Arizona Horizon presents a hour-long special featuring Governor Jan Brewer’s 2012 State of the State Address, followed by political analysis of the speech and the upcoming legislative session by political consultants/former legislators Stan Barnes and John Loredo.
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Interior secretary Ken Salazar today imposed a 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims on one million acres of land around the Grand Canyon. Salazar says the move will protect lands near the canyon and the water supply for those who depend on the Colorado river. Congressional Republicans are not pleased. They say the move will hurt northern Arizona's economy. State lawmakers today convened the second regular session of the 50th Arizona state legislature. It's a session that overlaps with Arizona's 100th birthday. And the centennial played a prominent role in Governor Jan Brewer's state-of-the-state message to lawmakers. On tonight's special hour long edition of "Arizona Horizon," we'll hear the governor's speech, a response to that speech from democratic leaders and we'll bring you analysis from former state lawmakers turned political consultants, Stan Barnes and John Loredo. First, here's what governor Brewer told a joint session of the legislature this afternoon in her 2012 state-of-the-state address. The governor began with the references to the Tucson tragedy, a year ago.
Governor Jan Brewer: We knew Saturday, January 8th, 2011, would be a mark on our memory. Fixed forever. We knew that time could not wash it away. So we remember. And in that reflection today, the tears belong to Arizona. I know countless prayers have been offered this past year and continue to be offered. For those that we lost. Judge John roll. Dot Morris. Phyllis Schneck. Dorwan Stoddard, Gabe Zimmerman and Christina Taylor Green. Though the completeness of life have been broken by their absence, we continue with their memory close to our hearts and we celebrate the continuing and inspirational recovery of those wounded in the attack. Including congresswoman Gabby Giffords and our friend and colleague. [Applause] We emerged from tragedy and crisis because we're Arizonans. We're western strong, we enter our centennial year proud of the land that our founding pioneers both changed and developed while they were tested by time and circumstances. The great names. Udall, Hayden, McFarland. Fannin, Pile, Rhodes, and Goldwater, they're all giant bookmarks in the pages of Arizona's history. [Applause] Yes, there were women too who have rightly taken their places in those pages. Women like Lorna Lockwood. She was elected to the Arizona Supreme Court in 1960 and served as vice chief justice and chief justice. She became the first woman chief justice in Arizona and in U.S. history. [Applause] We're proud to be their children, proud of what they gave us. Arizonans, native born and coming from all parts of the nation and the world found their opportunity to succeed or fail in the last great frontier of the continental United States and built this state. So let us here today make this pledge for Arizona's second century. We'll not betray their confidence or squander our state inheritance. Arizona will remain the last frontier of opportunity. [Applause] I've always felt a special place in my heart for Arizona's pioneers and always been inspired by their strength, their sense of family and heritage, their reverence for tradition. Many of the images you'll see on the screen today were taken by Scott Baxter. Part of a centennial legacy project called "100 years, 100 ranchers." Memorializing Arizona's ranching families who have been on the land for more than 100 years and as you can see, Scott's work, beautifully captures the strength and dignity of the Arizona rancher and we're grateful for his work. Allowing all of us to see deeply into our roots and we're very proud today to have Scott here with us. Scott, would you please stand and allow this chamber to thank you for your great, outstanding work? [Applause] These titans of the century that we're leaving behind understood and it's important for us to remember that the federal government played a key role in the development of Arizona. It's an example of how federal and state cooperation can and should work. As you might have heard, I take a back seat to no one when it comes to challenging Washington D.C. [Cheers and Applause] And standing up for Arizona, but there was a time when we could forge the right partnership with Washington. Unfortunately, in far too many instances, that's just not true anymore. Today, Arizonans and Americans are saying to Washington, we don't like an ever-expanding government threatening our personal liberties. We don't like government living beyond its means and trying to be everything to everyone. We don't like unconstitutional and unfunded healthcare mandates and by the way, we don't like open borders either. [Applause] We have so many monuments in Arizona that remind us of how things are supposed to work in partnership with Washington. Last March, I was privileged to have help mark the 100th anniversary of the Theodore Roosevelt dam. A great monument, built at a place the early pioneers called "the crossing." The crossing in the Salt River was where native American, farmers, ranchers would ford the river and the narrow gorge below the confluence of the Salt River and the Tonto creek. President Roosevelt's signature on the Reclamation Act of 1902 supplied the funding mechanism for the dam and other projects, triggering the development of the Salt River valley and the greater