Thursday, September 27, 2012

City Councilman Sal DiCiccio: Phoenix Pensions: No Reform/Slightly Better

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Phoenix Pensions: No Reform/Slightly Better
Tuesday, Phoenix marginally improved its pension system.  However, it failed to take reasonable and necessary steps toward protecting taxpayers and creating a stable retirement system for employees, the city and taxpayers.  Instead Phoenix modeled its plan similarly to the state and every other government plan in the country – the same plans that have failed and created fiscal problems everywhere they’ve been used.   
I really care about our employees and the services we provide the public, but the pension direction right now is unsustainable and doesn’t work for anyone.
The new Phoenix plan saves money, but long-term reform, as I had recommended, did not occur.
Taxpayers were not protected against the skyrocketing pension costs that have bankrupted cities throughout the United States.  I firmly believe and support a cap that limits taxpayer exposure. 
Pension and pension costs have eaten away at vital city services.  Cuts in after school programs, library and senior programs and pools are a direct result of high pension costs.  Money either goes to public service or to government servants.  It is not complicated.
Here are the facts:
  • $2 billion – the amount of money the pension plans are under funded.  That you, the taxpayer, are responsible for.
  • $12.6 million – the amount a 1% pay increase for all employees would cost the taxpayer.  (See Phoenix document.)  About half of government employees received a 4.8% increase every single year.  And yes, during the Great Recession the private sector saw cuts around 25%.
  • $100,980the average total compensation for over 14,000 employees,  Since ‘05-06, the cost per employee has gone up every single year.  And yes, this was given during the recession. (See Phoenix document.)  
Here are the solutions: 
  • Phoenix must adopt a pension plan similar to what the citizens have, similar to a self-directed 401(k). 
  • The culture of entitlement must come to an end.  Government employees need to understand you can’t have a great pension, Cadillac health benefits, pay raises every single year and guaranteed job security.  Something other than the taxpayer wallet has got to give. 
The new system (or the old one tweaked):
  • New employees will have to pay half the cost of their pension program instead the current 5 percent of salary. Right now, taxpayers fund their pension by paying more than 20 percent of employees’ salaries. 
  • Current employees still will pay no more than 5 percent of their salary and taxpayers have to pay 20 percent plus. Only new employees will be affected by paying half. 
Finally, more and more it appears the taxpayer will need to take pension reform directly to the ballot.  A taxpayer initiative is the road to real reform, not one driven by the government.
My best to you and your family,

Sal DiCiccio
City of Phoenix
Councilman, District 6
*Any e-mail you send to will be subject to the Arizona Open Records Law and may be reviewed by the Arizona Republic.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Experts say Catherine Miranda signature forged on election documents

This is why we need Daniel Coleman elected to this office, time for liberal Democrat Catherine Miranda to go! This comes as no surprise, Catherine Miranda's brother-in-law, Richard Miranda, who was also a state legislator, recently resigned when it was discovered he had committed felony wire fraud and attempted tax evasion. He sold a building owned by a non-profit he ran and pocketed the money. Read about it here. Her husband is former state legislator Ben Miranda, known for his outspoken hatred of all things conservative, and considered one of the most liberal members of the legislature.
Experts say Catherine Miranda signature forged on election documents
Rep. Catherine Miranda's known signature (shown above) and the signature in question (shown below)
Handwriting analysts have concluded that Rep. Catherine Miranda’s signature was forged on documents she submitted to the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, and a “vast majority” of her campaign contributor signatures do not match signatures on file.
Documents obtained by the Arizona Capitol Times also show that the handwriting analysts, William Flynn and Kathleen Annunziata Nicolaides of Affiliated Forensic Laboratory, tried to determine if Miranda’s husband, former Rep. Ben Miranda, signed her name. They couldn’t say conclusively whether he did, nor could they exclude him.
The Capitol Times obtained the report through a public records request of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission.
Catherine Miranda’s adult stepdaughter, Maritza Miranda Saenz, was the notary public who vouched for Catherine Miranda’s signature, a questionable action since notaries are supposed to be impartial and prohibited from notarizing documents for relatives by marriage or adoption. She works in Ben Miranda’s law office.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lisa Gray announces her candidacy for Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC) Chair!

