Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) is resigning her seat in the House after the State of the Union to concentrate on regaining her health. We certainly wish her the best in that regard.
Let me start with a basic statement of facts.
- I favor legal immigration and I favor increasing the number of people allowed to legally immigrate into the US.
- Immigration must be managed in a way that brings people based on their ability assimilate and be productive citizens.
- I am unalterably opposed to illegal immigrants, from whatever their home country.
- I favor laws, at the state level if necessary, that makes housing, employment and education as close to impossible as we can make it. I favor the use of e-Verify or a similar system to validate the right of every individual to housing, employment and education and I favor harsh penalties aimed at employers, landlords/property managers and school administrators who allow illegal aliens to live, work or attend school.
- I favor an interpretation of the concept of “birthright citizenship” that grants US citizenship to children born of parents who are legal immigrants to the US and disallows citizenship to the children of illegal aliens.
Illegal immigration is a huge drain on the US.
It’s a direct assault on out culture – “Press Two for English”. It’s a direct assault on our heritage, the concept of the US being a melting pot where immigrants seeking freedom can assimilate into our culture, “Out of Many, One”, the famous quote from the Great Seal of the United States that Al Gore got exactly backwards. And illegal immigration is an assault on our financial stability and resources. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, states with the biggest budget problems also have the biggest “immigrant financial” problems, specifically California and Arizona. In fact, the cost if illegal aliens is about equal to the budget deficits in most financially strapped states
I’m talking about my Governor, Jan Brewer.
If you don’t live in Arizona you probably think that Governor Brewer is a hero for her signature on SB1070 last year. Occasionally we see things written praising her and I’ve even seen a couple of misguided commenters who though she’d be a good VP candidate. Ummm, no.
A quick snapshot of history before we get to today. Jan Brewer was elevated to the Governor’s job in Arizona when President Obama nominated Janet Napolitano to head DHS. Brewer was Secretary of State and AZ has no LtGov, the SoS is next in line. Let me note that succession is a huge problem for us. In the last 30 years, we’ve had three Governors leave office and be replaced by the SoS. It’s been less that a good thing in all three instances.
Brewer’s first act upon becoming Governor was to have to put together a new budget. Arizona has the second biggest budget shortfall problem in the US behind California, as a percentage of total budget. We also have a requirement that the Governor sign a balanced budget. So, Brewer submitted a budget that relied on a sales tax increase (temporary, 3 years) for about a billion dollars, one-time federal funds for another billion and some token budget cuts. We wouldn’t have gotten the token budget cuts if a group of Republican freshman legislators hadn’t stood up and said NO! The sales tax revenues have fallen short – color me shocked – and the fed funds are gone, never to be seen again.
but some stuff worth highlighting anyway.
First of all, let’s remember that even the New York Times featured stories about Arizona cutting state health care funds for the poor so that poor people couldn’t get transplants. Well, apparently that’s been fixed.
Who says the state doesn’t have the money to fund transplants?
Someone has dug up some dollars to transplant dozens of rosebushes in preparation for Gov. Jan Brewer’s inauguration.
The shrubs, which normally grace the courtyard between the House and Senate buildings, have been transplanted to a temporary nursery so platforms can be built to accommodate the Jan. 3 event.
They’ll be returned to their spots in the courtyard after the inauguration. Apparently, rosebush transplants are not optional services when it comes to Capitol festivities.
OK. Well sorta.
Now then, on to the serious stuff. Like the start of the Legislative New Year. We discussed this last week but there is some interesting information in this article that bears highlighting. First of all, as noted above Governor Brewer’s inauguration will be held on January 3. The interesting things follow (quoted from the linked article)…
- The 50th begins at noon on Jan. 10 in the House chambers…
- [Governor] Brewer will release her budget recommendations on Jan. 14.
- Jan. 31 is the last day for Senate bills to be introduced without special permission.
- Feb. 7 is the last day for House bills to be introduced without special permission.
- March 12 is the last day for Senate committees to hear Senate bills and House committees to hear House bills. Appropriations committees get an extra week. All bills that do not receive hearings by this point are dead. [Bills that are heard by the deadline and passed by the House or Senate must be heard in the other chamber by April 9 or they are dead.]
- April 19 is the 100th day of session. The Legislature typically tries to end its session by the 100th day.
Remember, Arizona faces a $2.25B budget hole that must be addressed and both the Governor and the Legislature have said “No Tax Increases”. The Legislature has until March 26 to put together a budget. Compare that exercise to the US Congress which still hasn’t passed a budget for the current fiscal year and probably won’t have one passed by the time Arizona’s budget is signed. Brewer will submit her budget on January 14, the House has 64 days to debate and pass the budget. I understand that the US budget is more complicated than Arizona’s, so what say to a constitutional amendment that gives Congress 90 days to pass a budget or shut down operations of the government – with the exception of the US Military and US Border Patrol (note: NOT TSA) for the full duration of the budget period (two years).
