by admin | Jun 9, 2016 | News and Updates
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 9th, 2016
CONTACT: Scot Mussi: (602) 508-6088
Poll Shows Voters Overwhelmingly Oppose Taxpayer Money for Politicians, Proposed ‘Clean Elections’ Initiative
Phoenix, AZ—The Arizona Free Enterprise Club today released the results of our latest poll showing that a vast majority of voters strongly oppose taxpayer money for politicians and the proposed ‘Clean Elections’ initiative.
The Club’s in depth poll, conducted by the Tarrance Group, shows that 70% of voters are against using taxpayer money to fund candidates running for political office, only 25% are in favor.
Additionally, when voters know that the proposed ‘Clean Elections’ initiative requires taxpayer funding of political campaigns, only 30% of voters support the measure, while 60% are opposed.
“Voters clearly do not think it is a good idea use taxpayer money to fund candidates for political office,” Club President Scot Mussi said. “Giving taxpayer money to politicians so that people can deal with more robocalls and junk mail is a definite loser with voters.”
The results also show that a large majority of voters find it hypocritical that supporters of the initiative are advocating for new campaign finance reporting requirements that they themselves refuse to follow.
72% of respondents stated that they would be less likely to support the ‘Clean Elections’ initiative knowing that the organizations funding the measure and supporting new donor disclosure requirements refuse to disclose their own donors. To date, the three organizations financially supporting the initiative have not disclosed any of their donors for the effort, in direct violation of the act.
The live telephone poll of 500 respondents was conducted June 4th through the 6th and has a 4.5% margin of error.
The Arizona Free Enterprise Club is a 501(C)(4) policy and advocacy group that is not affiliated with any other organization. For more information please visit www.azfree.org
by admin | Jun 9, 2016 | News and Updates
TO: Arizona Free Enterprise Club
FROM: dave sackett
RE: key findings from a survey of voter attitudes in Arizona
regarding clean elections initiative
DATE: June 7, 2016
The Tarrance Group is pleased to present Arizona Free Enterprise Club with the key findings from a survey of voter attitudes in Arizona regarding the proposed Clean Elections ballot initiative. These key findings are based on telephone interviews with N=500 registered voters throughout Arizona. Responses to this survey were gathered June 4-6, 2016 and the margin of error associated with a sample of this type is + 4.5% in 95 out of 100 cases.
- Arizona voters are strongly opposed to the use of their tax dollars to fund candidates for political office. Only 25% are in favor of their tax dollars “being used to fund candidates for political office.” Sixty-nine percent (69%) are opposed to such an action, and only 6% are unsure. There is significant intensity to this opposition, with 48% indicating they “strongly oppose” their tax dollars being used in this fashion.
- More than two-thirds of both men and women voters, as well as voters of all ages, indicate they are opposed to their tax dollars being used to fund candidates for political office. This is also the case for 65% or better of voters in every single region of the state.
- Only one in three Democrats – thirty-three percent (33%) – favor the use of their tax dollars to fund political candidates, while 58% of Democrats are opposed to this, as are 58% of self-identified liberals. There are more than 60% of Democratic women and 18-54 year old Democrats that are opposed to having their tax dollars used to fund candidates for political office.
- Opposition to the use of tax dollars to fund political candidates rises to 69% among Independent voters, and opposition to having their tax dollars used to fund candidates for political office rises to seventy-two percent (72%) among Independent women. Fully 79% of Republicans are also opposed to this use of taxpayer funds.
- The response to this inquiry is dramatically negative among minority voters, with 76% of African American voters and eighty-three percent (83%) of Hispanic/Latino voters indicating they are opposed to the use of their tax dollars to fund candidates for public office. Among minority Democrats, fully 70% are opposed to the use of their tax dollars in this manner.
- Arizona voters also take great offense at the hypocrisy of an organization that would sponsor a ballot initiative to “require non-profit groups and organizations that support or oppose ballot initiatives to disclose their donors” but, at the same time, refuse to disclosure their own donors.
