Posts Tagged ‘brewer’

25th January
written by Sean Noble







Words don’t matter here.

Tags: ,
9th March
written by Sean Noble

Arizona Republic reporter Dan Nowicki writes that Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl oppose the sales tax increase that the legislature referred to the May 18 election ballot.

I’m not surprised. Both McCain and Kyl have been pretty darn solid on not raising taxes.

What is more surprising, as I have blogged before, is that a Republican Governor is supporting a tax increase, particularly in this economic environment.

Predictably, the Yes on 100 crowd “couldn’t be more disappointed.”

Eh, what do you expect? Did you really think that two Senators with fairly consistent “A” ratings from National Taxpayer’s Union would support a tax increase?

11th August
written by Sean Noble

 It is said that when Walter Cronkite returned from a trip to Vietnam and reported that the war was unwinnable, President Lyndon Johnson said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost America.”

Conservative holdouts in the Arizona Legislature, who oppose the budget deal because of the sales tax referral, may be in the same position.  The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal has for years been the conscience of fiscal conservatism and the leader in reducing taxes.  They have editorialized that the deal is a good one, particularly to retain and attract business to the state by reducing business and personal income tax and property tax reform.  They reason that those are easy trades for referring the sales tax to the ballot.

The operative paragraph reads:

Republicans control both houses of the Arizona legislature, and as we went to press the main obstacle to passing the reform was the Arizona Senate’s antitax conservatives. They oppose the higher sales tax. These Republicans should look to one of the triumphs of the Reagan Presidency, the 1986 tax reform, which broadened the tax base but substantially lowered tax rates and thus sustained the 1980s expansion.

When you’ve lost the WSJ editorial page, you’ve lost your leverage. 


Arizona’s Budget Breakthrough

An alternative to California’s tax and spend model.

Perhaps states are starting to learn the right fiscal lessons from the red-ink blowouts in high-tax California and New York. Today, the legislature in Arizona will vote on a tax reform designed to entice more employers and high-income taxpayers to the state. Sponsored by Republican Governor Jan Brewer, the plan would cut state property taxes, the corporate tax and personal income taxes, in exchange for a temporary rise in the sales tax.

Most economic studies agree that states have more jobs and higher income growth when they tax consumption rather than savings, investment and business profits. This explains why most of the nine states with no income tax at all—such as Texas, Florida and Tennessee—have been economic high-flyers in recent decades.

Ms. Brewer’s proposal reflects this economic logic. Effective January 1, 2011, her plan would reduce the state’s corporate income tax rate to 4.86% from 6.97%, which would be one of the largest business tax cuts in the nation in recent years. The proposal also cuts all personal income tax rates by 6.6%, thus lowering the top marginal rate to 4.24% from 4.54%. A hated statewide tax on commercial and residential property would also be abolished.

Arizona has been hit especially hard by the housing slump, and its budget woes were compounded thanks to former Governor Janet Napolitano’s spending spree before she joined the Obama cabinet. On her watch the budget grew by more than 50% in five years—to $10.2 billion from $6.5 billion in 2004. The state now has a $1 billion budget gap, and to close it the legislature will also vote on a one percentage point increase in the sales tax to 6.6% in 2010 and 2011; in the third year the sales tax would fall to 6.1%, and in the fourth year would revert to its current 5.6% rate.

We’d rather see the legislature cut more spending than raise the sales tax, but on the other hand the sales tax would only take effect if it is approved on the November ballot. The political class is giving voters a say in the matter. The sales tax increase also has the advantage of a built-in expiration date, while the tax cuts are permanent.

Democratic opponents are calling this a tax giveaway to big business. But lawmakers needn’t apologize for trying to retain Arizona’s status as a business-friendly state—particularly when jobs are so scarce. Small employers also benefit from the lower property tax rates and the personal income tax reductions. Lower tax payments will enable them to reinvest more in their enterprises.

The opponents should consult a new study of state business taxes by former U.S. Treasury economist Robert Carroll for the Tax Foundation. He examined 50 states and found that states with lower corporate tax rates have higher wage gains and more productivity over time. This tax cut sounds like a high-return investment.

