Free Enterprise Club PAC Endorses Doug Ducey for Governor

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club PAC today has announced its first endorsement for the 2014 election: Doug Ducey for Governor.  Ducey is currently Arizona’s State Treasurer and is in a hotly contested primary election.

“With his strong business background and proven track record on economic issues, there is no question that Doug Ducey is the best choice as Arizona’s next governor,” Executive Director Scot Mussi said.  “Ducey is a committed free market fiscal conservative who won’t shy away from making tough decisions or taking on big challenges.”

Among his many achievements, Ducey made his mark when he led the charge to stop the permanent billion dollar tax increase in 2012. “Ducey’s effort to defeat Proposition 204 and the billion dollar tax hike showed taxpayers and businesses that he is looking out for them,” Mussi Continued.  “His leadership is what we need to craft free market, pro-growth oriented policies that make Arizona a great place to work and live.”

While other candidates for Governor will try to claim the mantle as the ‘pro-business’ candidate, Doug Ducey is the only one with the experience and knowledge to take Arizona to the next level. “Ducey understands that the secret to economic growth and prosperity is not higher taxes or government picking winners and losers, but making sure Arizona has the best business climate in the Southwest.” Mussi said.

Phoenix Pension Committee Submits Signatures to put Pension Reform on Ballot

Today the Phoenix Pension Reform Committee turned in more than 54,000 signatures to place the Pension Reform Act on the ballot to fix Phoenix’s broken pension system.

“The outpouring of support from Phoenix residents wanting real pension reform has been tremendous,” said Scot Mussi, Executive Director of the Free Enterprise Club and Chairman of the pension reform committee. “The power brokers at City Hall have refused to fix our broken pension system, instead passing sham reforms thinking they can hide the problem from taxpayers. Voters are fed up with the games and deserve an opportunity to decide the issue for themselves.”

The City of Phoenix’s annual pension costs have increased by over 40% since 2011 and pension spiking will cost Phoenix taxpayers over $190 million.  Currently, the pension system is only 56% funded with $1.5 billion in unfunded liability.

Citizens for Pension Reform Committee initiative will overhaul Phoenix’s broken employee-pension system and replace it with a 401(k) style retirement system for new city employees.

The initiative would also end the illegal practice of pension spiking, transition new city employees into a more sustainable and fair 401(k) style-defined contribution plan, allow existing employees to opt into the new defined contribution plan, protect taxpayers from ballooning pension costs, and take the issue away from elected officials and special interests.

The Phoenix Pension Reform Act will amend the Phoenix City Charter and will make significant changes to the way the pension system functions for new city employees hired after the initiative is approved by the voters and takes effect.  The Phoenix Pension Reform Act does not affect current retirees or participants in the Public Safety Retirement System (police and fire fighters).

The group needed 25,480 valid signatures from registered Phoenix voters to qualify for the ballot. In an effort to make sure Citizens for Pension Reform Committee qualifies for the ballot, the Committee went the extra effort of twice verifying with the City of Phoenix’s own voter lists the validity of the signatures filed.

The City’s general obligation bond rating was downgraded late December 2013 by Standard and Poor’s from AAA to AA+.

When Union Bosses Want to Stop Reform, they Just Wind Up Bob Robson

Today the Arizona Free Enterprise Club has begun a mail campaign to educate voters on Rep. Bob Robson’s opposition to much needed state pension reforms.  “If there is one person at the legislature that Union Bosses rely on to protect their sweetheart deals, it is Rep. Bob Robson.” Executive Director Scot Mussi said.  “Arizona’s pension system is in crisis, and Rep. Robson continually sides with Union Bosses over hardworking taxpayers.”

This year three pieces of legislation were introduced to help fix our broken pension system, and Robson has worked tirelessly to defeat them all:

  • Robson joined the democrats to kill House Bill 2060, legislation to add oversight and protections on managing Arizona’s pension system.
  • Robson first voted “present” on a bill to end pension spiking (HB 2058), then voted NO when it came up for a vote a second time.
  • Robson casted the deciding vote to kill HB 2090, a bill that would have created a 401(k)-style retirement plan option for state employees.

Pension reform isn’t the only issue in which Robson has been a reliable Union vote—his opposition to paycheck protection and ending taxpayer funded release time has been known for years. “Voters deserve to know when their elected officials are out of step on big issues like pension reform and special union deals.” Mussi said. “We hope our efforts help raise awareness of this problem.”

Click here to see the mailer.

Urgent Vote Alert–Vote NO on HB 2651

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club urges a NO vote on HB 2651, legislation that would expand funding for Clean Elections and create taxpayer subsidized officeholder expense accounts for elected officials.

Under HB 2651, a special tax deduction will be added to Arizona’s individual income tax form for contributions made to the Clean Elections fund. If this subsidy sounds familiar, that is because we already tried this bad idea for over a decade.  Thankfully, after intensive lobbying by the Free Enterprise Club and others it was finally eliminated by the legislature a couple of years ago. Now they want to bring it back.

Even worse, HB 2651 would establish officeholder expense accounts, which will be used by politicians to engage in electioneering on the taxpayer’s dime.  Under no circumstances should taxpayers EVER fund the activities of elected officials. This is a waste of resources and tips the scales in favor of incumbents over challengers in political campaigns.

The legislature should not vote to give itself a special fund for political activities. The Free Enterprise Club urges a NO vote on HB 2651.