If you followed my Legislative video updates during the 2021 session, you already know that it was a grueling session that lasted two months longer than the 100-day target for Legislative sessions in Arizona. Republicans generally prefer to push bills through the process as soon as possible before the people catch wind of what they are proposing and show up to protest.
Why did the Republicans drag out this session? Because they spent two months twisting members’ arms on the budget and making individual backroom deals to buy votes.
With their extreme hubris and entitlement on full display during the 2021 session, Republican Legislators acted as if their one vote margin was a mandate to impose authoritarian government and crushing austerity on future generations, while suppressing the vote, further reducing women’s rights, and secretly pumping up mandatory sentencing. (The failed mandatory sentencing laws that Republicans unconstitutionally stuffed into the budget were discussed in Episode 1 of this podcast.)
The result was that some of the most extreme bills proposed in my five years in the Arizona House were debated and passed — or inappropriately shoved into the budget. Stuffing multiple Republican Legislators’ failed pet bills into the budget just to buy their votes on the Flat Tax, the alternative tax for small business, and other fiscally irresponsible ideas is a dangerous trend. Instead of negotiating with the 29 Democrats in the House, the 31 Republicans did everything they could to pass laws to take away the financial benefit of Prop 208 Invest in Ed to public education and automatically eliminate more than one billion dollars a year in new tax revenue from future budgets.
As predicted many times by the House Democrats, the people of Arizona are fighting back against bad government and unconstitutional laws passed by Republican Legislators. There are six referenda, a few citizens initiatives, and some lawsuits at play two months after the session ended.
This episode of A View from the Left Side features interviews with David Lujan, President and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance, talking about the three education-related referenda that are being proposed to stop an automatic annual $2 billion in tax cuts from going into law and Eric Kramer from Arizona Deserves Better talking about the three referenda aimed at stopping a collection of voter suppression bills from becoming law.
All six referenda need more than 118,000 valid signatures by September 28, 2021 to put these bad Republican ideas on the ballot for the citizens to decide. Nobody asked the Republicans to suppress the vote and crush public education funding for the foreseeable future in Arizona.
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