Governor to Waste $225,000 on Frivolous Media Campaign to Drum up Support for TAX INCREASES

At the worst possible time, Gov. Jan Brewer plans to waste $225,000 of YOUR MONEY on a media blitz to push her plan for tax hikes. At a time when people are losing their jobs, losing their homes, struggling to pay their mortgages.

The governor’s plan is outrageous and unwarranted.

She’s doing an end-run around the legislature in a vain effort to clean up former Gov. Janet Napolitano’s $3 billion budget mess.

Starting next week, the governor will go directly to voters in targeted districts with a sweeping $225,000 publicity campaign urging support of her budget proposals.

It’s the start of a three-week media blitz including:

  • $75,000 worth of radio ads
  • $30,000 in newspaper ads
  • $30,000 in direct mail
  • Live phone calls to the taxpayers, already burdened by state spending sprees for the past six years.

She’ll try to sell this as “Arizona’s ability to stay competitive in the global marketplace.”

Budget talks between Brewer and legislative leaders have reached an impasse.

No matter what happens with the budget in the end, this unwise move could cost the governor the Republican primary next year.

Who are Arizona’s Local Government Friends of the Taxpayer?

The Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity Foundation today released our Local Government Scorecard for the 2008-2009 fiscal year, covering 87 Arizona cities, counties, and special-purpose taxing districts, and 570 local officials. The report comes out at a time when many of those governments are finalizing tax and budget plans for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

View the complete scorecard here.

Some key scores are listed below.

Heroes of the Taxpayer:
Ray Carroll, Supervisor, Pima County
Ann Day, Supervisor, Pima County
Buster Johnson, Supervisor, Mohave County
Joe Johnson, City Councilman, Surprise

Champions of the Taxpayer:
Ed Blair, City Councilman, Payson
Marvin Brown, City Councilman, Maricopa
Su Connell, City Councilwoman, Payson
Carl Diedrich, City Councilman, Maricopa
Marquisha Griffin, City Councilwoman, Maricopa
Elaine Scruggs, Mayor, Glendale
Jon Thompson, City Councilman, Coolidge
Mike Vogel, City Councilman, Payson
John Wilson City Councilman, Payson

Friends of the Taxpayer:

Richard Alton, City Councilman, Surprise
Doug Coleman, City Councilman, Apache Junction
Rich Crockett, City Councilman, Pinetop-Lakeside
Rick Croy, City Councilman, Payson
Bob Edwards, City Councilman, Prescott Valley
Kenny Evans, City Councilman, Payson
Robin Gordon, City Councilwoman, Kingman
Skip Hall, City Councilman, Surprise
Charlie Gail Hendrix, Maricopa Integrated Health Service
Michael Hughes, City Councilman, Payson
John Longabaugh, City Councilman, Surprise
David McAtlin, City Councilman, Lake Havasu City
Mark Nexsen, City Councilman, Lake Havasu City
John Salem, City Councilman, Kingman
Dennis Schilling, City Councilman, Lake Havasu City
Dick Sousa, City Councilman, Goodyear
Lynn Truitt, City Councilwoman, Surprise
Roy Villanueva, City Councilman, Surprise
Keith Walker, City Councilman, Kingman
Leslee Wessel, City Councilwoman, Pinetop-Lakeside
John Williams, City Councilman, Surprise
Carol Young, City Councilman, Kingman

As with the scorecard for the 2007-2008 fiscal year, most of Arizona’s local government officials scored poorly, with the average total score falling between Ally of Big Government (-2) and Friend of Big Government (-3). That was despite the fact that many cities and counties enacted significant budget cuts for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.

In many cases, this year’s budget cuts failed to compensate for last year’s over-spending. Incumbent officials who voted for large budget increases in their 2007-2008 approved budgets were penalized in this year’s scorecard.