- Fully seventy-two percent (72%) of Arizona voters indicate that this would cause them to be less likely to support the initiative. Feelings on this factor are also very intense, with 55% indicating that this information would cause them to be “strongly less likely” to support the ballot initiative.
- This sentiment exists throughout the electorate, with over 70% of both men and women and over 70% of voters of all ages indicating this would cause them to be less likely to support the ballot initiative.
- Fully eighty-eight percent (88%) of African American voters and seventy-seven percent (77%) of Hispanic/Latino voters indicate that this information would cause them to be less likely to support the ballot initiative
- Just as important, this hypocrisy impacts Arizona voters in the same way, regardless of their party registration or political affiliation. Over seventy percent of both Republicans and Democrats, and 76%) of Independents, all indicate they would be less likely to support this ballot initiative based on this information.
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by admin | Jun 6, 2016 | News and Updates
Yesterday Glenn Hamer at the Arizona Chamber published a great piece on the defective and highly misleading “Clean Elections” ballot initiative, a measure that would substantially increase taxpayer money for politicians to fund their campaigns.
The article included an excellent catch on their part, discovering and exposing the hypocrisy of the liberal groups pushing the measure. In addition to more taxpayer money for politicians, the initiative proposes new draconian campaign finance laws that require non-profit organizations (such as the Club, NRA or NFIB) that support or oppose ballot measures to register all of their contributors and supporters onto a government database.
The Club strongly opposes the creation of a government registry that tracks the issues and causes people support, and so it seems the backers of the initiative do so as well. To date, the three liberal organizations funding the ballot measure (Environment AZ Inc.,AZ Advocacy Network and Every Voice) have not disclosed any of their donors for the effort, in direct violation of their initiative.
If their initiative were law today, they would be subject to audits, investigations, fines and possible dissolution of their organizations. If they can’t even follow the draconian rules set forth in their own initiative, how do they expect the rest of us to. Rules for thee, not for me must be their motto.
Below is the article from the Chamber in its entirety:
Hamer Times: The Arizona Clean and Accountable Elections Act is taxpayer-funded politics on steroids
Posted on June 2, 2016 by Glenn Hamer
If you believe individuals and businesses in Arizona should be able to engage in the political process without barriers that limit speech or that make compliance so cumbersome as to discourage participation, then you need to be aware of a concerted effort to quash political speech in this state.
Here are four things you need to know about a speech-chilling initiative that could be coming to the fall ballot:
The Arizona Clean and Accountable Elections Act is taxpayer-funded politics on steroids. If you don’t like the current scheme of taxpayer-funded political campaigns in Arizona, then brace yourself for this initiative attempting to secure a spot on the November ballot. It recycles bad ideas like installing a new matching funds provision and a new tax credit of up to $10 per tax filer, and it would put the unelected Clean Elections Commission in charge of campaign finance enforcement instead of the secretary of state, who is held accountable to the voters.
Tax dollars for politicians? Of all the things Arizonans’ tax dollars could go toward – education, transportation, health care – paying for junk mail and robocalls doesn’t make the list by a longshot. But the backers of the initiative would rather divert tax dollars from the general fund into candidate campaigns, which means that all of us, regardless of whether we support taxpayer-funded elections, are paying the price for this scheme. To add insult to injury, this new initiative would increase the base amount of money candidates get to run their campaigns. In the past, these checks to politicians have been used for campaign expenditures like nights on the town and margarita machines. Talk about voter contact!
Do as we say… Under the initiative, any entity that spends more than $10,000 supporting or opposing a ballot measure would be required to provide a list of names to the Clean Elections Commission that contributed more than $1,000 to the organization. This isn’t disclosure, it’s intimidation. Individuals should be able to contribute to politically engaged organizations without being tracked by the government.
…but not as we do. With all of the campaign’s soaring rhetoric about transparency and disclosure, surely the Clean and Accountable Elections Campaign is disclosing the source of every one of its dollars, right?
Not so much.