The really nifty thing is that the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on April 19th, 100 days into the session. A 100 day legislative session. How about a 180 day legislative session for the US Congress? Think of the messes that would never happen if Congress was in session for 180 days every two years. Makes my heart pound.
And the icing on the Legislative Cake happens next week…
Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, and lawmakers from several other states are planning to gather in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5 to reveal the details of legislation that proposes to change how children born to illegal immigrants are recognized by individual states. More than a dozen states are expected to propose the same bill this year.
If you think SB1070 created a firestorm, just wait about six months. A bunch of states passing legislation to limit “birthright citizenship”. The DoJ will busy as one armed paperhangers between the continuing saga of SB1070 and the probability that similar legislation will be introduced in several more states, Representative Darryl Issa holding hearings on only God knows what and birthright citizenship. It’s gonna be a really, really fun year.
Oh, and the picture is not a mistake.
Since you’re a politician, I won’t bother with the “shut up” part…”
I’ve been whining about Jan Brewer, well it seems like forever. My complaints are pretty simple.
- She was SoS before being elevated to Governor upon Janet Nappy’s move to DC.
- While she’s is a competent manager/administrator, she’s over her head in a job that requires leadership.
- Her initial response to budget shortfalls was “raise taxes”.
- Her current budget is mish-mash of tax increases (Prop100), one time fed $$ and small cuts.
- The budget she got through the legislature last year, I projected would be riddled with problems because it didn’t address the structural problems in financing the state.
OK, here we go again. The AZ Republic has the beginning of the wailing that will reach the level of pain in no time about the budget problems we’ve got in the Grand Canyon State. Hmmm. Grand Canyon. That’s an apt analogy to our state’s fiscal condition.
Lawmakers must erase an $825 million deficit in this fiscal year’s budget, compressing a year’s worth of cuts into a few months.
Well, that would be Strike One…
Federal stimulus money runs out at the end of the budget year on June 30, adding to a hole of about $1.4 billion.
Ummm, Strike Two…
GOP Gov. Jan Brewer and the Republican majority in the Legislature have ruled out tax increases, and other options for balancing the budget are nearly tapped out.
Need I say it? OK, I will. When a politician rules something out…
But there is some room for hope, but it will require someone to step up and provide some serious leadership. It won’t be Brewer. And let me be really clear right now. Jan Brewer got thrust onto the national stage last year with the advent of SB1070, a law she had nothing to do with drafting, had absolutely no say or impact in getting passed and left her constituents wondering if she’d sign it until the moment she actually did sign it. It’s obvious to me, crusty old opinionated fart that I am, that her political advisers managed to convince her that her only shot at winning the primary (there were three opponents and it was close in February, very close, and Brewer had big negatives because of her “performance” on the budget) was to sign SB1070. She did. And she read her lines well for the national media in the aftermath. But now cometh reality. The elephant in the room. The budget.
Brewer dug a deep hole for us last time around with the use of Prop100, a “temporary” sales tax increase – three years, runs out in 2013 – and the use of $1.4B in “stimulus” money. I’m sorry, but I’ve got to depart from the subject at hand once again. Arizona’s economy is a wreck. Not as bad as our neighbor to the west, but it’s a wreck. We get $1.4B in fresh printing press output from the Feds and does she put it to work helping businesses make real jobs? No. She gives it to the education department as a prop. Chris Christie or Mitch Daniels she ain’t.
Oh well, back on track. We’ve got a big problem and it’s actually bigger than the article lets on because they don’t bother to note that the Prop100 tax increase will go away in two years. Bottom line, we need structural reform in Arizona government. And here’s the interesting parts…
“What we are walking into is major structural-deficit reduction,” said House Speaker Kirk Adams, R-Mesa. “This is no longer a $5 million solution here or a $10 million cut there. It’s a $1 billion decision.”
…Brewer and legislative leaders have indicated they will have to target education and health care – the two biggest pieces of the budget.
The Legislature also has 37 new lawmakers, and they will have to quickly learn the intricacies of the state budget.
So, bottom up, I hope to God that those new lawmakers don’t take lessons from our current leadership who were happy as clams last time around with no structural changes, increased taxes and federal play money.
Next, as far as education is concerned, the state university system needs quality time with an axe. Way too much money is spent on administration and we need serious increases in tuition. Hopefully, if students (parents?) end up paying significantly more for their education the product will improve. And a good start would be to eliminate every department/major that uses the words “Studies” or “Science” in their title. Those degrees only qualify budding activists to go to grad school so they can do research on various classes of victims at the expense of the US Department of Education. And then there is health care spending. It’s going to be interesting to see what gets done about that at the state level given the current mess at the national level. Our legislature will be operating in somewhat of a real vacuum when they deal with it, and make no mistake, deal with they must.
Finally, the Speaker of the AZ House is calling for structural reform. We’ll see. And then, there’s the standard pap (yeah, I’m a cynic) on taxes…
And because these leaders want to cut taxes to get Arizona’s economy rolling again…
Again, we’ll see. And let’s not forget “the children”. The Republic is starting the drum beat about those people who will be “hurt” by the drastic cuts necessary at the state level if we don’t woman-up and raise taxes on the rich (my interpretation of their wording)…
The school nurse is becoming an endangered species.
