Monday, December 21, 2009

After Emergency Cabinet Meeting, Brewer to turn over illegal alien prisoners to ICE

Governor Brewer called an emergency cabinet meeting over the weekend to address the ongoing budget crisis and provide updated revenue and expenditure numbers.

She also laid out 10 actions items she intends to have her Directors implement. Sure to catch the headline is the fourth item on the list.

FOURTH, I am ordering the Arizona Department of Corrections to return to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) -- as soon as possible -- all non-violent criminal aliens as is allowed under existing law. The cost of incarcerating these criminal aliens is NOT Arizona’s responsibility. By federal law, the cost of their incarceration is the responsibility of the FEDERAL government.

There was no mention of additional revenue, and it didn't need mentioning. The picture that was laid out, and that you can see in the slides, is that because of voter mandated items you can cut everything out of the budget that's not mandated and still not fix the hole. In other words, you could shut down almost all government services and still have problems to fix. This goes right to the heart of those that say the state should go back to 2006 revenue levels.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Governor Brewer calls another special session

Our year round legislature will be back at it again on Thursday as Governor Brewer has called a special session covering three topics.
  • Proposal to ask voters to loosen restrictions on voter-approved funds
  • More cuts on top of those passed a few weeks ago. $200 Million seems to be the number
  • Refer to the ballot a temporary sales-tax and allow the voters to decide the state budget number the state will move forward with.
Some say the votes are there. Some say they aren't. Either way, the only guarantee you have is that it will be an interesting session as usual.

Will the Democrats be there? Will Ron Gould stay the line on his rhetoric? What do you think?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Governor Brewer Seeks Relief from Massive Washington Mandates

Meets With Congressional Delegation on Arizona’s Economy,

Cost of Health Care Entitlement Expansion, Job Recruitment Efforts

PHOENIX – With three years now beyond the initial signs of recession, and state revenues down 31% just since the summer of 2008, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer today met with members of Arizona’s federal delegation to encourage defeat of an expensive expansion of federal health care mandates on the states. Federal health care proposals, particularly as proposed by the US Senate, would have a devastating fiscal impact to the State of Arizona’s already challenging budget shortfall. Other proposals, such as the plan approved by the US House of Representatives, suggest a possible state government savings scenario but lock in Arizona to permanent service and spending mandates that are not affordable or sustainable even under the best economic conditions.

Since taking office in late January of 2009, Governor Brewer and the Arizona Legislature have enacted a total of $1.05 billion in permanent budget reductions, eliminating state programs and services, and substantially reducing the state’s work force.

“A mandated and permanent expansion of health care will cost Arizona taxpayers billions of dollars,” said Governor Jan Brewer. “Whether the monies are collected by the states or the federal government, either scenario is expensive, ill-conceived, and will be paid for by hard-working Arizona citizens. This is nothing more than Congress imposing a future, hidden tax increase on Arizona taxpayers. Expanding federal entitlements now is absolutely irresponsible.”

Other topics on the Governor’s DC agenda included the state’s economy, job recruitment efforts, and transportation.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Vernon Parker's Anti-Tax Committee Raises Questions

Yesterday, Paradise Valley Mayor and exploratory candidate for Governor Vernon Parker announced that he had formed a committee to oppose any potential tax increase that may be placed on the ballot. Parker wasted no time using the opportunity to give a stump speech about the virtue or cutting spending and fewer taxes - which sounded vaguely similar to his stump speech for Governor.

We received his press release on the topic, which we will include below, which raised more questions than answers. First, note that the press release is paid for by Parker's exploratory committee. How can an exploratory committee pay for the activities of another political committee?

The second question we had was who was paying for the PR for the new committee. We were going to ask if both committees were, in fact, paying guru Jason Rose to do the work. However, if you look, the contact is actually someone from Lincoln Strategy Group. That group is lead by Nathan Sproul, the guy behind mudslinging so heinous that Janet Napolitano defended Russell Pearce against it.

Sproul was recently featured again on Seeing Red Arizona, with the following recap:

"Sproul was also behind the disingenuously named ballot initiative Stop Illegal Hiring (Prop. 202) which sought to accomplish just the opposite. The voters saw through the abysmal charade — and its proponents of low wage, illegal and exploitable labor led by McDonald’s owner Marion “Mac” Magruder, Carl’s Jr. owner Jason LeVecke and chaired by County Attorney wannabe Andrew Pacheco — sending it to a swift defeat. The conservative publication Human Events also covered the deceptive effort."

Parker appears to be trapped between the Sheriff Joe anti-illegal rock and the Nathan Sproul pro-immigration hard place. Not only that, but he is using his Clean Elections money to do it.

Contact: Brian Murray
Save Our Jobs: Stop the Tax Hike
Phone: 480.303.7175

Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker Forms "Save Our Jobs: Stop the Tax Hike" Coalition to Oppose Anticipated Tax Hike Referral

PHOENIX, AZ – Today, Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker took the first steps to actively oppose any tax increase upon the citizens of Arizona, by filing a new political committee: "Save Our Jobs: Stop the Tax Hike."

Parker will file the paperwork with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office Wednesday morning.

"Raising taxes during times of economic crisis doesn’t make sense. We have lost over 210,000 jobs in Arizona, and if a tax increase goes through our economy will get even worse. It must seem like raising our taxes is the easy way out, but that’s wrong. It won’t solve our fundamental problems, and will be devastating to our economy," said Parker.

"I stand ready today to help our leaders understand the futility of a tax increase and that is why I am writing to every single lawmaker explaining to them the economic peril a tax increase will have. I know this fight will not be an easy one, but one I intend to win," said Parker.

"We have a governor that wants to take more money from all Arizonans yet refuses to cut her own Governor’s Office budget. This type of approach must be defeated," he concluded.

The committee filed today will allow Parker to raise funds to actively oppose any tax increase. A copy of the letter sent to state lawmakers can be found below.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Governor Brewer Brings Back Christmas

Governor Brewer officially returned to the State Capitol a few words that had been missing for last few years. Christmas, menorah, and Hanukkah have missing since 2001 when Janet Napolitano changed the words to "holiday" and "candle holder."

Saying she wasn't going to play "word games,"Brewer said, "I believe in calling something what it is, and it is a Christmas tree, just as a menorah is a menorah.

You can see footage of the tree lighting ceremony here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

They did it!!

After a weekend of anticipation, the legislature met today (a few hours later then planned) and approved on party lines $300 million in cuts from the state budget. The Senate started off the morning looking for Democratic votes but after last weeks AWOL, Sen Thayer Verschoor was in the building a was a yes vote.

Governor Brewer will be signing the bills today. The cuts and changes will be immediate. The cuts scratch the surface of the overall deficit but is a start. The question is, is this session a sign of things to come?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Special Session Stopped Short - Governor Reacts

Earlier this week, Governor Brewer called a special session to cut over $300 million from the State's budget. The special session didn't go as planned, as Senator Vershoor opted not to vote for the fix because of disagreements with other policy issues. Not a single Democrat voted for the budget cuts. Below is Brewer's release on the failure in the Senate:


PHOENIX – “I would like to thank those in the legislature that stepped up and returned to the Capitol for a special session that was intended to start a recovery process in a state that is suffering terribly from a budget deficit of epic proportions, a budget crisis years in the making.