According to filings with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office and the campaign website, the campaign is funded by something called Environment Arizona, Inc. (which shares an office with Arizona PIRG) and an out-of-state entity called Every Voice.
Who funds these groups? According to Every Voice’s website, one of their top contributors is “Anonymous” as well as non-profit groups and labor unions.
We’re sure the list of the contributors who make up this network of donors will be published any day now…
Don’t buy this initiative’s claims of transparency and better politics. It’s nothing more than another attempt to put taxpayers on the hook for campaigns and to mute the speech of individuals and businesses that would exercise their voice in the political arena.
by admin | Jun 6, 2016 | News and Updates
Brent Gardner, the Vice President of Legislative Affairs at Americans for Prosperity, published an article in the Wall Street Journal
on the growing state and national trend of corporate subsidization.
Gardner cites examples in states such as Washington, Texas, and California where Governors and Legislatures that handed out millions – sometimes billions – in special tax packages for companies to either attract or retain large corporate headquarters or facilities. These giveaways come at a high price for taxpayers; who not only get to flip for the bill, but also eventually pay more for goods and services because of anti-competitive inequities.
This competition has created a bidding war among states as well as a corporate culture of entitlement. It is time states tried a tactic that has never failed – lowering the tax and regulatory burden on ALL businesses and getting out of the way of the free market.
Read the entirety of Gardner’s article below…
Ending the Corporate-Welfare Circus
State gifts to the likes of Boeing, Ford, Google and Apple are unnecessary and unfair. Better to cut the tax rate and reduce regulation.
By BRENT GARDNER
Competition is at the heart of America’s economic success, but not every type of contest benefits society. Consider the growing trend of businesses cajoling states and politicians to compete for who can dole out the most corporate welfare. It’s especially frustrating because there are already plenty of ways to promote job growth without robbing taxpayers.
General Electric is one of the latest companies to shamelessly demand taxpayer-funded goodies from government. The company’s senior tax counsel Bobby Burgner spoke freely about the firm’s strategy earlier this month at a panel hosted by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Mr. Burgner declared that GE would generally avoid states with congressional delegations opposed to federal-subsidy programs like the Export-Import Bank, which hands out taxpayer-backed loans and guarantees to businesses like GE. This followed the company’s refusal last summer to relocate its headquarters to Dallas, because some prominent Texas lawmakers opposed reauthorizing the bank.
Increasingly, major companies determine where to maintain, expand or relocate facilities based on how much money they can take from taxpayers’ pockets in the process. They sometimes hold jobs and entire communities hostage until they get their way.
The most frequent tactic is to demand tax credits or direct subsidies from state governments. In 2010 John Deere secured $15 million from Iowa to maintain roughly 300 jobs at a Waterloo plant. A year later in neighboring Illinois, Sears and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group threatened to relocate their headquarters unless the state forked over about $100 million in tax breaks. General Electric was in on the game as early as 2010 when it sought $25 million in tax credits from Massachusetts to maintain 150 local jobs.
States also use tax giveaways to lure businesses to relocate or expand. North Carolina gave presents of $320 million to Apple and $250 million to Google so they would build data servers in the Tar Heel State. Kentucky has doled out more than $500 million in tax breaks and subsidies for Toyota and Ford auto plants. Medical companies have milked Florida for well over $1 billion in various handouts. Nevada threw $1.3 billion at Tesla Motors to build an electric-car-battery plant.
And then there’s Boeing. In 2013, the company, which assembles jetliners in the world’s largest building in Everett, Wash., announced that it was looking for a location to build its new 777X. This spurred a furious scramble by multiple states to win the company’s favor. Although most kept their bids under wraps, Missouri tried to tip the scales by passing a bill containing $1.7 billion in tax incentives.
That still wasn’t enough, and Boeing decided to stay in Washington. The price? An $8.7 billion package, the largest such giveaway in American history, that included tax breaks on airplane production, a sales-and-use tax exemption for new buildings and taxpayer-funded training for employees.