Phoenix Metropolitan area by providing an assured water supply. Another monument to federal-state cooperation started in 1973 at Lake Havasu, and 20 years later, 336-miles and $4 billion, the central Arizona project was completed. Bringing life-sustaining water to cities and farms and native American communities. In October of last year, I had the honor of helping dedicate the O'Callaghan-Tillman memorial bridge. It's an extraordinary structure, the product of the late Arizona congressman Bob stump's relentless prodding. And moving commercial traffic across Hoover dam. With the completion of the bridge, now is the time to add another monument to the federal-state cooperation. The future interstate highway linking Phoenix and Las Vegas, I-11. [Applause] It will connect two of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. And by the way, these are the two largest cities in the nation, not connected by the interstate highway system. This project will promote commerce, tourism and trade. Across the western United States. We must not wait. [Applause] These are the markers to celebrate and to revere. Still, we all remember Arizona's dark times as we headed into 2009. I took the helm of a ship I cherished but it was a ship that was sinking way down by overspending and expanding bureaucracy. And, quite simply, poor navigation. Frankly, those dark times are worth remembering so we can truly appreciate how far we've come together. I know the struggles in this chamber were not fun. And I know sometimes tempers were frayed and patience abandoned and decorum tested. But I also know this: Arizona has been saved. [Applause] And you were part of that great mission. We all know it wasn't by accident. We had a plan and it was the right plan. How do I know? Because I stand here in front of you and proudly say, ladies and gentlemen, Arizona, now, has a balanced budget. [Applause] And Arizona now has a positive cash balance on top of it. [Applause] But, there's more! Our state government is smaller. Our state government is more efficient. Our state government is focused on the future. Now, an integral part was the passage of Proposition 100, the one cent sales tax approved overwhelmingly by the voters for three years. The voters were promised it would be temporary. Many doubted that. Well, I gave my word to the voters and a promise is a promise. So I'm here to say this tax will end on my watch. [Applause] The tax will end after three years, in 2013. We're blessed to live in a growing state where Arizona families will and should turn to public schools with confidence to educate their children. Our state is a leader in allowing parents to choose a school that best meets their children's needs. We must find a way to fund the results we want and to reward those educators who guide us into our next century. [Applause] That's my commitment to children for the next century: Quality teachers, a safe environment, a setting of parents choosing data-driven decisions and the highest of standards. That's the foundation for job creation. Something we're doing as a part of the great Arizona comeback. We're creating jobs. 46,000 of them in the last year alone. [Applause] In fact, Arizona's job growth ranked seventh best in the nation. Not bad, my friends. Not bad at all. And we're just getting started. [Applause] There's more -- more good news. Our state credit outlook has stabilized. Companies again are locating in Arizona. Attracted by our lean regulation, competitive tax policies and a ready workforce. Although this is all great news, it's not enough. Too many Arizonans remain unemployed or under-employed. This economic downturn has been tough for them and their families and I haven't forgotten about them. Together, with all of you here, I intend to do everything in my power to help Arizonans prepare for our ever-changing economy. Together, just like last year, let's continue to lower taxes and cut regulation and tell all employers -- [Applause] -- and tell all employers that Arizona means business. Arizona is open for business! [Applause] We need to make Arizona the free market beacon to the nation and the world where you have the opportunity to prosper. How are we going to create the conditions for success? Well, today, I'm releasing a detailed written policy agenda. Now, you will be glad to hear I won't be going through it
line-by-line this afternoon. Just relax. But, rather, today is a day for reflection on an extraordinary milestone of Arizona's first century. It's a time to look forward to our second century. I asked for this job because I wanted to permanently reform state government. I'm here to make a difference. We're all here to make a difference. Here's what Arizonans, the nation, and the world will see when we succeed: They're going to see the personal incomes of Arizonans increase. They're going to see us recapture our position as a top job creator by getting back to the fundamentals that built Arizona in the first place. They're going to see excellence and accountability in our education system and a refashioned government equipped for our next 100 years of prosperity. [Applause] It will be limited, efficient, nimble government. Including personnel reform that improves the management of the workforce, restructures of the grievance and appeals system and modifies human resource practices and going to see that our passion for border security and public safety makes Arizona a special place for families and businesses to thrive. Arizona deserves no less. [Applause] This past summer, Arizona faced a frightening enemy, an enemy that threatened lives and livelihoods and natural beauty of our state. More than 1% of the total land mass in Arizona burned. Those fires proved once again that the federal land management policies have left our public lands overgrown and vulnerable to the massive blaze we saw last year. We need to return to the responsible thinning and active management of federal lands. Here's my question to the federal government: How long will Arizona and other western states have to burn before you do something? We can't afford another disaster. [Applause] Arizona is trying to lead the way with this four forest restoration initiative. 