California Unions Are Pushing a Debt Cancellation Initiative in Arizona That Would Make Bernie Sanders Proud

California Unions Are Pushing a Debt Cancellation Initiative in Arizona That Would Make Bernie Sanders Proud

“Let’s just make everything free!” That might as well be the Left’s motto at this point as they clearly don’t understand how a good economy works. While the past 18 months under President Biden is proof enough of that, they’re not done yet. The Left is fully committed to its plan to build back even broker. And now, they’re targeting conservative states like Arizona to do so.

The latest initiative being pushed in our state comes from California unions. (Because apparently no one knows a good economy like a California union.) It’s called the “Predatory Debt Collection Practices Act,” which sounds harmless enough. After all, who doesn’t want to stick it to predatory debt collectors? But just as you would expect from a California initiative being pushed here in Arizona, it’s not only anti-creditor, it’s anti-business. And it would make Bernie Sanders proud.

This deceptively named initiative would create a threshold for garnishments at $51,000 earned per year. Anyone making below $50,000 per year would be essentially untouchable by creditors. And it would significantly reduce the amount owed for even those making over $200,000 per year! This would eliminate approximately 60-70% of active wage garnishments on civil judgments. That means businesses, landlords, and judgment creditors would be without legal recourse for unpaid debts.

But there’s even more to this initiative:

    • It would raise the threshold from money in bank accounts that’s protected from creditors from $300 to $5,000. (This effectively eliminates bank garnishments as a recovery strategy.)
    • It would raise the amount of equity that’s protected from creditors from $250,000 to $400,000. (This effectively eliminates most payoffs from escrow transactions when someone sells their home.)
    • It would significantly increase other personal property exemptions, which would allow someone in debt to keep property they never paid for.

So far, the California unions have dumped more than $4 million into their attempt to get this Bernie Sanders Debt Cancellation Initiative on the ballot in November. But even Bernie has stopped at student loan cancellation. This initiative would apply to credit cards, auto loans, interest payments, and retail debt. And while this may sound good to people who are in debt, the question remains. If this initiative is passed, why would anyone feel compelled to pay their bills anymore? The reality is that a ballot initiative like this one would punish those who actually pay their bills while rewarding irresponsible behavior. And it would cause the price of all goods to skyrocket. (Yay! More inflation!) But perhaps there’s an even simpler solution to the debt problem in America:

    • Don’t spend more money than you make.
    • Save money to buy more expensive items.
    • Create and live off a budget.

This is what responsible citizens do. There are even free apps like this one and this one that can help. And they are certainly better options than another union-backed ballot initiative that wants to turn Arizona into California.

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Arizona Free Enterprise Club Releases Second Round of Endorsements

Arizona Free Enterprise Club Releases Second Round of Endorsements

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

The endorsed candidates represent individuals who align with the organization’s principles and key policy goals. Club President Scot Mussi stated, “It is critical Arizona has leaders and policy makers who are able to articulate and stand up for individual liberties, free market principles, and conservative values. This slate of candidates has proven they can and will.”

Arizona State Legislature

LD 9LD 16LD 27
Senate: Rob ScantleburyHouse: Rob HudelsonSenate: Anthony Kern
 House: Ben Toma
   
LD 10LD 25LD 29
House: Justin HeapHouse: Michael CarboneSenate: Janae Shamp
House: Tim Dunn
   
LD 12LD 30
Senate: Suzanne SharerHouse: Leo Biasiucci

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Another Guilty Plea in Yuma County Demonstrates How Voter Fraud Is a Real Problem

Another Guilty Plea in Yuma County Demonstrates How Voter Fraud Is a Real Problem

The Left says it isn’t happening. And they’re quick to run to their allies in traditional corporate media to further the lie that voter fraud is a made-up problem. But then maybe they would like to explain the guilty plea from last week.

On Thursday, Guillermina Fuentes of San Luis pleaded guilty to one count of Ballot Abuse for her role in a ballot harvesting scheme from the August 2020 Primary Election. And she wasn’t the first one to do so. Back in March, Alma Juarez, also of San Luis, entered the same plea. Both women admitted that they knowingly collected ballots from another person, and those early ballots belonged to individuals for whom they were not a family member, household member, or caregiver.

It’s this sort of ballot harvesting that provides too much opportunity for fraud and tampering. And that’s exactly why our state passed legislation in 2016 that banned this practice. Of course, the Left couldn’t handle it, filing a lawsuit that claimed the law was enacted with discriminatory intent. But that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, “racism” has become the Left’s battle cry to gaslight the American public anytime a conservative merely suggests an election integrity reform.  

Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t buy into their argument. The high court ruled in favor of Arizona’s ballot harvesting ban last year and found that “Arizona law generally makes it very easy to vote.” (Hmmm… Easy to vote and hard to cheat. Stop us if you’ve heard that somewhere before.)

Now, imagine if this law had never been enacted. These women would’ve never been indicted. They would’ve never pleaded guilty. And they would’ve never been held accountable for committing voter fraud. That’s why we need laws like this. But ballot harvesting isn’t the only issue that jeopardizes the integrity of our elections.

Just look at the some of the recent convictions related to voter fraud:

    • Marcia Johnson of Lake Havasu City was sentenced to one year of probation for casting her dead father’s ballot in the 2018 election.
    • Joseph John Marak of Surprise was sentenced to 30 months of supervised probation for voting as a felon six times since 2016.
    • Tracey Kay McKee of Scottsdale was sentenced to two years of probation for voting for her dead mother in the 2020 election.
    • Krista Michelle Conner of Cochise County was sentenced to three years of supervised probation, had her voter registration revoked, and was ordered to pay $890 in fines and serve 100 hours of community service for voting for her dead mother in the 2020 election.

These are just four examples…from just the state of Arizona…in just this current year. But along with the ballot harvesting violations, they illustrate why good election integrity reforms are so important.

Cases like the ones above show why it was crucial to pass a bill like SB1485 last year, which removes a voter from the Early Voting List if they fail to cast a ballot in at least one of four consecutive elections and do not respond to messages from their county recorder to remain on the list.

They show why passing HB2492 this past March—which safeguards our state’s voter rolls and ensures that only U.S. citizens are voting in our elections—was such a big win.

And they demonstrate why it’s critical for voters to pass the Arizonans for Voter ID Act in this November’s election. This ballot initiative would help secure our state’s future elections by:

    • Improving existing in-person voter ID requirements.
    • Establishing voter ID for mail-in ballots.
    • Deterring ballot harvesting by enhancing voter ID requirements for in-person ballot drop off.
    • Providing a free voter ID option to lawfully registered Arizona voters who need it for voting.

As you can imagine, the Left doesn’t like it, but then again, they refuse to admit that voter fraud is a real problem. Instead, they’d rather push an election initiative that makes it easy to cheat and hard to catch. But the people of Arizona deserve an election system where it is easy to vote and hard to cheat. That’s why it’s important to take the next step to fight the reality of voter fraud by protecting the ballot of every qualified Arizona voter with a new reality: universal ID.

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A Gas Tax Holiday Is a Gimmicky Talking Point with No Real Long-Term Benefit

A Gas Tax Holiday Is a Gimmicky Talking Point with No Real Long-Term Benefit

With Bidenflation guzzling through the pockets of all Americans, especially at the gas station, we have heard more and more politicians promoting the idea of a gas tax holiday. Regardless of how popular the idea has become or how good it sounds among Republicans and Democrats alike, it’s still nothing more than a gimmick and talking point for campaigns.

A tax holiday isn’t a new idea. Several states have permanent sales tax holidays, commonly occurring for a week or two each year around the time kids return to school and parents are busy shopping for clothes and classroom items. But these permanent recurring tax holidays don’t accomplish what they seek to accomplish. Instead, they complicate the tax code, create instability, and mislead consumers about savings.

As a temporary response to rising gas prices and increasing inflation, it’s even worse. The reality is that permanent, long-term policy decisions are driving up fuel costs. These destructive ideas are a big part of the Green New Deal platform that has been pushed by the environmental left for decades. Add on an increase in demand, historic inflation from out-of-control federal spending, and no longer being an energy independent net-exporter of oil, it’s no wonder gas prices are higher than anyone can remember.

Suspending the gas tax is a gimmicky talking point to make it look like politicians are doing something. Instead, they are simply distracting voters and taxpayers—without any real, long-term benefit to them—and painting over support for an anti-energy agenda. That’s why we see Arizona Senator Mark Kelly coming out and supporting a gas tax holiday at the national level.

Temporarily suspending an 18 cents per gallon tax for a few months will provide little relief at the pump. If anything, it will only cause a cost shift and be used for campaign talking points. A permanent reduction in the tax may provide more long-term certainty and lower prices but would be limited in impact given that the state gas tax currently makes up around 3% of the current price per gallon.

