent leadership and help them get releected.


    So wrong in fact, I will make a prediction for which each of you RINOs will pay me $5 when it comes true.

    The referral will occur. The voters will pass it. All the RINOs who voted to put it on the ballot as well as the governor will be defeated either by democrats or by conservative republicans who teapartiers organize to elect.

    Whatever you RINOs do, get prepared. You and the governor and your vision of what the Republican party is goin down the tubes right now.

    Say “bye bye”.

  8. Observe is making observations flying 30,000 feet above the ground. Only cutting the budget is not a viable option.

    The deficit it too big and we have used every gimmick and trick possible. If we haven’t I’d love to know.

  9. Heard it in the halls says

    I think Senator Gould wanted the Governor to step down and Chuck Coughlin to commit suicide, in addition to phasing out the income tax.

  10. Ive seen it mentioned now on a few posts but no one has been willing to step up and answer. Is Ronald Reagan a RINO for passing a tax increase to get out of a bad budget situation?

    Observe I have to disagree with you on your predictions. The budget is SO bad that you cannot cut out of it. Prop 105 and other voter protected funds make it impossible.

    I’ll see your $5 and bet you that if you slash and burn education Republicans will lose enough swing states to lose at least one of the houses.

    Another irony-Observe now betting it will pass when the line has been that there is no way people will tax themselves in a bad economy.

  11. Heard it in the halls Says:
    You sound childish. If you can’t have a logical argument, why don’t you just go play with your little friends on the playground.
    Explain your “lose enough swing states to lose at least one of the houses.” Did you mean districts? We have already lost both houses on the national scene. Although, we will probably make good progress at taking one or both back if we hold to our values. Republicans lose when they act like Democrats and win when they govern according to the Republican Party platform.

  12. Sean I agree with you about “slash and burn education Republicans will lose enough swing states to lose at least one of the houses”. It is also true that most of the Republicans do not understand cash flow. (For that matter most of both the House and Senate do not understand cash flow). All the games proposed by leadership is like borrowing everything you can on your credit cards and hope things will be better before you have to make the payments. The Republicans only want to cut their way out of this problem. It can not be done. If they could read financial statements they would know that AZ is already technically bankrupt and something must be done NOW.

    Not sure the D’s will be any better if the control of the houses but it will send a message. The Citizens of AZ are tired of the same old talk and no attention to the major problem at hand.

  13. DeAnn, meant districts. Thx for the catch.

    Jay, they will learn about cash flow soon enough. The treasurer has been saying it for a while and of course the legislators just ignore it.

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