Gov. Ducey’s magical “fee” is actually a tax

December 9, 2018

Teacher pay hikes that “wouldn’t raise taxes,” find their funding source: YOU

Remember when Gov. Doug Ducey, vowed he would not be held hostage to teachers’ demands for a 20% pay hike, and then acquiesced, though promising no tax increases would be needed to fund their excessive demands for their part-time jobs?

Surprise!

Beginning Jan. 1, 2019 there will be a new, deceptively namedpublic safety fee(notice it’s not called a tax) that will be tacked on to vehicle registrations. The newspaper headline says it takes effect Jan. 1, but the ADOT press release declares Dec. 1.  Which one of these charlatans to believe?

ADOT’s website is full service, providing a choice among 103 languages from Afrikaans to Zulu, and even has a readily accessible Civil Rights Division, in case your feelings were bruised during your work day. If that isn’t enough, it also hawks specialty license plates, “for that person who’s impossible to shop for.”

The $32 fee/scam, originally touted as $18, was projected to raise either $149 or $185 million yearly. The numbers fluctuate wildly depending on the “fee” and who made the projections.  When the word “stakeholders” is used, your suspicion antenna should be on high alert. ADOT itself announced it would actually be $265.6 million! Good luck in finding that news release now. This is the enabling legislation, signed by Gov. Ducey. The purpose of this “fee” is to free up highway safety money tapped into for educrats, according to this revealing news report.

On July 13, 2018 leftist editorialist Linda Valdez wrote, “What’s wrong with Phoenix raising taxes?” one of her loads of drivel passing for a column.  Valdez is a staunch cradle-to-grave advocate. With liberals, having the government provide for you throughout your lifetime is a core belief comparable to the religious fervor she so disdains. Of course, “the government” is us.

The rest of us hold the belief that taxes are our money, necessary for maintaining infrastructure (pipelines, utilities, roadways, bridges, and military preparedness), but often misspent. President Trump’s tax cuts have, in fact, spurred economic growth. Tax cuts, not tax increases, are the means of energizing the economy and empowering Americans.

Tell that to da Dems and da Ducey.

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Sen. Sinema: AZ Republic applauds voting for plumbing over competence

November 18, 2018

Capable women have long impacted Arizona politics, with voters sending Isabella Greenway to Congress in 1932. Lorna Lockwood was the nation’s first female Chief Justice of a state Supreme Court in the 1960’s, Jewel Jordan was elected Maricopa County Sheriff in 1944.  Ana Frohmiller was elected State Auditor in 1926. Read more:

The front page of Sunday’s edition of the local newspaper is topped with a large photo of select past and current women elected to statewide office in Arizona. Centered among them and more prominent than the others in bold color — not muted or in the gray tones used for some, is Kyrsten Sinema their latest heroine, in a bared-shouldered dress. Sinema is the far left, newly elected U.S. Senator, the first woman in that role in the history of Arizona. 

Arizona has been in the forefront of electing women for the better part of the century, since our 1912 statehood. Countless women have served in the state legislature, including Polly Rosenbaum, a Democrat from Gila County, who was in the House of Representatives for 46 years (prior to term limits), until age 95, when she lost due to redistricting.  Republican Barry Goldwater lamented her defeat. Until her last day on the job, she was still taking the stairs rather than using the elevator.

We’ve had had a long list of female Arizona governors, including Rose Mofford, Jane Hull, Janet Napolitano, and Jan Brewer. Five women have held the office of Secretary of State, next in line of succession to the governor. The courts are filled with female judges. Arizona’s Supreme Court has been populated with women, including several who have been Chief Justice.

Lorna Lockwood is notable for being the first woman in the nation to become Chief Justice of a state Supreme Court — serving two terms in that role — after being elected in 1960. Lockwood was born in 1903 in the Arizona territory, passed the bar in 1925 and was a state Legislator and Superior Court Judge before ascending to the Arizona Supreme Court — paving the nearly identical career path Sandra O’Connor eventually took to the U.S. Supreme Court as the first female justice. SRAZ covered this history in 2012 complete with a photo of Justice Lockwood.

