The Dangerous PRO Act Would Destroy the Economy as We Know It

The Dangerous PRO Act Would Destroy the Economy as We Know It

Unions are in decline in America, and it’s no surprise as to why. Most do not offer any sort of value to the overwhelming majority of workers.

You would think they could take a hint. In 2017, workers at Nissan in Mississippi and Boeing in South Carolina rejected union representation by a wide margin. In 2019, Volkswagen employees in Tennessee voted against unionizing for the second time in recent years. And just last month, employees at an Amazon facility in Alabama largely rejected joining the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union.

So, what solution has labor unions come up with? Will they focus on bringing more value to members or potential members? Will their leadership stop supporting liberal and other far-left causes? Will they stop pushing socialist policies and politicians?

Nope. Their solution is to force American workers to join unions through legislation.

H.R. 842, also known as the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, would enact sweeping changes to the National Labor Relations Act. And it’s dangerous in 3 particular ways.

  1. The PRO Act repeals all state right-to-work laws.

    Currently, 27 states have right-to-work laws, including Arizona. These laws ensure workers can choose whether or not to join a union and pay for representation. The PRO Act would remove these laws, which could cause some workers to lose more of their wages and others to lose their jobs.

  2. The PRO Act ends the secret ballot for unionization votes.

    Secret ballots protect workers from being intimidated into joining a union. And in Arizona, we put a right to secret ballot in our state constitution more than ten years ago. But now, the PRO Act puts that in jeopardy, opening up workers to threats, misrepresentation, and other false promises from unions.

  3. The PRO Act makes independent contracting nearly impossible.

    When you’re thinking about state laws to mimic, California is probably not a state that comes to mind. And yet, the PRO Act would take California’s disastrous Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) nationwide. This so-called “Pro-Worker Law” has already killed jobs left and right in California. And now, it threatens freelancers across the country who want flexibility and like being their own boss.

Clearly, the PRO Act is nothing more than a giveaway by congressional Democrats to union bosses to help them boost their declining membership rolls. So, it’s no surprise that the Democrat-controlled House already passed the bill back in March. And President Biden, the most pro-union president ever, is itching to sign it.

But right now, its fate rests in the Senate. And a coalition of liberal organizations and unions are spending big money around the country, especially here in Arizona, to make sure it’s passed. They know that Arizona Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly likely hold the key to making that a reality. After all, they are among only three Democrats who did not co-sponsor the bill.

That’s why it’s critical for you to take action today! Contact Senator Sinema and Senator Kelly right now and tell them to vote NO on the dangerous PRO Act (H.R. 842). The future of workers rights and our economy could depend on it.

Take Action

Tell Senators Sinema and Kelly to vote NO on the Dangerous PRO Act (H.R. 842) and save our Economy!

The Time Is Now to Liberate Telehealth Medicine in Arizona

The Time Is Now to Liberate Telehealth Medicine in Arizona

The COVID-19 pandemic has been with us for a year now, and in that time, there’s been little to get excited about. Many restaurants and small businesses have been decimated. Emergency orders have been abused across the state and country. And we all know the impact it’s had on kids in school.

But amid this great adversity, not all has been lost. Some things have emerged as great values to our society. One of those is telehealth.

Right now is the perfect time to leverage what we’ve learned and remove any barriers to this great service. And so far, it seems that our state is headed that way.

Momentum is building at the legislature for Arizona to once again lead on health care reform, this time by seeking legislation to make permanent Governor Ducey’s emergency executive order that allows Arizona residents to obtain telehealth services from practitioners licensed in any of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Preventing telehealth to consumers has been outdated for years, especially given the fact that licensing requirements for medical professionals are nearly identical across all 50 states. Furthermore, as pointed out by Cato Senior Fellow Dr. Jeff Singer, out-of-state providers would still be required to follow all state laws and regulations, meaning the standard for care will be the same for patients whether or not the medical professional resides in the state or not.

And Governor Ducey backs this up in his 2021 Policy Priorities stating, “If it’s safe and it works during a pandemic, we should embrace it when we’re not in an emergency as well.”

Unfortunately, some Democrats are already trying to put up a barrier to telehealth. They want to prevent the people of Arizona from accessing providers out of state.

But there is no good reason to deny someone the ability to use this service. The benefits are far too great.

By simply allowing telehealth services from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., the people of Arizona would gain access to the best available medical professionals across the country. Think about what that could mean for your health care.

