Legislative Update

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A mid-week legislative update with a reporter from the Arizona Capitol Times.

Ted Simons: Still ahead -- a legislative update and what state lawmakers are doing to stop the illegal use of private school tuition-tax credits. Joining me now with a midweek legislative update is Arizona "Capitol Times" reporter Jim Small. Jim, good to see you. Thanks for joining us.

Jim Small: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: We have the Cubs taking the center table at the capitol here. This panel, I guess, okays a surcharge, huh?

Jim Small: The house committee met this morning and talked about the legislation that was introduced last week, maybe the week before. It was designed to help the city of Mesa -- to help keep the Cubs in the city of Mesa for spring training. The Cubs are kind of the anchor team for the Cactus League. They're the most popular team. Their fans come and spend money. One of the things they need is they need a $200 million training complex. The city can't afford to do it all on its own. John McComish a representative who lives in Ahwatukee had said he was kind of the spearhead on this legislation. It would put a surcharge on rental cars $1 and 8% surcharge on every spring training ticket sold in the valley. So, it's an idea -- the idea is to obviously get a lot of money to help the Cubs stay in Mesa. It's also kind of angered every other team in the Cactus League.

Ted Simons: Not only every other team in the Cactus League, but the baseball commissioner, the Brewers are out here, all of them say no, this is not fair. It's not comprehensive. It's designed to help one team and one team only. Lawmakers, though, say, we're not buying it.

Jim Small: Well, it was kind of a mixed reaction on the panel. It was by in large, it was Republican support. It had one democrat support it in committee. Even one Republican said, there may be a better way to do this. We want to move this forward and want people to talk about it. All the teams weren't involved in planning this. It was really the city of Mesa and the Cubs that came together and put together this idea and the other Cactus League teams weren't part of this.

Ted Simons: I was going to say, a committee is one thing, getting out of committee is one thing, but a full vote is something else. Are we going to see something radical in this?

Jim Small: I don't know. Mr. McCombish said, if someone has a better idea, I want to see it. The Major League Baseball and the commissioner's office said they want to do increment tax which is sales tax collected in certain districts, spring training districts and using that as revenue to bond again. Mr. McComish said, that's not an idea I'm crazy about. The legislature didn't like that a few years ago in Tucson. That hasn't gone well. That legislation has really tightened the leash on that. That's an idea that may be a tough sale.

Ted Simons: Amanda Reeves chosen by the board of supervisors to replace Sam Crump. Who is Amanda Reeves?

Jim Small: She's from legislative district 6. She was one of three people nominated last week by the precinct committeemen in the area to replace Mr. Crump. And the board of supervisors was the official replacement and she was sworn in.

Ted Simons: That's the third time the board of supervisors chose someone who had political ambitions elsewhere. There's a push to give more rural areas more say in this. What does this involve?

Jim Small: The way it works, in a rural area, a lot of the rural districts cover multiple counties. Take a district like district 30 that covers Pima County, Cochise and Santa Cruz. If someone were to resign, he would resign. He lives in Pima County. Only elected committeemen in Pima County can nominate three people and those three people have to be from Pima County. There was something voted down last week that would allow people in entire districts to select three people to nominate and send it into the board of supervisors of whoever the person resigned lived. That would be the Pima County board of supervisors.

Ted Simons: In general, were most folks thinking this was a solution than a problem?

Jim Small: It's definitely a problem. Anyone who represents a rural district will tell you that there is a problem here. Really coming up with a solution is difficult, because a solution like that doesn't guarantee that the folks in the other two counties will actually get any more of a voice because the board of supervisors is almost certain to choose someone who comes from their county. If there's someone from each county selected, the board of supervisors will say, we're going to take the one from our county because we know him best. We want to be responsible to our voters who don't live in Santa Cruz or Cochise County.

Ted Simons: Before you go, we had leadership on last night and speaker Adams said maybe a couple of weeks a budget could happen and you could see '10 and '11 together. Are you hearing that happen, too?

Jim Small: I think we'll see something introduced and move through the process in the next couple of weeks. Whether they can actually get something done and get the 31 of 16 and the signatures they need, that's a completely different kettle of fish.

Ted Simons: Thanks, Jim. Good to see you.

Jim Small: Thank you.

Jim Small:Arizona Capitol Times;

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