As Democrats Panic Over the ‘Secure the Border Act,’ Republicans Should Keep Their Foot on the Gas

As Democrats Panic Over the ‘Secure the Border Act,’ Republicans Should Keep Their Foot on the Gas

Illegal immigration is the number one issue heading into November’s election, and Democrats have no one to thank but themselves. Over the past three years, the left has single-handedly created an open-border disaster under the neglectful policies of a Biden administration that has completely abandoned its constitutional duty to protect each state from invasion. As ground zero for the current border crisis, the people of Arizona know this all too well.

A surge in illegal immigrants in the Tucson Border Sector along with a dramatic rise in the number of “gotaways” has left our state on edge. Meanwhile, cartel violence has increased near southern Arizona communities, and we’ve even seen a report revealing that thousands of “special interest aliens” from mostly Middle Eastern countries have been apprehended while crossing the border illegally in the past two years. And that’s just barely scratching the surface of the catastrophe that has become our border.

You would think that the governor of a state facing a daily invasion would do something, but Katie Hobbs has proven time and time again that she would rather ignore the problem and hope it goes away. So, after Hobbs vetoed the Arizona Border Invasion Act (SB 1231), which would have significantly enhanced our state’s border security, Republican legislators decided it was time to allow voters to take matters into their own hands through the Secure the Border Act (HCR 2060). And the response from Democrats has been telling.

Immediately after the Senate announced they planned to put a border security measure on the ballot and had a hearing to discuss the issue, Democrats and the corporate media began freaking out. Hobbs responded by putting out a press release begging the business community to rescue her and Democrats from having the Secure the Border Act on the ballot. Most business groups responded to her cry for help by essentially telling Hobbs to leave them out of it.

Other liberal organizations vented their frustration to their supporters, upset that the Republicans would have the audacity to “change the subject” from abortion to immigration. And of course, our local legacy media joined in on the freakout parade with a conveyor belt of poorly written opinion pieces attempting to tear down HCR 2060.

What does that tell you?

The left is not even pretending to hide the fact that they are more upset about how the Secure the Border Act hurts their chances in November than the actual damage being caused by the open border. Democrats created this problem, and now they are angry that Republicans are trying to do something about it and (gasp) even go so far as to make it a campaign issue?

Ridiculous.

Voters in Arizona deserve an opportunity to enact solutions to help solve our border crisis, which is why the legislature should stay focused on this issue with their foot pressed firmly on the gas.   

And if this is about election prospects in November, the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves. Their radical woke agenda has led to a freefall in Democrat voter registrations. Immigration and the economy remain the top issues for voters. And Biden and Hobbs remain the two most unpopular politicians in Arizona.

Now, the ball is in the Republicans’ court. They can spend the next six months playing the left’s game of talking about abortion and fighting among themselves (the dream scenario for Democrats), or they can unite and focus on the issues that most voters care about. The choice is up to them.

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Pro-Growth Tax Reform Is Driving Arizona’s Bright Economic Outlook

Pro-Growth Tax Reform Is Driving Arizona’s Bright Economic Outlook

A strong economy is a key piece of the foundation for any society. But while the Biden administration has been busy doing anything it can to destroy the economic climate in America over the past four years, Arizona is set up for success—not just for today, but for decades to come.

Last month, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released its latest “Rich States, Poor States” report, and the Grand Canyon State received the number three ranking for economic outlook among all 50 states. Such a high rank is impressive enough on its own, but when you consider that our state was ranked 13 back in 2021, Arizona’s dramatic rise up the chart especially shines. So, how did we get here?

Pro-Growth Policies Have Led the Way

Arizona’s high ranking is a direct result of significant pro-growth income and property tax reform that have supercharged our economy. In just the last decade, we have cut taxes on capital gains and drastically reduced the property tax burden on small businesses. Then, in July 2021, the Free Enterprise Club helped lead the charge as the Republican-led legislature passed a 2.5% flat tax, delivering historic tax cuts for every single Arizona taxpayer. And if that wasn’t enough, Republicans also included tax relief for Arizona’s families in last year’s state budget to help with the growing cost of gas, groceries, housing, and energy under the Biden administration.