“The sheer magnitude of Arizona’s budget deficit is unprecedented and requires immediate action by each and every member of the Arizona Legislature. Unfortunately, every single Democrat and a couple of Republican extremists have, once again, thwarted this effort to slow government spending. It is time to put self-interests and personal agendas aside and do what is in the best interest of the state. Our citizens deserve that and Arizona’s future depends on it.

“The people of the State of Arizona and this Governor expect much more. Budget cuts are absolutely necessary, and to suggest anything different is simply unrealistic. Further responsible budget actions will also be necessary.

“I am meeting this afternoon with the Speaker and President and intend to provide any additional assistance my agencies or I may offer to help them succeed.”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Governor Calls Special Session

And they're back! The governor this afternoon called a 3-day special session that will start tomorrow at noon. Kirk Adams officially announced it through his Twitter Account.

The session is expected to only address cuts, anywhere from $300M to $700M.

We will post all of the details as we hear them. So far, it sounds like the votes are there and may even include some Democrat votes. Then again, when have vote counts ever been accurate??

Update from the Republic Here with confirmation from Sen Pres. Burns.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Governor Brewer Announces Re-Election Bid

Governor Brewer announced tonight that she is indeed running for a full official term as Governor. Her release, sent by email is below.

Governor Jan Brewer Announces Bid for Second Term

Former Attorney General Grant Woods and Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters announced as Campaign Co‐Chairs

PHOENIX –– Arizona Governor Jan Brewer today formally announced her candidacy for a second term as the Governor of the State of Arizona. Brewer, who took the helm as Governor last January in the midst of Arizona’s record financial crisis, pledged to continue to make the tough choices and renewed her steadfast commitment to serving the people of Arizona.

“When I took office, I inherited a budget deficit created from years of overspending and living beyond our means. We have worked hard to start fixing this problem, and made some very tough, but necessary decisions,” said Governor Brewer.

She said her decision to run for election next year is based on a simple philosophy. “I have always been a mother first and an elected official second and have made every decision to run for office based on whether I believed I could help people. I have never run for an office because I was looking to move on to some other office.”

Governor Brewer also proudly announced two distinguished supporters as the co‐chairs who will help lead her campaign committee: Former Attorney General Grant Woods and Former United States Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters.

Former Attorney General Grant Woods served as Arizona’s chief law enforcement agent and prosecutor from 1991 to 1999. During his time in office, Arizona reinstated the death penalty in Arizona. Woods was known as a populist Attorney General and a staunch consumer protection advocate and was selected by his peers as the nation's top attorney general in 1995.Woods said, “I have known Jan for a long time, and I can say that tough times call for a tough leader,” explained Woods, “She understands that the budget isn’t our only policy issue ‐ there are going to be more tough decisions to make, and she has pledged that over the course of her term, she will address the big challenges such as healthcare including mental health, transportation, infrastructure, and protecting our environment.”

Mary Peters, a fourth generation Arizonan, served as the United States Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush from 2006 to 2009. Prior to her appointment, Peters served as Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration from 2001 to 2005. She also headed the Arizona Department of Transportation from 1998 to 2001, where she started her career as an administrative assistant 16 years earlier. Throughout her career, Peters, has been a champion for more responsive and smaller government focused on delivering maximum value for taxpayers. She continues to be an advocate for solutions that engage both the public and private sector and shares Governor Brewer’s passion for driving solutions intended to help people.

Peters said, "Governor Brewer understands that we must create a business friendly climate to attract high paying jobs and business investment in Arizona. As we prepare Arizona for the next 100 years of economic growth, not only will we need tax reform, but education reform, creating more opportunities and a highly skilled workforce. Jan Brewer is the best candidate to lead Arizona for the next four years."

Governor Brewer thanked Woods and Peters for their long‐time service to the State of Arizona and the United States as well as for their willingness to serve as co‐ chairs in her bid for a second term. She also thanked all of her supporters for their already overwhelming response.

“There is still a lot of work to be done and it is clear to me to that this is the moment that I was born to serve. I am in this race to win and I expect great things for Arizona,” said Governor Brewer, “I would be honored for your vote.”


Paid for by Governor Jan Brewer 2010

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Special Session and a Bob Burns Editorial

Just because it is November, doesn't mean we can't welcome back our legislature with open arms. Come the week of November 16th we'll do just that. Reports say that is when lawmakers will return to fix almost a half a billion dollars in shortfalls with almost $300 million of that coming from cuts. This is just the beginning since the full year shortfall is approaching $2 Billion.

Senate President Bob Burns wrote an editorial yesterday in the Republic that in one page lays out the situation we are in. I encourage everyone to read it if you don't quite know what's going on, or even if you think you know what's going on. We're in trouble folks and there is no easy way out of it. A temporary tax won't fix it all, and there isn't enough to cut either. An exert from the editorial does a good job of summing it up in a sentence or two.

To maintain a General Fund budget of about $10 billion over the past few years of this recession, your state government - Republicans and Democrats alike - have depleted our savings, delayed payments, swept funds from other accounts, used one-time federal stimulus dollars, and gone deeper into debt. Our projected ongoing revenues are only $6.4 billion, meaning the budget has a structural deficit of $3.6 billion that will plague us in the future until we enact permanent solutions.

Now, we've hit the wall on short-term budget maneuvers and gimmicks. Those options are no longer available. We will have to cut spending or increase taxes or both. There is very little else of substance we can do at this point.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Arizona- Home to the nations two largest canyons

How fitting for Gov. Brewer to speaking about the budget deficit at one of the seven wonders of the world. At the Arizona Town Hall, Brewer took advantage of the scenic landscape to paint a picture not quite as beautiful but definitely as breathtaking. That picture would be the state's continuing budget crisis.

As we all figured would happen, Governor Brewer and legislative leadership are set to call a special session to begin fixing a portion of the $1.75 Billion deficit. It is expected the session will be called for sometime in the next few weeks. We are still a few months away from the next round of problems we face...the 2011 budget. Yes folks, it only gets worse.

At the event, there were two former legislators from California that know a thing or two about bad budgets. Both gave warning to relying on the very gimmicks and tricks that got us through the last session and got us here in the first place. Borrowing and relying too much on one source of revenue is the a recipe for disaster that we have learned the hard way in Arizona. Combine that with spending one time revenue on ongoing programs and you have the AZ budget crisis summed up in a few sentences.

Brulte, the former Republican leader in the CA Senate, said lawmakers need to be clear-eyed as they deal with huge deficits.

"If you paper over this problem, you'll be back here next year," Brulte said. "And in California, we're running out of paper."

I think our paper supply is running short in Arizona too.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Is this a Brewer momentum shift?

Jan Brewer's first term as governor was going to be short no matter what. After taking over after Janet Napolitano saw greener pastures, the longest Brewer's tenure could be was just a little under two years. Watching college football today, it came to me that Brewer is the replacement quarterback who had to take the reins after the first quarter, replacing the superstar starting QB who had 5 turnovers in the first quarter. After a bumpy 2nd quarter, it appears Brewer might be coming out of halftime with some fresh legs, a new running back and a solid attack plan.

Two great reads from this week sum up what I may be sensing. Robert Robb from the Republic details how this might be the Governors new start. A new Chief of Staff to help run the offense, and an even worse budget picture, making it clear some give and take will be necessary on both sides.

Speaking of both sides, Greg Patterson from Espresso Pundit points out the interesting timing of the Democrats. It seems like they are figuring out that the posturing from the last session isn't going to win very many points or prove they are actually doing anything. I'm sure Brewer wishes they were "on board" when she really needed them, or when new revenue could have helped this year.

