Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
I previously addressed the speculation over Governor Jan Brewer's plan to balance the state budget in The Jan Scam Tax Plan. On Wednesday, Governor Brewer finally delivered her plan to a joint session of the Arizona Legislature.
The Gov's speech went over like a turd in the punch bowl.
The anti-tax zealots who have signed Grover Norquist's "no new taxes" pledge immediately declared that any talk of tax increases is "dead." Sen Ron. Gould (R-Havasu City) got his panties in a twist and walked out on the Governor in mid-speech at the mere mention of tax increases. Brewer tax-hike plan gets tepid response
Brewer later told reporters that her party is in "denial" …"they are going to have to step up and make some tough decisions." Brewer asks temporary tax hike of $1 billion Don't hold your breath, Gov.
Democrats were unwilling to take a position on the $1 billion tax increase proposal because Brewer did not specify what taxes she wanted to increase (it is assumed it is the regressive sales tax). Brewer left open the possibility of reactivating the currently suspended state equalization property tax, which Republican legislators are busy trying to kill.
Democrats who defend the state Constitution, and the rights guaranteed therein to Arizona's citizens to the initiative process, expressed grave doubts about the Governor's plan to amend Prop. 105 (1998), the Voter Protection Act, which precludes the Legislature from raiding dedicated funds for voter approved programs adopted by initiative. Some Republicans are salivating over this proposal because it allows them to steal money from programs they never wanted in the first place, and they do not have to bite the bullet to increase taxes. It is a two-fer for them because it will also eviscerate the citizen initiative process that they despise if voter approved programs with dedicated revenue funds can simply be gutted by the willfull act of a hostile Legislature. "Just who the hell do these citizens think they are trying to tell us what to do anyway?"
These two pillars of Governor Brewer's plan face a steep hurdle. Any tax increase requires a two-thirds vote of each chamber of the Legislature. Amending the Voter Protection Act requires a three-fourths vote of both chambers of the Legislature and any amendment must be consistent with the purpose of the initiative. (Raiding dedicated revenue funds for popular programs is a lawsuit just waiting to happen).
Brewer also proposed additional spending cuts and other fiscal maneuvers to trim an additional $1 billion from the state general fund in fiscal 2010, which begins July 1. The Governor is also relying on $1 billion in federal stimulus funds. I guess this means the Gov will certify that Arizona will accept the stimulus money (despite the crybaby whining from Arizona's Republican congressional delegation).
Brewer also proposed reforming the state budget process to revise how revenue is projected and limit the Legislature's ability to raid special state funds. Brewer also would double the size of the state's "rainy day" reserve and restrict its use to fiscal emergencies.
Finally Brewer said she wants tax reform and held out the possibility of a reduction in the "temporary" tax increase by 2012.
A simple majority vote of the Legislature would allow the Legislature to avoid its responsibility for making these "tough decisions" and refer the matter to the voters to decide in a special election. So much for the "courage to do the right thing for the people of Arizona" that Governor Brewer called upon. Tell me again exactly what we pay these people to do?
And what about the expense of a special election? Isn't our problem that we have no money?
I am also curious to know what "Plan B" is should the voters not approve all of the measures on the ballot, or perhaps even reject all of the measures out of spite to send a message to the Legislature to "do your damn job!" Then what geniuses? Have you thought about this possibility? I didn't think so.
NB – For the wingnuts at Sonoran Alliance, the AP photo of Jan Brewer above appeared on the front page of the Arizona Daily Star and a similar photo which appears to have been taken by the same AP photographer appears in the Tucson Citizen. Put on your tinfoil hats and go crazy!