Each of these pro-growth policies have set up Arizona as a leader in the country with many other states looking to mirror these reforms, but if the left had gotten its way, we never would have been here.

Stopping the Left’s Push to Double Arizona’s Income Tax

For five years, the left fought to give our state one of the highest income tax rates in the country. And after an ugly campaign where Red4Ed deceived voters and spent more than $23 million, Prop 208 barely passed in Arizona with only 51% of the vote—doubling our income tax. But in a case that the Free Enterprise Club joined as a plaintiff, the Arizona Supreme Court struck down the unconstitutional tax hike. Then, a superior court judge put the final nail in the coffin of Prop 208 when he ruled that the money raised from the tax would exceed the constitutional spending limit for education. But the battle was far from over.

Red4Ed immediately set its sights on Arizona’s historic flat tax, spending 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. But after the referendum was submitted, the Free Enterprise Club filed a lawsuit, challenging the constitutionality of the ballot referral because it did not comply with the “support and maintenance” clause in our state’s Constitution.

Once again, we defeated the teachers’ union when the Arizona Supreme Court ruled against the referendum and issued another big win for taxpayers. But we knew these rulings wouldn’t stop the left from trying to jack up taxes at a later date.

Protecting Taxpayers from Future Increases

It’s clear that the left has an insatiable desire to take more of your hard-earned money and put it into their coffers. In the case of Prop 208, they were able to do that by winning only 51% of the vote (until the court system killed it). But allowing 51% of the population (who may not have to pay a tax increase) to vote to tax the other 49% is wrong. That’s why the Club also led the charge on Prop 132, a constitutional amendment that requires a 60% majority vote of the people on any ballot measure that seeks to raise taxes.

The ballot initiative passed in 2022, ensuring that if the people of Arizona are asked to part with more of their paycheck, it will require a broad agreement from every part of the state.

Now, it is critical to keep all these reforms in place. Slashing income taxes and increasing the approval threshold for future tax hikes has made Arizona a destination for both families and entrepreneurs. And if we stay on this path, our state is on track to continue its route of economic growth and perhaps one day see that number one ranking.

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Is Arizona Turning Blue? The Latest Voter Registration Numbers Tell a Different Story.

Is Arizona Turning Blue? The Latest Voter Registration Numbers Tell a Different Story.

Everyone knows that political pundits, social media influencers, and the corporate media love a good narrative. And one of their favorites for years has been the claim that Arizona is trending blue—that a demographic shift toward Democrats is inevitable.

This ‘conventional wisdom’ is repeated so often that much of the Republican political class in the state has accepted it as fact. Some are even advising candidates that the only path forward for Republicans is to abandon their conservative principles, embrace center-left policy solutions, and settle for a future of divided government.

But a funny thing about narratives and conventional wisdom: numbers don’t lie, especially those showing party preference when people are registering to vote.

Last month, the Secretary of State updated the statewide voter registration data prior to the Presidential Preference Election. The latest figures show that Republicans are once again the largest voting bloc in Arizona, surpassing Independents by nearly 40,000. This is certainly an important development—especially given all the attention it received on social media when Independent registrations surpassed Republicans last year.

But that’s not the most significant voter registration trend. It’s the one that could spell doom for the Democratic party in our state’s upcoming election.

The Data Shows a Widening Gap Between Registered Republicans and Democrats

According to the Secretary of State’s recent report, the voter registration advantage for Republicans over Democrats is now 5.77%, with approximately 236,000 more people registered as Republican than Democrat.

How significant is this?

On Election Day in 2022, the gap between Republicans and Democrats was 4.03%—or about 166,000 more Republicans than Democrats. And on Election Day in 2020, the gap was only 3.04%—or about 130,000 more Republicans than Democrats.

This means that in less than four years, the percentage gap between Democrats and Republicans has nearly doubled, and in raw numbers went from 130,000 to 236,000 more Republicans than Democrats in the state!

Arizona Voter Registration Totals 2014 - 2024

At first glance, this already looks impressive, but the registration numbers from the last decade show an even greater long-term trend. Based on the data from the Secretary of State, the gap between registered Republicans and registered Democrats is stronger today than at any point in the last 10 years! (See graph above and chart below)

Arizona Voter Registration Percentage Breakdown 2014-2024

So, despite the ‘conventional wisdom’ of the political class, there is no evidence that Arizona is trending blue. In fact, the registration numbers suggest the opposite. Now, Republicans look to be positioning themselves in 2024 to look a lot more like the 2014 and 2016 elections that featured a massive red wave and the election of President Donald Trump.

And while the last three elections may have been razor thin close, a combination of ridiculous Democrat policies—along with critical Republican successes—are setting up the opportunity for Republicans to have a big year.

Democrats Are Hemorrhaging Support Due to Absurd Policy Positions

One thing these voter registration numbers tell us is that people are seeing just how crazy Democrats are on the issues. We can start with the current border crisis where the Biden administration has abandoned its constitutional duty, and Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs has done everything she can to pretend it doesn’t exist. In the meantime, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in the number of “gotaways,” a surge of illegal immigrants in the Tucson Border Sector, and an increase in cartel violence—to name just a few of the problems.

Then, there’s our schools where Critical Race Theory and radical gender theory have been spreading like wildfire—especially over the past four years. In the Scottsdale Unified School District, we’ve seen administrators encourage students to replace their “deadname”—the name that individuals reject upon transitioning genders—with their preferred name on their school ID. In Phoenix, a sixth grade teacher was recorded teaching her students about gender identity and not trusting their parents on the subject. And a Tucson High School held its first annual drag show in May 2022, weeks before one of the counselors who organized the event was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

But we also can’t forget about how the Left handled COVID. Democrat-run states had some of the most restrictive stay-at-home orders in the country. Just ask the people of Michigan. And many of them also pushed “vaccine passports” to allow citizens to use their freedoms. Then, of course the Biden administration rolled out a dangerous vaccine mandate with Democrat-run cities like Phoenix quick to get on board.

On top of all this, the Left continues to push preposterous bans on gas stoves and gas cars while now trying to adopt taxes on our vehicle miles traveled as inflation eats away at the average citizen. Meanwhile, the only thing Katie Hobbs seems to be able to accomplish is breaking the record for most vetoes in a legislative session and massively growing the size of the state government.

Republican Successes Have Created Great Momentum

People want to live in a state that’s free. That’s why Arizona’s Republican leadership has made it a top priority—especially in the last four years—to ensure that our freedoms are both protected and expanded.

During COVID, our state’s response put it ahead of most other states in the country. While we certainly weren’t immune from restrictions, Arizona remained open as blue states like California, New York, and the aforementioned Michigan continued with extreme lockdowns and other measures that crushed their state’s economies.

Then, in July 2021, Republicans delivered historic tax cuts for all Arizona taxpayers, giving them some much-needed relief from rising inflation. But they didn’t stop there. With gas, grocery, housing, and energy prices climbing under the Biden administration, Republicans also included tax relief for Arizona’s families in last year’s state budget.

Along with this, conservatives got to work on passing a law that both saves taxpayers money and provides universal school choice for every single child in the state. Upon the launch of the expanded Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA), the program was so popular that the ESA website became overwhelmed by the large number of families looking to escape the woke agenda in our union-backed public schools.

Now, the latest voter registration numbers are demonstrating that these policies have resonated with the electorate in Arizona while attracting even more conservatives to our state. That’s probably why Democrats have been so frantic trying to repeal school choice and falsely blame our historic tax cuts for the budget shortfall. They are worried that it will be game over for them if these structure reforms stand.