Arizona didn’t just fall off a repressive election train. In fact, back in 1944 Jewel Jordan was elected Maricopa County Sheriff. The state treasurer’s office was led by Carol Springer, elected in 1999. It is currently held by Eileen Klein and soon will be under the capable leadership of former state senator, Kimberly Yee.  However, before any of them where ever heard of, Anastasia “Ana” Frohmiller (1891-1971) was elected Coconino County Treasurer in the 1920’s. She became the first woman to serve as State Auditor, an office to which she was elected in 1926. She held that office until 1950 when she ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor against Republican Howard Pyle.

Karan English, Gabrielle Giffords, Ann Kirkpatrick, Martha McSally, Debbie Lesko and Sinema have all been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. But, Isabella Greenway (1886-1953) preceded them all as Arizona’s first female U.S. Representative. She was elected as Arizona’s sole at-large Representative to the 73rd Congress in 1932. She won reelection in 1934. Greenway Road and several schools are named in her honor.

Yet despite the fact that Arizona women have held elected leadership roles for decades, the Arizona Republic treats the election of Kyrsten Sinema — clearly not the one to brag about (links to a series of revealing posts) — as though electing women is an anomaly.

Elections should be based on ability, not on plumbing. Once again, the Arizona Republic reveals its foolish leftist bonding to political correctness, when Arizona has clearly not fallen in lockstep with that contrivance. Accomplished Arizona women have ably represented the state long before the word “bi-sexual,” Sinema’s chosen identifier, was ever heard of.


AZ SOS race: Gaynor poised to defeat incumbent Reagan

July 19, 2018

According to the latest Data Orbital voter survey, Arizona’s incumbent Secretary of State Michele Reagan is not faring well against political newcomer Steve GaynorIn fact, they are in a virtual tie with Reagan polling at 26.37% and Gaynor at 26.40%. The uncertain factor hinges on the 45.5% who remained undecided at the time the poling was conducted.  Gaynor is boldly challenging Reagan with a televised ad campaign depicting her as a flawed public official, responsible for the past election day chaos that had voters standing in line for hours to cast their ballots.

Reagan previously took heat for failing to send informative publicity pamphlets to an estimated 200,000 households in advance of the May 17, 2016 special election, as required by law. The Secretary of State’s website has experienced numerous problems since she took office.

Election day snafus were effective arguments in removing longtime Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell from office during the 2016 election cycle. She had won accolades for her administration of county elections for 28 years. Reagan’s tenure has been rocky from the start.

A longtime Arizona businessman, Gaynor is self funding his campaign. Never previously active in Republican politics, he is a clean slate candidate, with no track record to examine, as he seeks what sounds like a paper shuffling office, but is actually next in line of succession to the governor.

Reagan, a squish Republican, previously represented Legislative District 8 in the state legislature. During 2011, she made SRAZ’s notorious list of Arizona’s Benedict Arnolds for voting in opposition to five bills that addressed the continued invasion of our state by illegal aliens.

Her current reelection campaign donor list is rife with lobbyists and establishment contributors. As of the July 12, 2018 filing period, a worried Reagan has put $73,600 of her own money into the race.

Steve Gaynor is unknown politically, but has been a successful Arizona businessman for nearly four decades. SRAZ supports his candidacy. The status quo is unacceptable.


AZ Republic pushes more liberal lunacy

July 13, 2018

Chamber of Commerce calls out Marxist agenda of teacher’s Socialist Pied Piper and gets hammered

When you’re an unrepentant liberal like the Arizona Republic’s editorialist Linda Valdez, playing games with words comes naturally. She advocates on behalf of physician assisted suicide, calling it, “a medically prescribed exit.” According to Valdez, denying this right is religion-based discrimination. “Suicide,” she claims, “is a loaded word that should be replaced with something less emotionally charged.” Most of the rest of us find it difficult to separate death from emotion. Another of her anti-faith offerings is, “Will the God Squad tale away your right to die.” Abortion on demand becomes “women’s health care.” There is nothing healthy about abortion — especially for the pre-born baby, who feels pain as he’s burned by chemicals or has his spinal cord severed and skull collapsed.  No wonder we need fabricated terminology to describe this horror.

Taxes?  “What’s wrong with Phoenix raising taxes?” is actually a headline topping one of her loads of drivel passing for a column.  Valdez is a staunch cradle to grave believer. With liberals, having the government provide for you throughout your lifetime is a belief comparable to the religious fervor she so disdains.

Valdez rails about illegals dying in the scorching desert heat, but places no blame on them for making unwise choices. They invade. They die. America is to blame.

