The flaw in Jan’s Plan to expand AHCCCS

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Kudos to Governor Jan Brewer for finally doing the right thing and supporting Arizona's participation in the expanded Medicaid provisions of the Affordable Care Act (aka "ObamaCare").

The Great OzOr more accurately I should say, kudos to Arizona's "shadow governor" Chuck Coughlin and his HighGround lobbying firm, the man behind the curtain, for carrying the day by whispering in Jan Brewer's ear on behalf of its hospital and Medicaid doctor clients.

The expanded Medicaid provisions are simply a deal too good to pass up, and it comes with the added benefit of a "multiplier effect" of economic growth.

Announcing support for expanded Medicaid (AHCCCS in Arizona) was the easy part, however. Now comes the heavy lifting of convincing a radical extremist Tea-Publican Arizona legislature to vote for (1) the hated ObamaCare, and (2) violating their pledge to the Tax Fairy, Grover Norquist, to never, ever, ever vote for any tax increase — ever! Pinky swear!

These Tea-Publicans also live in fear of a primary challenger financed by the billionaire bastard Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, and the billionaire bastard hedge fund managers at Club for Growth.

Jan Brewer's plan relies on adopting the hospital association "bed tax" plan floated by the hospital association last year that was rejected by our radical extremist Tea-Publican Arizona legislature without so much as a vote. Jan Brewer wants to expand Arizona Medicaid | Arizona Capitol Times:

Brewer said the state’s share of the additional coverage will be paid for by a provider tax on hospitals, which is essentially a tax on hospital services. She said the $154 million a year the tax will raise will be enough to pay for Arizona’s share of the additional coverage, which will allow the state to receive extra federal money at no cost to the state itself.

And therein lies the flaw in "Jan's Plan." Back in 1992, anti-tax zealots convinced enough ignorant Arizonans to forever tie their hands in tax matters by passing Prop. 108, which amended the state constitution to require a two-thirds super-majority vote by the State Legislature when passing any legislation increasing state revenues through a change in tax allocation, such as an increase in taxation levels, or a reduction in credits and exemptions. Arizona Constitution, Article 9, Section 22.

Prop. 108 gives a minority of anti-tax zealots veto power over the will of the majority, and allows them to engage in a tyranny of the minority.

Since the passage of this anti-democratic and economically foolish proposition in 1992, the Arizona legislature has not voted to enact a tax increase. That's 20 years for the mathematically challenged. All subsequent tax increases have been by citizen initiative on the ballot.

Prospects appear dim. There are only 13 Democrats in the Senate chamber. Jan Brewer Chuck Coughlin is going to need seven (7) Tea-Publicans to vote for (1) the hated ObamaCare, and (2) violate their pledge to the Tax Fairy, Grover Norquist.

There are only 24 Democrats in the House chamber. Jan Brewer Chuck Coughlin is going to need sixteen (16) Tea-Publicans to vote for (1) the hated ObamaCare, and (2) violate their pledge to the Tax Fairy, Grover Norquist.

Can you identify who these brave souls are? I know that I can't. I can count whom I consider to be "moderate" Republicans in each chamber on one hand with fingers to spare. That doesn't get us to the two-thirds vote needed to pass the bed tax provision of "Jan's Plan."

What this reveals is that this legislature, if it ever intends to get serious about tax reform and putting our fiscal house in order, needs to refer a straight up or down repeal of Prop. 108 to the ballot as a referendum in 2014. Restore simple majority rule and democracy to tax matters in Arizona.

I would pair this with another provision requiring a sunset review every five years of every tax exemption and tax credit for economic impact by an independent auditor as well as the JLBC. This crap where a joint committee of the legislature gets together and decides whether to continue their pet tax credits and exemptions without any serious economic impact analysis has to stop. Nobody would run a business this way.

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