Quote of the day goes to Patterson-
"Democrats may still get a tax increase, but the iron has grown cold. Cold, hard, stiff, unyielding iron is what they will likely face now. Remember that when the janitor brings that 40th desk into you kid's classroom."
How's that for visual?

The crowd is waiting in anticipation and the second half has started. Now it's Jan Brewer's time to show she's ready to take over and be our star QB.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happenings on the 9th floor...including the budget

It was a busy week on the 9th floor. We are still processing the news and reactions to the departure of Chief of Staff Kevin Tyne. Most of the comments are positive towards Tyne but don't hide the fact that this will definitely make the next round of budget negotiations a much smoother process.

Some whisper this is a sign she will run for reelection. Either way, her schedule is much busier then it has been. She will even be the grand marshal for the ASU homecoming parade.

Speaking of budget negotiations, the outlook keeps getting worse. The estimated shortfall has risen to $2 Billion which is up about $500 Million from the last estimates. For those with 40 kids in your math class growing up, that makes the total shortfall for this year and next $5.3 Billion.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We're #4! We're #4!

We have to admit that usually we love the bluster and bravado of the stream of press releases we receive from PR Guru, Jason Rose. However, we have to admit that his latest attempt at spin left us confused:



OCT. 22, 2009. In a public opinion survey released yesterday by the real estate group NAIOP, Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker polled ahead of Secretary of State Ken Bennett and Tucson lawyer John Munger, and was only 9 points behind Jan Brewer.

Survey results for the 2010 Republican Primary showed Brewer at 16 percent, State Treasurer Dean Martin at 14 percent, Valley businessman Robert Graham at 9 percent, Parker at 7 percent, Ken Bennett with 6 percent of the vote and Munger at 3 percent.

“Republicans will not beat a career politician like Terry Goddard with another one from the GOP,” said Parker. “We need a fresh voice, new message and someone who can fight on Terry’s turf rather than he on ours.”


Is it just us or is Vernon Parker bragging about coming in 4th place behind Brewer, Martin, and Graham?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Eileen Klein to replace Kevin Tyne as Gov COS

Word just in that Kevin Tyne will be stepping down as Gov. Jan Brewer's Chief of Staff and will be replaced by Eileen Klein. This announcement is both surprising yet not. As Brewer moves forward, it had become clear something needed to move so that budget negotiations with the legislature did not start off right where they ended. With a new voice as the go between for the Brewer and leadership, it provides a second opportunity to have much better relations.

In addition, Brewer is also coming closer the time period where a decision on whether she will run next year must be made. While she has a few months to do so, trying to launch a campaign while mired in an expected 2011 budget crisis (and still fixing 2010) would be very tough.

UPDATE: Here is the press release from the Governor's office. It looks like Tyne has landed at the Republican Governors Association.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cutting Government by 15%

From the Governor's office:

On September 18th the Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff of Finance and Director of OSPB, Eileen Klein, made the attached request to state agencies. The memo requests data from each state agency describing the ramifications and impacts of 15% reductions should the Legislature look predominately at cuts to close Arizona's state budget deficit. Please note that this is a data collection tool, and should not be construed as a proposed budget solution.

In an effort to provide this data to all concerned citizens, the information received by OSPB has been posted for review at Updates to the online links will be made as OSPB receives additional submissions.

You can click here to see the list of all of the reports as they become available online. The Arizona Republic is focusing on Corrections, Healthcare, Public Safety and Education in their first review of the proposed cuts.

Critics will likely dismiss this as a scare tactic, but the question remains, what would they cut if these proposed cuts are just meant to "scare" people? These scenarios are not considered to be proposals, but one would guess that they will be the starting point for the next round of budget discussions.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Brewers Public Schedule

Here is the Gov's public schedule. Good to see she has a busy week ahead.

Public Schedule For Governor Jan Brewer
Week of October 12, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

· 11:00 a.m. – Governor to Speak at 13th Annual Sandra Day O’Connor
Awards Luncheon
Arizona Biltmore, Frank Lloyd Wright Ballroom
2400 East Missouri Avenue

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

· 10:00 a.m. – Governor to Hold Press Conference Regarding Future of
Luke Air Force Base
State Capitol, Executive Tower, 2nd Floor Conference Room
1700 West Washington

· 12:00 p.m. – Governor to Speak at Foundations of Leadership in Healthcare
Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, Conference Center Ballrooms
7677 North 16th Street

· 4:00 p.m. - Governor to Deliver Keynote Address at Saddlebrooke Republican Club Meeting
Desert View Performing Arts Theater
39900 South Clubhouse Drive, Saddlebrooke, AZ 85739

Friday, October 16, 2009

· 11:30 a.m. – Governor to Speak at SRP’s Women’s Interest Network Luncheon
Pera Club Pavilion
1 East Continental Drive, Tempe

For additional information, please contact:

Paul Senseman
Director of Communications
Office of Governor Janice K. Brewer
1700 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone: 602.542.1342

Thursday, October 8, 2009

2010 Watch

We're combing through the rumor mills, news stories, and blogs to give you the latest on the Governor's race in 2010.

Two Republican would-be challengers have decided against running and instead have thrown their support behind two of the already announced challengers.

Looks like Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman's slick website won't get quite as much use. Instead of throwing his hat into the ring as some expected, he has opted to be the chairman of Vernon Parker's bid.

Former Governor Fife Symington won't be eyeing Symington/Goddard II after all. Instead, he has decided to throw his support behind John Munger.

Are these the first in a series of competing announcements from the two candidates? How does this impact Brewer's considerations? We'll keep you up to date with the latest as it develops.

If you have any juicy gossip or more information, please let us know at

Where's Kevin Tyne?

Thanks to everyone who sent in images of Kevin Tyne. So far, Arizona's version of Where's Waldo has been quite successful. Here are some of the subissions sent our way so far:

Keep on sending in your cell phone shots, video clips, whatever you have to

Brewer takes a stand against Medicaid expansion

Governor Brewer raised a warning flag today that health-care reforms being pushed in Congress by Senator Baucus-(D MT) right now could create a "devastating" situation for Arizona. Brewer state that these reforms would create an unfudned mandate that could push our already struggling state into bankruptcy.

To make her point, Brewer pointed to the fact that Arizona is already struggling to meet its obligations. "We can't afford the AHCCCS program we have currently," she said.

Even Democratic Rep Kysten Sinema, who is on Obama's health-care reform task force admitted the latest Baucus plan simply wouldn't work in Arizona.

Brewer joins a group of other Republican governors speaking out against the plan. This is one of her first foray's into the national scene. It would be expected though that this will not be the last since 39 governor seats (20 Dem incumbents-19 Rep's) are up for reelection next year.

Governor's letter to Baucus Here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Brewer's light public schedule raises questions

Remember when Governor Napolitano's meager public schedule made everyone believe that she had one foot already in Washington D.C.? Similar questions are starting to surface regarding Governor Brewer's seemingly light public schedule.

In fact, Brewer's schedule from this week only features 2 public events. Her schedule last week only contained 1 public event. We tried to compare these weeks back to previous years, but it appears that all of the previous administration's releases are now gone off the Governor's website.

So, the question is, is this the schedule of a Governor who is planning to run for re-election? One would think that public appearances would be one of the greatest perks for an incumbent, appearing across the state reinforcing your office and keeping your name in people's minds. It would seem to be a wise idea, especially when other rival Republicans are announcing their candidacies.