Contact: Lisa Gray
Phone: 623.340.8173

September 20, 2012 - Lisa Gray, an active and proven leader in the Republican Party, has announced her intention to run for Chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Committee. She is passionate about the Republican Party’s principles and values, and is determined to build the Party and strengthen it. Lisa has been recognized for her hard work and effectiveness by the MCRC and AZGOP with awards such as “Outstanding Party Worker,” and “Outstanding Precinct Committeeman.” In 2010 and 2011, her district was recognized for being an “Outstanding District.” In 2011, she was also recognized for her performance as a District Chairman by being presented with an “Outstanding District Chairman” award.

Lisa has served in various leadership positions:

District Chairman, LD21
President, Sun City Republican Club
MCRC Executive Guidance Committee Member Ex-officio
Arizona State Republican Party Executive Committee
State Committeeman
Precinct Committeeman
Former District Chairman and Second Vice-Chairman of LD9
Former Leadership Team Member, Northwest Valley Tea Party Group
Former President, Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots

“I have an ambitious plan to build our County Party, and I know that a leader is only as good as their team. So with that in mind, I have recruited a strong and experienced team who will work together to advance our Party and prepare it for future elections,” Gray said.

The team represents a broad cross section of Maricopa County Precinct Committeemen and consists of: Paul Brierley (LD12) - Candidate for First Vice-Chairman • Current CD5 Member at Large, AZGOP Executive Committee • Former District Chairman of LD21 and Chairman of Graham County Rene Lopez (LD17) - Candidate for Second Vice-Chairman • Current District Chairman of LD17 and MCRC Second Vice-Chairman • Former First Vice-Chairman and Second Vice-Chairman of LD21 Colleen Lombard (LD20) - Candidate for Secretary • Former First Vice-Chairman of LD6 Walter Dudley (LD28) - Candidate for Treasurer • Former First Vice-Chairman, Second Vice-Chairman, and Treasurer of LD7 • Campaign Treasurer for a number of Legislative Candidates • President and charter member, Arizona Society of Practicing Accountants

“I am blessed to have these four individuals running with me. We have a great plan that we are super excited about sharing with Precinct Committeemen and fellow Republicans. It’s an ambitions plan, but a plan that my team is committed to,” Gray said.

The plan consists of:

Building the Party’s image and effectiveness.
Building strong voter registration and Get Out The Vote (GOVT) programs.
Providing resources and training for Precinct Committeemen.
Providing resources and training for District Chairmen and officers.
Focusing on recruiting and training candidates for all elected offices.

To learn more about the candidates and details of their plan, please visit Also, follow the team on Facebook and Twitter: AZPartyBuilders The Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC) statutory meeting will take place on Saturday, January 12, 2013. Lisa Gray and her team ask for your support and your vote on January 12. For additional information contact Lisa at 623-340-8173 or

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Arizona Proposition 204 Raises Your Taxes Permanently

Guest Post

One of the more shabby aspects of Proposition 204 is the unholy alliance between the education and construction lobbies that hides taxpayer infrastructure subsidies behind funds for school children and vague promises of jobs.

Labeled the Quality Education and Jobs Initiative, the proposition aims to fill the education and special interest coffers with a one-cent permanent increase in the state sales tax rate. The $1 billion annual take from the tax hike would be allocated to designated “funds” walled off from control by the Governor or State Legislature.

The number one fund would provide $500 million for the “quality education and performance fund” to assist K-12 comply with “assessment and accountability” rules. That sounds like the education bureaucracy at work, but at least the fund is earmarked for children’s education.

Next in line on the list, along with a major social services fund, is the “state infrastructure fund.” It would provide $100 million a year to support road building and public transit. This is not annual funding approved by officials elected to prioritize spending; it is a permanent subsidy out of the reach of taxpayers and the officials they elect to spend their money.

