Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Top Priority Of Arizona's Republicans...

Want to hazard a guess what it is?

Here's a hint - in spite of the widening deficit, their first priority won't be fiscal responsibility, and in spite of their protestations that they respect the "voters", their first priority won't be following the will of those voters.

First perennial contender for the Legislative Loon Award, Republican Senator-elect Russell Pearce of Mesa announces that the he and the lege won't be able to balance the state's budget unless it gets the authority to interfere with voter-mandated programs.

From the EV Tribune -
But Pearce said voters should be allowed to reconsider limiting the power of lawmakers to alter voter-approved measures given the state's current fiscal crisis.

"I don't think they expected to raise taxes or to grow government ... when we can't even pay our bills," he said. Pearce also said voters have been "fooled a little bit" into believing the additional spending mandates would pay for themselves.
In Republican-speak, "the voters were fooled" means "the voters approved something we don't like."

While the Reps want to override the wishes of the voters in this period of budgetary distress, they want to ignore that same budgetary distress in favor of their *own* priorities.

Also from the EV Tribune -
State lawmakers will consider whether to continue spending tens of millions of dollars a year to arrest illegal immigrants when the legislative session begins next week with Arizona’s government in a $3 billion hole.


However, Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, pledges to protect money for operations that target illegal immigrants and to provide additional cash for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s controversial crackdowns.

“Sheriff Joe (Arpaio) is going to get his $1.6 million back to go after human smuggling,” said Pearce, incoming chairman of the Senate appropriations committee.

So education, health care, arts, and public services will all face heavy (perhaps terminal) budget cuts, but officially sanctioned immigrant-bashing will get a blank check? Or at least a $1.6 million check, with more to come?

You know, the AZ Reps got exactly what they wanted in November's elections - a (slightly) larger majority in both chambers of the lege and, with Barack Obama's victory and designation of Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security, a fellow traveler in the Governor's office.

They may just end up learning the lesson of the old saying "Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it."

They used to be able to say to their base "Hey, we passed the {pick your lunacy here} bill, but that @#%#@$ Napolitano vetoed it."

No longer, not with Jan Brewer stepping in to protect Arizonans from legislative depredations with her brand of matador defense.

The campaign season for 2010 is already looming and not having John McCain on the ballot as a presidential candidate combined with what looks to be two years of Republican placing their ideology and bigotry above the state's fiscal and political reality could set the stage for some significant changes on West Washington.

Republican State Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Scottsdale), not exactly a slouch when it comes to riding the Wingnut Express, is the incoming chair of the House Appropriations Committee and he offered an unexpectedly apt observation.

From the Trib's story on overriding voter wishes -
But Kavanagh questions whether voters, having tied the hands of lawmakers in a 1998 ballot proposal, will be willing to remove the fiscal handcuffs. "They seem to have a lingering mistrust of the Legislature," he said.

"Lingering mistrust"??? After stunts like these, that may turn out to be the understatement of the entire session of the 49th session of the Arizona Legislature, and it hasn't even started yet.

NB - In case you think I'm overstating, in this post and others, how ideological the Republicans in the lege have gotten, take a look at the list of Rep members of the Senate Appropriations Committee -

Sylvia Allen, newby and a friend of Russell Pearce.

Pamela Gorman - Hardcore social conservative and wiggy enough to hang with anyone else in this post, but only rates a "B" from the Goldwater Institute, perhaps because she occasionally does things such as sponsor bills like a cell phone bill of rights (the bill was killed by the full Senate). The other returning members all received "A's" from the Goldwater Institute.

She was out of town when the budget came to a vote, but hurried back to see that the anti-same sex marriage amendment made it on to the ballot. Guess a little thing like the main reason the lege exists isn't important to her. Still, she may qualify as the least loony of this ready-to-bay-at-the-moon bunch.

Ron Gould, most noted for flying a Confederate Flag in his back yard and opposing any idea that post-dates Abe Lincoln taking office.

Jack Harper, famous for violating Senate rules to protect people who send text messages while driving and to help anti-same sex marriage folks to shoehorn a constitutional amendment on to last November's ballot.

Al Melvin, Vice-Chair - newby who's most famous for taking out Pete Hershberger, one of the few "moderate" Republicans in the lege, in the fall primary. Actually, Melvin called him a liberal. Like Allen, he's also an ally of Pearce.

Russell Pearce, Chair - A listing of the reasons for his notoriety is far too long for this post. Check the crAZyspace entry linked to his name for more details.

Steve Pierce - newby who took out another Tom O'Halleran, another moderate Republican (by AZ standards, anyway). Most famous for buying the seat. A hardcore social and fiscal conservative endorsed by the likes of U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, Congressmen Jeff Flake and John Shadegg, the NRA, AZ Right to Life PAC, a couple of chambers of commerce, etc.

In short, the next state budget would be horrific even without the state's budget crisis. Given that the wingnuts have that crisis to use as cover, expect the worst budget in memory, perhaps ever.

But hey, it'll have plenty of corporate tax cuts and anti-immigrant provisions, so that will make it OK, right?

This is going to be a loooooooong two years, even if rhe agony eventually does lead to the election of some responsible public servants to the lege and statewide offices.


1 comment:

jobsanger said...

Sounds like your legislators are trying to be as stupid as ours here in Texas.