Divided Republican Party Delays Budget & Drags Session Out (video)

Rep. Pam Powers Hannley

For more than a month, the Legislature hasn’t done much except pass a few bills and take random days off. The current glacial pace is the result of multiple feuds within the Republican Caucus of the Arizona Legislature.

The budget appears to be going no where. For weeks, the Republican leadership has been stuck between a rock (pleasing their Libertarian wing) and a hard place (negotiating with the Democrats). The Republican austerity budget died on a bipartisan vote in the House Appropriations Committee in late April. (Check out my late April blog post and video on that subject.)

Libertarians don’t want to spend money on anything — even to save lives. This is unrealistic and cruel when our state has $5 billion in the coffers and chronic poverty. Unfortunately, the Republican leadership wants to continue their tradition of not negotiating with the Democrats on the budget. Our ideas are not extreme; we have common sense spending proposals (like funding public education, basic healthcare, affordable housing, and infrastructure).

Continue reading Divided Republican Party Delays Budget & Drags Session Out (video)

Republicans Propose Austerity Budget. Why? (video)

Rep. Pam Powers Hannley

According to Arizona’s financial advisory committee, the state has more than $1.3 billion in ongoing funds and $3.6 billion in one-time funds to work with as we begin the budget process. We have $5 billion.

Why are Republicans proposing an austerity budget in times of plenty? Their pet projects — like the Flat Tax, Koch Brothers Freedom Schools, results-based funding and fake pregnancy clinics — are included in this first pass at the budget.

What’s not in this budget? Funding for K-12 education (since the Republicans killed Prop 208 in the courts), maternal and child health, Housing Trust Fund, help for the homeless, eviction relief, major infrastructure projects, expansion of cash assistance to the poor (TANF), programs to address chronic poverty, etc.

When there is so much need, why aren’t we investing in the future? (This video was recorded on April 19, 2022. Read the April 26 update and see the video below.)

Continue reading Republicans Propose Austerity Budget. Why? (video)

#AZLeg Opening Day Super Spreader Event (video)

Arizona House Opening Day 2022

This is my first Legislative Update of 2022. usually, on opening day of the legislature, I introduced my guests. Today, my only guest was my husband Jim. I had planned to bring my oldest grandchild to the legislature today but decided it was too risky for his health. He missed Opening Day at the Legislature today because the Republicans decided to host a Super Spreader event.

This is the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple times Governor Doug Ducey’s decisions have resulted in Arizona being worst in the world or worst in the country for COVID-19 deaths and/or infections. Today, Arizona saw 14,000 new COVID cases. Today, Governor Ducey, Speaker Bowers, President Fann, all republican legislators and their guests and some Democratic legislators and their guests were maskless and chummy on the floor of the Arizona House which apparently no longer has HEPA filters.

Continue reading #AZLeg Opening Day Super Spreader Event (video)

Podcast: Updates from Taxes to Reproductive Rights & COVID … What’s the Latest?

Rep. PPH's podcast

One of my pet peeves is reading a cliff-hanger news story, only to be left hanging when there is no follow up. Several stories reported in my previous podcasts have had newsworthy developments since those episodes aired.

To catch you up on the details, Episode 8 is a compilation of updates.

Many of my podcasts referred to petition drives and court cases that were trying to stop bad Republican bills from being enacted. These issues were decided last week. Why last week? Because September 29, 2021 is the 91st day after June 30, 2021, which was the end of the Legislative session. Unless passed with an emergency clause or stopped by the courts or the voters, bills passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor are enacted 90 days after the end of session.

Three previous guests return to discuss the status of the contested laws – particularly the flat tax, the alternative tax to get around Prop 208, the voter suppression bills, the bills attacking the power of the Secretary of State and the power of the governor, Arizona’s latest radical anti-choice bill SB1457, and mandated COVID public health protections.

The good news is that progressives had some wins in the courts. We also had some disappointments. Needless to say, the struggle to beat back oppressive legislation continues. Of course, Governor Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich are appealing cases that the state lost. Brnovich is even appealing the court’s ruling that Republican Legislators acted unconstitutionally when they stuff dozens of unrelated failed bills into the budget. Who is paying for these unnecessary lawsuits generated by unconstitutional or burdensome laws enacted by Republicans? You are. The taxpayer.

Continue reading Podcast: Updates from Taxes to Reproductive Rights & COVID … What’s the Latest?

Podcast: The Filibuster, It’s Time to Remove a Relic of Racism (video)

Rep. PPH podcast

Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, he and other Democratic leaders have proposed sweeping legislation to tackle deep-seated societal problems.

Many popular progressive bills – like the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act; the Richard L. Trumka Protect the Right to Organize Act, the Dream and Promise Act, and the Women’s Health Protection Act – have been passed by the US House of Representatives. Unfortunately, these bills and many more are blocked in the Senate by the filibuster’s 60-vote threshold.

Parts of Biden’s ambitious Build Back Better Plan are also in jeopardy due to opposition from so-called “moderates” in Congress. Build Back Better would rebuild and modernize our nation’s neglected infrastructure, address climate change, create jobs, and lower taxes and costs for the middle class. Who pays for Build Back Better? Biden’s plan calls for a “fairer tax code.” Rather than taking on more debt, corporations and the wealthiest Americans would pay more in taxes to fund this sweeping recovery plan. These are the people who have enjoyed decades of tax cuts under the guise of trickledown economics. These are the people who made billions during the pandemic while working families scraped by. These are the people who build private space ships to glorify their egos while they starve their workers and bust unions. These are the people who enjoyed the biggest tax cut ever under President Trump. Unfortunately, these are also the people who have the money to buy politicians and lobbyists. That is why Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was passed by Republicans on a party line with a simple majority without debate just days before Christmas, but Biden’s plan, which would tax the rich to the benefit of the rest of the country, needs a super majority to overcome a filibuster.

Continue reading Podcast: The Filibuster, It’s Time to Remove a Relic of Racism (video)

#AZ Republicans Propose Irresponsible Flat Tax Budget for 3rd Time (video)

Republicans thanks for the poverty

The Republican budget — with the financially irresponsible Flat Tax, several other tax giveaways and miscellaneous failed bills stuffed into it to buy votes — is on the agenda today, June 22, 2021.

Here we go again. This will be the third time that the House has debated versions of the largest tax overhaul in Arizona history. Is the third time the charm? Have the few Republican holdouts like Senators Paul Boyer and Kelly Townsend and Rep. David Cook now sold out to Governor Doug Ducey, ALEC and the Chamber of Commerce? Have all the votes been bought to pass this expensive collection of bad ideas? Looks like it.

If you are on Twitter, you can see that Ducey is effusive about how amazing the Flat Tax will be for economic growth in Arizona and job creation. Don’t buy the lie. This tax giveaway plan is for Arizona’s 1%. They don’t want to pay the 3.5% Invest in Ed fee to support public education; Ducey and the Arizona Republican Party vowed to fix that inconvenient voter-initiated problem for the greedy. Approximately 30,000 Arizonans will benefit from the tax breaks and special interest pork in this budget.

Those 30,000 people will make bank on the Flat Tax. Governmental giveaways from the Republican Party will enable them to buy a new boat or an extra car every year thanks to their tax savings in this budget. The other 7.2 million Arizonans will be able to buy an extra car wash or a couple movie tickets per year with our tax break.

Continue reading #AZ Republicans Propose Irresponsible Flat Tax Budget for 3rd Time (video)