AFPF Arizona’s recession scale for the 2008-2009 fiscal year allowed local governments to raise their total approved budgets by 2.4 percent and total property tax levies by five percent without penalty. The collapse of the real estate market was clearly evident last spring and summer, when officials were voting on budgets and tax levies. Given those signals, and given the difficulties faced by families and businesses in the private sector, the Scorecard’s allowances are generous.

The Scorecard attempted to rate the fiscal policy performance of 570 officials statewide, but 160 of those officials were in districts that failed to post documents to their websites.

It is disturbing that many cities and some counties do not post their budgets and meeting minutes online. The very least they could do is post Schedules A and B—the state-required documents that are included as appendices in most local government budgets.

Now, a disclaimer: a high score for a local government official does not entail AFPF Arizona’s endorsement of every line item in that government’s budget for the fiscal year. Even in the best-run local governments, taxpayers will find a lot of wasteful programs.

Research associates Patrick Gibbons and Joel Valenzuela helped complete this year’s scorecard.

One Election Away from Cultural Annihilation? We’re There

Ed. Note: This column was written in 2002 as a prediction of what might happen the next time the Democrats controlled Congress and the presidency. Some of the topics mentioned here were on the front burner of the news cycle at that time. Since we now face the specter of leftist domination of the legislative and executive branches of government, these old predictions are getting their day in the court of public opinion.

The political airwaves are filled with opinions about each major party’s chances at winning or holding control of the federal legislative branches in the November election. The same airwaves are devoid of one crucial implication: we are one election away from cultural annihilation.

If the leftist Democratic Party wins control of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, the cascade of moral regression in America will turn into a raging torrent and the resulting flood will completely overwhelm the nation we once knew.

The U.S. Constitution and America’s sovereignty are already on life support. The next Democrat in the White House and the next Democrat Speaker of the House — in conjunction with the leftist-controlled Senate — will pull the plug and euthanize the America of Washington, Lincoln and Reagan.

Your state government going into leftist hands will contribute to the leftist overthrow as well, only closer to home. Take just one issue, for example: most states can already expect legislative challenges to the legal concept of marriage, regardless of which party has a majority. Just think of what will happen when the leftists gain control of legislative bodies. Just think of the way RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) will vote on issues when their leftist friends call the shots.

Here’s a list of nightmares we can look forward to the next time leftists gain super majorities at state and federal levels. We may never recover.

Public Education

  • Complete homosexualization of the curriculum
  • Completely open doors to Planned Parenthood sexual education
  • Overwhelming pressure to ban home schooling and alternative schools  
  • Complete defeat of the voucher movement
  • Leftist socialization of children at the expense of actual learning
  • Continued decline in the performance of U.S. in international scholastic competition, resulting in an increase in the number of foreign nationals required to fill America’s high-tech work force
  • The death knell for the abstinence movement

Taxation

  • Tax increases at virtually every level, crippling the economy by reducing the amount of money people circulate
  • Unrestrained socialist attempts to re-distribute wealth
  • Taxation of everything from diapers to caskets
  • Restoration of the death and marriage taxes
  • Use of the word “tax” phased out in favor of the more politically correct word “contribution”
  • Look for an Internet tax and an e-mail tax
  • Increased bankruptcies by small businesses

Judiciary

  • Appointments and confirmations emulating the worst elements already present on benches
  • Constitutionally-challenged courtrooms at all levels
  • Lighter sentencing
  • Higher crime rates
  • Higher rates of recidivism
  • Escalation of exclusion of church in the state
  • Increasing emphasis on perpetrators they did the crime, rather than on the mere fact of guilt
  • Increase in frivolous lawsuits and jury awards
  • Open season for reparations lawsuits

Military

  • Reduced funding of the military
  • Non-traditional uses of the military
  • Social engineering, weakening the military
  • Lower morale in the military
  • Increased cannibalization of military equipment for parts
  • Gutting of the intelligence community
  • An increase in retirements and career moves out of the military
  • America will be at great risk in an increasingly dangerous world