4FRI has been delayed almost a year now. We need a contract to be chosen so that we can start thinning our forests. 4FRI was a truly collaborative process and it needs to be implemented now. [Applause] We've done our part. We need the federal government to do its part. Along with the physical devastation, personal tragedy struck when veteran firefighter Deon Classay was killed in the line of duty for responding to the diamond fire on Fort apache Indian reservation near White River. One of only seven all-native American inner agency hotshot crews in the country. That heroism is not uncommon in our state. But tragically, neither is grievous loss of those who gave the last true measure of devotion for their community and their country. They are now forever a part of Arizona, part of its history, of courage and sacrifice. They are Arizonans who loved their country and their state with affection only heroes can know. He are those in uniform Arizona lost in the past year, including a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy killed just yesterday. Let our service in this building honor their sacrifice. Please rise and join me in saluting them. [Applause] Thank you. Thank you. On February 14th, 1912, president William Howard Taft proclaimed Arizona the 48th and last of the contiguous states to enter the union of the United States of America. 10 decades later, we celebrate Arizona's 100th anniversary of statehood and I know that the Arizona centennial commission has been hard at work traveling the state and encouraging all Arizonans to get involved. Nearby this chamber is the building that was created as part of an effort to demonstrate that the Arizona territory was ready for statehood. Its design by James Gordon, called for the capitol to be much larger with a more prominent rotunda and large wings for both houses of the legislature on each side of the current building. But a shortage of funds meant the project had to be scaled down to what it is today. I think that building is a perfect symbol for this new year, we're scaling down this government. We're making it fit what we can afford. And -- [Applause] In my mind, it's pretty simple: Less government means more freedom and opportunity for Arizonans. [Applause] I'm sure you've seen that the dome of this capitol is shining once again. And I'd like to think that's it's shining that same copper brilliance it once intended. It's a brilliance that says: Arizona's gleam in back and its future is bright. There's just one problem. Most of our capitol complex, including the building we gather in today is not ours. [Laughter] So to fortify that symbol, to make all of our capitol truly ours once again, I'm asking that you send me a bill by statehood day that allows me to buy back the capitol complex. [Applause] And together we can celebrate the burning of the mortgage. [Applause] And just east of Phoenix international raceway near turn number four there's a hill often used for seating called "monument hill." The top of the hill is a little known historical marker with a concrete X, called the initial point, it's where surveys for the state first began and still remains the site for all surveys conducted in Arizona. As the official midpoint of the state, monument hill is essentially the heart of Arizona. The Arizona centennial, like the monuments that mark Arizona's 100-year-old past, such as the initial point, gives us a chance to set our bearings for the next century and an opportunity for all Arizonans to share the great pride in the past and prepare for the future with a compass heading that's true, worthy and resolute. Ladies and gentlemen of the centennial legislature, we are the architects of our second century. [Applause] So, will you please join me as we continue to rebuild this great state, a state with restrained regulations, limited government, a steadfast commitment to the tenth amendment, an unwavering commitment to advancing freedom. And I ask you once again, to join me in securing those freedoms, freedoms to build a business without suffocating regulation, freedom to build a life and to raise a family without the nanny state interfering. Freedom to speak the truth about government and those who would lead it without fear of retribution. And freedom to increase your income without someone telling you that you're making too much money. [Applause] However, freedoms should never be separated from responsibility. So, I'm asking every one of you in this room, every Arizonan beyond these walls, to make a personal statement in support of our centennial year. I'm calling on everyone to make a contribution to the future. Volunteer. Volunteer at your local school. Volunteer in service at your place of worship. Volunteer at shelters. At a food bank. People are still hurting so volunteer for the least and the lost. Volunteer to provide food or clothing to the less fortunate. Lend a hand at a charity, a retirement home. A hospital. Anywhere your talents, time and heart can be invested in the lives