Plus, you would save both time and money by not traveling to and from a doctor’s office or waiting for an appointment. That’s right. No more awkwardly paging through a magazine that’s 3 months old while you wait for your lab results. If you don’t need an in-person consultation for your health issue, just sign on your computer, attend your appointment, and get back to doing the things you really love.

In addition to these benefits, providers would be much more motivated to improve the quality of their services. And they would be more likely to look at ways to reduce their costs to make sure they remain competitive.

But perhaps the best part is, it’s your choice. If you don’t want to use telehealth services, you don’t have to. But why deny someone the opportunity to do so if he or she thinks it would be best?

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we need more consumer choice in health care. Thankfully, telehealth isn’t anything new. Just ask anyone who’s been using 1-800 Contacts for the last couple decades. But expanding its reach would provide a great benefit to the people of Arizona because telehealth puts patients first, not profits.

Now, Arizona could become the first state in the country to permanently allow licensed medical professionals from other states to provide telehealth services to its residents. We just need to help Governor Ducey convince our legislators.

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

“DO YOUR WORK AND LET THE ACC DO THEIRS—READ THE CONSTITUTION!”

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.

APS Joins Forces with Tom Steyer to roll out Arizona Green New Deal

In 2018 Arizona Public Service spent over $30 million dollars fighting liberal billionaire (and Democrat Presidential Candidate) Tom Steyer and his effort to impose California-style green energy mandates on Arizona ratepayers.

They weren’t the only ones fighting against this radical measure. Organizations and individuals from around the state banded together to fight Prop 127 and the permanent economic harm it would inflict on homeowners and business owners.

After learning about how Steyer’s renewable energy plan would lead to skyrocketing utility bills, voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 127 by a 2 to 1 margin (32-68 percent). The message was clear: RATEPAYERS DO NOT WANT ENERGY MANDATES.

Fewer than 18 months later it appears that both Steyer and APS have decided to ignore the will of the voters. Late last month APS announced they are rolling out, with full support of the environmental left and Tom Steyer, the “Arizona Green New Deal”. Under their proposal, APS will shift to 100 percent carbon free generation by 2050, regardless of cost, reliability or whether their customers support the concept.

Just to explain how radical this plan is, the Arizona Green New Deal is more extreme than the 25 percent renewable energy mandate Steyer pitched to voters in 2018. Only this time voters won’t get an opportunity to reject the deal since APS can implement it unilaterally and their monopoly rate base has nowhere else to go.

APS will attempt to explain their flip flop by saying that this is only “aspirational” and that it helps protect and promote nuclear power in Arizona. This is utter nonsense. Make no mistake: unless this plan is stopped it will be adopted by the Arizona Corporation Commission and will become a mandate.

And if the Palo Verde Generating Station is really under threat from the likes of Tom Steyer or other anti-nuclear environmentalists, then the better approach is to pass and promote laws to preserve the energy source. The fix should NEVER BE to saddle their captive ratepayers with all the risk of their Green New Deal, especially given the lousy track record of government selecting which companies/industries in the renewable energy industry to support.

While ratepayers will be saddled with no options and escalating utility bills, APS will be immune from the negative impacts. As a regulated corporate utility, they are constitutionally guaranteed a rate of return, which will be provided by the Arizona Corporation Commission in generous profitable increments over the next 30 years.

If this is the path that existing monopoly utility providers want to pursue, then ratepayers deserve the right to opt out. For years there has been discussions on enacting utility competition in Arizona and giving customers the option to choose their own energy provider. Now is the time to press forward on this issue. If APS wants to impose higher costs through their Green New Deal, then they should be required to compete with other utilities offering alternative plans. 

Additionally, ratepayers need to have legal protections to ensure that cheap, reliable energy takes precedent over unpopular partisan politics. Since the current structure is not putting ratepayers first, systemic reforms are necessary.

The Club urges both the Corporation Commission and the Legislature to honor the will of the voters and take action against the Arizona Green New Deal. Don’t let bullies like Tom Steyer dictate energy policy in our state.

Free Enterprise Club and Buckeye Institute Release Cost-Benefit Analysis of Electric Vehicle Subsidies in Arizona

Phoenix, AZ (June 4th)–Today the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, in collaboration with the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute, released “It Ain’t Easy Being Green: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Electric Vehicles in Arizona.” The paper is a comprehensive study examining the pros and cons of electric vehicle (EV) subsidies in Arizona and whether these inducements are worth the cost to taxpayers and utility ratepayers.

The analysis was conducted in response to several proposals being considered by policymakers in Arizona to encourage more drivers to purchase EVs, including a current proposal at the Arizona Corporation Commission to require utility companies build EV charging stations, with the cost of these stations being passed along to all ratepayers through higher utility rates.

The study reveals that EVs are already heavily subsidized by taxpayers in Arizona and that creating a new mandate for the construction of charging stations would only exacerbate the status quo, distort the market for EV technology and redistribute wealth to a few affluent EV car owners at the expense of every electricity user in the state.

“After a comprehensive analysis, our research clearly shows that—in an effort to encourage the purchase of more electric cars—Arizonans are being over taxed to subsidize wealthy owners of electric cars, which disproportionately hurts those who can’t afford to purchase a new electric car.  Taxpayers are seeing little return on these subsidies, paying on average more than $6,000 more per electric car on the road than they are realizing in benefits over the course of five years,” said Andrew J. Kidd, Ph.D., an economist with the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute and one of the authors of “It Ain’t Easy Being Green.” “Furthermore, if a new proposal by the Arizona Corporation Commission is adopted, Arizonans will pay more on their electric bills to subsidize the building of more electric charging stations—even though there are currently 12 public chargers for every electric car on the road in Arizona.”

Some of the other key findings in the study include:

  • A Charging Station Mandate would act as a regressive tax on low and middle-income households to benefit more affluent EV drivers.
  • Over 83% of EV tax credit subsidies went to households earning above $100,000. Conversely, less than 1% of those subsidies were accessed by households below $50,000.
  • In Arizona, EV car owners pay on average $500 less each year than non-EV drivers for road maintenance.

“Mandating the construction of EV charging stations, paid for with an increase in utility rates, is both unnecessary and unfair,” said Scot Mussi, President of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club. “Taxpayers are already overpaying based on the benefits provided by Electric Vehicles. Instead of handing out another subsidy to EV drivers, policymakers should explore other options that avoid picking winners and losers among ratepayers.”

Arizona Should Allow More Health Insurance Options for Consumers

The individual health insurance market has been a roller coaster for consumers since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Last year, the average ACA plan rose 34 percent – pricing out many of the individuals who do not qualify for federal subsidies.  Additionally, many counties across the country have lost insurers, with only one option or even no options for consumers.    Younger, healthier Americans have been forced into high-risk pools to subsidize the high-costs associated with pre-existing conditions and other benefits they are likely not to need.   As a result, many have opted out of full coverage at all and risk incurring the Obamacare tax penalty for not carrying insurance.

After a failure of the Senate to repeal these disastrous policies, the Trump Administration has had few options for fixing our health insurance system.  However, a year ago, some progress was made on this front.

With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017, Congress included the repeal of the tax penalty for individuals without medical coverage for policies beginning in 2019.  Then in February of 2018, Trump issued an executive order allowing for the appropriate federal agencies to amend their rules regarding short-term duration health insurance.

Short-term duration insurance is not meant to qualify as full medical coverage, but instead is another insurance product available to help individuals through different periods of transition.  Trump’s executive order overturned the Obama Administration’s directive to limit these plans to only 90 days.  Instead they are now allowed to be issued for less than a year and may be renewed for up to three years.

These short-term plans will likely cost Americans half what the traditional ACA plan costs and the administration predicts around 600,000 people will choose these plans this year.  Of the over half a million people, no more than a third are likely to leave their ACA plan; with most enrollees coming from individuals without any insurance at all.

Opponents argue the reversal of this rule will poach enrollees in the individual market.  Obama’s rollback of short-term duration policies was meant to increase enrollment in the exchange.  But it didn’t work.  Instead, enrollment in the ACA plans decreased by 10 percent following the year of the rule change; which may have had something to do with premiums increasing by 21 percent that year.

There is a want and a need for more affordable policies that do not have all the bells and whistles of a traditional plan.  Under the Obama 3-month cap of short-term policies, enrollees would have to reapply every 90 days, forcing a reset of their deductibles or sometimes a cancellation of their policy altogether.  Given the short time frame, many customers would not be able to access full coverage insurance for months, until another enrollment period opened.

This rule change is good for consumers.  It will dramatically expand choice and opportunity for coverage to hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Now it is up to the states to ensure these options will be available to their constituents by amending their laws to allow for greater regulatory flexibility of short-term duration plans.  In Arizona, Representative Nancy Barto is sponsoring legislation to do just that.  We encourage lawmakers to support this common-sense bill and allow more Arizonans to access affordable coverage.