Natural Resources

  • Additional land use restrictions
  • Cooperation with radical/restrictive United Nations land use programs
  • Ratification of the Kyoto Treaty and recognition of the mythical global warming, harming the U.S. economy
  • Increased dependence on foreign oil
  • Increased dependence on foreign timber and other products
  • Inflation, due to the increased cost of importing products we formerly produced ourselves
  • Decreased access of national parks and forests
  • Increase in eco-terrorism with little in the way of deterrence from law enforcement
  • Increase in pantheistic worldview

Crime

  • Greatly increasing
  • Job security for white collar criminals serving light sentences and going to work for television networks as analysts
  • Lowering of the age of consent
  • Full implementation of hate crimes, stifling free speech
  • A proliferation of commissions to study why people commit crime — at the expense of incarceration
  • Early release as the answer to prison overcrowding
  • Increase in situational ethics
  • Increase in corporate crime
  • Proliferation of the holocaust on children, born and unborn
  • Personal ethics determined by moral relativism, leading to less and less consideration of the welfare of others
  • Groups like the Boy Scouts holding to traditional views will be criminalized

National Security

  • Increase in terrorism in the U.S. and abroad
  • Erosion of personal freedoms
  • A cottage industry used to expand the size of government
  • More deaths

Health Care

  • Will be increasingly socialized and federalized
  • American taxpayers will provide health care for an increasing segment of the Mexican population
  • HMOs will be outlawed
  • Increasing STDs and AIDS
  • Increasing regulation
  • Higher insurance premiums skewed by pairing of high-risk groups (i.e., homosexuals) with lower-risk groups (heterosexuals)
  • Demonization of pharmaceutical companies and efforts to federalize the industry

Borders

  • Immigration laws will be greatly relaxed or generally ignored
  • Number of border patrol agents will be reduced
  • Funding for border control will be reduced
  • Message to Mexico will be: “come on over!”
  • Terrorists will be welcomed with open arms

Gambling/Lotteries

  • Tremendous proliferation state by state
  • Eased restrictions will lead to Las Vegas-style gambling throughout the U.S.
  • Number of gambler’s anonymous chapters will explode
  • Increase in number of compulsive gamblers
  • Increase in suicide by compulsive gamblers
  • Increase in bankruptcies by people blowing their money on lotteries and casinos
  • Increase in divorce and broken homes
  • Increase in juvenile delinquency
  • Decline in business communities surrounding casinos
  • Proliferation of organized crime
  • Increase in collections efforts of utility companies
  • Proliferation of the industry will entice federal government to dip in for a healthy slice of the pie

Human Rights

  • Legislation to maximize abortion
  • Increased acceptance of euthanasia
  • Government-approved human cloning and embryonic stem-cell research
  • Acceptance of miscreants and deviants forced upon the population
  • Multi-culturalism run amok
  • Continued decline of human rights for those holding traditional beliefs
  • America endorses globalism and one-world religion
  • Increasing demonization and marginalization of Christians

Our Deepest Sympathies to State Treasurer Dean Martin on the Loss of His Wife

The Arizona State Treasurer’s Office issued this statement today:

PHOENIX – Due to complications from childbirth, Kerry Martin, 34, wife of State Treasurer Dean Martin, passed away late Monday night on May 25, 2009. Kerry and Dean’s son, Austin Michael Martin, was born on Monday at 7:31 p.m. weighing eight pounds and measuring 21.5 inches in length. Austin remains in grave condition.

Dean is standing vigil at his son’s bedside with family. Dean and his family ask that you join him in prayer for his son’s health. Kerry was a loving wife of 13 years, as well as a mother, sister, aunt, and daughter. Prayers for the family are also appreciated.

Kerry is survived by her father Edward Mabey, her aunt Phyllis Pulice, her sister Tracy Smitherman, her brother John Mabey, and a niece and two nephews. Funeral arrangements for Kerry are pending.