of others. Let the spirit of service be at the heart of our centennial year. Barry Goldwater wrote an article for the February 14th 1962 edition of the "Tucson daily citizen" titled "Arizona's next 50 years." He concluded his look 50 years into the future where we stand today with the following words: "My children, my grandchildren, and my great grandchildren will be as happy living here as I have been during the first 50 years of statehood. Because the people will remain warm and kind and thoughtful. And even though much of what we know as desert will have disappeared, there will remain a sufficient amount of natural beauty to satisfy all of the desires of the 10 million people who will live here." And Barry Goldwater closed with: "Even though I hope to be on cloud nine or 10, or whatever they a lot me, I'm sure that 50 years from now, I will look down on this delightful spot on the earth and be envious of the people who call Arizona their home in the year 2012." Well, we know Barry Goldwater and the rest of our pillars of the past are still watching. Watching what we do for the next 100 years. Our future depends on the choices we make, and if there's one thing I learned from my mother in my years of public service, it's that life is about choices. It's choosing tough over what's tempting and it's choosing the truthful over the false. And it's choosing a government that's necessary over a government that is merely desired. America is an exceptional nation and I believe Arizona is an exceptional state. I believe our destiny arrives in this time and this place and binds us together in some wonderful and mysterious way with the great giants of our past. I believe that we in this chamber and the people are connected in common purpose with the keepers of the Arizona range. To each, we say, you have shown us the way. You and your families. Plowed the fields, harvested the crops and mined the ore, raised the cattle and endured the dust and heat, the rains and the wind to allow this territorial land to rise up as a symbol of what freedom and individual courage can create. I hope years from now, that my career, my record, my life guided by god's grace, all stand as proof of my love for this beautiful state and my caring for all who call this place home. In his February 14th, 1912, inaugural address, governor W.P. hunt concluded his remarks by saying, "I have the hope, the ambition and determination to so discharge my public trust that it will be said of me that he started the state off right." Well, I have a similar hope and determination. To so serve the people of Arizona that it will be said of you and me together 100 years from now they started the state off right into its second century. [Applause] May god bless you and our glorious 100 year old state and may God always bless and protect the United States of America. Thank you. [Applause]
Ted Simons: House and senate Democrats held a press conference immediately following the governor's speech. Here's what they had to say.
Rep Chad Campbell: We hope our state takes steps in the next century that ensures future economic success, instead of the direction it's been headed lately, which is divisiveness that is ripping apart our state. The things we've seen over the past few years do nothing to make anybody in the state of this country proud of the state of Arizona. Guns in bars. Transplant patients being denied their life surviving procedures and divisive immigration bills that haven't been working. We've seen our middle class, our very own economic engine dwindling and suffering while tea party and lawmakers and special interest members have voted to give tax breaks to the rich during these times of incredible economic hardship. When Arizona families sit at the table, I believe that instead of worrying about the things they have been worrying about they should not have to worry about how they're going to pay for their next grocery store trip or put gas in the car. I want them to discuss the bright future their children will have after getting a good education at their schools and how they're going to save up money and then attend college. Middle class families, Arizona's economic engine, deserve the focus and good ideas to put people back to work and improve the public school so our kids can compete for jobs of the future. It's time for a new direction in the next 100 years. Like all Arizonans, Democrats are sick of the partisan bickering at the capital. Instead of fighting each other we should be fighting to get things done for change and get things done for the people of the state. Unfortunately, it seems that the tea party lawmakers and certain special interests with their rigid ideologies have made bipartisanship extremely difficult these past several years. And look where it's left us. Governor Jan Brewer and tea party lawmakers have sold the state capitol buildings to big Wall Street banks and others as the governor alluded to in her own speech today and the fact that she's asking for a solution is too little too late. We cannot solve that problem. The ship has sailed. When they made that deal they cost the taxpayers about $1.5 billion. And I sat on the debt committee over the in term, we cannot prepay and buy back our state buildings without a massive penalty to the taxpayers of this state. Governor Brewer's statement today was political theater. It cannot be done in any legislature I'm aware of. And Governor Jan Brewer and the tea party have voted to give million in tax cuts to big out-of-state corporations while providing next to nothing for the state's small businesses, which are