Democratic Legislative Leaders

More from this show

Senate Minority Leader David Schapira and House Minority Leader Chad Campbell comment on the recent legislative session.

Ted Simons: In the just-ended legislative session, Republicans held a super majority that left democrats out of a lot of decision making. Here to talk about what impact democrats did have on legislation and to provide their assessment of the session, are senate minority leader David Schapira and house minority leader Chad Campbell. Good to see you both here. Thanks for joining us. How much impact did you guys really have on this session?

David Schapira: Well, certainly we had members month had policies pass through, who had bills pass through the legislature, some of them were waiting to get signatures from the governor. We did actually have budget negotiations this year for the first time since 2008 when I was on the appropriations committee and was involved when Napolitano was governor, those negotiations sadly didn't go anywhere. We like to believe we have had some influence by putting pressure in the last couple years on getting things like funding for early literacy, funding for building renewal, at least for emergencies, when a building is collapsing, but for the most part, we were able to mitigate some damage in a super majority term, but didn't get everything we wanted for sure.

Ted Simons: With that in mind, from where you sit, the biggest accomplishments in this session. Overall.

Chad Campbell Biggest accomplishments for the session, that's a tough one. I think David mentioned early literacy, that was an achievement when you think about who is down there on the Republican side. But overall, I'm not sure there were any big accomplishments this session. I think the session was a very bad session. I think the budget was very bad, and I think we saw very little leadership from Governor Brewer.

Ted Simons: With that idea in hand, what was the biggest missed opportunity?

Chad Campbell Well, I think how the budget was handled. There was an opportunity to do a by part San budget. We could have put together a common sense package, it would have funded our schools, kids care, laid the foundation for a stronger state, and the Republicans kicked us out.

Ted Simons: Republicans are saying this budget restrains unnecessary spending, sets aside funds for future fiscal crises, they're happy with it, it's responsible they say and it looks ahead to make sure the state will be in good hands providing something bad should happen. And they see some tough times ahead economically.

David Schapira: There are some really misplaced priorities. Even if you take the money spent versus the money that wasn't, and shuffle it around, there was some really badly misplaced priorities. We're spending $50 million on prison construction. We're spending zero on school construction. That's a misplaced priority. We stole $50 million out of the mortgage settlement fund. Money meant to help struggling homeowners. And that money is being spent in ways that it shouldn't be, in the correction system. We did fund a $7 million item, which means we are the only state in the union that does not fund health care for kids whose parents can't afford it. Just misplaced priorities.

Ted Simons: The idea, let's go to this mortgage item, last night we had leadership on, and we've had folks from the majority party on before. They say this money is intended to ameliorate the foreclosure and housing crisis that. Covers a wide spectrum, that is somewhat vague in terms of the agreement and they're doing what they should be doing. They're allocating money.

Chad Campbell: It's simply not true. If you look at the budget, it included also a $60 million tax cut package. Capital gains tax cut package, and when I debated with John Kavanagh on the floor, I asked if this was the money that was so needed for the state, to help ameliorate what happened during the housing crieses, what are we giving a $60 million tax package to the richest people in the state? This was a red herring, they stole this money, no doubt about it, and they're Using it for something not intended it to be used for.

Ted Simons: As far as the tax cuts and credits, leadership last night basically saying this has to happen for us to be prepared to compete globally, nationally, we can't afford it. We've got to offer incentives because everyone else is racing ahead.

David Schapira: We're not hearing that from the business industry right now. The big corporations aren't saying, you have to have a tax cut in adds or we're not going to come there. What we are hearing from business right now is, your education system is lacking. And if you can't guarantee going into the future we're going to have an educated work force in Arizona we don't want to move our business there. We have earthlink and Ikea that wanted to move corn rat jobs here, they decided not to because they've 97 does haven't a great education system and despite the fact they have a good tax code, the big companies said we don't want to move the jobs there.

Ted Simons: Yet the latest jobs forecast looks pretty good. Someone doing something right?

Chad Campbell: You can say the same thing about the nation. Jobs are turning around across the country. Just like when Arizona had a bit of a recession over the past few years. So did the rest of the country. This is not a unique issue in Arizona this, is a national trend. Nothing this legislature has done has done a single thing to create a job. If you want to talk about tax cuts, look at the tax cut package that brewer and Adams led last year, that's a tax cut package that will cost the state $540 million. Andy Tobin said himself, to just break even on that tax care package we'd have to create $540,000 jobs which is twice as many as we've lost in the past three years.

Ted Simons: Do you agree nothing that has been done by this legislature has dog anything to create a job in Arizona?