The family kindly requests no cards or flowers be sent at this time. Notes of encouragement can be sent to Treasurer Martin at dean@americanvisuals.com.

The Arizona Conservative extends our sincerest sympathies to Mr. Martin and his family.  We are in prayer for Dean, Austin and their family.

No to Tobin’s Gambling ‘Solution’: It’s Time for the State to Come of Age

 The Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) and The Arizona Conservative are rising in opposition to a proposal by Arizona House Majority Whip Andy Tobin for a massive increase in legalized gambling in an attempt to fix the state budget. CAP President Cathi Herrod said: “During a tough economic time, it does not make sense to expand gambling when the social and economic costs of gambling outweigh the benefits by 3 to 1. If Mr. Tobin’s budget proposal passes, it would allow slots and table games at racetracks, which would ‘blow the caps’ on current gambling restrictions on Indian reservations. This likely would result in Phoenix and the entire state becoming virtually the next Las Vegas.”

The Arizona Conservative says: Arizona and other states need to realize that gambling breeds far more problems than it can ever possibly solve: bankrupting families, ruining marriages, compulsive gamblers driven to embezzle from their employers, benefiting organized crime, drying up the businesses in close proximity. All we’ve accomplished by proliferating gambling in Arizona is to swell the ranks of the membership of Gamblers Anonymous. What we haven’t accomplished is solving unemployment, crime, alcoholism and other social ills.

Instead of looking to the false hope of gambling, the Arizona Legislature needs to get real and cut spending. It was spending, by the Napolitano administration and misguided legislators, that created this huge budget problem. It’s time for the state to come of age and stop spending more of OUR money than it has

Salem Radio Talkers Lampoon Obama’s First 100 Days

I attended the Salem Radio assessment of “Obama’s First 100 Days” Wednesday in Phoenix and picked out a few pertinent points to share with you.  But I’ve got to say that the most poignant remarks that night came not from Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher or Hugh Hewitt. Surprisingly, those came from Dennis Miller on KKNT Patriot Radio on the ride home.

Miller said he’s not a born-again Christian, but it’s wrong when Christians, former military members and their parents are branded with a scarlet letter by the Department of Homeland Security.

Also, Miller chastized the government for gracing “any moron with a sleazy sideshow” by running it up the flag pole and giving it special federal protections.

When people react with alarm to sudden and radical changes to a social order that’s been in place for hundreds of years in the United States, Obama and company should not be surprised. And should cut the people some slack for resisting such drastic changes, Miller said.

The Salem Radio event contrasted Gallagher’s principled conservatism against the soft mushy middle ground occupied by Medved and Hewitt. The moderates both supported Arnold Schwarzenegger for election in the California governor’s race a few years ago (as did Sean Hannity). Even though a real conservative Tom McClintock polled well enough to win.

Medved said people in the 20-30 age range polled much more negatively on the phrase “big government” (only 15 percent approved of it in a Rasmussen poll), compared to an even split over the term “socialism.” “That’s (big government) what we should call it,” Medved said.

Gallagher wasn’t buying that. “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck,” he said of socialism. “I’m going to use ‘socialism’ on my radio program.”

Creating further separation between his two colleagues, Gallagher also urged that the GOP rid itself of RINOs and others like Sen. Arlen Specter, a pro-abortion defector to the Democrats recently. Hewitt is all about a center-right coalition big tent. Medved previously indicated supported amnesty for illegals in the form of President George W. Bush’s guest worker program.

Hewitt instead urged support for TALK.PAC, a political action committee working to elect center-right candidates in 2010 and mobilize grassroots opposition to harmful policies coming out Washington.

A remark by Medved drew a rousing ovation: “The idea that government owns you  is slavery and tyranny, and that idea needs to be defeated.”

Hewitt is focusing this month of the coming government control of health insurance. He guaranteed that within five years, we will all suffer the peril of rationing of doctoral care. The horrors of socialistic medical treatment were laid out well on Hewitt’s Thursday afternoon interview of Mark Steyn.

