Wednesday, June 25, 2008

AFTA: Boondoggle update. And here comes the worst budget we've ever seen

First, the good news: We are close to beating the Big Boondoggle Bill of 2008. We have it on good authority that SB1433 will not go to the House Commerce Committee this week. A BIG THANKS to all of you who wrote to your Legislators!

However, the proponents of the special-interest tax breaks have broken the Big Boondoggle Bill into pieces, and are running the pieces through different committees. On Thursday (June 26), Rep. Michele Reagan’s House Commerce Committee may hear SB1084, which would create a special tax break for ballparks. Also on Thursday, Rep. Lucy Mason’s House Water and Agriculture Committee may hear HB2872, which would create special tax breaks for the solar industry. We’ll keep you posted…

Now, for some bad news: The Eloy theme park bill, SB1450, passed in the Senate today with 17 Yes votes. Thanks to Senators Carolyn Allen, Ken Cheuvront, Jorge Luis Garcia, Pamela Gorman, Jack Harper, Barbara Leff, Deb McCune Davis, Jay Tibshraeny, and Jim Waring, for voting against granting special tax-free bonding privileges to the theme park.

And extra thanks to Senator Ron Gould of Lake Havasu City, for his efforts to engage in a “silent filibuster” against the Eloy theme park bill during the Senate vote today. During the roll call, Sen. Gould tied up the proceedings by refusing to cast his vote. Eventually, the Senate President asked the Senate to “excuse” Gould in order to finish the roll-call vote, which is why his vote appears as an “E” instead of an “N” in the vote tally:

The Eloy theme park bill now goes to Gov. Janet Napolitano

Finally, there is the TRULY AWFUL NEWS: FY2009 budget bills have begun to emerge, with less than a week left in the Session. The Senate proposal—which is basically the Governor’s budget—contains a paltry $361 million in spending reductions. The House proposal contains $505 million in spending reductions. Both budgets are far short of the $2.2 billion in reductions needed to balance the budget without resorting to borrowing, fund transfers, tax increases, and accounting gimmicks. Either budget would result in a cash deficit carry-forward (something that is supposed to be unconstitutional) of over $1 billion next year.

Dollar for dollar, this is shaping up to be the worst budget we have ever seen. And we’ve seen some bad budgets.

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity
(Arizona Federation of Taxpayers)
(602) 478-0146

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