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4th March
written by Sean Noble

Brewer speaks to the legislature today at 4:00 p.m.  This is as close to a State of the State address as she can get, having ascended to office after Napolitano’s official State of the State.  Obama did the same thing last week when he addressed Congress in a faux-State of the Union address.

What is interesting is that Democrats in Congress were throwing out all kinds of ideas, proposals, etc. in the lead up to Obama’s faux-SOTU speech.  No one accused the Democrat leaders of “cutting Obama off at the knees” in doing so. 

Now, state legislative leadership has released various proposals on how to deal with the Napolitano-induced budget crisis, and some are crying foul.  The objection is that Brewer should be able to lay out her plan prior to legislative leadership laying out their own.

That thinking is actually backwards when you understand the constitutional authority of the branches of government.  It is the legislature’s job (required by constitution) to pass bills that fund government and set policy.  It’s the Governor’s prerogative to sign or veto any such legislation – which is a part of the process called “legislating.”

Watch for Brewer to lay out the severity of the problem she inherited from Napolitano (and it’s hard to overstate the severity of the problem) and to propose ways to fix it.  It will include rollbacks in the Napolitano spending binge of the last few years and it will likely include some form of “temporary” tax increases – likely a small increase in state sales tax.  She is likely to propose that the legislature refer such tax increase to the ballot.

That is going to fall on deaf ears by many legislators, some of whom have signed a pledge to not vote in any way to increase taxes.  If a tax increase is a part of Brewer’s plan, she’ll have to get some Democrat support, which will be very hard because of the spending reductions that will have to be included.

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  1. 04/03/2009

    Incredible… I was asked, today, if the timing of my press conference to introduce the public to the Senate Republican Economic Recovery Plan last Monday was to intentionally “preempt” Jan Brewer’s tax hike introduction this evening. Apparently, that is what he reporter had been told by someone close to the Governor…

    For the record…

    The Republican Economic Recovery Plan was introduced at the regularly scheduled Monday morning press conference. Those that came heard about a package of bills that represent solid Republican platform ideas designed to work together to create a healthy environment for employers (when many states are doing the opposite) in hopes of attracting jobs to the state so we can not only survive, but thrive, as we grow our economy right on out of this downturn.

    The basic parts are this:
    1. Reduce regulatory burdens.
    2. Assure a stable tax structure (i.e. – no tax increases).
    3. Prevent increases in arbitrary fees by subdivisions of the state on new development.
    4. Increase government efficiency through privatization.

    Can someone, ANYONE, explain to me how this is threatening to a Republican Governor?!

  2. Jacqueline O'Connor

    Why do Republicans continue to try to blame the recent governor, Napolitano, for the budget mess? Napolitano, a Democrat, served with a significant Republican majority in the Arizona Legislature for six years. The state budget is a mutually shared mess and some of the culprits remain in power! The process, as Sean Noble outlines, is for the Legislature to pass laws to fund programs; it is the Governor’s job to accept (sign) or reject (veto) these proposals. Where do the Republicans get off blaming only Napolitano for the mess the state is in (which on a per capita basis is the worst in the nation, exceeding even California)? And, remember, 47 of 50 states are facing significant budget deficits, so outside forces have been in play everywhere. Stand up and take your share of blame Arizona Republicans!

    More importantly at this time, is why in both the House and Senate only Republicans are preparing the budget proposal? What, these are wizards? Good ideas are not limited to these few men nor one party and, certainly, acceptance of their ideas will not gain support from secrecy. Open it up guys; are you afraid of discussion and debate?

    After this budget battle subsides, a real budget process should be developed in the Legislature–and instituted (now it is only on paper, seldom observed). Remember, Arizona only has part-time legislators (meeting only a few months a year). Combined with part-time legislators is the impact of term limits which results in fully 1/3 of the legislature being a newly elected every two years! We have a lot of amateurs voting on complex policy issues of which many have no background or understanding. This does not make for excellence in leadership or governance.

    And for the Legislature to continue to depend on sales tax for funding essential services is stupid. Restore, even increase temporarily, property and/or income taxes rather than increasing sales taxes which are highly volatile (proven now in these times) and very regressive. You live here, then pay your way with property tax and income tax. Don’t like that? Then go live in Mexico.

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