One of the key supporters of Proposition 204 is “We Build Arizona,” an industry association reported to be a major funder of the petition drive to get the measure on the November ballot as well as the campaign to get it passed.

The group boasts a who’s who of construction interests in its coalition, including the Arizona Builders’ Alliance and the Arizona Transit Association. Construction interests are relying on Proposition 204 as the road to permanent subsidies out of reach of the taxpayers and state legislators.
We Build Arizona states its goal clearly: “To protect and grow state and local infrastructure funding.” State spending for education and jobs should be controlled by elected officials, not special interests who seek to “protect and grow” spending on their own terms.

Howard Stern Exposes Obama Supporters 2012

I don't even like Howard Stern but this had me choking up laughing. He asks these uninformed Democrats questions that are completely set up with false premises; the opposite of the truth, but these people are so set in their opinions they would rather spout off on how much they like Obama even though they do not know much about him or Romney. None of the people he interviews know that Osama bin Laden is dead. He asks them if they like Obama because he is pro-life (yes). He asks them if they like Obama's vice-presidential pick Paul Ryan (yes). He asks them if they don't like Romney because he's a Muslim, or if it bothers them that Obama is a Mormon (no). He asks them about McCain and Palin running again this time and they all have opinions about that.

Is Chad Kirkpatrick running for AZ State GOP Chair?

I'm hearing more and more rumors that Chad Kirkpatrick, a consultant and former Director of GITA under Governor Brewer, may be running for chairman of the State Republican Republican Party. He would be an excellent choice. Chad is one of the brightest minds I've met in politics, and very forward thinking. He's successfully moved from the Governor's cabinet to building up a very lucrative consulting business in the private sector. He gets along with all factions of the GOP, which is crucial considering the friction between the conservatives and the moderate establishment. Yet Chad is a solid conservative. I hear that Tom Morrissey has decided not to run for reelection, and the only other name out there considering running is Robert Graham. If Chad decides not to run, Robert would also be an excellent choice. Regardless, I look forward to having great candidates to choose from! 

Don't believe the spin, Romney way ahead in Arizona

I am laughing my head off at the claims that Arizona may be a swing state. Romney is so far ahead of Obama in polls that it is unbelievable that pundits are bothering to waste time talking about Arizona. The latest polling average in Arizona from Real Clear Politics shows Romney up by 8.4%. Rasmussen Reports, considered the most accurate pollster, has him leading by 13%. The liberal Public Policy Polling has him up by 9%, and the newly formed Purple Strategies (and clearly biased to the left, despite being headed by both a Republican and a Democrat) has up him by 3%. Who do you believe, the tried and true Rasmussen Reports, or a new group that suddenly came out of nowhere, no doubt with a new name in order to disguise who is really behind it?

Prediction? Since the Republican candidate usually ends up doing slightly better than polls leading up to the election, I predict Romney wins Arizona by 15%. Brian agrees.

Friday, September 21, 2012

We need better leadership in South Mountain!


Phoenix, AZ-Eliminating Arizona's state income tax could put 20,000 people to work in the first year alone and business activity in the state could rise by an additional $419 million each year, finds a new Goldwater Institute policy report released Thursday. And Arizonans would have more money in their pockets to save, spend or invest.

In A New Tax Plan for a New Economy: How Eliminating the Income Tax Can Create Jobs, Goldwater Institute Senior Economist Stephen Slivinski argues that the income tax makes Arizona less attractive than our neighbors when companies want to expand and create new jobs, it takes hard-earned money out of worker's pockets, and creates instability in state revenue levels. Slivinski recommends that lawmakers eliminate the income tax outright and shift to a broad-based sales tax.