really the true engines of our economy. So instead we should start making government work for us by giving Arizona companies first crack at state and local government contracts so our tax dollars create jobs here, so that they stay here instead of going into other states, or worse, India or China or other countries. It's also time to reform our unfair tax code. All of you been working here for several years know this about me. It should be the number one priority we do as legislators and the governor does as the executive of Arizona. We need to stop picking winners and losers and make it fair for everyone. Hardworking individuals and families and small businesses all deserve a fair tax code that gives them the opportunity to achieve the American dream. Instead, the tea party lawmakers and Governor Brewer have voted to raise income taxes on middle class Arizona families while cutting taxes for those who make more than $100,000 per year. We saw that just last year in the legislative session. And according to a recent survey, Arizona voters are sick of their politics as well. Two-thirds of those questions favored broadening the tax base and together with lowering the overall sales tax rate. This is a balanced approach to ensuring fairness in tax code and restoring funding to education, healthcare and public safety. It's about time we finally got rid of the crazy, unfair tax-free goods and services that benefit the super rich like country club memberships, face lifts and many other countless products and services I could go on about all day long. The question I have to ask is why don't the rich have to pay for taxes on their extracurricular activities while middle class families struggle to pay for taxed clothes and school supplies? It just doesn't make sense. And it's about time that the government of Arizona and that means us, the legislators of this state, to start focusing on what matters. Creating jobs. Let's stop the divisive games let's stop the extreme partisanship let's get back to doing the business of the people. That's what Democrats are focused on this session and we're ready and willing to work together to do the hard work, compromise and create a better future for our state and most importantly the people of the state. And with that I'll hand it over to senator Schapira.
Sen. David Schapira: We heard Governor Brewer say that she the tea party, and controlled house and senate should get credit for the improving economy and the resulting surplus we now have. The absurdity of this statement astounds me. Apparently she thinks that gutting public education and kicking poor people off healthcare are economic stimulus. The fact is the nation as a whole is beginning to see early signs of economic recovery and we're lucky to see those results in Arizona as well. Our governor and our legislature super majorities are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Arizonans. This is the same leadership who, last year, sold our state capitol to Wall Street investors, made unprecedented and devastating cuts to our kids' schools and denied healthcare to over 100,000 Arizona children. I'm not an economist, but I can't see how this helped create jobs in our state and improve the state economy. It's time to change the legislature's priorities. It's time for the legislature to side with hardworking Arizonans and their families. With this session, we have an opportunity to get our state back on track, setting us on a path to recovery and renewal. In order to achieve this goal, we need to put the partisanship and extreme tea party agenda aside. Arizona families are struggling right now, we must focus on common sense ideas that will help Arizona prosper and get folks back to work. In order to ensure long-term success for the state, we must make protecting education one of our top priorities. We have to stand our ground at any further cuts to classrooms and our kids' classrooms in the state. In fact, we should look at the feasibility of reversing some of the cuts that have been made. Not only will our kids be better prepared for success, but restoring budgets for school building renewal, web create construction jobs while repairing our crumbling schools making the schools safer for your kids and mine. It's time to work together to get results that will guarantee a better future for our families and state. Thank you.
Ted Simons: Joining me now to share their thoughts about the governor's speech and the 2012 legislative session are former Republican state lawmaker Stan Barnes, the founder and president of copper state consulting group, a Phoenix-based public affairs firm. And former democratic lawmaker John Loredo, who works as a political consultant as well. Good to see you both here thanks for joining us. Initial thoughts on the governor's speech?
Stan Barnes: You looking at me? Jan Brewer took over at a difficult time. More difficult than we can imagine, if you're responsible for making a decision. So the first time she was out, it was hard. The second time, the shooting of Gabby Giffords. This time, the room felt optimistic, her speech was optimistic and she delivered it well. It felt like a whole new thing. I've been at all of them with her, and it was the right note, trying to balance the 100th anniversary, which is pretty special, along with honoring what happened a year ago and the policy that needed to be noticed. I thought it was well written and delivered and I think the audience liked what they heard.
Ted Simons: Did it connect with audience? Did it connect with lawmakers first of all and connect with the general public watching it here?
John Loredo: I think with lawmakers, I was surprised how quiet it was. There weren't as many standing ovations as in other administrations. But I think, you know, looking at the times we live in, the budget situation, all of the issues we face, I think of people were probably expecting more substance, but it was like a history lesson and kind of a lot of feel-good fluff but not a whole lot honor the specific substance issues.
Ted Simons: You mentioned standing ovations. One of the standing ovations, when she referred saving Arizona -- we, saved Arizona, from dark times due to a balanced budget. Balanced budget, up they stood. That whole line of thinking, that whole presentation there, what were your thoughts?
John Loredo: I think -- you know, you've got members trying to feel good that the budget is balanced. I think they realize that it's not. There's a cliff coming from 2014 they have no idea how to deal with that. It was one of the few standing ovations she got during this thing. But again if you were looking for some type of solutions or some substance in terms of where the policy is going in this state, you were probably left short.
Stan Barnes: Along with Jan Brewer who took over at a difficult time, most of the legislature never seen anything except red ink and falling revenues and budgets upside down, today felt like a moment at plateau, a rest, if you will. The theme didn't have to be getting control of the terribleness, the theme was we've got our arms around the problem and now we rebuild. I give her a break on the substance, because there was a reason to celebrate the 100th anniversary and she mixed them well.
Ted Simons: Were you surprised that the two real specifics we heard, buying back the capitol, something that got at least one person with a standing ovation, and the four-fourth's initiative, those were you surprised those were specified?
Stan Barnes: No, I can't say I was surprised but you can take from it that they are important to the governor. That lone person who stood up when she talked about buying back the capitol was me. And I did it because even though I'm a cynical former legislature and lobbyist who's seen it all, when the legislature did that in order to keep the wheels spinning and a take one-time cash infusion by essentially buying off the state capital, I was really offended as a citizen. I took the labels off and said as a citizen, I don't like this, I'm upset. When she said we're going to buy it back, I felt good and I stood up and I gave her her applause.
Ted Simons: When democrats hear the governor specifically say let's use any budget surplus for buying back the capitol and yet don't hear restoration talk. How do they respond?
John Loredo: I think it's a little baffling, it's a matter of priorities. A budget is a values document and show where your values really lie and to suggest we're going to use, now, some of the surplus to buy back a building, she's the one who sold it. She sold it in hurt budget and now wants the money to buy it back at a 50% interest rate. It's amazing. She sold it for a billion and now wants to buy it back for $1.6 billion. That's not the values that I think Arizona voters really want to see shown right now at the capitol and it's baffling.
Ted Simons: How much of a budget surplus is expected? What will lawmakers and the governor be dealing with here and what will be prioritized?
John Loredo: Well, I guess we'll find out soon enough when the budgets are presented the governor presents her budget and the legislature will present their budgets as well. We're talking about a couple hundred million here but the problem is there are a couple of lawsuits working their way through the courts right now and how those lawsuits fall will determine whether or not there's any surplus at all.
Stan Barnes: The numbers I saw are projected on a higher end, more like $500 million or more. Now we're starting to get into real money since the whole budget is less than $7 billion. I think the legislators are going to compromise around a little of this and a little of that. The majority of the Republicans are writing the document, the future budget, and the majority of the majority is a pay down the debt caucus. Most Republicans think that's the symbolic important thing to do but there are other who is want to fully fund enrollment growth in K-12 and AHCCCS and in order to round up the votes, the document will reflect a little of this and that, and end of the session you'll be sitting here saying, they spread the surplus around and as John said, the cliff is coming. The tax goes away and everyone wonders what will happen and may put a little to the side to expect that.
Ted Simons: The governor mentioned that the tax will go away, which it will. It's a three-year tax. Not much, and acted like not going to push for an extension in any way, shape or form. Does that mean she'll fight whoever does want to extend this?
Stan Barnes: I was wondering that. She wanted to close the loop with voters who she went out on a limb to ask for this tax. And remember that was the first thing she did in her opening speech to the legislature so many years ago, ask for this tax. She wanted to end that with the voters by saying I don't want to push for another. But I don't think you should read into that there won't be another vote on the ballot. I think there will be and whether she herself will support it for whatever reason, it certainly won't be to extend what she was doing, which was the emergency infill. She wanted to close that promise.
Ted Simons: Please.
John Loredo: You have to remember, she talked about the state of the state when she took over. She's done in 2014 and it's 2014 when the tax goes away and all of the massive tax breaks she's given away to corporations those kick in completely in 2014 too. What she should be worrying about is the bag she's going to leave the next governor holding because there's a cliff that's over a billion dollars in lost revenue that kicks in in one year. And so regardless of, you know -- I mean, she can put a little bit aside here and there, but it won't be enough to make up for the cliff she built with her budgets so she could very conceivably walk away from this thing and end up leaving a huge deficit and problem for the next governor to deal with.
Ted Simons: Talk about the dynamic of the governor mentioning that the ship is righted, back on course and a budget surplus and the whole nine yards and the sales tax was a factor in these budget manners and yet we're going to cut taxes, going to cut taxes, without maybe perhaps referring to the fact that one particular tax is one of the reasons you're celebrating a budget surplus.
Stan Barnes: Depending on where you sit, it may sound like a mixed message, but Republicans believe that a lower tax environment promotes more business which yields a greater tax dividend to government coffers. That's a theory that's proven in Republican circles anyway and the temporary tax was always of emergency nature, they're happening at the same time. I did hear the governor say she wants to continue on a certain tax cut path. If Arizona is going to kick-start its economy, it needs to make value judgments on what should be taxed and how much in order to incite stuff to happen. And I think we're going to see some of that.
Ted Simons: In that environment, what happens to healthcare reform? What happens to education? What happens to all of these things that have been hit? Granted probably not going to get hit like this again, but they've been hit and still waiting for resuscitation.
John Loredo: Every tax break she gives away to corporations or the wealthy, whatever you want to call it, that adds to the cliff in 2014 that's coming. It adds to a deficit later on down the road because you're literally taking money away that you need to pay for schools and all of the other things they want to put into place. So she did the sales tax, but even with the sales tax, she's still cut over $400 million from schools. And so, when you continue to make those cuts year after year after year, and then you push that cliff out a little bit further and further, that's not responsible. You've got to pay for the bills you have today and those -- you know, that's public education and AHCCCS and all of the other things. That's how you create a real balanced budget. Pushing the debt out is not balance.
Stan Barnes: It's been difficult for my democratic friends to get around the politics of a republican governor who sought a billion dollar tax increase as her opening speech. Three years later to have excess revenues coming in over projections and an economy growing at some 5 to 7 percent rate in Arizona, all of which is daring leadership and good news on the back end and that needs to settle with anyone listening and judging the Republicans running the place. They went out on a limb and asked voters to raise taxes and thanks goodness they did. But when there's no money and you raise a billion dollars in tax and there's still not enough? Then what? The cuts have to come the baseline is reset and we're back -- the budget today is much like it was six, seven years ago and the whole dynamic shifted and that's why today was positive. We're no longer having to cut anymore.
Ted Simons: Last question: How many folks are going to watch this speech and be as optimistic as many in the chambers were? And how many are going to say, you know, this is starting to affect me. Whether it's unemployment insurance, healthcare cuts or kids care, the whole nine yards. And what point, I don't want to use the phrase tipping point but let's go ahead and use it, at what point do things tip?
Stan Barnes: There are many Arizonans who have not been able to qualify for AHCCCS who have been denied other state services when they wouldn't have been denied previously but there are also a great many trying to get by and make ends meet and the tax burden is less and they're making do like the rest of the country. I'd like to think that the majority is with the governor on this point. That's my mind set but it depends where you're coming from.
Ted Simons: We've got about a minute left here. From the democratic perspective, at what point do you move past, you can't keep cutting, you may have to raise revenue and work within a healthy majority at the capitol and say there's got to be a way to get things done with the scenario as it stands.
John Loredo: Well I think there is a way. You go to the ballot. Like we've gone to the ballot many times before successfully and we've shown over and over again, when we go to the ballot, to increase funding for public education or healthcare, even in the conservative state of Arizona, it passes and passes every time. There hasn't been a tax that has failed at the ballot here in decades. So there is an alternative. And I think the majority needs to keep that in mind. If they're not able to work within the realm with everybody to solve problems they're going to get side stepped in a big way.
Ted Simons: We've got to stop it there. Thank you for joining us, we appreciate it.
In this segment:
Stan Barnes:Political Consultant, former legislator; John Loredo:Political Consultant, former legislator;