Sunday, March 01, 2009

They're not even trying to be professional 2 - updated

Since I'll be attending Wednesday's rally for education at the State Capitol (details here), I decided to make a day of it.

Combing through the committee agendas for the meetings scheduled that day (House committees here; Senate committees here) while trying to plan out the most effective use of my time, I came across this item on one of the agendas -
HCR2034 repeal business personal property tax
Now, the fact that they are considering this bill is not a surprise. It's been well-documented here and elsewhere that when faced with AZ's massive budget deficit brought on by plummeting revenues, the Republicans' first instinct is to cut revenue further (actually, it's basically their *only* fiscal instinct).

What was surprising was the committee to which the measure has been assigned.

Not Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over tax-related issues.

Not Commerce, which has jurisdiction over business-related issues.

Not even Appropriations, which would at least be affected by the measure if it was passed by the lege and the voters (less money to appropriate).

Nope. The Speaker of the House Kirk Adams saw fit to assign the measure to...

Military Affairs and Public Safety.

Say what????

Military Affairs????

That's a bit too much of a stretch for credibility, even for an organization that's as independent (of reality) as the Arizona Legislature.

Anyway, the other Wednesday committee meetings include:

House Appropriations, meeting at 2 p.m. in House Hearing Room (HHR) 1. Meeting highlights will include state agency budget hearing for the Secretary of State, Office of Tourism, Arizona Department of Agriculture, Arizona State Lottery Commission, Government Information Technology Agency, Arizona Department of Revenue, and Arizona Department of Transportation.

House Commerce, meeting at 9 a.m. in HHR5. Meeting highlights include consideration of D17 Rep. Ed Ableser's HB2247, relating to home sales and disclosure of water supply.

House Health and Human Services, meeting at 8 a.m. in HHR4. Highlights of the very long agenda include a striker to HCR2014 to turn it into the Health Care Freedom Act. State Rep. Nancy Barto, the striker's author, describes her proposal thusly in her blog -
The referendum, if passed at the ballot box, will protect the rights of Arizonans to purchase private health care in the event the state or federal government mandates universal-style health care on its citizens. Wording will be similar to that voters very narrowly defeated last November (Prop. 101) but will address some concerns that were raised regarding current AHCCCS users.

Like the rest of the Republican caucus in the lege, she has no use for the voice of the voters unless that voice is agreeing with her.

House Military Affairs and Public Safety, meeting at 9 a.m. in HHR3. Discussed above.

Senate Public Safety and Human Services, meeting at 9 a.m. in Senate Hearing Room (SHR) 3. Like all Senate committees other than Appropriations, they won't be considering any bills. Like the other committees, they will hold informational hearings on the aspects of the recently-passed federal stimulus package that fall under each committee's purview. PSHS will be discussing the impact on Food Stamps, Foster Care and Adoption, Elderly Nutritions, and Child Care Subsidies.

Senate Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform, meeting at 9 a.m. in SHR1. They'll be reviewing the stimulus' FMAP Increase. FMAP is the acronym for Federal Matching Assistance Percentages. FMAPs are "used in determining the amount of Federal matching funds for State expenditures for assistance payments for certain social services, and State medical and medical insurance expenditures." (US HHS website)

Senate Finance, meeting at 1:30 p.m. in SHR3. They'll be discussing the stimulus package's the Federal Stimulus Package's Tax Relief Provisions including the "Making Work Pay" Tax Credit (Withholding Tax Reduction), Child Tax Credit, American Opportunity Tax Credit (Higher Education), First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, Alternative Minimum Tax "Patch", Renewable Energy Tax Credit, and Bonus Depreciation.

Senate Education Accountability and Reform, meeting at 1:30 in SHR1. Their agenda includes -
4. Presentation on Teacher Quality by Andrew Morrill, AEA
5. Presentation on Teacher Quality by Department of Education
6. Progress on Federal Stimulus Funding for Education
Looking at numbers 4 and 5 brings a question to mind -

Gee, ya think that the AEA will have a different opinion of teacher quality than Tom "I'm a career lawyer" Horne's Department of Ed?

Note: All of the above meetings and times are subject to change, and in fact they probably will be - perhaps taking a cue from President Obama's successful visit to Congress, Governor Brewer will be addressing a joint session of the lege about "Arizona's fiscal future." (KOLD)

Look for Gov. Brewer to push her scheme for a special election to balance the state's budget by raising the state's sales tax and doing away with protections on voter-mandated spending and revenues.

Looks like Wednesday will be an interesting day to visit the lege.

More on the rally and other goings-on at the lege later....

Update on 3/2 to add:

According to the House and Senate weekly schedules, Governor Brewer's address to the lege is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. in the House chamber.

No comments: