Emergency Orders Are Being Abused Across Arizona—It’s Time for the Legislature to Act

Emergency Orders Are Being Abused Across Arizona—It’s Time for the Legislature to Act

How often do you experience an emergency? Monthly? Weekly? Every day? More than likely, it’s pretty uncommon—as it should be.

Maybe someone should tell the government. Because it seems like every time you read the news, some government official is declaring a new “state of emergency.” But these declarations stopped looking like real emergencies long ago. And this past year in the midst of COVID-19, it’s gotten out of control. This is especially true in cities and counties across Arizona, where officials are using emergency orders to beat up on local citizens.

Using COVID to grab more power

One year ago, words like “masks,” “lockdowns,” and “social distancing” weren’t a part of our regular vocabulary. But then COVID hit the United States, and local officials seized the opportunity to enact closures and mandates that did little to address the pandemic.

Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans was among the first to make a power grab, limiting dining at restaurants and closing most gathering places.

And in March, then Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels rushed to close park playgrounds and sport courts without a single case of the virus in town. Just a few months later, she followed that up with a mask mandate. This was at the same time Maricopa County, of which Gilbert is a part, issued its own mask mandate.

Meanwhile Scottsdale residents have likely been experiencing mask-mandate whiplash. They had to deal with a mask mandate in June that was rescinded in September and then reinstated this January, one day after Mayor David Ortega was sworn into office.

And then there’s Pima County. In December, officials there announced a daily COVID curfew from 10 p.m until 5 a.m. Because apparently the virus only comes out at night? Thankfully, a Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order halting enforcement of the curfew earlier this month. But it didn’t take long before Pima County filed an appeal.

And while COVID is an issue that may warrant some action (which should NOT include crushing small business or trampling on our rights), did you know that some cities in our state are starting to use these powers to declare “climate emergencies”?

Emergency orders for the climate

Let’s start with Flagstaff, who as we mentioned earlier, leapt at the opportunity to use emergency orders after COVID hit. But officials didn’t stop there. In June, the Flagstaff City Council actually declared a climate emergency as well. And right now, they are using this radical declaration to impose a slew of extreme Green New Deal mandates that will destroy businesses, cost taxpayers a fortune, and likely violate state law. You can read all about their plans right here.

Maybe these officials should stop and read state law. After all, several years ago Arizona passed Proposition 207, which protects property owners from any land use law by cities that devalue their property. Passing ordinances that put a bunch of mandates on property owners without their consent, even under a so-called “climate emergency,” is a violation of this law.

And that brings us back to Tucson, which of course is within Pima County. This January, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and the city council followed Flagstaff’s lead, declaring a “climate emergency.” And now they are proceeding with a plan to make Tucson carbon neutral within the next decade.

But does any of this sound like a real emergency?

It’s time for the legislature to act

These emergency orders have gotten out of control in our state. Too many government officials are abusing their powers. And in the process, they are crushing local citizens, destroying small businesses, and pushing the Green New Deal.

But that’s not what emergency orders are for. Emergency orders should be used for real emergencies. That’s why this level of government overreach needs to stop.

Now, it’s time for the legislature to act and put an end to these types of emergency declarations. Otherwise, local citizens will be paying the price for years to come.

Arizona Is Now a High Tax State Thanks to Prop 208

Arizona Is Now a High Tax State Thanks to Prop 208

Do you remember when people were flocking to Arizona? When new employers, entrepreneurs, and families found our state attractive because of its low taxes?

It wasn’t that long ago. Here’s just one example from 2019, when the state’s top marginal tax rate was 4.50%— one of the most competitive in the country!

But all of that has changed thanks to Proposition 208.

With the passage of this disastrous piece of legislation in which voters were misled, Arizona’s new rate was raised dramatically to 8%. This gives Arizona the ninth highest small business tax rate in the nation! Of course, the teacher unions and out of state special interest groups behind Proposition 208 said this wouldn’t happen—that it would NOT tax small businesses. Clearly that was a lie.

And now, with Arizona already having the 11th highest sales tax rate and the 20th highest business property tax rate in the country, we are officially a high tax state for small business.

That’s not exactly something we’d want to advertise to those who may consider moving here. After all, a recent study from the Cato Institute found that American citizens are leaving high tax states for lower tax states. Certainly, that’s not much of a surprise. But Arizona used to be ones of the desirable states to move to because of its low taxes. Not anymore.

And while the media and the Left continue to push the myth that the people of Arizona are undertaxed, just ask small business owners their experience since Proposition 208 passed. If the taxes were so low, then why are many of them picking up and leaving the state?

The fact is that Arizona has now joined the ranks of other high tax states that have experienced decades of decline. You probably know some of them: Illinois, New York, California. Each of these states are dealing with high taxes, distressed economies, and people fleeing to other states to find greener pastures.

Just look at California, where an estimated 13,000 businesses left between 2009 and 2016. In fact, during the economic boom years in 2018 and 2019, 765 commercial facilities left the “Golden State.”

But this begs the question: If the economy was booming throughout the country, why did these businesses leave? The answer is quite simple: high taxes.

Is that what we want here in Arizona? We certainly hope not.

But thanks to Proposition 208, Arizona has now lost the tax-competitive advantage that once made it so special. And that means we can expect other nearby states like Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Texas to have the upper hand when it comes to attracting small businesses and creating new jobs.

It’s time for our state legislature to take swift, aggressive action to fix this problem. Proposition 208 has made Arizona a high tax state, crushed small businesses, and done irreparable harm to the state’s competitiveness. And if our legislature doesn’t do something soon, we’ll end up in an endless cycle of decline—just like our neighbors in California.

You Can Make a Difference

If we don’t act soon, Arizona will soon look like other high tax states in rapid decline. Find out what you can do to undo the damage being caused by Proposition 208.

Backers of the Corp Comm Green New Deal Think That Legislators Are Too Stupid to Handle Energy Policy

Backers of the Corp Comm Green New Deal Think That Legislators Are Too Stupid to Handle Energy Policy

Supporters of the Arizona Corporation Commission’s plan to impose the Green New Deal and ban all fossil fuels are up in arms this week. The reason? The legislature has decided to exert their constitutional authority and make it clear that they are in charge of setting energy policy for the state.

This week the Arizona House and Senate are hearing HB 2248 and SB 1175, legislation that would prohibit the Corp Comm from adopting any policy or rule regulating distributed energy without legislative authorization. Several interest groups and Green New Deal activists have signed in against the bill, and they have coalesced around one argument: legislators aren’t smart enough to handle energy policy. This is a topic that should be left up to the “experts” over at the ACC.

Just a cursory look through the comments submitted to Request to Speak, the legislative system used to register support or opposition to a bill, catalog dozens of statements ranging from condescending to insulting.

Here is just a small sample of the vitriol sent their way:

Lawmakers Are Too Dumb to Understand Energy Policy

“The ACC is independently elected to make energy decisions because they are more knowledgeable than legislators!”

“ACC, not state reps, have focus & expertise to determine energy issues.”

Apparently legislators are competent enough to decide tax policy, create the state’s budget, criminal code, and legislate on other complex issues, but when it comes to energy policy our elected legislative body is not qualified enough.

Will of the Voters! Except for the Steyer Initiative, That Doesn’t Count

“This bill proposes to disrespect the will of the voters who strongly supported Clean Energy”

 “The ACC Rules being considered have been properly vetted and have strong public support. This bill is legislative overreach.”

It was only two years ago when Arizonans overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 127, a ballot measure that would have imposed Green New Deal energy mandates very similar to what is being proposed by the ACC. Voters have spoken on the issue, and it wasn’t to have the Corp Comm install a sweeping energy plan that will raise utility prices and cause rolling blackouts in the state.

Arizona Should Adopt California-Style Energy Mandates

“Clean energy is good for Arizona. It keeps electricity costs lower, consistent, predictable and reliable over the long term. Being a solar leader gives us more energy independence and control. This is not the Legislature’s job.”

California tried the same plan, and what was the result? After weeks of rolling blackouts Governor Gavin Newsom was forced to beg residents to limit the use of their appliances and turn up their air conditioning thermostats. It got so bad that Newsom suspended the closure of several natural gas power plants that were scheduled for closure.

The Legislature Needs to Butt Out and Let the ACC Run Wild


While the constitution does say that the Corp Comm “may prescribe… and make and enforce reasonable rules, regulations, and orders for the convenience, comfort, and safety, and the preservation of the health, of the employees and patrons,” it also makes it clear that the Legislature has the final say.   In the recent Johnson Utilities court decision, Arizona Supreme Court unanimously held that the legislature’s authority over the public health and wellbeing of Arizonans “is paramount” to that of the Commission’s on matters of policy.

As HB 2248 and SB 1175 move forward, it will be interesting to see how lawmakers respond to being told that they are stupid and should stand in the corner while the Corp Comm attempts to set energy policy for the state. Hopefully it will stiffen their resolve to do the right thing: stopping the Green New Deal in Arizona.

Prop 208 Voters Were Deceived—Now Small Businesses Are Paying the Price

Prop 208 Voters Were Deceived—Now Small Businesses Are Paying the Price

They said it wouldn’t happen. They said that Proposition 208 wouldn’t affect the Arizona economy or small businesses. But here we are, just two weeks into the new year, and small businesses are already seeing the effects of a disastrous income tax increase.

How could this be? 

After all, Andrea Nemecek, the state director for #INVESTinED, declared that Proposition 208 would NOT tax small businesses. Not that it was unlikely. Not that it may not. She stated that Prop 208 would NOT tax small businesses.

This proclamation was included in her ballot argument submitted on behalf of the YES campaign to the Arizona 2020 General Election Publicity Pamphlet. And it was the very first argument that appeared in the voter guide. Just look at Question 4 on page 137.

4. How much does this tax small businesses?

Answer: Zero. $0.00. Nothing. This initiative ONLY applies to personal income, not business income. This is worth repeating: There are no business-tax increases. This surcharge only applies to personal income.

But Ms. Nemecek wasn’t alone. Every major funder, advocate, and organization behind Prop 208 pushed this same deceitful narrative. Take David Lujan, for example. Mr. Lujan is the director of the Arizona Center for Economic Progress, a co-author of Prop 208. Back in September, he told the Phoenix New Times, “The argument that our opponents make is that this is going to tax small business owners. And that’s completely false.”

This talking point was repeated far and wide, including by #INVESTinED, who tweeted the same exact quote.

So, if this were true. If it is “false” that small business is taxed under Prop 208, then Ms. Nemecek, Mr. Lujan, and the out-of-state special interests that bankrolled this massive tax hike should explain why small businesses are already leaving the state due to Prop 208.

Just look at Landmark Recovery, a business headquartered in Scottsdale. Its owner, Matthew Boyle, told ABC15 last month that his business is packing up and heading to Nashville, Tennessee. Why are they leaving? Because Prop 208 will crush his small business.

Another local favorite, My Sister’s Closet, has filed a lawsuit against Prop 208 because of the damage it will cause her small business.

More businesses are sure to follow. And who can blame them?

It’s bad enough that many of these businesses are still trying to recover from the effects of COVID-19. Now, they’re being hammered by a tax they were told didn’t affect them.

So, who stands to be most affected by Prop 208? The people of Arizona.

report from the Goldwater Institute estimates a minimum of 124,000 jobs lost within 10 years of Prop 208 going into effect along with $2.4 billion lost in state and local tax revenue.

But #INVESTinED got what they wanted. Prop 208 passed. And now the people of Arizona are stuck dealing with the fall out of a campaign that was less about education and more about deception.

You Can Make a Difference

If we don’t act soon, Arizona will soon look like other high tax states in rapid decline. Find out what you can do to undo the damage being caused by Proposition 208.

Corporation Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson Turns Her Back on Voters for Power and Control

Corporation Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson Turns Her Back on Voters for Power and Control

Lea Márquez Peterson was elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission this past November, running as a Republican. But it didn’t take long before she threw the 1.4 million people who voted for her completely under the bus.

Earlier this week, in a surprise move, Márquez Peterson voted for herself to serve as chair of the five-member commission. And who do you think voted with her to ensure she won the top seat? Democrats Sandra Kennedy and Anna Tovar.

In this position, Márquez Peterson will set meeting agendas, run meetings, and set the overall tone of the commission. But normally, the role of chair goes to the person who has served the longest, which in this case would have been Conservative Republican Justin Olson.

But not this year.

Apparently, Márquez Peterson made a New Year’s resolution to gain more power and control. But at what cost? And what kind of deal did Márquez Peterson make with the Democrats to gain such a position?

A “Green New Deal” perhaps?

The role of the Arizona Corporation Commission is to set rates and policies for utilities. And right now, the commission is in the process of developing a “clean energy” plan that looks to ban fossil fuels by 2050. In essence, they are trying to pass the Green New Deal right here in Arizona. And who do you think has served as a key swing vote to drive such measures? Lea Márquez Peterson.

A Green New Deal in Arizona would mean less reliability, higher rates, and millions of corporate welfare dollars going to special interest groups. But that’s not all…

You can also expect to see more California-style blackouts just like this past summer. Do you remember those?

In August 2020, California’s electricity grid was under an immense strain. And because of that, the state instituted its first intentional rolling blackouts since 2001. And the state’s residents were also asked to conserve electricity during a significant heatwave this past summer.

Now, imagine that possibility when it’s 110 degrees in Phoenix. And imagine being forced to pay more money out of your pocket for it.

If “Green New Deal” Lea gets her way, that’s where we’re headed.

But perhaps she doesn’t care that she betrayed every Republican that voted for her this past November. Perhaps she’s ok with it, so she can have more power, control, and whatever else the Democrats have promised her.

Lea Márquez Peterson sold out. And now the people of Arizona live under threat of the Green New Deal passing.

Somewhere, Bernie Sanders and AOC must be smiling.