Is this an idication of the Governor's intentions or is it just a lack of finding things to do?

Where's Kevin Tyne?

Speaking of the Governor and public appearances, our post on the Governor's Chief of Staff, Kevin Tyne, has received quite a bit of attention including a mention in the Guardian Angel. From the emails and feedback that we have received, the "Tyne Factor" is as prevalent as we found in the quick image search we shared.

So, we're asking for proof. We've been keeping our "Eye on the 9th Floor," but apparently that's not where to look to find Tyne. So, send us any pictures you have with Kevin Tyne out and about with the Governor, by her side, or in the background. Cell phone shots, video clips, whatever you have. It will be Arizona's version of Where's Waldo.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Gov's Chief of Staff Kevin Tyne on the hot seat

Have we found the reason why some of Governor Brewer's top advisers have decided to seek other opportunities? A reader sent us over a very interesting article regarding Governor Brewer's Chief of Staff Kevin Tyne.

The Arizona Guardian (subscription required) gives in-depth look at the apparent conflict between Tyne and many administrative and legislative officials. According to the story, Tyne holds a tight grip over the office, making even the smallest decisions, leaving the entire 9th floor dependent on his actions. The result is a slow moving administration that has rubbed many the wrong way.

When faced with these allegations, both Governor Brewer and Tyne claim that there is no problem, and any one who says otherwise is being "petty." However, one does have to ask, how many people have to point out a problem before it comes real?

In some ways, the conflict boils down to loyalty vs. effective leadership. Tyne has been loyal to Brewer and has become her most trusted confidant. The article goes on to talk about the fact that he is most often by the Governor's side, sitting next to her, giving her notes and advice. This behavior can be confirmed fairly easily. When you do a quick image search of Brewer, you can find Tyne often standing nearby or in the background:

If Tyne is travelling with Brewer, attending events, press conferences and sports games, but all decisions must be run through him, how much is getting done while he is gone? If things really are working fine, it's up to Brewer and Tyne to prove it.

Press Release: Mayor Parker Challenges Brewer, Other Candidates to Cut Guv's Office Budget

Governors Need to Lead by Example
Mayor Vernon Parker Says He Would Cut Governor’s Office Budget On Day One; Says Any Serious Gubernatorial Candidates Should Pledge the Same

OCTOBER 5, 2009. With the possibility of an 18 percent state-wide sales tax increase looming, one potential gubernatorial candidate not only thinks that is a bad idea, he is calling for cuts in the budget of the Governor’s Office itself.

"It is only fair to do what you are asking others to do…cut," Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker said. Parker believes Arizona should instead be talking about phasing out corporate taxes, a remedy for growing the economy. Parker recently formed an exploratory committee to pursue the Governor’s Office in 2010. * (JLBC spending levels for Arizona Governor’s Office referenced below.)

"Many Arizonans are suffering. Many state agencies are cutting. The Governor’s Office should do the same. I will," Parker said. "Should I be fortunate enough to be elected Governor I would make these necessary cuts on Day One."

Parker has presided over budget cuts as Mayor of Paradise Valley. Spending has been reduced by 25 percent while the budget for Mayor and Council has been reduced by 54 percent. Parker also fought off a major effort to increase the bed and sales tax in Paradise Valley.

"Republicans willing to raise taxes will not beat a career politician like Terry Goddard. We need a fresh voice, new message and someone who can fight on Terry’s turf rather than he on ours. One career politician will not beat another," said Parker.

Parker, 49, is the current mayor of Paradise Valley, Arizona. He has previously served as a Special Assistant to the first President Bush in The White House, and has served George W. Bush as an Assistant Secretary for the $90 billion United States Department of Agriculture. He is a lawyer and a small businessman.

Parker has the most compelling life story of any candidate emerging for governor. He has overcome many odds, and has pledged to help Arizona overcome some of its most difficult economic times since the Great Depression. "I truly believe it’s going to take someone who has defied the odds to help Arizona overcome the odds now facing it. And we can start with a Governor’s Office that believes in shared sacrifice," Parker said.

For more information contact Jason Rose or go to

*NOTE: Spending levels for the Office of the Governor for fiscal year 2010 obtained from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee "Summary of Appropriate Funds," which can be found at

Thursday, October 1, 2009

2010 Watch

We're combing through the rumor mills, news stories, and blogs to give you the latest on the Governor's race in 2010.

Former GOP chairman and current man behind "Imagine Arizona"
has left his spot as a pundit on Arizona Illustrated's "Face Off" and states that will be making a "major announcement" soon. Munger has been considering a bid for months and has been using his Imagine Arizona effort to help boost his name ID. His announcement may have been accelerated due to Mayor Vernon Parker's recent announcement.

Speaking of Parker, Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker formally announced his bid for Mayor last week, launching his new website and his official twitter Parker is busy positioning himself as the only Republican candidate capable of beating Terry Goddard, who has been leading the Republican field in recent polls.

Expect the field of candidates to solidify more between now and the end of the year. However, two major questions loom over the landscape - Will Brewer run in 2010? Will any Democrat give Goddard a challenge in the Primary?

If you have any juicy gossip or more information, please let us know at

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Governor Brewer

Governor Brewer turns 65 tomorrow. I wonder if she thought she'd enter retirement age dealing with all that she has had to this last year. When most are taking it easy and looking forward to riding off into the sunset, Brewer hasn't shown any drive to relax or slow down. We just hope that means we get a balanced budget and the state back on track.

Press Release: Governor Brewer Provides Stimulus Funds for Medically Uninsured and Underserved

Governor Brewer Provides Stimulus Funds for Medically Uninsured and Underserved

$11.6 Million awarded to the Department of Health Services for Community Health Centers

PHOENIX – Governor Jan Brewer today announced the distribution of the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF) Government Services Fund (GSF) monies to the Arizona Department of Health Services through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The Arizona Department of Health Services will contract with health centers in the State of Arizona to expand primary care services to Arizona’s indigent and uninsured population. DHS will be responsible for awarding and authorizing contracts associated with these funds to both federally qualified health centers and non-federally qualified health centers.

“Protecting the health and safety of the citizens of Arizona should be a priority of all elected officials, and it is my first priority as Governor,” said Governor Brewer. “I am pleased to announce the release of a portion of my stimulus discretionary funds to Arizona’s community health centers, which will help provide important medical service for many citizens across our state.”

“We are grateful to the Governor for allocating much needed funding for comprehensive primary healthcare. Community Health Centers provide vital primary and preventative healthcare to Arizonans living in medically underserved areas of the state,” said Tara McCollum Plese, Director of Government and Media Relations for the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers. “Unfortunately, the state’s fiscal crisis resulted in the virtual elimination of the funding that enables health centers to provide medical services. The state Legislature and the Governor acknowledged the tremendous need for the services. The Governor agreed to dedicate some of the federal stimulus money to the Community Health Centers. The funding will help cover over 100,000 primary care and dental visits through 2010.”

“Community health centers have a great track record because they are staffed by a variety of health professionals who work together to integrate all aspects of a person’s care,” said Will Humble, Interim Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Governor Brewer’s decision to provide $11.6 million in ARRA funding to community health centers will ensure comprehensive healthcare for all Arizonans during these difficult economic times.”

For more information, please visit the State of Arizona’s stimulus funds website at


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Welcome to the "hell hole"

Don't get confused by those cool mornings and evening nights with windows open, there are still some major "hot spots" around the central Phoenix area. According to Governor Brewer, summer is sticking around and down around the capitol it's a real "hell hole." Brewer made the "hell hole" comment yesterday while speaking in a much cooler Tucson Country Club lunch.