Republicans control both houses of the Arizona legislature, and as we went to press the main obstacle to passing the reform was the Arizona Senate’s antitax conservatives. They oppose the higher sales tax. These Republicans should look to one of the triumphs of the Reagan Presidency, the 1986 tax reform, which broadened the tax base but substantially lowered tax rates and thus sustained the 1980s expansion.

Arizona has the chance to be the anti-California, closing the budget deficit by growing the economy, not by raising taxes. We hope legislators don’t blow it, because the U.S. desperately needs an alternative to the tax, spend and tax again philosophy of Sacramento and Albany.

10th August
written by Sean Noble

The Arizona Legislature and Governor Brewer are trying to solve the budget crisis.  It would have been “easy” if the legislature had just done what the Governor wanted – raise sales taxes.  But a funny thing happened on the way to a budget deal.  38 legislators had signed the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, a pledge that has been around for more than two decades and signed by literally thousands of state and federal candidates and office holders in that time span.

You see, ATR’s chief Grover Norquist deemed a referral of a sales tax as breaking the pledge.  So legislators were very reticent to refer the tax without figuring out a way to do it within the confines of the pledge.  They eventually found a way to do it and get ATR’s blessing – by coupling it with tax relief on family and business income.

This is why “special interests” have a role in public policy.  ATR’s pledge means something, because if you break it, there could be consequences.  And if you don’t take it, you may never be elected.  And in this case, the “special interest” was taxpayers.  So as a taxpayer, I want to thank ATR for getting us a better budget deal.

16th July
written by Sean Noble

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood (former Republican Congressman from Ill.) pulled one of the more outrageous acts of arrogance I have seen from a bureaucrat in a long time.  After Sen. Jon Kyl criticized the lack of stimulus coming from the “Stimulus” funding, LaHood wrote a letter to Gov. Brewer asking if she agreed with Kyl and if she prefers “to forfeit the money we are making available to the state, as Senator Kyl suggests, please let me know.”

George Will had lunch with LaHood a couple months ago, and then wrote about it:

LaHood, however, has been transformed. Indeed, about three bites into lunch, the T word lands with a thump: He says he has joined a “transformational” administration: “I think we can change people’s behavior.” Government “promoted driving” by building the Interstate Highway System—”you talk about changing behavior.” He says, “People are getting out of their cars, they are biking to work.” High-speed intercity rail, such as the proposed bullet train connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, is “the wave of the future.” And then, predictably, comes the P word: Look, he says, at Portland, Ore.

Riding the aforementioned wave to Portland, which liberals hope is a harbinger of America’s future, has long been their aerobic activity of choice. But LaHood is a Republican, for Pete’s sake, the party (before it lost its bearings) of “No, we can’t” and “Actually, we shouldn’t” and “Not so fast” and “Let’s think this through.” Now he is in full “Yes we can!” mode. Et tu, Ray?

McCain has now weighed in on LaHood’s childish letter to the Governor:

“That is one of the more arrogant and elitist statements that I’ve ever heard,” McCain, R-Ariz., told The Arizona Republic during an interview in his Capitol Hill office. “It’s not their money; it’s the money of the Arizona taxpayers. And they are making the money available to our state? Since when do they have that authority? Of course, we question the stimulus. It has been a failure.”

LaHood needs to go back to Peoria, Ill. and get back in touch with real America.  The Potomac fever is gone to his head.

2nd July
written by Sean Noble

Arizona State Senator Steve Pierce is a straight-talking cowboy.  He is a third-generation Arizonan raised in a ranching family.

His election to the State Senate last year was a breath of fresh air.  After losing Jake Flake, the legislature didn’t have a real cowboy to keep everyone honest.  Steve Pierce has stepped into that role, and hasn’t pulled any punches.

He sent out an email that every Arizonan should read.