She typifies the left-wing slant of the newspaper, which spews its outrage on Page One over what it apparently finds to be a slur in today’s edition. The leader of the striking teachers who abandoned their students for a week while violating their contractual agreements marching for a 20% pay increase is Noah Karvelis, 23, a self described Socialist, who was Bernie Sanders 2016 Arizona presidential campaign organizer. Sanders has no problem referring to himself as a Socialist. But when the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued this press release calling Karvelis out for addressing the 2018 Socialist convention in Chicago, that’s beyond the bounds of propriety. The leftist newspaper huffily declares it “offers a glimpse into the opposition strategy,”

After Gov. Ducey recklessly acquiesced to the teacher’s demands, they have come up with a Marxist redistribution of wealth scheme of placing hefty additional taxes on job creators they derisively call, “the rich.” It will be a ballot initiative in the form of an unalterable, permanent Constitutional Amendment with a permanent funding stream in addition to the others they already have 

Passage of ballot propositions — 301 in 2000 increasing the state sales tax and 123 in 2016 a grab from the state land trust — guaranteed more money for education, which apparently is never enough for the teachers who work 8½ months a year. School districts routinely hold budget overrides and bond elections to “get more money into the classroom” —- eduspeak for bolstering teacher’s salaries. A major premise of passing the Arizona Lottery in 1980 was that money from ticket sales would fund schools.

Don’t fall for the educrat extortionists latest ploy. This time the AZ Chamber of Commerce — an organization we’ve disagreed with on illegal immigration — is right on the money. 


AZ Reps. pitch funding striking teachers by legalizing pot

April 23, 2018

Arizona Democrat Mark Cardenas (LD 19) and his House of Representatives Republican buddy Todd Clodfelter (LD 10) have joined in a novel bipartisan effort to fund teachers who are demanding a 20 percent pay increase. The teacher’s scheduled strike takes place this Thursday, leaving the students they claim to care about stranded and missing crucial class time.

Sending a terrific message to the impressionable school children, State Reps. Cardenas and Clodfelter are renewing their previous efforts to legalize pot in Arizona. This time the pretext is to help pay for teacher raises.

Read their bill, HCR 2037, titled “marijuana, regulation and taxation,” that includes a provision for 40 percent of the net revenues be directed to a public education grant program that would be administrated by a task force appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, which would solicit, receive, review and evaluate applications and award grants.

No kidding!

The Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting projects 20 percent teacher raises will cost state taxpayers about $650 million.

In 2016, Arizona voters rejected Prop 205, which would have legalized recreational use of the drug. This was SRAZ’s exposé regarding the facts behind the deceptive legislation.

Keep in mind teachers are represented by far-left unions. The $ millions teachers pay in dues fund liberal politicians and their causes.

Teachers unions have steadily amped up their political involvement: From 2004 to 2016, their donations grew from $4.3 million to more than $32 million — an all-time high. Even more than most labor unions, they have little use for Republicans, giving Democrats at least 94 percent of the funds they contributed to candidates and parties since as far back as 1990 when Center for Responsive Politics initially began collecting data.

Passage of ballot propositions — 301 in 2000 increasing the state sales tax and 123 in 2016 a grab from the state land trust — guaranteed more money for education, which apparently is never enough. Teachers protest and school districts hold budget overrides and bond elections to “get more money into the classroom” —- eduspeak for bolstering teacher’s salaries. A major premise of passing the Arizona Lottery in 1980 was that money from ticket purchases would make its way to schools.

State Reps. Mark Cardenas and Todd Clodfelter are shameless lightweights who both need to be primaried in their respective districts. Not only do their constituents deserve better, but so do the rest of us who would have to function under their deceptive legislation. Arizona’s students have become the undeserving pawns in their reckless escapade.

Read 10 Facts You May Not Know About Education in Arizona. It’s news you need and aren’t getting. Armed with the facts, it’s time for informed parents to march. The only roadblock is they have jobs where their presence is required. And unlike teachers, they don’t have the luxury of frequent half days, lengthy holiday vacations or the entire summer off.


Voters, not colleagues, should have decided Rep. Shooter’s fate

February 2, 2018

 #MeToo movement supersedes election process

The expulsion of state Rep. Don Shooter from the Arizona legislature over allegations of sexual harassment is rightfully making national news. He has destroyed his career and dishonored his own family.  But the vote to expel the duly elected legislator raises questions about the process, while in no way condoning his actions.

