Arizona Free Enterprise Club Releases First Round of Endorsements

Arizona Free Enterprise Club Releases First Round of Endorsements

Phoenix, AZ – Today the Arizona Free Enterprise Club announced its first slate of endorsements for the 2022 election.      

The endorsed candidates represent individuals that share our values and commitment to a free and prosperous Arizona. Club President Scot Mussi stated, “It is critical that Arizona elects leaders and policymakers who are able to articulate and stand up for individual liberties, free market policies, and conservative values.  We believe that these candidates are up to the challenge.”

Arizona State Legislature

LD 1LD 10LD 17
Senate: Steve ZippermanHouse:  Barbara ParkerHouse: Cory McGarr
House: Judy Burges House: Rachel Jones
   
LD 2LD 13LD 19
House: Pierce WaychoffSenate: JD MesnardHouse: Gail Griffin
House: Christian Lamar House: Lupe Diaz
   
LD 3LD 14LD 28
House: Joseph ChaplikSenate: Warren PetersenHouse: Beverly Pingerelli
 House: Travis GranthamHouse: Susan Black
 House: Laurin Hendrix 
   
LD 4LD 15LD 29
Senate: Nancy BartoSenate: Jake HoffmanHouse: Steve Montenegro
 House: Jacqueline ParkerHouse: Austin Smith
 House: Neal Carter 
   
LD7  
House: John Fillmore  
House: David Marshall  

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

Red4ED Is One of the Most Expensive Failures in Arizona Political History

Red4ED Is One of the Most Expensive Failures in Arizona Political History

Push a sympathetic message. Drum up a bunch of misguided support. And then aim for a ridiculous tax increase. That was the strategy from Red4ED after it launched a little over four years ago.

In that spring of 2018, the color red was popping up all over the place—from Facebook profile pictures to protests at the state Capitol. And it was supposedly all about increasing teacher salaries and funding for K-12 education. It was a movement that had great momentum, a sycophant media, and a political class that was terrified to stand up to them. Yet they figured out how to, in four short years, go from a political juggernaut to one of the largest and most expensive failures in Arizona political history.

Of course, defeating this multiyear assault on Arizona by Invest in Ed was a huge win for taxpayers, job creators, and the future prosperity of our state. And it would not have been possible without a combination of political miscalculations and blunders by the Red4ED decision makers and a consistent, sustained opposition from key organizations and elected officials willing to stand up to the bullies behind the movement.  

A Massive Legal Blunder

While the story of Red4ED began with a protest at the Capitol and demands for higher teacher pay, the movement was quickly hijacked by the teachers’ unions and other out-of-state special interest groups. It didn’t take long for the mission to morph from one about helping teachers into a singular quest to double the state income tax through a ballot initiative.

Soon after the first protests, a consortium of liberal organizations launched Invest in Ed version one, a poorly drafted initiative that proposed to double Arizona’s income tax. After receiving over $2 million from the National Teachers Union, Red4ED was successful in submitting enough signatures for their tax increase initiative to qualify for the 2018 ballot. But there was a problem. The organization’s 100-word summary of its ballot measure was grossly misleading. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce sued, and the Arizona Supreme Court ruled against it, saying that the description “did not accurately represent the increased tax burden on the affected classes of taxpayers.”

Whether it was an intentional effort to mislead the public or just a complete drafting blunder on their part, Red4ED’s tax increase initiative was removed from the ballot. And a $2 million lesson was learned. Or was it?

Their Litigation Woes Continue

Red4ED regrouped after its embarrassing court loss and put all its effort—along with more than $23 million—toward passing Invest in Ed version 2.0, also known as Prop 208. After an ugly campaign that involved deceiving voters once again, the initiative barely passed with 51% of the vote.

Yet just like the first initiative, Prop 208 was taken back to court, this time by the Arizona Free Enterprise Club and Goldwater Institute. And once again, the measure was struck down by the Arizona Supreme Court.

The court determined that the initiative violated the constitutional expenditure limitation. Here is the craziest part of the story—the drafters of the initiative knew that it violated the constitutional expenditure limitation. That’s right, the people that put Prop 208 on the ballot were fully aware that their measure had a constitutional defect. Yet their lawyers thought they could address the problem by including language that would “exempt” their statutory measure from the constitutional spending cap. As you would expect, this didn’t work, and the court struck down the measure in its entirety. But instead of cutting their losses and figuring out how to stop burning money that they said teachers desperately needed, Red4ED found a new way to target Arizona taxpayers.

A Futile Effort

In the midst of a brutal year for many, the Arizona legislature delivered historic tax cuts in June 2021. You would think this would be a cause for celebration for everyone, but Red4ED refused to join the party. Instead, the group spent over $5 million to hire an army of paid circulators to put a referendum on the ballot to block the tax cuts from going into effect.

They thought they finally scored a big win, but it turns out the only thing they scored was more legal headaches. Immediately after the referendum was submitted, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club filed a lawsuit, challenging the constitutionality of ballot referral. It was our belief that the measure did not comply with the “support and maintenance” clause in the constitution, and therefore the tax cuts were not referrable.

Nine months after our lawsuit was filed, the Arizona Supreme Court agreed with our position and ruled against the referendum, issuing a big win for taxpayers throughout the state.

If you’re doing the math, that’s more than $30 million spent in just over four years, and what does Red4ED have to show for it? Two legally flawed initiatives and a legally flawed referendum that all failed miserably. Plus, they took a movement that had sympathetic support for increased teacher salaries and turned it into a radical left/teacher union effort that destroyed any credibility they had with voters.