It’s also important to note that none of this guarantees electoral success for Republicans. A registration advantage is like a head start in a race. Great to have but means nothing if the GOP doesn’t work hard to unify around a conservative platform, conduct a robust GOTV program, and support their general election candidates. Poor voter turnout and infighting within the party cost Republicans several races throughout the state in 2022.  

But the overall political trend lines are clear. Arizona’s freedom-focused policies have laid a foundation for us to be a red state. Now, we need to use this momentum, build on it, and ensure that we become an even more red state for years to come.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

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It’s Time to Ban DEI Programs in Arizona’s Universities

It’s Time to Ban DEI Programs in Arizona’s Universities

Racist programs and activities do not belong in our state. But in the name of so-called “progress,” they have taken Arizona’s universities by storm. This isn’t the way it was supposed to be. Back in 2010, our state’s voters passed Proposition 107. This amendment to Arizona’s Constitution banned affirmative action programs in the state that were administered by statewide or local units of government, including state agencies, cities, counties, and school districts. But the left found a loophole and has been working to exploit it ever since.

Using words that sound harmless like “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion” (DEI), our universities have been flying under the radar in an attempt to indoctrinate students and bring racial discrimination back to campus.

At ASU, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication currently requires some of its students to take a course called, “Diversity and Civility at Cronkite.” And the Goldwater Institute recently revealed that more than 100 classes offered in ASU’s Spring 2024 catalog include terms like “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion.” The University of Arizona’s medical schools in Tucson and Phoenix have been the epitome of DEI best practices—with DEI offices, requirements to complete six hours of DEI credit, and more. And NAU has launched multiple initiatives to increase the number of Native American and Hispanic science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates, including revising graduate admissions processes to increase inclusivity and diversity.

But it’s not just students who have been affected by DEI programs.

Last year, the Goldwater Institute issued a report that Arizona’s public universities were compelling job applicants to pledge support for progressive, racialized notions of DEI-based terminology in order to be hired. The report showed that as of the Fall of 2022, ASU required diversity statements from approximately 81 percent of job applicants. NAU required diversity statements from 73 percent of job applicants. And the University of Arizona required diversity statements from 28 percent of job applicants.

It’s no wonder why our state’s universities appear to grow more woke every single day! It’s literally been a requirement just to apply!

While all three universities eliminated the use of diversity statements for job applicants in August of last year after Goldwater’s report, that hasn’t stopped them from trying to enforce conformity with their DEI agenda. ASU itself mandates that employees complete inclusiveness training every two years, which includes topics like:

    • Affirmative action
    • Diversity in the workplace
    • How to strategically address social justice matters in the workplace
    • Implicit bias and microaggressions
    • Implicit bias in recruitment
    • Tackling implicit bias and microaggressions

This is what your tax dollars are being used for—multiple required trainings for university faculty on microaggressions. It’s outrageous.

Thankfully, Goldwater is suing on behalf of a popular ASU professor who objects to these trainings, and while that is critical, it’s equally important to prohibit DEI and other race-based programs at our state universities through Arizona’s Constitution.

That’s why SCR 1019/HCR 2056 are the perfect solution.

Sponsored by Sen. Anthony Kern (SCR 1019) and Rep. Steve Montenegro (HCR 2056), these bills would refer to the ballot an amendment to Arizona’s Constitution that would prohibit the state from forcing someone to endorse giving preferential treatment to or discriminating against anyone based on race or ethnicity as a condition of any hiring, promoting, or contracting decision.

But perhaps most importantly, these bills would put the issue of DEI in front of voters and give the people of Arizona a chance to make their voices heard. And just like they did back in 2010 with affirmative action, there’s no doubt that Arizonans would make it clear that they want DEI out of our state universities.

America was founded on the principle of the inherent and equal dignity of every person as an individual. But the left doesn’t believe this. That’s why they’re trying to stop this crucial ballot referral. It’s time to end the indoctrination and racial discrimination that come with DEI policies on our university campuses. Let’s give voters the chance to prohibit these racist policies for good.

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Arizona Voters Deserve the Opportunity to Stop the Orwellian Vehicle Miles Tax

Arizona Voters Deserve the Opportunity to Stop the Orwellian Vehicle Miles Tax

The Biden administration and his liberal allies have been moving at warp speed to impose their radical agenda on the American people. From banning gas cars and gas stoves to adopting race-based DEI programs in our schools, proposals that would have seemed preposterous just 5 years ago have now become mainstream positions within the Democrat party.

Nothing appears to be off limits, and that even includes our ability to travel in our automobiles without having the government monitor, limit, and tax our vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

All throughout the country, there are efforts by government bureaucrats and climate change zealots to adopt these authoritarian VMT tax schemes. They are all motivated to eliminate carbon emissions and create a new revenue stream for expensive and rarely used transit projects.

For instance, tucked in the Inflation Reduction Act passed by the Biden administration was a pilot program for a VMT tax that would monitor your miles traveled in your vehicle while charging you a fee for any miles you do travel. And if you’re driving a gas-powered car, buckle up because now you’ll get to pay two taxes. That’s right. The gas tax certainly won’t be going away. If VMT taxes are implemented, they will be in addition to—not in replacement of—gas taxes.

San Diego has also been exploring a vehicle miles tax for a while now, proposing a plan in 2021 that would have charged motorists 4 cents per mile to pay for expanded bus service and rail in the region. Liberal politicians were gushing over the proposal, and even liked the idea of charging extra to high income households or on large vehicles they deemed to be not “eco-friendly.” The plan was finally shelved late last year thanks to resounding opposition from citizens.

Tracking, limiting and taxing our vehicle miles traveled is a dream scenario for those pushing a radical environmental agenda. With VMT taxes, they get to track your miles, take away your privacy, force you out of your car, and limit your freedom all while charging you a fee to do so. That punishment is bad enough for daily commuters, but can you imagine living in rural areas that have to travel greater distances for work and other necessities? It’s almost as if this is a part of a bigger agenda to bring about 15-minute cities.

That’s exactly why the Arizona Free Enterprise Club is working to put the Freedom to Move Act on the ballot this November.

This proposed measure is the first of its kind in the nation. As a constitutional amendment, it would prohibit the state, cities, towns, and counties from imposing a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax and limiting or monitoring vehicles miles traveled by an individual—whether they are using a gas-powered car or an EV. And while EV owners certainly need to pay for the roads too, taxing individuals by the mile is no way to address this issue. There are more practical solutions to make sure that EV owners pay for the roads that are far less draconian and don’t result in owners of gas cars paying both a gas tax and a VMT tax.

In the meantime, VMT taxes are a real threat right now. Allowing the government to track our miles will have devastating impacts on our privacy rights. And VMT taxes will punish any form of driving all while promoting a radical environmental and social agenda.

It’s time for Arizona lawmakers to bring this issue before the people. In the midst of inflated prices and a still struggling national economy, our state’s citizens can’t afford another outrageous tax. And they certainly don’t deserve to live in fear of being taxed, tracked, or limited in the miles they can travel. Let’s give the voters an opportunity to say no to this radical agenda. Let’s give them the opportunity to protect their freedom to move.

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What to Make of the Confusing and (Mostly) Incorrect Federal Court Ruling on Arizona’s Proof of Citizenship Election Law

What to Make of the Confusing and (Mostly) Incorrect Federal Court Ruling on Arizona’s Proof of Citizenship Election Law

It is no secret that an overwhelming number of Americans believe that only U.S. citizens should be allowed to vote in our elections. It arguably is and ought to be the first and primary qualification to vote. But what good is that requirement if it isn’t verified? In other words, without proof of citizenship, we are relying on a simple stroke of a pen or pencil on a registration form, checking a small box attesting to citizenship.