As was pointed out on Twitter by a few people, Webster's definition of hellhole is a "place notorious for its wild or immoral activities." Personally, I will have to agree. I think it is wild and immoral that we are in September and we have neither a balanced budget for 2010 or a firm plan to ever get there.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

First to the race?

Sorry the posts have been light, a lot has been going on around the office and there hasn't been much news from the 9th floor. I was talking to a colleague today who gave an interesting insight into Vernon Parker and what is assumed to be an announcement tonight for Governor.

Parker filed his exploratory yesterday and it has been widely reported that he will announce tonight at the Politics on the Rocks event. The question is, does being the first one to enter equal the first to exit? Parker needs to enter early because his statewide name ID is small. Paradise Valley is a tiny town in the valley and Parker was only elected a year or so ago. His resume will help but all of this time also opens up the door to the critics and Parker's closet isn't exactly tidy.
What do you think? Earlier the better? Best to let the "seriously considering it" line float a little while?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

2010 Watch

We're combing through the rumor mills, news stories, and blogs to give you the latest on the Governor's race in 2010.

Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker has made his strongest statement yet, hinting that there is going to be a "big announcement" at his upcoming appearance at "Politics on the Rocks." Don't know how announcing his bid at a Republican cocktail party will go over with the general public, but it does play to the Republican faithful. He is also making the rounds, hitching his car to the Sheriff Joe PR locomotive. Does this mean that Joe is out of the running?

Another Paradise Valley resident who may be dipping his toe into the exploratory waters is former Governor Fife Symington. Just as he pondered entering the Republican primary a few years back to challenge Napolitano, Symington has tossed his name into the ring to see if it can fill the current Republican vacuum. Interestingly, this would have the potential of setting up Symington/Goddard II, a replay of their 1990 battle, nearly 20 years later.

If you have any juicy gossip or more information, please let us know at

A letter to a dear old friend...

Senate President Burns and Speaker Adams polished up the penmanship and sent Governor Brewer a letter. No, it wasn't the "have a nice vacation" type of letters but given the circumstances it wasn't all that bad either.

The letter, which follows, basically states that the line item vetoes she did in the latest budget round were unconstitutional but because of "unusual economic circumstances the state is in", they aren't going to sue her.

They are throwing her a bone here and saying, "we all know you're not allowed to do what you did but we'll give you one free pass since we all know we have to come back together and be nice." The reason I say throwing a bone is because Napolitano did the same thing and lost. So, Brewer gets a pass this time but has been put on notice that this is not something to get used to.

We write to express our concern that some of your line item vetoes to House Bills 2006 and 2011 exceed your constitutional authority. Legal counsel for the House and Senate as well as the nonpartisan Legislative Council attorneys agree that some of the line item vetoes are clearly policy determinations made by the legislature, not “items of appropriation” subject to your line item veto authority. The Arizona Supreme Court held just three years ago in 47th Legislature v. Napolitano, 213 Ariz. 489, that the Governor’s line item veto authority is limited to “items of appropriation” and does not include policy decisions made by the Legislature.

Normally we would be compelled to initiate litigation, as we have in the past, to stop constitutionally unauthorized gubernatorial line item vetoes. Because of the unusual economic circumstances that the state is in, we have in this one instance decided to refrain from seeking relief from the Supreme Court. At a time when the State is in an economic crisis, we do not want to divert attention or dollars away from a resolution of critical budgetary issues. We understand that there are unique budget considerations regarding federal maintenance of effort requirements. We believe, however, that some of these issues could have been avoided if you would have instructed your staff to be more forthcoming in the sharing of information with the Legislature concerning the status and intended uses of federal stimulus dollars.

We want to make it absolutely clear that our decision not to seek legal redress in this particular instance should not be viewed as creating any precedent for similar issues in the future. We are acquiescing in your constitutionally untenable line item vetoes because of the special circumstances involved. We are unlikely to do so again.

Thank you for attending to these concerns. We look forward to cooperating with you for the good of Arizona.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Brewer deputy chief of staff resigns

Deputy Chief of Staff Brian McNeil resigned yesterday making him the second key aide to leave the administration in the last few months. Tom Manos, who had been the governor's chief budget adviser left at the end of July after the first few rounds of budget negotiations.

No word on exactly why McNeil is leaving. He said he felt the "timing is right to explore something different." Manos was more direct when he left and said the all-nighters and grueling negotiations on the budget was taking too much of a toll on his family life.

No word on when a replacement will be made or who that person will be. Any thoughts on whether the list will be as long as those vying for the job that McNeil ultimately got?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sit down for this

You might want to make sure you are sitting down when you read this. The budget is still $1B off.

While last weeks budget moves improved the financial situation the state faces, there are still major issues to fix. $500 million is still left over from the last fiscal year (the one Napolitano was Governor for half of). $464 million is the shortfall for this year of which $360 million is vetoed cuts to education.

All sorts of problems remain to be fixed for 2010 and there are still state agencies that may just run out of money if the budget isn't fixed. There will definitely be a special session, the question now is when since the session more than likely will include another attempt at increasing revenue.

I sit here worried because it's September and we can't even fix the state budget that is 2 months old. The budget next year is even worse. We are quickly driving towards that cliff and it feels like everyone is looking at the speedometer and not out the front window.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Brewer takes action on budget

Gov. Brewer vetoed the $250 million property tax repeal along with certain cuts to education and social services using line-item vetoes. She signed the rest of the remaining bills that were sent to her late last month.

The property tax repeal was THE major bill for Republicans this session. It was also a key sticking point in negotiations with the Democrats who wanted the full tax to come back. The Governor made it clear she wanted to opportunity to ask voters for more revenue in exchange for giving up the property tax revenue so it's no big surprise that she vetoed that portion.

I would assume the plan is to offer the carrot for renewed talks on a sales tax election in exchange for repealing the property tax.

Brewer made it clear that her intention is to focus on running the state. Taking $250 million off the table with no other revenue in sight doesn't accomplish that goal so we will have to sit back and see what happens now.

UPDATE: Statement by Governor

Good afternoon.

Today I have approved a number of budget bills that will allow state government to continue important operations -- and I have vetoed legislation that needs additional work and compromise.

Just as I said last March – I will NOT give up on the future of our State. I will NOT give up on education, I will NOT give up on the fight for our most vulnerable citizens -- and I will NOT allow the state we all love to fall into the abyss of bankruptcy.

The voters of Arizona don’t want me to give up, and I WILL NOT give up on them.

Right now, Arizona faces a roughly $4 billion deficit. We are spending roughly $11 billion, and we are bringing in roughly $7 billion.

So what can we all do – in addition to my actions today -- to solve this historic problem?

This fall and in the next regular session of the Legislature, legislative leaders and I must work to break the stranglehold that a handful of Republican and Democratic EXTREMISTS have on the Arizona legislature.

We cannot cut our way out of this problem. We cannot tax our way out of this problem. BOTH solutions will be necessary to resolve this crisis, and doing both will take incredible political courage and compromise.

This is a NOT a political game. It is gravely serious. It is a time to set aside political agendas, or personal campaign agendas, and -- for once -- place our State ahead of the tired and uncivil politics of the most extreme in both Parties.

46 Republicans, all but an extreme few, have now courageously trusted the voters on the issue of a temporary one-cent sales tax.