David Schapira: Jobs have been created in spite of this legislature. Not because of it. This legislature has taken us in the wrong direction. And I know Andy Tobin was here last night touting the fact they passed a balanced budget. It reminded me of the old Chris Rock joke about things you're supposed to do. Arizona's had a balanced budget every year for a century. We're supposed to do that. Just like you're not supposed to go to jail, you're supposed to take care of your kids. Those things are not creating jobs in the state. Certainly the failure to provide for a great education system, the failure to fund a great education system, that's going to lose us jobs. We lost out in the past because others could do it cheaper. We're going to the lose in the future because we don't an educated work force.

Chad Campbell: Helping to fund the hearing sector, in particular, orderly enough, hospitals. That's going to be leading to the loss of thousands of jobs, especially in rural Arizona, and we simply can't afford that are.

Ted Simons: You mentioned health care, you mentioned education. Big ticket items. The answer from the other side is, we can't afford it right now. When things get better we'll look at it. We can't do it right now.

Chad Campbell: What they did instead was give a $70 million tax cut that kicks in at a later date, the next two years, instead of funding kids care, hospitals, these are the things that create jobs. And capital gains tax cut does not create jobs. They handed that money away.

Ted Simons: Speaker last night said that bill Clinton thought it was good enough. He passed and it he saw jobs created by that tax cut.

Chad Cambell: Bill Clinton did it in a different time and different place.

Ted Simons: Do you agree?

David Schapira: Absolutely. Here's the thing. It's not that we were asking for additional spending beyond what they spent. We were asking for putting priorities in a different place. It's our belief that if you invest in health care for kids, if you invest in education, you don't need all this money for corrections. We've increased corrections expenditures despite being in a recession, despite having deficits, we've increased corrections expenditures while decreasing over $2 billion in education spending in the last four years.

Ted Simons: I want to get to other aspects in the session. Fending off federal mandate, federal intrusion, everything from state sovereignty to the -- the idea of the contraception bill as I mentioned last night, the leadership, they were basically saying, we had to do this because affordable health care will come in and tell us what to do. Valid?

Chad Campbell: No. That has nothing to do with anything in the national health care plan. Has nothing to do with anything that the president or this Congress has tried to do over the past couple years. This was a center for Arizona policy measure, it was pushed down the throats of legislators down there. And leadership let it go. This is just another case of showing that there is a very small group of special interests that are controlling this state and the people that are paying the price are the voters of Arizona.

Ted Simons: I mentioned the center for Arizona policy, I mentioned the goldwater institute, and they said no more influence --

David Schapira: apparently the Sierra Club and the EA have enough influence. I'll tell you that during votes on bills this legislative session, that were being pushed, Cathy Harrod and the people who work for her were walking around unchecked with no staff and no member around second floor, the senate floor, of the state senate. That -- you don't see that. You don't see lobbyists like that walking around by themselves unchecked in the middle of a vote because they wanted to pull the conservative legislators aside and make sure we're doing what they were told.

Ted Simons: What you also don't see is a super majority. A lot of what we're talking about is predicated on the fact elections have consequences. They won big. Why shouldn't they be trying to get through what they think is important?

Chad Campbell: I agree with that. They dock what they want if they think that's what the voters want, so be it. I think this November you're going to have a different outcome in terms of what the election is going to look like. Again, I think we had a wave election last time, we've had horrible legislative maps, all of these things are not going to be in place in 2012. Based on the polls I've seen, talking to my voters, when I'm walking the streets, voters across the board are fed up with this, they're sick of the extremism, sick of people not caring about what the real problems are, and they want a change.

Ted Simons: Do you really think the people -- we can talk about the state as a whole, but in individual districts, do you really think there's that much of a disconnect?

David Schapira: These guys have overreached. The majority of registered voters in the state are Republicans. That's the true. But the Republicans at the legislature who are running the show down there are not representative of the average Republican let alone the average voter in the state. They've gone too far, and I think thankfully you and others in the media are holding them accountable. This really isn't popular idea, yet this is what's happening. The reason that happens, you have the Tea Party leadership down, there Russell Pearce who declared the Tea Party senate, and have you folks down there who listen to the center for Arizona policy and the goldwater institute and our voting in lock step with what they want.

Ted Simons: We have to stop it there. I'm glad we got you both on. Thanks for joining us.

Guests: Thank you.

Ted Simons: And that is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

David Schapira:Senate Minority Leader; Chad Campbell:House Minority Leader;

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates

An armed forces bugler playing the trumpet in front of the United States Capitol building.
airs May 26

National Memorial Day Concert 2024

Graphic for the AZPBS kids LEARN! Writing Contest with a child sitting in a chair writing on a table and text reading: The Ultimate Field Trip
May 26

Submit your entry for the 2024 Writing Contest

Rachel Khong
May 29

Join us for PBS Books Readers Club!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: