In Arizona, low voter turnout leads to a status quo election

ArizonaThe 2014 election is almost over. The vote totals still need to be certified, and there is the matter of the first-ever recount of a congressional general election in CD 2.

In Arizona, voter turnout was 47.43% (unofficial 11/13/14), the lowest voter turnout since the election of 1998 (45.82%). Arizona’s low voter turnout election resulted in preservation of the status quo. (For all of you who did not vote, your passive non-participation in this election is also a vote to preserve the status quo).

Oh sure, some of the names and faces have changed, largely due to term limits, but who controls the levers of power and the margins by which Tea-Publicans control the state legislature remain exactly the same: Senate 17-13, House 36-24.

Appointed state representative Demion Clinco (D) failed to win election to his seat in LD 2, and the mythical moderate Republican Ethan Orr, despite massive financial assistance from Governor Brewer’s PAC, lost his seat to Dr. Randall Friese (D) in LD 9. So it was a wash.

Today we have exactly what we had before the election: an ideological Tea-Publican controlled state government whose economic and tax policies have created a $500 million deficit in the state budget next year and possibly $1 billion the following year, and this is before Judge Cooper rules on the amount of Prop. 301 restitution the state owes to our school districts. Our lawless legislature will appeal to the state supreme court, again, and should the court rule against them, again, they will choose to defy the order of the court — because the court cannot compel a co-equal branch of government to act. Our lawless legislature has no intention of ever paying the restitution owed to the schools.

Screenshot-14Gov. Brewer’s  corporate welfare tax cuts that were supposed to magically produce good jobs and “trickle down” higher wages to the middle class have failed to materialize. The few jobs that are being created in Arizona are largely low wage retail and service jobs. Only the health care sector jobs being created by the money flowing into Arizona from Medicaid expansion under “ObamaCare” is creating good jobs, but our Tea-Publican legislators are in court trying to kill that Medicaid expansion. They want to take away health care from Arizona’s poor for their health care plan: “perhaps they should die and decrease the surplus population.”

Arizona’s poor economic performance, its theft of funds from public education, its crumbling infrastructure, and the message sent by electing an ideological wingnut Superintendent of Public Instruction, is not going to attract businesses to Arizona that will create good paying jobs, despite what the delusional Dicey Doug Ducey says. And this is before Cathi Herrod and the Center for Arizona Policy unleash their culture war in Arizona, further alienating the business community.

Tea-Publican voters in Arizona have done what their idiot brethren in the state of Kansas have done: voted for the status quo despite all evidence to the contrary that their faith based supply-side “trickle down” economics is a a complete and utter failure. Kansas Announces Big Budget Gap, but True Gap May Be Even Larger:

State officials said this week that the tax cuts championed by Gov. Sam Brownback would force them to start a new round of substantial budget cuts before the end of June.

They need to cut $279 million, $239 million of which is attributable to lower-than-expected personal income tax collections. Those aren’t small numbers in a state budget of approximately $6 billion and where revenues have already declined sharply. Kansas state revenues dropped 11 percent in the fiscal year 2014 (which ended in June) after the tax cuts took effect.

But that may not even be the whole picture. A close look at the state’s new revenue projections makes clear they are highly optimistic, even after this week’s cut in the forecast . . . If the last four months’ performance is similar to the next eight, the state won’t miss its original income tax estimate by $239 million.

It will miss it by $546 million.

And because the state was already scheduled to spend down nearly its entire rainy-day fund balance (which totaled over $700 million in 2013) by the end of this year, it will have to respond to any widening budget gap with some combination of further spending cuts and tax increases [never!]

* * *

There may be even bigger challenges coming. In addition to the likelihood the state will face another unpleasant revenue surprise in the spring, a pending court decision could obligate the legislature to add hundreds of millions of dollars a year to state aid to school districts. And bond rating agencies, which already downgraded the state’s debt this year, could be expected to react negatively to both of those events.

The tax cuts were the leading issue in the Kansas governor’s race this year, and in addition to re-electing Governor Brownback, voters expanded the Republican supermajority in the state’s House of Representatives. This was a clear mandate for the policy of deep tax cuts. What remains to be seen is how the legislature, once the rainy-day fund is exhausted, will deal with the spending pressures they have created.

You will see these same headlines in the weeks and months ahead here in Arizona as our Tea-Publican controlled government embarks on a fiscal train wreck out of blind faith in an entirely disproved and discredited economic theory.

I would not be surprised if I see caravans of moving trucks leaving the state of Arizona as people flee this ideological backwater for better opportunities elsewhere.

9 thoughts on “In Arizona, low voter turnout leads to a status quo election”

  1. Captain *arizona was the name of my radio all show I did over 30 years ago ;but not for very long! And I have been battling the republican fascist police state of arizona every since they fired Morris Starsky and the sheriff of yuma county threatened to shoot Cesar Chavez. Why should hispanics come out and vote for rich old white men on ego trips who admit they are trying to get republican voters.

  2. I would move back to the east coast…but over a year in this place has left my finances depleted to the point where I am stuck here in a state run by corrupt lunatics

  3. Well, since the state executives are elected in off years, we’re essentially doomed until the demographics or the turnout changes dramatically. I hope I live to see it.

  4. Everything in Arizona right now is the result of the Republican controlled government. Low wage economy, poorly funded schools, loss of all the real estate development related jobs (remember the land development industry controlled the legislature for years, until the bust their policies caused), fetishes about “religious freedom”, and government controlled reproduction, private prisons and government funded private schools. Roads and streets falling apart. An idiot as a Public School official. Universities starved for State support. These are all on them. Of course they do have Obama to blame for all their failures. And of course all the guns he took away in Arizona.

  5. If the good government democrats did to the republicans controlling arizona what the republicans in congress did to this country to hurt president obama the voters would get fed up with them and throw them out just as they did to democrats this election. I know good government democrats prefer to be punching bags and whiners. I don’t and neither does the hispanic voter who look at you in despair!

    • “Captain” is presumptuous; a team has to elect someone captain. I’m pretty sure you are a team of one. As for Hispanic voters in this state, if they want their voices heard and a seat at the table they have to participate in the electoral process, run for political office, and actually turn out to vote. In the two minority-majority Hispanic districts, Raul Grijalva (CD3) got only 46,185 votes, and Ruben Gallego (CD9) got only 54,235 votes. Hell, John Williamson (CD6) got 70,198 votes, James Woods (CD5) got 54,596 votes, and even Michael Weisser (CD4) got 45,179 votes. They had little money, no name recognition, no field organization, and Williamson and Woods still outperformed Grijalva and Gallego. Hispanic voters who won’t even turn out to vote to gain political clout and power and then blame someone else for their lack of influence are the whiners. God helps those who help themselves. It’s time to stand up and be counted, and that’s done through counting votes.

  6. “Arizona’s low voter turnout election resulted in preservation of the status quo.” The election had low turnout, and the status quo was preserved. But you provide no evidence that a high turnout election would have had a different result. What reason is there to think it would have?

    • In presidential election years, when voter turnout is high, Democrats pick up seats in the AZ legislature. Do the homework.

Comments are closed.