I have always trusted the voters during my 27 years as an elected official, and 46 Republicans have demonstrated – SO DO THEY!

Whether it is now -- or whether it is in the next several weeks -- the handful of extremists on the fringes of the Legislature will see the deeper and more painful cuts that will be necessary because of their delays on resolving the state deficit. Every month that goes by only makes the deficit and the pain more severe.

My actions today -- and the clean-up bill I have proposed -- will allow our State to weather the storm at least until the next regular session of the Legislature.

Until then, the voters of this State can be confident that we will continue to prioritize education, public safety, and protect our state’s most vulnerable.

Let me reiterate once more: I am NOT giving up, I am NOT surrendering, I am NOT abandoning what the people of Arizona want me to do. I am doing what is right, and I believe they know that.

I would be happy to answer a few questions…

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Brewer signs one bill, the real stuff comes tomorrow

Governor Brewer signed the bill authorizing funding for DPS today and signaled her intention to address the rest of the budget bills tomorrow. She made a surprise appearance today at the League of Cities conference in Tucson and reiterrated her call for the voters to decide on the sales tax issue.

Reports have it that she's still working with Senate Dems to come up with a compromise and it sounds like the equalization property tax is the central piece. The biggest question that remains is whether Brewer will sign the budget she previously vetoed, veto it again, or line item veto some parts including the tax repeal.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A conference minus one

The annual Border Governors Conference will have an empty seat this week as Governor Brewer has decided to cancel her trip and stay at home to work on the budget. Originally planned to make the trip to Monterrey, Mexico, Brewer would have left Attorney General Terry Goddard in charge in her absence.

It's highly unlikely Goddard would have done anything with the budget but it's smart for Brewer to stay in the state. This is especially so if she plans to veto parts of the budget and approve others. She also hasn't given up on finding a bipartisan solution to fix the issue and let the voters have a crack at it in December.

Only a few days left folks, well at least for this round. It's now just a formality since anything since we're going to be back here soon anyways since none of the solutions are permanent fixes.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The budget might get signed, but who's signature will it be?

So we've seen our fair share of weird things happen this year in Arizona politics. Imagine this scenario.

Jan Brewer acends to the Governor's office after Janet Napolitano resigns leaving Brewer to negotiate budget fixes for the '09 budget, and a balanced budget for '10. After vetoing it the first time around, an almost carbon copy budget lands on the Governor's desk at the end of yet another special session. Governor Brewer now had 10 days to sign it or let it go into law without her signature.

Brewer, scheduled to leave the state for three days to Mexico, leaves Attorney General Terry Goddard as acting governor. Using his authority, Goddard vetoes the unpopular "Republican" budget.

Maybe this might be a good opportunity for Goddard to officially take a stand on the budget. Heck, many feel that Napolitano created the mess we're in so this will be a good opportunity to provide a solution and ramp up that governor's campaign.

Something tells me Brewer will be signing the budget today.

Friday, August 28, 2009

You are a weak girly man

So our Governor isn't Arnold and doesn't have a think Austrian accent but the message is the same. Governor Brewer didn't hold back on legislators that won't vote to let the voters decide on a tax increase.

Taking a page from Dwight Eisenhower, she said "The truth is, those of us who are entrusted with the government here in Arizona at this moment in time cannot be weak or timid," she said. "We must be strong. And we must resolve that our differences will be settled, with the triumph going to the best interests of Arizona rather than the best interests of political egos or political futures."

While Brewer didn't name names, it's not hard to find out who they are. Anyone with a D behind their name is on that list along with 4 Republican Senators. The two that take the most heat are Sens. Gorman and Gould. Gould gets the press this time from Howie Fischer.

He plays the old song and dance about how it won't be a fair fight. I always HATE when politician say that. If Gould outspent his opponent in his own race, does that mean they were tricked? How then does he explain the Employer Sanction's revisions on the ballot last year that he supported? They outspent everyone 10-1 yet lost 60-40. Or the payday loan reforms that still lost 70-30? I'd love an explanation there Sen. Gould.

2010 Watch

We're combing through the rumor mills, news stories, and blogs to give you the latest on the Governor's race in 2010.

Governor Brewer has given her strongest indication that she will run for a full term in 2010. Her admission of "leaning" towards a run may have implications on the likes of other would-be candidates such as Dean Martin or Vernon Parker. However, there is a question of if Brewer's future is tied to a tax election.

The article poses another scenario as well, if Brewer does not decide to run, would she possibly turn the keys over to Goddard? If Brewer were to step down, Secretary of State Bennett would not get the job because he was appointed. Just as Babbitt succeeded Bolin, Goddard would rise to the position of Governor from the Attorney General.

Goddard, a somewhat passive observer in the budget process to this point, would then be thrust front and center into a budget debate that has the potential of being even worse than this year. This would also restrict the presumptive Democratic front-runner to run for re-election for only a single term. Brewer clearly has options on how to play her cards.

If you have any juicy gossip or more information, please let us know at

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Good comment worth reposting- The Real Ronald Regan

Sometimes I get a kick out of the uber-conservatives that quote Ronald Regan and his tax policies. What they sometimes forget, or fail to mention, is that Regan also presided over some of the largest tax increases in modern history. Thank you Bob Haran for his insightful comment.

How Reagan Closed Budget Gap

Many people who calls themselves Reagan Conservatives forget that before Ronald Reagan was elected as President of the United States in 1980, he was governor of California from 1967-75.

Reagan's election as governor in 1966 was his first public office. During the 1964 presidential campaign he served as cochairman of California Republicans for Goldwater.

After defeating incumbent Democrat Governor Pat Brown with 58 percent of the vote, Governor Reagan went on to establish a conservative record in restricting the size and cost of state government.

Just as Republican Arizona Governor Jan Brewer inherited a huge budget deficit from Democrat Governor Janet Napolitano, Republican California Governor Ronald Reagan inherited a huge budget deficit from Democrat California Governor Pat Brown.

What did Reagan do, how did he handle the budget disaster he inherited from his Democrat predecessor. Reagan immediately ordered a hiring freeze of new state employees and then cut the state budget across the board by 10 percent.

The father of Reaganomics did something else that may come as a shock to the blind followers of Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform. Working with a cooperative state legislature, Reagan was able to obtain an increase of the state income tax together with welfare reform legislation that striped the less needy from the rolls and increased benefits for those that met higher eligibility requirements. By cutting expenses and increasing revenue, Reagan was able to close the budget deficit he inherited from his Democrat predecessor.

Fast forward 40 years and doesn't that sound familiar? Isn't that the same as what Conservative Republican Governor Jan Brewer is trying to do to solve Arizona's budget problem, cut expenses and increase revenue? It seems that the only difference between what Reagan did and what Brewer is advocating is instead of raising the income tax, Arizona will cut the income tax to stimulate spending and temporarily increase the sales tax by one penny to increase revenue to help close the gap. .

There is one important difference between Reagan and Brewer however, Reagan didn't have uncooperative state senators like Pamela Gorman and Ron Gould obstructing solving his budget crisis, Brewer and Arizona does.

Bob Haran,
American Conservative Republican

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sine Die....Again

The Legislature adjourned from their special session this afternoon which gives the Governor until the 5th of September to sign or veto the budget passed last week.  There are still talks going on between the Republicans and the Dems with hopes a deal can be made to send the tax proposal to the ballot and let the voters decide.  The Governor can call another special session if and when a deal is reached so all eyes will be on what comes out of those talks.  

Monday, August 24, 2009

Le Templar on the Governor and the sales tax

Le Templar of the Tribune had a good blog today summing up why Governor Brewer has been so set on a tax increase.  The bullet points are-

Can't cut budget enough to solve crisis

Arizonans loath higher taxes, except the sales tax 

No other (Republican) proposals for new revenues have been offered

Brewer doesn't lose

Take a minute and read it here- it's a very good summation of why we are here at the end of August talking about a budget.

Friday, August 21, 2009

2010 Watch

We're combing through the rumor mills, news stories, and blogs to give you the latest on the Governor's race in 2010.

Yet another Republican is considering throwing his hat in the ring in what may turn out to be a crowded primary. Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker has stated that he is interested in entering the 2010 race for Governor. Parker is a veteran of the Salmon and Munsil campaigns which both came up short of victory to Janet Napolitano. Parker has also had a few troubles in the past, and despite his claims to the contrary, he might have some troubles escaping phrases such as "falsely certified" and "under investigation."

Parker's term in Paradise Valley does not end until June of 2012, so if he does seek the top office, it looks like he would have to resign his post in Paradise Valley. It might be a good time for Parker to leave in the aftermath of having to cut $3 million from PV's budget and slashing 15 to 20% of the town's workforce.

If you have any juicy gossip or more information, please let us know at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The budget is in the elevator

The budget has been officially passed now and is on its way up to the Governor Brewer's desk. The Legislature is adjourned until Tuesday so the governor has some signing or vetoing to do. Word was there was an effort to wrangle up 7 or 8 Dems to go for a hybrid version of the budgets passed to date but that doesn't appear to be finalized yet.

We'll see if Brewer will immediately veto this budget or continue working through the weekend to work something up. She might just sign it also since Dean Martin seems to think the deadline is tomorrow if we want to borrow money anytime soon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Legislature okay property tax repeal and Gorman lobbying

So we knew this was going to happen since Speaker Adams pretty much said so.  Both houses approved the property tax repeal that actually went into effect on Monday.  As a last ditch effort, Speaker Adams threw the Governor a bone and didn't technically fully approve the bill.  He didn't say "and transmit the bill to the Senate."  Both chambers adjourned until Thursday so tomorrow evidently will be spent looking for votes.

One vote everyone seems to be lobbying right now is Pam Gorman.  This video has been making the rounds and is pretty well done.


Laurie Roberts of the Republic asks WWJD- as in What Will Jan Do sign the budget or veto what is basically the same budget she vetoed before.  So put yourself in Jan's shoes, what would you do?  If you sign it, you sign a budget you know is out of balance and makes you wish the world ended before having to deal with the 2011 budget.  If you veto it, you risk the state running out of money and then you're really in a world of hurt- if it's even possible to be worse then we are now.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Winners and Losers in the Arizona Budget Mess

Arizona’s budget has hit another dead-end, and at this point, it is anyone’s guess when this problem will finally be resolved. Despite solid support in the House, the negotiated Republican budget gained a surprising 14 votes in the Senate, but has been unable to gather support from the extreme ends of the Republican Party or anyone from the left. In fact, some may find it important to note that not a single Democrat has supported the budget package thus far. In this current hyper-partisan environment, even a whiff of defection is attacked with great force.

It would be easy to say that there are no winners in this budget farce, but the reality is, the Democrats, the Republicans, and the Governor all have opportunities to walk away from this budget process claiming victory or being the ones painted with defeat. How these groups move forward from here will determine the final outcome.

The Democrats

The Democrats have done a good job of being a silent minority. They have kept their mouths shut while the Republicans faction fight, offering up ideas, that have been deemed by most as complicated and not very realistic. However, their efforts have been enough to keep the blame off of them and on the Republicans, a strategy focused on 2010, where AG Terry Goddard likely running for the top-spot uncontested.

How they Win: If the Republicans continue to falter and fight among themselves, the Democrats can continue their waiting game and come out on top. If the fighting lasts long enough, the Governor and several Republicans will have no choice but to come back to the table and negotiate. This will mean fewer cuts to the budget, which will likely lose Republican votes. The Democrats would then have to carry the water, but then they could also claim that they were able to succeed where their Republican counterparts could not. Ultimately, if the Republicans don’t show up, the Dems will have a real chance to gain some seats.

How they Lose: How soon the Democrats forget how the Napolitano budgets were formed. A coalition of the middle must work with the Governor to get a budget done that is viewed by most as the best possible compromise. Calling out the Governor is not a good start to that process. The worst case scenario is the Republicans figuring out how to pass a budget without the vote of a single Democrat, which could be used next year to point to their unwillingness to solve the budget problem. They run a risky gamble by not voting for the tax increase, the game of chicken may leave them with deeper cuts and no new source of revenue.

The Republicans

The Republicans hold the majority of both the House and the Senate. In theory, they should have the best chance of getting things done. However, fights over revenue, cuts, and the depth of the current budget problem have lead to a battle of ideologies. The Governor has held steadfast to her desire for a sales tax referral, which has since been tempered by a net tax cut by the leaders in the House, yet a referral is still completely unpalatable to some of the most conservative members in the Senate.

How they Win: It seems simple enough, but Republicans win if they can figure out a way to get a budget passed. The protracted session will be something that they will have to overcome, but getting something done now, will give them time to recover. If they pass the referral, they can campaign against the initiative, if they choose, and still get credit for allowing the voters to decide. If they can find a way to pass a budget without a referral, it will be claimed as a greater victory for the far-right conservatives, but it would be tempered by the further cuts that would need to be made later in the year. The Republicans need to prove that they can lead coming out of this budget process.

How they Lose: Imagine this scenario – the budget negotiations drag on for several more weeks with even more bitter Republican on Republican rancor. The Governor turns to the Democrats for negotiations, a move that further angers the far-right, prompting a potential candidate such as Treasurer Dean Martin to throw his hat in the Republican primary. Martin, who is in the same position as Goddard where he can comment, but doesn’t need to actually offer up a solution, proceeds to criticize the Governor and any Republicans willing to negotiate with her, creating even more tension in the legislature. The final result is a disaster for Republicans, resulting in a cobbled together budget reminiscent of Napolitano where the Democrats control the negotiations with a couple of Republicans from swing districts who must desperately avoid dramatic cuts. Any Republicans willing to negotiate would face the same criticisms and attacks in the Primary as those who voted for Napolitano’s budget next time around, and the others who don’t support the budget face the question of if they can lead.

The Governor

The Governor has made her intentions clear from the beginning that a tax referral must be a part of the budget package to give voters a choice on how much they want to cut from state government. While the move has created controversy within the Republican party, it’s a move that allows the Governor to claim issues such as education and healthcare, which are swing issues among important groups such as Republican an Independent women. Beyond the need for the tax, sometimes, the Governor has not been clear on what she is looking for, a fact not only has made her the target of Republican attacks, but the Democrats have focused in on her as well, capitalizing on the budget to question her leadership.

How She Wins: There are really two ways for the Governor to win. First, if she can actually get the sales tax to the ballot along with the net tax cuts, she will be able to claim total victory. This will mean either getting one or two more Republican senators to come along or landing a rouge Democrat who wants to cut a deal. With the Senate passing the budget deal that they already presented to her several weeks ago, there is a dark horse option for the Governor to consider. She could sign the Republican budget, leaving the Democrats holding the bag. She could explain how she wanted the better package that saved education, and blame a hyper-partisan nature of Democrats in the legislature who were unwilling to come along. Many forget that, despite tough opponents, the Brewer has never lost an election. Giving her a scapegoat and then moving on to mending fences with the conservatives give her the potential to make the cuts while still holding the “did her best to save education” chip.