Adding insult to injury, they also had to endure watching the Arizona legislature and Governor Ducey implement the anti-Red4ED plan by slashing income tax rates in half to a flat 2.5%. In other words, a plan hatched by Invest in ED seeking to double the state income tax resulted in income tax rates that were slashed in half. What a disaster for them! But maybe they can at least celebrate the possibility that Red4ED may be the largest, most expensive failure in Arizona political history.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

Proposed Earned Income Tax Credit Is a Trojan Horse for Universal Basic Income

Proposed Earned Income Tax Credit Is a Trojan Horse for Universal Basic Income

Last year, the legislature passed historic tax cuts. The package was fair, lowering rates for all Arizonans across the board. Despite an effort funded with out of state millions to block the package and place it on the ballot, the cuts are in effect, and over the next two years our income tax will phase down to a single, flat rate of 2.5%.

That is what good tax policy looks like. Unfortunately, some legislators don’t want to be in the business of passing good tax policy. All too often they want to play the game of doling out taxpayer dollars to their special interest friends at the capitol, or to individuals in just straight welfare.

We have highlighted some of the bad tax credit programs being considered by lawmakers this year – hundreds of millions to woke Hollywood movie producers, millions to large corporations to fund liberal causes, both following millions doled out last year in corporate welfare.

In addition to these schemes, lawmakers are currently considering a measure, SB1018, to create a refundable “earned income” tax credit at the state level. Introduced by Democrat Senator Sean Bowie, it passed out of the Republican controlled Senate Finance Committee in January and passed out of the Senate in February by a vote of 22-6, with unanimous support from Democrats and a slim majority of Republicans.

This isn’t the first time we have seen the legislature try to set up an alternative universal basic income program in Arizona. Last year Sen. Bowie introduced SB1040, which also passed out of the Senate Finance Committee and out of the Senate by a vote of 26-3. Fortunately, it died in the House.

There has been an earned income tax credit at the federal level since 1975. It also provides refundable tax credits, meaning that instead of simply lowering the tax liability of individual taxpayers, those who have already zeroed out their liability get a check from the US Treasury. In 2015, 88% of those qualifying for earned income credits had zero tax liability and received a refund, amounting to $60 billion in spending.

The result is taking money from some taxpayers and giving it to others. Some call it redistribution of wealth, others guaranteed income. Both are correct, and if that sounds like something AOC and Elizabeth Warren would support, that’s because it is.

In fact, Kamala Harris boasted that their $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan “nearly tripled the earned income tax credit for workers.” Progressive think tanks have applauded the expansion, and argued for it to be a steppingstone to permanent guaranteed income. Some have even mapped out a plan to get there, calling it Universal Earned Income Tax Credits” – a fully refundable credit capped at $10,000 per individual, open to everyone.

Refundable tax credits or any other type of subsidy is terrible tax policy and is a bright line that should never be crossed. It is one thing to lower the tax liability of businesses or individuals. It’s another issue to just send out checks signed by every other taxpayer. Lawmakers should reject the universal basic income proposal that is SB1018, and instead build on the success of last session’s historic tax cuts that benefited all taxpayers, rather than just a select few corporations or individuals.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

The Scheme to Bring a Commuter Rail to the East Valley Shows the Lengths Government Will Go to Waste Your Dollars

The Scheme to Bring a Commuter Rail to the East Valley Shows the Lengths Government Will Go to Waste Your Dollars

If there’s one entity that specializes in giving people something they don’t need—or aren’t even asking for—it’s the government. So, naturally, while the country faces sky-high inflation and Arizonans make sacrifices in their family budgets, the Town of Gilbert saw fit to discuss a potential…commuter rail.

That’s right. At the end of April, the Gilbert Town Council announced that it’s considering a $289,000 consulting contract for a feasibility study on establishing a commuter rail. What this would accomplish—and why anyone thinks this would be good for Gilbert—remains a mystery.

Even before COVID, public transit usage has been on the decline. And that’s only worsened since. The federal Government Accountability Office reported that suburban commuter rails across the U.S. have seen a 79% drop from pre-pandemic levels. But if you don’t believe the data, then just take a look with your eyes. Next time you’re driving around in the East Valley and see a Valley Metro bus, count the number of people you see inside. It won’t take you long…because there’s nobody on it!

With the demand for public transportation at an all-time low, it seems the only thing commuter rails may be good for at this point is increasing crime. Transit crime rates have reached an all-time high in areas where they have the most use like New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. You’d have to be taking crazy pills if you think the people in the East Valley want to be a part of that list.

And that’s if the residents of Gilbert even realize this is being discussed. Councilwoman Yung Koprowski, who just so happens to own a transportation planning and civil engineering firm, insists that the community knows about this potential project because the town published it in documents it made available to residents. That’s probably how most people spend their time, right? Sitting around reading government planning documents they weren’t involved in.

The reality is, until AZ Free News covered the story and the Gilbert Sun News followed several days later, only those in the inner bubble knew about it. And that’s by design. The goal of this $289,000 study isn’t about establishing feasibility. It’s a scheme to whip up something with pretty pictures that distracts from the facts behind commuter rails and inspires public support. After all, that’s the only way to try to squeeze even more money from taxpayers who will be forced to foot the bill for this boondoggle.

Rest assured that Gilbert residents aren’t the only ones who will be on the hook. Commuter rails often require a local sales tax in addition to state subsidies. And you can be certain that Build Back Bankruptcy dollars from the federal government will also be in the mix. That means every taxpayer in the state will be affected in some way.

If the goal is to turn Arizona into the next California, this is a good place to start. But we’ll go ahead and save Gilbert $289,000. A commuter rail in the East Valley is unfeasible—and it would be a complete nightmare.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.