Monday, March 09, 2009

Bob Burns: Don't let the voters decide, because they might not make the decision I want them to make

Bob Burns, the Republican State Senate President, has announced that he is hesitant to put any proposal for a tax increase to fund public services to the ballot because he is worried that the voters might approve it.

From a Howard Fischer story in the EV Tribune -
The top Senate Republican is shying away from putting two measures on a special ballot this spring, at least in part because he fears voters will not decide the issues the way he wants.

Senate President Bob Burns, R-Peoria, said Monday he has a “gut feeling” that a proposal for a temporary tax hike would turn into a one-sided campaign, with his personal position against the increase on the losing side.

In addition, he is opposed to letting the voters decide whether or not to open up voter-protected mandates (both spending and taxes) to legislative "re-appropriation,"

From the same article -
Burns also is balking at putting any plan to let lawmakers tinker with measures previously approved by voters on the same ballot, for the same reason: It might actually fail, which he does not want.

The right wing blogosphere is all over this one, siding with Burns in their open contempt for voters. (Sonoran Alliance)

My prediction is still that the Reps will hem, haw, scream, breast-beat, pull their hair out (OK, so it's too late for that in Burns' case there - see the pic at the Trib article :) ), and all other kinds of showboating before "reluctantly" giving their approval of referring a sales tax increase to the ballot.

And, citing the state's dire fiscal situation, not so reluctantly referring an override of the Voter Protection Act to the ballot.

Oh, and don't be surprised if they look for a way to tie the enactment of a tax hike, even a regressive one, to the lifting of Prop 105 protections on education funding, healthcare for the poorest Arizonans, and Clean Elections public financing for campaigns.

Other notes, but definitely related:

This weekend I was talking to a friend and regular reader who observed that I haven't been picking on State Senator Jack Harper (R-Surprise) as much as I have in the past. I responded by saying that there are too many targets this year to devote much time to Harper, and that he seems to have toned down his "shoot from the lip" brand of lunacy this year, probably because he is running statewide next year.

What a difference a day makes.

Tedski at R-Cubed has an email that Harper sent out to supporters that contained part of a commentary that Harper wrote for the AZ Capitol Times.

Quoting Harper from Ted's post (I don't subscribe to the Cap Times, and their website is subscriber-only access) -
I do not speak for the entire Republican caucus, and certainly not the minority party, but I hope to summarize this with a broad view of what to expect in the next budget for the under-employed or over-expectant.

If you are relying on any services from the state that are not mandated by the federal government, I advise you that those services may end June 30, 2009.

If you have children that require expensive experimental treatment or therapy that is not provided by the federal government, I advise that the state will not have the money for it after June 30.

If you have been laid off from your job and are not willing to take a job that is available, unemployment benefits, food stamps and AHCCCS for health care are going to fall short of what you could make by being employed.

Arizona will not follow the country into socialism. If you feel you need greater assistance and are not able to move to another state, please turn to your local churches and give them the opportunity to show their generosity and love.
It seems that Harper (and Burns, and the rest of the AZ chapter of the Flat Earth Society) are actually gleeful at the near-bankruptcy of the state and the prospect of ending all but federally-mandated public services for the people of Arizona.

Harper, Burns, et. al. have made it clear that they have no intention of doing their jobs of serving their constituents unless their arms are twisted.

The two main ways of twisting their arms are federal law and the Voter Protection Act.

And they want us to override the Voter Protection Act.

As painful as the 20 months are going to be here in AZ, we're better off leaving the VPA alone and waiting until November 2010 to kick the nihilist ideologues to the curb.



Thane Eichenauer said...

As you don't have any pictures of Mr. Harper or Mr. Burns kicking puppies, you have chosen to ascribe glee to these two legislators over possible reductions in government social programs. You don't know whether either man is happy or sad about the results. If you want to ask them, feel free but ascribing glee to either them over reduced government spending is making a statement you cannot prove to be true which comes close to being a possible lie. The public needs and wants truth. The world is better off with a stable, civil and just society. Your post doesn't contribute much if any truth and doesn't add any civility.

Why not just call either legislator and ask straight out "Why do you hate Arizona?"

Thomas More said...

Why have a representative democracy if we want referendums to decide the issues?

cpmaz said...

Thane -

Visit the lege, and watch floor sessions and committee hearings.

Listen while you are walking through the lobby and halls of buildings.

Read quotes that they give for MSM coverage of the budget crisis.

Listen to and read what they are saying to their supporters.

They are *ecstatic* that the state's budget is in the tank and they think that they have fiscal cover for dismantling the social compact.

Thomas -

I've got no problem with representative democracy, so long as the people elected to office are actually there to "represent" their constituents. All of their constituents, not just fellow Kool-Aid drinkers.

When people are in office solely to perpetuate a radical ideology that works *against* the interests of their constituents, referenda are needed.

testcase said...

SA cracks me up. I see they have another article on there stating some outfit called the Center for Fiscal Accountability claims AZ taxpayers spend over half he year working to pay government. While I am sure they mean fed, state and local, the true number is about 25% but these people would rather listen to some unscrupulous right-wing "center" than reason.

Thane Eichenauer said...

To what social compact do you refer?