Dear Friend,

Here is our overall picture of the State’s budget in very simple terms.  This is only concerning the small part of the budget the legislature controls.  The over-all budget for Arizona is roughly $30 billion dollars and most of that flows from the feds thru the Governor’s office and the legislature never sees any of it or has any direction in where it is spent.  The legislature controls under $10 billion in recent years.  Today the revenue for 2010 is projected at $7.2 billion and spending is proposed at about $9.5 billion by the legislature and just over $10 billion by the Governor.  We have voter mandated issues that were put in place through initiatives and approved by the voters through the years that dictates where money must be spent, specifically Prop 301 has built in increases in both spending and increased Taxes.  You can do the math and see how bad things are.  We are spending $2.3 BILLION more than we are taking in.  Why?  Because the will to live within our means is not there.  Legislators bow to the crying of the strongest lobbies:  education and health care. 

Wednesday morning at 7:30 AM the legislature adjourned sine die and the session ended.  It ended with the bills the Governor had requested and negotiated over the past 4 weeks.  We approved the very bills she wanted and sent them to her to sign, aside from the sales tax referral.  There simply aren’t the votes to get it out of committee let alone the full Senate.  So because it didn’t have the Brewer tax referral, she vetoed things that wouldn’t shut down the State including all education funding.  She said it was because the cuts were too deep in education but for 4 weeks she had agreed with those very cuts and we passed what she agreed to.  The vetoes are not good for Arizona, not good for the Governor, and not good for anything. 

The Governor has stated numerous times since she took office that she wanted her five point plan addressed that always ended with a temporary sales tax increase. The legislature responded that we could pass a 2010 budget without a tax increase and deal with the tax referral for the 2011 budget.   We did this! We did what we had promised on June 4th, after we had already finished two separate budget adjustments on the 2009 budget that amounted to a $2.25 billion shortfall left by previous Governor Janet Napolitano.   Governor Brewer tried mightily to prevent the legislature from passing a budget that didn’t raise taxes.  She deployed her staff to try to keep Republicans from voting for a budget.  She failed. 

We did our job.  We passed a budget that takes care of 2010.  We fulfilled our Constitutional duty.  But the governor has told us to start over – to start from scratch.  She desperately wants a vote to raise sales taxes.  I don’t know why she thinks her veto will garner more support for a tax increase, but that seems to be her plan.

In the special session, perhaps she will resort to bargaining with Democrats.  This inevitably will lead to an increase in spending.  As I stated above, we are broke.  If this is her plan, it will further widen the structural deficit for 2011 and beyond.  The Brewer Tax Increase is not necessary for 2010.  She’s even admitted as much.   I’m asking the governor to sign the 2010 budget and let’s begin the much-needed work on 2011.  The debate about tax increases can begin then.  

Unfortunately, lost in the battle over the sales tax increase is the fact that the legislature’s budget prevented property taxes from going up $335 million.  That provision was also vetoed by Governor Brewer.  Arizona taxpayers are going to feel a lot of pain under Brewer’s proposals.  We need to rein in spending.  It’s that simple.  Taxpayers all over the state are tightening their belts and the State needs to do the same.   The problem isn’t a lack of taxes, it’s a lack of spending control. 

18th June
written by Sean Noble

As I have pointed out before, Greg Patterson over at espressopundit is a really smart guy and has a great, great blog.

But he needs to put the crack pipe down and rethink what he wrote here:

The new schism in the Republican party is not Conservative or Moderate, it’s Conservatives who are part of the establishment versus conservatives who are part of the resistance and it looks to me like McCain, and to a lessor extent even Shadegg and Brewer, are vulnerable in Republican Primaries.

McCain vulnerable in a primary?  Maybe.  Depends a lot on who it is.

Brewer vulnerable in primary?  Uh, oh yeah – you know, the whole demanding a tax increase thing?  Yes, Greg, Brewer is vulnerable, very, very vulnerable.  No “lessor extent” about it.

Shadegg vulnerable in a primary?  What are you smoking?  Seriously.  Yes, McCain has not been the most solid of conservatives – you know, campaign finance, global warming, and, you know, immigration.  Yes, Brewer is following in George H.W. Bush’s footsteps.  But Shadegg?

This is a guy that conservatives (you know, like, Mike Pence, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, et al.) begged to stay in Congress when he announced retirement last year.  This is a guy who consistently ranks among the most conservative in the U.S. House by Club for Growth, National Taxpayer’s Union, American Conservative Union and Americans for Tax Reform among others.

