It looks like the Republicans are back to their old game of shutting out Democrats from budget discussions. The budget proposal that appears to be headed to a floor vote tomorrow or perhaps Thursday includes things like (from a House Democrats press release) -
· A huge risk that a one-cent sales tax increase won't pass at the ballot, but their proposed income tax decrease of $400 million a year and the permanent repeal of the state education equalization tax of $250 million a year will be implemented regardless, digging Arizona into an even bigger hole, with no new revenue guaranteed. This only benefits big corporations and the wealthy. Republicans now support the sales tax increase after signing a no-tax pledge.It was obvious that this was going to be a bad one when in the summary of the plan given to the House Dems by a lobbyist (the Rep leadership doesn't even have the professionalism or simple civility to give the info to the Democratic members of the lege themselves!) referred to the scheme to undermine the Voter Protection Act as "improving" Prop 105, the Voter Protection Act.
· A 3-year TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights)-like spending cap for education, the disabled, seniors and more, guaranteeing that new growth will not be funded and schools will have to make deep cuts to meet the cap. That includes fewer classroom supplies and increased class sizes. Brewer vowed not to “decimate” these areas, but now supports it.
· A ballot initiative to repeal the protections of education and health care funding afforded by Proposition 105. Voters originally brought the Voter Protection Act, which protects voter-approved initiatives to the ballot, preventing the legislature
from raiding funding for or changing voter-approved measures, which would undermine the will of the voters.
Anyway, the best quote regarding the AZGOP's unilateral plotting and scheming on the budget came from Rep. Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix), the House Democratic Whip.
“If the state wanted a recipe for economic disaster, it got the best cooks in town,” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “Arizonans should be prepared because no one wins from this except big corporations and the wealthy.”
Assuming for the moment that this packages passes pretty much in its current form, I'll probably be voting against any sales tax hike because it isn't intended to help balance the budget so much as to provide cover for massive tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy.
Still, my opposition to the Republican tax hike scheme pales in comparison to my outrage at other parts of the budget proposal.
Specifically, any attempts to weaken the Voter Protection Act,
A million times, NO!!!
These brazen ideologues have proven unequivocally that they have no regard for the will or welfare of most of the people of Arizona, only the ones who can get their attention with large campaign contributions.
Additionally, they have no fiscal sense, either.
There's no way they should be allowed anywhere near the VPA.
AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona has more here.
Tedski at Rum, Romanism, Rebellion has his take here. I won't say that the Republicans have hired/delegated staffers to "fight the good fight" on Democratic blogs, but check out the comments from "Ryan Bailey."
State Rep. Daniel Patterson (D-Tucson) offers his insights here.
AZCentral.com coverage here.