That’s why in 2004 Arizona voters approved a measure to require proof of citizenship before registering to vote. But, in the 20 years since, that requirement has been whittled away and now there are tens of thousands of people voting in Arizona elections (often referred to as “Federal only” voters) without ever having provided evidence of their citizenship.

In response to this explosion of ‘Federal Only’ voters, the Arizona legislature passed two landmark bills, HB2492 and HB2243, to require proof of citizenship and regular, enhanced voter roll maintenance to ensure only eligible individuals are registering and voting in our elections.

What happened next shouldn’t surprise anyone that has watched the left fight every reasonable voter integrity measure around the country. As soon as both bills were signed into law, a dozen liberal organizations and the Biden Justice Department sued in federal court, claiming that the measures were unconstitutional, illegal, and (of course) racist.

The case was given to Bill Clinton appointed judge Susan Bolton, and after a year of litigation, she issued a confusing, disjointed two-part ruling that is destined for appeal. And while a few positives can be gleaned from the decision, the bad and ugly from the liberal opinion far outweighed the good.

The Bad

Bolton had already ruled against many of the provisions last September, including, most importantly, blocking Arizona from rejecting state voter registration forms not accompanied with proof of citizenship (even though the U.S. Supreme Court clearly stated that we could) and from preventing “Federal Only Voters” from voting in presidential elections and by mail.

In this new ruling, Bolton also ruled that the requirement that a registrant include their place of birth on their voter registration form (currently optional), which would have helped verify the citizenship status of voters, violates the materiality provision of the Civil Rights Act. In other words, although the U.S. Supreme Court just a decade ago said we are free to design our own form and request the information we determine is necessary, Bolton decided for us, preventing us from collecting critical information from registrants to verify citizenship status.

Residency might be second only to citizenship as a qualification to vote: you have to be a citizen, and you must live here to vote in our elections. Pretty basic. But Bolton also decided that requiring registrants using the state form to prove their residency violates the National Voter Registration Act, requiring them to be registered as Federal Only Voters.

The Ugly

After the liberal group plaintiffs tried to go on a fishing expedition last year, serving the Club with subpoenas to access years of our communications, Bolton spent six pages determining whether the laws were passed with discriminatory intent. Three of those pages were spent on the Club’s involvement in getting these bills passed, where she described us as a “conservative lobbying group” (without identifying the nonprofit plaintiffs likewise as “liberal lobbying groups”). Even worse, she wrote that our previous articles amounted to racial animosity. Her evidence? In some of them we argued the bills would help stop “illegals” from voting. And, according to Bolton, the word “illegals” is a “code word” that “may demonstrate discriminatory intent.”

Her evidence for that? The testimony of one individual, former state senator Martín Quezada, whose nomination by Hobbs to head the Registrar of Contractors was rejected by the Arizona Senate last year. That was enough for a federal judge, in a federal court order, to allege our advocacy for the security of elections was fueled, at least in part, with coded racist language.

This claim is even more absurd now given that just last week President Biden (whose DOJ is a lead plaintiff against these bills) used the “coded word” “illegals” during his State of the Union address to Congress. Would Judge Bolton say that President Biden was using “coded” racist language too?

The Good

Even though Bolton thinks our advocacy was rooted in racism, it wasn’t enough to find that the legislature acted with discriminatory intent, because we didn’t, and they didn’t. And that alone is a huge win as this case moves to an appeal, because it was the bulk of the argument from the “liberal lobbying” group plaintiffs.

Additionally, many of the voter list maintenance provisions were upheld, meaning Arizona counties will be checking the voter rolls against several databases regularly and removing those not eligible to vote in our elections. Individuals who obtain a driver’s license in another state, those who attest on a jury questionnaire that they are not a U.S. citizen or are not a resident, SAVE (the federal immigration database), and more, will begin to clean up our voter list.

Finally, before the case moved to trial, the RNC intervened, as did Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma on behalf of the legislature, allowing for an appeal all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary to uphold these commonsense laws before the 2024 election. And we will stand with them as it does.

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.