Podcast Rep. PPH Capitol Updates: Back Story on the Budget

A View from the Left Side Podcast

The Arizona Legislature surpassed Day 150 this week. You’ll remember that the target length for a session is 100 days. That shipped sailed in mid April.

Season 2 Episode 8 of A View from the Left Side is a compilation of Legislative Updates recorded between April 18, 2022 and May 31, 2022. 

Three of these updates focus on the stalled budget process. The House Republican Caucus is fractured and there is no collaboration between the House and Senate leadership teams. 

There are rumors of another Republican budget but no bills have been dropped, and recent leaded spreadsheet likely doesn’t have the votes to pass. 

Libertarians don’t want to spend money on anything — despite great need in the state and a $5 billion surplus.

Democrats aren’t likely to support a budget that doesn’t include a significant investment in public education. Prop 208, which the Republicans took down in court, would have provided $900 million in revenue for public education by assessing a fee on excessive income over $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for couples. 

Continue reading Podcast Rep. PPH Capitol Updates: Back Story on the Budget

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)

Grover Norquist Tax Pledge Is Unrealistic in Tax Giveaway State (video)

Taxpayer Protection Pledge, edited

I was surprised to find Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge on my desk on the Floor of the Arizona House on Monday. First of all, state employees like the Pages should not be distributing political propaganda to members in the House Chambers on state time.

That aside, Norquist’s pledge is completely unrealistic in a state that gives away as much tax revenue as possible in the form of tax advantages for big corporations, wealthy Arizonans, and private religious schools. Norquist’s tax pledge states that members pledge to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.” The problem is that Arizona has far too many lawmakers — on both sides of the aisle — who consistently vote to give your taxes away.

When they go overboard with tax breaks and are caught short during a financial disaster — like the Wall Street Crash of 2008-09 — the state is forced to cut vital programs or raise taxes to make up the difference. Arizona has been cutting taxes for decades; this resulted in massive across the board cuts under Governor Jan Brewer and Senate President Russell Pearce.

Let’s not go there again. Let’s learn from past mistakes, shall we?

Continue reading Grover Norquist Tax Pledge Is Unrealistic in Tax Giveaway State (video)

What Did the Arizona Legislature Do in the First 100 Days of 2022? (video)

Phoenix

The Arizona Legislature has a 100 day target for the length of each session. With more than 1000 bills proposed and more than 300 signed into law each year, the Legislature rarely finishes in 100 days.

April 19, 2022 is day 100 for this year. We are lurching slowly toward a budget, with more than 100 bills waiting to be heard and a few large projects — like education funding, the proposed Water Authority, and a potential “repeal and replace” revival of the Flat Tax — hanging in limbo. As I write this note, it is  Wednesday, April 13, and the Arizona House is temporarily adjourned until Monday, April 18. This is a repeat of last week, when we gaveled in for business on Monday, April 4 and promptly adjourned until Thursday.

NOBODY wants a repeat of 2021.

Continue reading What Did the Arizona Legislature Do in the First 100 Days of 2022? (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)