State parks have closed, or are limping along thanks to local donations.
And nearly 100 Arizonans lost medical transplant coverage.
And then there’s the standard one-off’s of individuals who are being devastated by the current level of inadequate cuts. I won’t bother putting them here, you can read the article. Have a barf bag handy. The medical transplant issue has already made headlines in the New York Times, so you just know the coverage will be national and it will be amazing. The one line item I hope is NOT touched is the purchase of one spine for Governor Brewer. The cynic in me thinks that will be the first to go however.
Oh well. You can bet we’ll be following this.
- Arizona Gov. Brewer wants Medicaid Waiver To Reduce Medicaid Rolls To Lower Costs (ducknetweb.blogspot.com)
- Jan Brewer Medicaid Cuts Prompt Dire Calls For Life-Saving Coverage & Criticism Of ‘Brewercare’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- Death by Budget Cuts: Arizona Governor Slashes Funding for Transplant Program (health.change.org)
We have good stuff happening in Arizona in the races for the House of Representatives. Very good stuff.
Arizona currently has eight House seats and they are currently split 5D/3R. That’s about to change in 58 days. We have two districts that are pretty effectively Gerrymandered into liberal seats – one held by Ed Pastor and one by Raul Grijalva. Pastor represents CD04 and has been in Congress for 20 years. Raul represents a district in Tucson that is significantly to the left of the district that sends Nancy Pelosi to Congress and he’s routinely noted as the most liberal member of Congress. He was the primary sponsor of ObamaCare and he’s made a name for himself here in Arizona by repeatedly calling for boycotts over SB1070. Those two Critters will be Members of Congress until (and after) the Lord comes back.
There are however, three other seats that should flip this election.
- CD05 – Harry Mitchell.
- CD01 – Ann Kirkpatrick.
- CD08 – Gabrielle Giffords.
American Action Forum polled competitive districts in the West August 23-29 and here’s a snapshot of their results for the three districts in question:
I find the snapshots from this polling to be really encouraging across the board.
For all three races there are some very consistent results.
- Right/Wrong Track consistently favors the Challengers.
- The issue of the Economy favors the Challengers and it’s not likely that the job market is going to improve any time soon in Arizona. As a side issue related to Jobs, Arizona Democrats are calling for boycotts of the State because of SB1070. Boycotts of a State where tourism is a major industry are not helpful.
- Then there’s Illegal Immigration. While it was cited by a relatively small number of voters as “major” issue it was typically the #2 issue raised. Here in Arizona, “Illegal Immigration” is a code phrase to two things: SB1070, which is favored by about 70% of Arizona voters and the lawsuits that have been brought by the Obama Administration. It’s interesting to note that the State is projecting that it will cost about $1MM to defend the DoJ suits. We’ve already raised about $3MM mostly from out-of-state donors. Without asking. Thank you.
- With respect to the question of what is most likely to influence their vote, voters in all three districts highlight the same four things and all of them favor the Challengers.
- Did I mention ObamaCare? Well, the voters did. All three Democratic incumbents FOR ObamaCare. All three Republican Challengers want to repeal it. Voters in all three districts STRONGLY OPPOSE ObamaCare in greater numbers than voters who support it in any manner. By a lot. Did I mention that all three Democrats voted for, and are quite pleased with, their support of ObamaCare?
Now then, with respect to the individual races.
First of all, and the closest, Giffords v Kelly. Jesse Kelly is a former US Marine in his first political outing. He beat John Paton to win the nomination even though Paton is a former State Senator, is a conservative with a good legislative record and had a huge edge (just like Giffords does now) in both name recognition and money. Paton endorsed Kelly immediately after the election. The really amazing thing about Kelly is that he’s effectively tied with Giffords even though 41% of the voters in his district either don’t know anything about him or have never heard of him. Jesse can win this race but he needs some financial help. Hopefully both Governor Brewer and Senator McCain will find the time to campaign for Jesse and will help him financially, Lord knows McCain can afford it and they’ve both got the time given that both will win their races by big double digits. Jesse is on the right side of every issue that is of concern to CD08 voters and Giffords is simply wrong. She does have lots of money though. Did I mention that Jesse could use a few bucks? If you’re like me and you live in a district where there really isn’t a race (I’m in CD03, John Shadegg’s old district and Ben Quayle should win going away), send Jesse some money.
In both the remaining districts, the Republican Challengers have a decent lead, again given that their name recognition isn’t all that great. David Schweikert has a six point lead and half the district don’t know him.
And then there’s Dr. Paul Gosar. If I was Ann Kirkpatrick I’d be on suicide watch. 70% of the voters don’t know about him and he’s got a six point lead with 47% of the vote. There’s really not much to say after that except “Go Gosar!”
Every one of these districts should be represented by not just a “Republican”, but a solidly conservative Republican in the next Congress.