Conservative Leaders Need to Fight Government Seizure of Health Insurance

In their weekly radio chat Thursday, Hugh Hewitt and Mark Steyn discussed the horrors of government ownership of health insurance. Steyn is Canadian by birth, has also lived in the UK and now lives in New England; so he knows all too well what a raw deal government insurance is. In addition to the utter inadequacy of it all, conservative leaders need to fight this and fight it very hard.  Hewitt is identified as “HH” and Steyn as “MS”:  

HH: Well now, this all is a roundabout way of coming, because I’m trying to figure this out, I’m spending the month of May on American medicine, asking doctors, posting their e-mails at Hughhewitt.com, why do the Democrats want to do this? We have no evidence that it works anywhere. They call it a government option, but it’s really single payer, and it really means rationing. Everywhere you try it, you just mentioned Bulgaria, Great Britain and Canada, it is a disaster. Why do they want to do it?

MS: Well, what is does is, if you’re a Democrat, what it does is it changes the relationship between the citizen and the state. It alters the equation. If you provide government health care, then suddenly all the elections, they’re not thought about war and foreign policy, or even big economic questions. They’re suddenly fought about government services, and the level of government services, and that’s all they’re about, because once you get government health care, the citizens’ dependency on government as provider is so fundamentally changed that in effect, every election is fought on left wing terms. And for the Democratic Party, that is a huge, transformative advantage.

HH: Oh, that’s very interesting. Now in Canada, though, don’t people get mad at their quality of health care? Don’t they throw the bums out and perhaps urge a return to American style medicine?

MS: No, because the strange thing is that when people, even when people have really bad experiences, you see this in the British press all the time whenever they have one of these horror stories about someone who goes in because they’ve got a bad case of, they’ve got a case of pneumonia, and they wake up and find their left leg’s been amputated because the wrong memo went around. All those horror stories are always followed two days later by someone writing a fawningly, groveling letter about having received mediocre, third world care, but being eternally grateful for it. It really does, government health care is really the ditch you want to fight in, because once you surrender that, I think it’s very difficult to have genuine self-reliant citizenry every again. It really fundamentally changes the equation.

HH: Then where’s the AMA?  Where is business? Why hasn’t this battle been joined even as the ink is getting very dry on the big Obama rewrite of American medicine?

MS: Well, because I think most of the spokesmen for the conservative argument in Washington do not make the case. And they don’t understand that once you’ve got a government system, it becomes like any other government program. On Friday, you have to pay the doctor, you have to pay the nurse, you have to pay the janitor. So your only way of controlling the cost is to restrict access to the patient, to the customer. And that’s why once you’ve got a government health care system, everything is about waiting lists and waiting time. It’s about waiting two years for a hip operation. It’s about waiting 9 months for an MRI. It’s about waiting, waiting, waiting.

Boycott June 27th Diamondbacks’ Game

PHOENIX — Imagine taking your family to the Diamondbacks’ baseball game June 27th — and finding out once inside the stadium that it’s “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender night.”  Your young children ask you what each of these words mean, and that’s the last thing you expected to encounter. After all, this was supposed to be an evening of “family entertainment.”

For the first time in their history, the Arizona Diamondbacks have succumbed to the homosexual agenda, and you’re invited to boycott the game. Unless you like to watch men kissing in public.

For selected tickets purchased that night, $5 will be donated to the radical, anti-family group Equality Arizona and other equally extreme groups. These groups want children in K-12 to be thoroughly indoctrinated in the homosexual agenda. They want your children to be confused about their sexuality. They want children to be raised without one of their parents — male or female — denying them full and healthy developmental needs. They want your children to expose themselves to unhealthy and high-risk activities.

Is this what you want? Is this what now passes for “family entertainment”? If you don’t agree, tell the Arizona Diamondbacks of your disapproval with “homosexual night.”