"We are falling behind neighboring states in economic recovery, and just tweaking Arizona's tax code around the edges will not bring about the long-term job growth that we need," said Slivinski.
"Eliminating the income tax is the only proposal bold enough to dramatically boost new economic growth and drive widespread job creation."
Slivinski argues that Arizona's tax structure is outdated, weighing the state down and getting in the way of long-term economic and job growth. Arizona lost nearly 300,000 jobs during the recession and has an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, among the highest in the nation.
According to Slivinski, eliminating the state income tax would make Arizona more attractive to companies who want to expand. When job-creators can keep more of their earnings to reinvest in their businesses, they are more likely to expand and hire new workers. Under this tax plan, Arizona workers will enjoy not only more opportunities to find work, they will also keep more of the money they earn.

National economic data shows that states without an income tax see substantially stronger economic growth than the national average and states with income taxes. In Texas, for example, where there is no income tax, the state gained over 400,000 new jobs between May of 2007 and May of 2012, and the state has regained all the jobs that it lost during the recession.

Besides creating jobs and letting families keep more of their paychecks, eliminating the income tax will also help stabilize the state budget. Having a budget dependent on income taxes make state revenues more vulnerable to economic ups and downs, according to Slivinski. Income taxes make up nearly half of all state revenues and they are much more volatile than sales taxes. During a boom period in the economy, as incomes spike, so too does tax revenue, which allows for large increases in government spending. But when a recession hits and incomes dive, so too do tax collections and there is a big reduction in state revenues. This was a major cause of the most recent budget deficits and sent policymakers scrambling to cover the new spending they took on during the boom period.

In his report, Slivinski shows how to eliminate the income tax, keep the sales tax at the rate it is now, and still bring in the same amount of government revenue we see today. The report also recommends reforms to maximize this tax plan's effectiveness, including unifying the sales tax base statewide and creating a constitutional amendment to stop state and local governments from creating an income tax in the future.

"By taking steps to eliminate the income tax, Arizona will signal to job-creators around the country that we are open for business and committed to making our state competitive," said Slivinski. "The faster a plan to eliminate the income tax is enacted, the stronger the economic boost our state will receive."

To read Stephen Slivinski's biography, please visit:
To read the report, please visit:

The Goldwater Institute protects America's greatest inheritance-the liberty and economic freedom of the individual-by holding government accountable and standing up for regular taxpayers just like you. Lear more about the Goldwater Institute at<>.

Cities use tax payer dollars to fund the League of Arizona Cities and Towns to fight against We the People

by Wes Harris, North Phoenix Tea Party

Right now there is an issue before the City of Phoenix City Council that has shown 'light' on the existence of an quasi public organization that has been around for a very very long time called the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.  This organization is funded totally by your tax dollars and it's employees actually are on in the public service employee pension plans but you and I have no control over what it does nor does it post notice of it's meetings that are supposed to be "public meetings".  It is run by an Executive Committee comprised of the Mayors of all of the member cities and towns.  A review of it's meeting agendas (not posted before hand) and the minutes for those meetings will reveal that the main objective of the League is to lobby the Governor and the State legislators for or against bills introduced by our Elected Senators and Representatives that they either like or dislike...mostly dislike.  So we have a tax payer funded organization, controlled by elected publicly paid Mayors of our cities and towns, using our funds to fight against our duly elected public State Representatives that are elected to represent each and every one of the citizens in the state thereby setting these Mayors up as 'super numeraires' with more power than you or me.  We elect our Mayors to represent us in running our City.  We elect our City Council members to represent us in our section of our city.  We elect our State Senators and Representatives to make the laws and rules that affect each and everyone of us and if we do not like what they do, we change them every two years.  We cannot change our City representatives but every four years and we do not elect them to expand their power over us by usurping our rights at the State Legislature or the Governor's office which is what the League of Arizona Cities and Towns does.

