Club Files Amicus Brief to Stop Unconstitutional Tax Hike

Today the Arizona Free Enterprise Club filed an Amicus Curiae brief with the Arizona Supreme Court in Biggs v. Brewer to defend voters and taxpayers from the legislature and the executive attempting to undermine the 2/3rd vote requirement to pass a tax hike at the legislature.

For some additional background, in 2013 the Arizona State Legislature passed a massive expansion of the Medicaid program under Obamacare, one of the largest entitlement expansion in Arizona history.  In doing so, the Legislature also created a number of new hospital fees and tax increases, despite not attaining the necessary 2/3rds majority as Constitutionally required under Proposition 108 – passed in 1992 with 72% of the vote.

In an effort to stop the challenge, the defendants of the illegal tax increase are claiming that there is no standing to sue, because ultimately the legislature has the authority to decide what constitutes a tax hike. 

“19 Senators and 33 Representatives simply do not have the power to decide what is and what isn’t Constitutional,” said Scot Mussi, President of the Club. “Arizona voters sent an unmistakable message about the need for lower taxes and spending when they overwhelmingly approved Prop 108, it cannot be ignored when it proves inconvenient for politicians.”

We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will side with taxpayers and eventually uphold the 2/3 requirement for tax increases that is enshrined in our Constitution. To view the Club’s brief, click here.

Club Files Public Records Complaint Against Secretary of State

September 23–The Arizona Free Enterprise Club (Club) today filed a public records complaint in Superior Court against the Secretary of State (SOS) to end their stonewalling tactics and require that they turn over records to shed light on why they are targeting the Club.

The original public records request was requested last month to determine whether or not the targeting of the Club by the SOS was politically motivated, if their “findings” against the Club had been pre-determined, and if the office had any role in the leaking of their so-called findings to the media.

Based on recent conversations with officers within the Secretary of State’s office, there is strong reason to believe the stonewalling is intentional, not only to keep these records in the dark, but also to deny the Club the ability to respond in a timely matter to the frivolous complaint filed with the Attorney General.

“I find it ironic that the Secretary of State, who demanded that we turn over volumes of documents in just a few days, despite not having the authority to do so, is now stonewalling on our request,” said Mussi.  “There are legal remedies against state government for refusing to turn over public documents, and we intend to pursue them to the fullest until the truth is uncovered.”

To view the complaint filed in Superior Court, click here.

Club Poll Shows Ducey Up 6 over Duval, Brnovich with Slight Lead in AG Race

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club today released our latest poll for the general election, focusing on the Governor’s and Attorney General Race. The Club’s in depth poll, conducted by the Tarrance Group, shows Doug Ducey opening up a lead over Democrat Fred Duval. Among likely voters, Ducey is currently leading Duval 44% to 38%. Both Ducey and Duval are receiving strong support from their respective party, with 78% of Republicans supporting Ducey and 75% of Democrats supporting Duval. Additionally, Ducey has a small lead (36% to 34%) among independent voters.  Libertarian Barry Hess is receiving 13% support among independents.

In the Attorney General Race, Republican Mark Brnovich has a slight lead over Felicia Rotellini, 43% to 40%. This race is wide open as there is still a large segment of the voting public undecided. In fact, fully 28% of independent voters are still undecided in the AG race.

The live telephone poll of 500 respondents was conducted September 15th through the 17th and has a 4.5% margin of error.

Tesla Deal a Win for Crony Capitalists, a Loser for Taxpayers

Upon hearing the news that Tesla – the electric car company initially funded in large part by government handouts – had decided to build its new battery plant in Nevada instead of Arizona, politicians and so-called job creation experts cited it as another example of how Arizona needs to increase incentives to be more competitive.  But as more details emerged from the final subsidy agreement, it is more accurate than ever to say that taxpayers never win when their elected leaders engage in a crony capitalist bidding war.

Of course, we all want to build a strong business environment in Arizona so employers look to us to build and expand.  That’s why we fight for lower taxes and a more sane state regulatory policy for all businesses.  However, when the government starts picking winners and losers, and negotiates sweetheart deals that end up hurting the economy more than helping, it has simply gone too far. And boy, did the Tesla deal go WAY TOO FAR.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Tesla was successful in extracting over $1.3 Billion in special tax breaks to help fund about 25% of the cost of the new battery plant.  Tesla will be exempt from paying property taxes for 10 years and sales taxes for 20 years, and will receive an additional $200 Million in transferable tax credits that they can sell to other businesses. Conveniently, this giveaway could not come at a better time as the company is hemorrhaging cash (it has $2.6 billion in cash and $4 billion in liabilities) and has overhead costs skyrocketing.

What does Nevada taxpayers expect to get in return for their “investment?”  Tesla projects to employ about 6,500 workers, which comes out to over $200,000 per job created.  All paid for by taxpayers.  It’s no wonder that many even consider the sweetheart deal to be unconstitutional.

Crony capitalism is nothing new.  In fact, the head of Tesla is a known master of the practice.  But it’s about time hardworking taxpayers stop paying for it.

Club Opposes Billion Dollar Hospital Bond, Tax Hike

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club strongly urges voters in Maricopa County to reject a proposed $935 million hospital bond (over a $1 billion with interest) this November that would raise property taxes and reduce the quantity and quality of health care choices for valley residents.

Proposition 480 asks voters to give the Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) a $1 billion general-obligation bond to pay for a dramatically expanded public hospital system with little accountability or transparency on how the money is spent.  This billion dollar blank check for MIHS will likely lead to financial mismanagement and cost overruns that will leave taxpayers on the hook.

Additionally, Prop 480 would represent a dramatic increase in government-run healthcare at a time when our state, and our nation, is still trying to cope with the uncertainty and spiraling costs of Obamacare. By expanding the county hospital system, privately-run hospitals and facilities are further crowded out – forcing people into government systems with fewer choices and longer wait times.  The costs of sustaining and expanding government healthcare continue to explode, with no end in sight.

Taxpayers would be wise to avoid giving MIHS a billion dollar blank check that will increase taxes and adversely effect our health care system. Join us in opposing Prop 480.