Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
Arizona has been racing to the bottom on pretty much all nationwide statistics for years. Two notable exceptions are poverty and unemployment. For the #1 slot nationwide in poverty, we are officially #2, but in reality, we are in a statistical dead heat with Mississippi.
With the latest statewide budget news, Arizona should be able to easily overcome Mississippi for the #1 slot in poverty next year– especially if Governor Jan Brewer, her lobbyist advisors, and her cronies in the Republican-controlled Legislature are re-elected.
According to the Arizona Republic:
“The deficit for the current budget year has grown to $825 million, up from $700 million, and the projected hole for the next fiscal year has deepened by $400 million, to $1.4 billion.
“It adds up to a $2.25 billion deficit that needs to be wiped out in the next 20 months.”
The Republic article says that Arizona Republicans are not willing to raise taxes (AKA raise revenue) to fill the budget gap. Arizona has relatively low business taxes. The Legislature has set up these corporate give-aways to lure business to the state. The problems with scenario are: 1) trickle-down economics doesn’t work; and 2) relocating businesses want more than lower taxes; they want an educated workfore, a viable infrastructure, good schools, good universities, etc.– all of the amenities that Brewer and her cronies in the Legislature have worked to minimize or destroy. Add to this dismal list Brewer’s lies about violence and beheadings in the desert, and it is easy to see why no major corporations or private citizens would want to re-locate here.
So, what are Brewer and the Republican-controlled Legislature going to do? Education, health care, and children/family services are their favorite sacrificial lambs when it’s time to cut budgets, but I doubt there is enough left in these funds to fill the budget gap– even if they wiped them out.
Remember Brewer’s sales tax for education initiative that voters overwhelmingly approved last spring? Skeptics like LD28 Representative Steve Farley warned not to vote for that tax because he believed that the Arizona Legislature would spend the funds for something other than education– or worst of all would give it away in tax cuts for businesses and the rich. Will they take those funds? Probably. They are already trying to trick voters into wiping out the land-conservation fund (Prop 301) and the First Things First voter-created child welfare program (Prop 301) which pays for itself. What kind of person votes repeatedly to hurt programs for children?
So, with these seriously dire predictions, why would the Republic endorse the Republican status quo?
Seriously, folks, in a much-ballyhoo’d “throw-the-bums-out” election year, isn’t it time for Arizona to “throw the bums (ie, Brewer, Brewer’s lobbyist advisors, the Republicans in the Arizona Legislature and statewide offices, and John McCain) out”?
No one but the corporatists and the rich (who receive regular give-aways from Arizona Republicans) are happy with these inept ideologues. Isn’t it time for a change in Arizona politics? Vote the bums out– and vote NO on all of the ballot initiatives that the Arizona Legislature put on the ballot (the 100s and 300s).
UPDATE, October 4: Blog for Arizona reported today that the Republican Governors’ Association, who received a $1 million donation from FOX News in recent months, is investing $200,000 in Arizona races– probably including Brewer’s. They also reported that the Arizona Republican Party funds had dwindled down to $5000 before this donation. For the year, Arizona Democrats have raised $2.1 million compared to the GOP’s $490,000. Now, who’s fired up and who’s “sitting this one out”?