I urge you to review the League's web site...specifically the section under the Executive Directors  Take a look at the agendas and minutes which contain a direct assault against bills put forth by our Elected State Representative that are the product of the efforts of individual citizens like you and me to right a perceived wrong.  One glaring example is our work on Rep. Michelle Ugenti's HB 2826 which standardized election dates to even numbered years so that all persons seeking public office would be elected on the same day no matter if it was for school board, City Council, County offices, State offices, or Federal offices.  This bill eliminates the multitude of elections, the costs of those elections while, at the same time, increasing voter participation at staggering degrees...from 28% to 85%.  Of course higher voter turnout makes it more difficult for, in this case, city representatives to be elected by a minority of the population...special interest groups, per say.  So we see clearly the motivation for each Mayor to want to preserve the League, have the League lobby against this particular bill but not have to pay for it but rather have you and me foot the bill. I personally think this is a grave injustice and the League is an organization that violates all that is holy in representative republican government.

At the City Council meeting held on Wednesday Nick Dranias of the Goldwater Institute put the case against the League as well as anyone when he stated that the danger is of a tax payer funded organization (the Cities) that forms a tax payer funded organization (the League) in order to squeeze the tax payer out of the argument by lobbing against that same tax payer and using his money to do so.  This is the problem and it is one that has to be curtailed and/or eliminated.  The sad thing is that 5  of the members of this Council (including our League member Mayor Stanton) voted to continue to fund the League of Arizona Cities and Towns to the tune of over $140,000 of your tax dollars which even pays for the lunches of our Mayors when they attend these questionable meetings.  Frankly since Mayor Stanton is a member of this organization he should have abstained from voting, in my opinion.  Maybe this issue should be taken up by the newly created Commission of Ethics and Transparency formed by the Mayor just one week ago., or, Face Book: Wes Harris; Original North Phoenix Tea Party; We the People Arizona

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Culture of Rudeness Contributing to Government Dependency

As rudeness is becoming increasingly common in our culture, Americans are finding it more difficult to work with each other. Far too many people now lack morals and manners. The U.S. has become a materialistic culture full of self-interest and lacking in respect for humanity. The outward manifestation of this is an inability to get along with others.

This culture of rudeness has deeply impacted the workplace environment. Too many Americans cannot hold jobs because both employers and employees refuse to behave civilly towards each other. There is less forgiveness and there are fewer efforts being made to solve disagreements by working things out. As a result, the welfare rolls are staggering under the weight of everyone on them. Over 100 million Americans are on welfare, almost one-third of the population. Instead of changing their behavior in order to maintain a job, these Americans would rather demand more from the government. They do not consider that by taking more for themselves, they are taking from others. These rude Americans don't ask what they can do for their country, but what their country's welfare system can do for them. They feel that everyone else owes them something.

This self-centered generation has developed an attitude that they are “entitled” to be rude, entitled to cut each other down. Instead of greeting others with a smile, brightening their day, it has become commonplace to be negative and grouchy towards others, including their co-workers. Publications like the Phoenix New Times, an alternative news weekly, reveal how degenerate the culture has become. Its articles and the comments left after them are not only rude but replete with foul language.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What Obama Meant to Say in His DNC Speech

Fellow Americans and community organizers,

So glad to see all of you people here tonight! I apologize for moving the location inside, unfortunately the turnout was drastically lower than we expected, so a smaller venue became necessary in order not to make the convention look like a failure.

How do you like all the change since I became president? Increasing taxes and spending is not working and we are in a depression. Real unemployment is around 24% which is Great Depression era levels. People are losing their homes at an alarming rate. However, keep this in mind: even though it is clear that throwing more money at the problems doesn't work, it does buy votes.

We've seen what has happened in Europe, as socialism has destroyed those countries' economies. Trying to combine all the European countries into one massive economy based on the euro, like some kind of one world government, is failing. Yet we are going to continue going in that direction because it makes people feel better to think that the government will take care of them.

