Wednesday, June 20, 2007

BRBs - Conclusion

To summarize the rest of the interesting stuff in the AZ legislature's budget reconciliation bills -

HB2784, Tax Reduction Package - The big one here was language exempting admission to an NBA All-Star Game and related events from the Transaction Privilege Tax (sales tax). The exemption is conditional - the NBA must award a game to Phoenix and Phoenix must also grant an exemption from its municipal TPT before this takes effect.

D17's Rep. Ed Ableser objected strenuously to this provision (though he voted 'yes' on the overall bill), citing the fact that the extremely successful NBA doesn't need it. [I'm sure the screw job that the NBA pulled on the Suns in the playoffs had *nothing* to do with it. :)) ]

Defenders of the exemption cited the fact that it's not a giveaway to the NBA; the money just wouldn't be collected.

Ummm, one of the reasons that any city welcomes this kind of event, with all of the headaches that come with it, is the increased tax revenue.

Why is the legislature messing with that? Could it have anything to do with the fact that with ticket prices for this year's all star game in Las Vegas reaching five digits ($10,000+ !!), the people that will benefit most from the lege's largesse are the kind of people to make large campaign contributions?

HB2785, Budget Procedures - Adds language that "requires an officer in charge of any statewide, county or legislative election to provide for a live video recording of the custody of all ballots located in a counting center and to retain the recording as a public record."

While there may be some hiccups with the implementation of this, the core idea is a good one.

HB2791, Higher Education - In what is possibly the best nugget (new policy slipped into a budget reconciliation bill), this one contains language creating a "Math, Science and Special Education Teacher Student Loan Program."

This is very similar to Rep. David Schapira's Teacher Student Loan Program that was killed by the chair of the House Rules Committee (it was assigned to the committee but never heard).

HB2789, Health and Welfare - I missed something in yesterday's post on this BRB. While HealthCare Group wasn't completely killed, as some Republicans were trying to do, it was capped at the current enrollment. No new employer groups can be accepted into HCG. In addition, a study committee was created to determine whether or not HCG should be killed.

Note to out-of-state readers: HCG is a state-sponsored health plan that provides coverage to employees of small businesses ( <50 employees) that would otherwise go without healthcare insurance.

Most of the other BRBs seem to be pretty clean, though it's very possible (even likely) that I missed something in some of the more arcane language. If you have a few minutes, go to the lege's website and read the bills for yourself.

I should note here that the sources of much of this post, and the previous BRB posts, include:

the language of the bills themselves (available on the lege's website);

the 'fact sheets' prepared by legislative staffers (also on the website); and

the latest 'Farley-gram' (sign up for it. Trust me. :) ).



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