The Yuma lawmaker, who lists his occupation as a developer, had a first-rate background according to his bio on the Arizona House Member’s page:

Chairman Shooter was elected to the Senate as a write in candidate in 2010. In 2011 he was appointed Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He was re-elected in 2012 with 98% of the vote and in 2014 with 64% of the vote. He was reappointed as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. In 2016, he was elected to the House of Representatives and appointed as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Chairman Shooter champions the issues of fiscal responsibility, less government intrusion in our daily lives and 2nd amendment rights. He has been named a friend of the family in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 by the Arizona Family Project, inducted into the Directors Hall of Fame by the Amberly’s Place victims’ rights organization and achieved the status of “Top 10 Technical Legislator” by the Arizona Tech Council.

The Republican, who let his ego get in the way of decency and good judgement, represented Legislative District 13. Rep. Shooter was removed from office Feb. 1, 2018 by a vote of 56 to 3. The measure to remove him required 40 votes of the 60 House members. Reps. David Stringer (R-LD1) and Noel Campbell (R-LD1) joined the accused in casting a no vote. The undeniable fact is Shooter was removed in an action lacking due process.

Nationally, other legislators have resigned or been stripped of their leadership posts, but not expelled after being accused of misconduct. Shooter is quoted as saying he deserves to be punished but did nothing to justify expulsion. He opted for the voters to decide his fate.

“I’ve had two, three months to think about this. I did wrong, I deserve a censure,” he said. “But I’ll tell you this. I was sent here by the people of District 13. And to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never betrayed that trust, never, never. Not for monkey business, not for contributions, not for influence, not for power, not for anything. And by God, they’re the ones who should throw me out if they want to throw me out. And they may,” he stated.

The Yuma County Board of Supervisors will replace Rep.Shooter. Three of the five members are Democrats.


AZ legislators deserve a pay increase after 20 years

January 25, 2018

Several states have tied legislative salaries to median household income, allowing for automatic, gradual increases

Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts blandly describes herself as “a wife and mother…who loves all things Arizona….” What she neglects to mention is her contempt for Arizona’s state legislators who are among the lowest paid in the nation. She writes three columns a week and presumably gets paid for a full week‘s work. Legislators work full time during the session and serve constituents throughout the year. They also have to be ready to be called back into special session at the whim of the governor. They have not had a pay increase since 1998. It’s a good bet Roberts has.

Roberts, who thinks $24,000 a year is adequate compensation for those we elect and entrust with writing Arizona’s laws, is now hammering state Rep. Bob Thorpe (R-LD 6) for sponsoring two salary related bills — bringing them into the realm of reality in a state where increases of their paltry wages have been denied by voters for the last twenty years. Thorpe realistically proposes to tie future raises to the salaries of supervisors from counties of 500,000+ residents.

Rep. Thorpe also hopes to tie per diem to  the federal reimbursement rate –– raising the daily expense rate for out of Maricopa County legislators from $60 a day to $130. Those who are elected within Maricopa County would see a modest $7 increase per diem

Although today’s rampant political correctness constrains Laurie Roberts from referring to state lawmakers as “90 dwarfs” as former Arizona Republic columnist David Leibowitz frequently did, Roberts disparages the Flagstaff representative as “The Thorpedo,” for running the two bills: HCR 2016 and HB 2275.

Low pay restricts who can realistically serve  in the legislature, since a family could not subsist on $24,000. Few employers can or will allow citizen legislators to take months off work every year and travel to the state capital, which is why retirees, housewives or those with ample financial resources dominate the chambers. Juxtaposed against the rate of inflation, the current salary has decreased.

In Feb. 2013, we wrote AZ legislature: It’s not a part-time job. Responding to the demands of the job has become increasingly complex. Arizona is a large state with diverse issues.

The Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, covering first responders, correctional officers and elected officials has expanded its use of outside consultants by hiring a media relations and crisis communications contractor. And what a surprise to read that legislative basher David Leibowitz was awarded the lucrative $72,000 contact. How often will the word “dwarf” slip out of his mouth now that this state retirement system is paying him? We’re betting it’s been excised from his venomous vocabulary.

Laurie Roberts’ own employer ran this 2017 news report citing a national study finding the state’s retirement system ranks as one of the worst performing in the country, but pays the highest management fees. Perhaps that’s where she should direct her misplaced wrath.