I had two years when I first entered office to get things accomplished with a Democrat-controlled Congress. My main accomplishment has been Obamacare. Obamacare is the biggest tax increase in our nation's history, and includes 18 tax hikes. I have increased your taxes in order to allow government to take care of you. I also pledge to you that I will eventually eliminate the Bush era middle class tax cuts. If we can bring in extra taxes from the middle class, the government will have more money to spend on you, your family, your neighbors and friends. We must stop the greedy corporations from taking money that belongs in your pocket. That is why I am announcing a new regulation for the first time tonight that will ban corporate profits

Read the rest of the article at Townhall 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Federal District Court Judge Rules NLRB’s Challenge Invalid

 Phoenix--In a strong rebuke to the Obama Administration Wednesday, federal district court Judge Frederick J. Martone ruled that the Secret Ballot Amendment, which protects workers’ right to secret ballot in union-organizing elections, is constitutional. Drafted by the Goldwater Institute in 2009, the Save Our Secret Ballot amendment was added in 2010 to state constitutions in Arizona, South Dakota, South Carolina, and Utah, by voter majorities ranging from 60 to 86 percent. The constitutional amendment was sought after President Obama and congressional Democrats attempted to end the use of secret ballots in union-organizing elections and force workers into a system called “card check,” which would make it easier for unions to organize and open up the system to abuse by union organizers.

“Today’s ruling is a huge victory for federalism and the authority of states to protect the rights of their citizens,” declared Clint Bolick, Goldwater Institute Vice President for Litigation. “In the backdrop of continued power grabs by federal agencies like the NLRB, this ruling affirms that vital protections such as the right to secret ballot can remain in place.”

The National Labor Relations Board filed a federal lawsuit in 2011 charging that the measure intrudes on its powers and is preempted by federal law. The Goldwater Institute intervened to defend the provision on behalf of two dozen workers who want to protect their right to secret ballot. The Court ruled that the provision does not on its face conflict with federal law. Noting that the law has yet to be invoked, Judge Martone added, “We must still balance the harm to the regulatory scheme with the importance” of the state’s interest “in the protection of its citizens.”

“In today’s ruling, the Court has reined in the NLRB’s aggressive actions promoting unions and opposing the rule of law,” said Goldwater Institute President Darcy Olsen. “This decision affirms the Goldwater Institute’s strategy of harnessing the power of state constitutions against federal overreach.” It is unknown whether the NLRB will appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, but today’s ruling allows the law to stand.

To read more about the Goldwater Institute’s efforts to protect the fundamental right to secret ballot, please visit:

Monday, September 3, 2012

Just how scary far left is Kyrsten Sinema running in Arizona's CD9 for Congress?

Guy Benson has really nailed it with this revealing expose on Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who was once awarded the Vladimir Lenin award from the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers for being the furthest left member of the Arizona State Legislature. Don't believe her pretend transformation over to the mainstream, which includes a radical change in her appearance to look more moderate. Read his article at Townhall here.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Feds drop crimninal investigation of Sheriff Arpaio, Andrew Thomas

PHOENIX - Federal prosecutors closed an exhaustive four-year FBI criminal investigation and grand-jury probe targeting Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former County Attorney Andrew Thomas and their top deputies, saying there will be no indictments. 

 Ann Birmingham Scheel, acting on behalf of U.S. Attorney John Leonardo, announced the decision in a three-paragraph news release distributed at 5 p.m. Friday. Neither she nor anyone else from the office was available to comment.

However, in a letter to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Scheel listed the allegations that were investigated -- civil-rights violations, misuse of public money, perjury -- and said prosecution was declined because of a lack of evidence or an insurmountable burden of proof.

Arpaio, a Republican who is running for a sixth term in November, said he anticipated the outcome: "I never had any doubt. … Once again, I send my appreciation to the federal government for their hard work in clearing my office. "If I did something wrong, there would be indictments floating all over the place," Arpaio said.

Andrew Thomas, who resigned as county attorney and was later disbarred for ethical misconduct, issued a written statement saying, "The Justice Department acknowledged the obvious: A jury of citizens simply would not indict a prosecutor who had done his job. … The real losers in the political witch hunt that just ended are the people of Arizona. Prosecutors no longer attempt to fight corruption or illegal immigration in Arizona because they fear being targeted and disbarred."

Read the rest of the article at USA Today