Some states now devote part of their annual budget to doling out taxpayer-funded goodies to businesses, and many have established government agencies to grease company wheels. New York has its Empire State Development Corporation. California’s is known as the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank. And, as usual, everything is bigger in Texas:
The state annually hands out more than $19 billion in corporate welfare through the Texas Enterprise Fund and other programs, according to the New York Times.
It’s not all bad news for taxpayers. Wisconsin lawmakers last year rejected Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to inject $55 million into the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. In February Florida lawmakers rejected Gov. Rick Scott’s proposal to give $250 million to Enterprise Florida. The state agency will now be shrunk by roughly two-thirds—a big win for anyone paying taxes in the Sunshine State.
Yet these are only exceptions that prove the rule in this special-interest race to the bottom. If state and local lawmakers are truly interested in spurring job creation and economic growth, they have better options than handing out taxpayer money to a lucky few.
States could start with eliminating tax carve outs and replacing them with lower-overall tax rates and lighter regulatory burdens. Federal lawmakers could also do their part by lowering America’s highest-in-the-developed-world corporate tax rate. These already proven ideas would help states create a healthy economic climate to attract businesses and investment.
Embracing these policies would protect taxpayers, who should never be forced to fork over their money to companies that include multinational firms with multimillion-dollar profit margins. Consumers and taxpayers will also benefit once a level economic playing field forces businesses to compete with each other based solely on the quality of their products and services.
That might seem like a novel concept to many of today’s lawmakers and business leaders. But it’s the kind of competition that has spurred the innovation and advances that made America the economic envy of the world—not a corporate welfare free-for-all.
Mr. Gardner is vice president of government affairs at Americans for Prosperity.
by admin | Jun 2, 2016 | News and Updates
The Phoenix City Council just doesn’t know how to say ‘no.’ Not to a spend-happy budget, expensive union contracts, the latest and greatest technologies, insanely high pension rates, or new and expanded government programs. And certainly they can’t say no to higher taxes on residents and businesses. It would seem the only proposition Phoenix is comfortable denying is fiscal discipline; to that they are consistently and adamantly opposed.
May 17th the Phoenix Council by a vote of 6 – 3 passed a $1.22 billion budget that included a $37 million shortfall. July 1st, the council is expected to approve a 26 percent property tax increase to cover the deficit. For the average home owner, their bill will increase from $249 to $314. This massive budget is a 5.7 percent increase in spending from 2015-16’s budget alone. Baked into the deal is almost $50 million in “restoration” of employee compensation, $5.4 million for new police body cams, over $1 million in expanded social programs, and $320 million in pension liability payments.
The truth is Phoenix created their own budget crisis and wants the taxpayers to bail them out. They did this by manipulating their combined fixed rate of 1.82 – decreasing the secondary tax rate used to service debt on capital outlays and infrastructure and shifting to the primary rate used for general fund expenses. This allowed City Hall to run up the credit cards with spending while simultaneously neglecting to pay down previously incurred debts. As a result, almost $295 million has been taken from debt payments over the last six years.
To add salt to the wound, city bureaucrats are trying to argue that this really isn’t a tax increase since the property tax change this year doesn’t take into account lower property tax bills following the housing crash in 2008. In other words, as families were struggling through the great recession, watching the equity and value of their homes disappear, Phoenix leaders believe this “tax relief” justifies this year’s tax increase.
Additionally, the recently enacted budget shows that the city has generated record breaking revenue collections, has a $60 million surplus, and still has approximately $116 of their “general obligation reserve fund” on hand. This isn’t a revenue problem, it is a spending problem.
Currently only three council members—Jim Waring, Sal DiCiccio and Bill Gates—are demonstrating the political will to actively oppose this tax hike. The rest of the council is either quietly supporting the increase or is avoiding the issue in the hopes that they can approve it without anyone noticing.
One would think Phoenix residents would have had enough. Already this year they have seen an increase in their water rates and approved a sales tax increase for more expensive and inefficient light rail. We will find out on July 1st if City Hall wants to tack on a property tax increase to their resume as well.