How She Loses: The scenario spelled out in the Republican loss section is also likely the worse case option for the Governor, especially if she wants to seek re-election. Her veto of the budget has won her some favor among the supporters of education and the independents, but it does provide harm on the conservative side. A far-right conservative such as Martin, Len Munsil, or Andrew Thomas could challenge her in the primary and wage a bloody battle. Two scenarios could happen: One, the ultra conservative wins the Primary while Goddard runs uncontested. This leaves Goddard to stay more moderate, while the Conservative would go far-right in the Primary, and thus create positions that lose swing groups such as Republican women in the General. Or the second and more likely scenario is that since seated Governors rarely lose primary contests, chances are that Brewer would make it through, but not without being weakened significantly. The result would be a split Republican base not showing up for Brewer, leaving Goddard to snatch a victory.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Legislators Pass Property Tax Increase

The headline isn't that far off. While they didn't directly pass a
tax increase, the fact they failed to pass a bill repealing the soon
to be reinstated property tax, it will go into effect on Monday. So
if your house is worth $176,200, you just got a $58 a year tax
increase. Businesses? Forget about it! 40 cents per $100 of
assessed value. Isn't this what these Legislators have been fighting
for all of these months?

Republic Version Here
Tribune Version Here

UPDATE: Evidently, Burns and Adams plan to kill the tax one way or another.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Opinion from Supreme Court Released

The Supreme Court came out with their full opinion today. Basically, they agreed with the Governor becasue they agreed it caused "direct injury" to her by withholding the bill until the last second (actually, after the last second if we're getting technical here). This is all kind of a moot point but actually may still come to help the governor next year when I'm sure we'll be in this same situation on June 30th.

I read through part of it and although the State Constitution doesn't set a time line, it does say "when finally passed". The court agreed that when means now, not when you feel like it.

Comments from the Governor Here.

Governors Statement on Budget Breakdown Part III

The Governor released a statement on the latest round of budget meltdowns.

“I trust the people of Arizona. But, I am deeply disappointed that some Members of the Arizona State Senate do not. They have so little trust in the voters, that they would once again delay the passage of a sound state budget, and deny the people an opportunity to protect critical funding for education, public safety, and care for our most vulnerable citizens. Their actions are irresponsible, create an increasing cost to state taxpayers and, if not resolved quickly, will do irreparable harm to our families and our economic future....

Here is the link for the continued release

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And.....we're back to square 1

Wow.  Seriously wow.  That's all I really have to say.  In a non-surprising turn of events the Senate today voted against the key provision in Brewer's budget.  In other words, they are sending the exact same budget that she vetoed on June 30th.  

Seriously people.  For the good of the state, just resign.  We get your ideology.  We understand you think you are better than everyone else.  It's time for you to go now.  In case you don't know who you are- it would be you Gorman and Gould.  Every one of your major special interest groups, including King Norquist himself, endorsed the latest budget package, including letting the voters decide.  Yet there you are, oblivious to what it means to be a leader.  

So what's in store now?  Well, a whole lot of irony.  The Governor has to veto the bill.  If it didn't work a month and a half ago, it ain't flying now.  My guess is she'll get some Democrats.  This is where the irony comes in.  Democrat votes come with concessions.  Which means, the tax cuts will be a little lower, the tax increase a little wider or a combination of both.  Dems didn't vote for the package how it was, they won't vote for it after you buried it.  So instead of taking a big Christmas gift and going home, you might have given up your last negotiating chip.  How's that ideology working out for you now?

2010 Watch

We're combing through the rumor mills, news stories, and blogs to give you the latest on the Governor's race in 2010.

Another Republican has jumped into the race for governor. Relatively unknown and self-described "Republican activist" Robert Graham has entered the race for the GOP primary. It appears that this might be the investment banker's first time running for office. Graham joins the string of relatively unknowns lining up to run, the question now is if he is willing to invest his own fortune in the race to raise his name ID.

The bigger news is that a higher profile candidate in the GOP primary may be in the wings. Yesterday, Treasurer Dean Martin said that he would ponder a run for Governor. Martin is not one to shy away from media attention, so we have to take this at pure speculation at this point. However, a protracted budget process which he has been able to stay out of combined with a record of fiscal conservatism would suit him well. The only potential wildcard is how older voters would react to his age, Dean Martin is only 34 years old.

If you have any juicy gossip or more information, please let us know at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

No vote today and no election in November

Well, no vote today on sending the tax measure to the ballot. When and if the vote does happen, it won't be for a November 3rd election. Sources at the Secretary of States office say it looks like the date will be December 8th at the earliest. That is of course, if and when a vote happens at the legislature.

Next day update: Here is the Republic article on the changing election date.

Arizona the Anti-California?

There was a good op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today.  It was yet another endorsement of the Governor's budget plans which now include corporate tax cuts and property tax cuts that are permanent, and a temporary sales tax increase ending after three years.  

No vote today afterall

It was expected today would be the day the legislature voted on referring the tax increase to the ballot along with massive tax cuts.  Well, we've written that post and we'll probably write it again.  Alas, it appears today will not be the day.  Shocking I know.  Everyone has given their blessing to this but there are still a few hold outs including all of the Democrats.  We'll stay tuned to all of the developments and I'm sure will post on the next three or four flip flops.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Former Mesa Superitendent Debra Duvall Named Special Advisor

Recently retired Superintendent of Mesa Public Schools has been named a special advisor to the Governor today to help with Arizona's participation in "Race to the Top" educational reform program.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A little break from State Politics

While we've been wrapped up in the drama of Arizona State politics, there is plenty of national stuff going on.  Guess what, it involves Governor Brewer.  Well, only kind of.  A press release today shed light on a letter sent by House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.  The press release is titled "Issa to Emaniel: Back Off!" The contents are pretty great and they surround letters sent from various cabinet members to Governor Brewer asking her opinion and desire to continue receiving stimulus funds.  

Gould for Gorman?

Okay, we know politicians like their egos to be stroked but is this really a time for ego stroking? Why do I say ego stroking? Because that's exactly what Ron Gould throwing his hat into the Majority Whip race is. In case you didn't hear, Sen Pamela Gorman resigned today as Majority Whip.

In her letter she said "this tax increase is tearing our otherwise strong caucus apart and is 'taking on a life of its own' that is not healthy for our caucus, nor our party." She quickly forgets that she is one of only 2 or maybe 3 Senators that are left voting no. I understand her feelings but when you have Senators like Jack Harper voting yes after doing something we've been saying they should do for months (negotiate radical changes they want in exchange), it's a little ridiculous. Harper got comfortable doing it because the cuts are permanent while the tax could fail.

My favorite line from her resignation letter is quoting all of the wonderful successes of the session. including "solid Republican" bills. Tell me Senator, would those bills have had a chance with a Democrat Governor or Minority Republican status in either house? Don't think so.

No word yet on Governor Brewer's reaction to the change. The Senate is still meeting today but with Senator Chuck Gray on a cruise I don't think they have the votes. Gee, I wish my boss would let me skip out on work for a week.

E.J. Montini from the Republic had this to say. I'm sure he's probably off Gorman's Christmas Card list but then probably wasn't on there to start with.