URGENT ACTION ITEMS BELOW
Dear Arizona Taxpayer:
We are getting close to the end of the 2012 legislative session, and several important pro-taxpayer reforms are in jeopardy down at the Arizona Capitol.
As individuals, many of our Arizona Legislators are solid fiscal conservatives, but collectively, the Legislature appears to be having some problems moving key pro-taxpayer bills. If not resolved in the next few days, those problems may jeopardize important reforms. Those failures could also lead to low scores for Legislators on AFP-Arizona’s 2012 Legislative Scorecard (more about that at bottom.)
Bills in Jeopardy:
1) Senate Bill 1275, the Truth in Spending reform bill, has advanced in the House Appropriations Committee and now needs to get to the House floor for a final vote before going to the Governor’s desk. Unfortunately, it is being held in the Rules Committee. We are trying to find out exactly why it is being held, but the fate of the bill now comes down to three key players: Rules Chairman Jerry Weiers, House Speaker Andy Tobin, and Governor Jan Brewer. USE THIS LINK TO TAKE ACTION to pass Truth in Spending and to learn more about the reform.
2) House Bill 2103 — Paycheck Protection for Government Employees — The striker to HB 2103 would prohibit government employers from taking money from employee’s paychecks for union activities without express annual authorization. The bill has passed the Senate, but must go back to the House. Please contact the office of House Speaker Andy Tobin at email@example.com and/or (602) 926-5172 and ask him to allow Paycheck Protection to move in the House. (We are concerned that Speaker Tobin is under intense pressure from the government employee unions to kill the bill.)
3) House Bill 2848 — Prohibition on Government Union Release Time — The striker to HB 2848 would prohibit government employers from paying employees to do union activities on the taxpayer dime. Please contact the office of Senate President (and Rules Committee Chairman) Steve Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or (602) 926-5584 and ask him to make sure that the union release time prohibition moves forward in the Senate.
4) HB 2826 — HB 2826, which needs to go to the Senate floor soon, would promote higher turnout and greater input by taxpayers, curb the dominance of spending interests in local politics, and save municipalities money by consolidating local elections with the general cycle. Please contact the office of Senate President Steve Pierce at email@example.com and/or (602) 926-5584 and ask him to make sure that HB 2826 moves forward in the Senate.
5) TAKE ACTION HERE to ask your Legislators to sign the Arizona Health Care Freedom Pledge to stop the Brewer administration from setting up an ObamaCare health insurance exchange in Arizona. (THANKS to Senators Nancy Barto and Ron Gould, and to Representatives John Kavanagh and Carl Seel, for signing the Pledge!) We will post updates of Pledge signers at this link.
6) The Zombie Film Hand-Out Bill (striker to HB 2127) survived the Senate Appropriations Committee, and is now shuffling and groaning toward the Senate floor. All of the Democratic members of the committee voted for this ridiculous corporate-welfare bill, along with Republican Senators Jerry Lewis (Mesa), Al Melvin (Oro Valley/Saddlebrook) and Don Shooter (Yuma). Please send them emails.
7) The FY 2013 Budget. The overwhelming fiscal imperative for this session is to accumulate a $500 million surplus at the end of FY 2013 (June 30, 2013), to cushion the billion-dollar revenue drop in FY 2014 when the Brewer Tax expires. But according to the February 21 budget document, the Legislature is currently planning to run a surplus of only $308 million by the end of FY 2013. Unfortunately, the JLBC’s March Revenue Report showed February income tax revenues coming in much lower than expected. And remember that the $308 million surplus is in the GOP majority budget bill–the starting point for negotiations. Gov. Brewer and the Democratic minority want to spend significantly more money than the GOP budget bill, resulting in a smaller surplus or even a deficit for FY2013.
AFP-Arizona’s 2012 Legislative Scorecard
The reform bills named above will be included on AFP-Arizona’s 2012 Legislative Scorecard, and will be heavily weighted–failure to pass the bills above (and to sign the Health Care Freedom Pledge) could sink Legislators’ scores deep into the “Friend of Big Government” region. To see how those bills (and others) will be weighted on the Scorecard, go here. Or, go to www.aztaxpayers.org and click on the 2012 Agenda link at top right.
Again, there are a lot of great fiscal conservatives down at the Legislature. But for better or worse, AFP-Arizona has no way of grading Legislators on their intentions. If roadblocks in House or Senate leadership or in the Governor’s office kill crucial reform bills, we must score the floor votes (or lack thereof) accordingly. And we have been very clear since before the beginning of the session which bills would be included as must-vote reforms in our scoring rubric.
For Liberty, Tom
Americans for Prosperity