If the argument is that some elected officials are potentially vulnerable because they are not conservative enough, then I get it.  But saying that Shadegg isn’t conservative enough is a little bizarre.

18th June
written by Sean Noble

Maria Baier 

City Councilwoman Maria Baier has been picked to run the State Land Department.


Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday tapped Phoenix City Councilwoman Maria Baier to lead the Arizona State Land Department.

Baier, 48, a land-use consultant and former aide to Govs. Fife Symington and Jane Hull, has served on the council since January 2008. She replaces former State Land Commissioner Mark Winkelman, who resigned in May to return to the private sector.

As head of the Land Department, Baier will oversee about 9.3 million acres of state trust land, including sales and leases.


I have to be honest. My first reaction to this story was, “Maria is 48?!?!” I’d have never guessed.

Maria is eminently qualified to run the State Land Department.  She has dealt with those issues for years, and was Gov. Jane Hull’s point person on Growing Smarter, which took her on a state-wide tour talking to a variety of folks all over Arizona.  There are few people who know more about State Land and the issues surrounding it than Maria Baier.

Solid pick by Governor Brewer. 

9th June
written by Sean Noble

Figures this would happen.  I came up with what I thought was a clever solution to Arizona’s budget crisis only to learn that it’s an idea that is already in place in eight other states!  Who knew?  This is from ATR’s Patrick Gleason’s blog:

Last week Sean Noble, author of the blog Noble Thinking, offered a solution for those that insist taxes must be raised in Arizona. Noble suggests “The Arizona Department of Revenue should expand the option of voluntarily paying more taxes by adding a form – let’s call it Form SITIC – for “stuff I think is critical.” Then, all these people who want to pay more taxes can check the box for what their additional contribution will fund.”

ATR supports Noble’s idea and notes that it is not without precedent. The solution Noble offers is a Tax Me More Fund. Arizona lawmakers can simply create a Tax Me More Fund so that people who feel they are under-taxed, like Gov. Brewer, Chuck Coughlin, and Randy Pullen, have a place to send their money. As it stands, 8 states already have a Tax Me More Fund in place.

The concept has it’s origins in the cradle of the liberty movement in America. According to the Center for Fiscal Accountability, Massachusetts led the way in developing a Tax Me More Fund proposal at the turn of the century. After Bay State voters passed a 2000 referendum to lower income taxes, the Voluntary Optional Tax Endowment (VOTE) was introduced as a way for opponents of the tax cut to voluntarily pay at the old rate. In 2001, the MA legislature added a checkbox on its state tax forms in 2001 that allows the taxpayer to decide which tax rate to pay.

ATR agrees that those who claim taxes in AZ aren’t high enough should be given the ability to put their money where there mouth is. ATR urges AZ lawmakers to introduce and pass a bill to create a Tax Me More Fund in the Grand Canyon State. The bill might be most appropiately titled “The Brewer-Coughlin Arizona Patriot Act.”

For a list of states that have enacted Tax Me More Funds, Click Here

I find it pretty ironic that the first state to enact a Tax Me More fund was Massachusetts.

2nd June
written by Sean Noble

Nothing is more certain in life than dying and paying taxes, and most people spend a lot of time and energy avoiding both.

A common theme with those folks left-of-center on the political spectrum is that people are happy to pay taxes for the things that government should provide.  The problem is that they think government should provide a lot more than what our Founding Fathers ever envisioned, and thus, more government than people like me want.

On the state level in Arizona, it is clear that Governor Brewer believes that people would rather pay more taxes than do with less government, thus her budget plan which is light on reducing government spending and heavy on taxes. 

I oppose increased taxes, so I got to thinking about how I might deal with this issue if I was in charge.  It occurred to me that there are so many interest groups who say that people are fine paying more taxes, that we should actually give them that opportunity.  The Arizona Department of Revenue should expand the option of voluntarily paying MORE taxes by adding a form – let’s call it Form SITIC – for “stuff I think is critical.” Then, all these people who WANT to pay more taxes can check the box for what their additional contribution will fund.

I’m guessing with as many people saying they want to pay more, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee would be able to project an revenue increase of somewhere in the neighborhood $1.7 billion per year.

Hey! Problem solved.  You’re welcome.