Additionally, Arizona’s gas tax is constitutionally required to fund highway and street projects, so when the revenue drops to zero, funds from other sources will be tapped to fill in the gap. This will place pressure on politicians to consider tax shifts—raising taxes elsewhere to fund the revenue reduction from the tax holiday.

Nevertheless, some Arizona lawmakers may be tempted to promote a temporary gas tax holiday in exchange for other permanent spending and other gimmicks in the budget. After all, it’s June, and the legislature still has not figured out how to corral the necessary votes on a budget deal before we hit the end of the fiscal year on June 30th.

Simply put, a temporary tax holiday should not be traded for other bad policies, like permanent spending or tax shifts. Conservatives should push for real, permanent tax relief and reform, and let the gamesmanship stay in DC.

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The Left’s New Ballot Measure Would Make It Easy to Cheat and Hard to Catch in Arizona Elections

The Left’s New Ballot Measure Would Make It Easy to Cheat and Hard to Catch in Arizona Elections

Since the 2020 election, the left has been accusing conservatives of spreading the “Big Lie”—a label attached to anyone who believes that voter fraud does occur and that there are legitimate election integrity reforms that require legislative attention. Every reform that lawmakers have introduced has been labelled “Jim Crow 2.0,” and the left has rallied hundreds of organizations to prevent them from becoming law.

Yet while decrying legitimate election reforms from conservatives, liberals have been busy pushing their own election bills, such as HR1, which would have federalized our entire election process and completely changed the way we vote. It was a radical bill that fortunately stalled in the U.S. Senate due to a lack of votes.

But their defeat in Washington hasn’t stopped the left in their quest to undermine the security of our elections and chill our speech rights. A coalition of liberal organizations have decided to bring HR1 to Arizona with a new ballot measure called “Arizonans for Free and Fair Elections.” Suffice to say, there is nothing free or fair about it.

For example, their proposed initiative would raise taxes on small businesses to increase public funding for politicians running for office. While it isn’t surprising that Democrats want taxpayer dollars to subsidize their campaigns going into an election with gas prices higher than ever and families struggling to deal with record inflation, Arizonans don’t want their hard-earned dollars paying for yard signs, political mailers, and campaign advertisements.

Additionally, successful efforts were made in numerous states last year, Arizona included, to prohibit the private funding of the administration of elections. Their measure guts that safeguard, allowing billionaires and special interests to directly finance or sponsor election operations.

Next, while poll after poll shows that an overwhelming majority of voters support common-sense reforms like voter ID, their initiative completely guts existing voter ID requirements for in-person voters and forbids the state from requiring voter ID for mail-in ballots, which the popular Arizonans for Voter ID Act would do.

Recently, the Governor signed HB2492 which strengthens proof of citizenship requirements for registering to vote, ensuring only eligible citizens are registered and voting in our elections. Their proposed initiative would undo this reform, allowing individuals who do not provide proof of citizenship to vote in all federal elections and making it easier for illegals to vote.

And as voters are becoming alarmed at potentially massive ballot harvesting operations in several states in 2020 and actual grand jury ballot trafficking indictments in Arizona, their 25-page election overhaul would expose voters to ballot trafficking by operatives and campaigns who can go door to door collecting ballots directly from voters, even when the voter has not asked for help casting their ballot.

Contrary to the liberals HR1 wish list of election reforms, Arizonans want an election system where it is easy to vote and hard to cheat. But measures like this make it easy to cheat and hard to catch. Most of the nearly 60 provisions of the initiative ranging from tax hikes to gutting wildly popular reforms like voter ID are not what Arizona voters want—Republicans and Democrats alike.

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Arizona Lawmakers Have Passed Key Bills to Prevent Future COVID Overreach

Arizona Lawmakers Have Passed Key Bills to Prevent Future COVID Overreach

The overwhelming majority of people are done with COVID restrictions. Just look at the reaction when mask mandates were put to an end on airplanes last month. Cheering. Celebration. Throwing masks away. There’s nothing surprising about this—unless of course you’re a member of the liberal media.

With a desire to tackle COVID overreach head on, our own state lawmakers got to work last year. And through a series of Budget Reconciliation Bills, they took important steps to protect Arizonans from more COVID mandates.

But then in November, some of the protections were thrown out in court on procedural grounds. Thankfully, the Arizona legislature didn’t ignore the problem and got back to work this year. Now, they have passed several significant bills that are officially signed into law to protect against future COVID and government overreach.

  1. HB2498

    Vaccines should always be voluntary and never be forced. That’s why Representative Jake Hoffman introduced HB2498. This bill prohibits governments from mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for any Arizonan, and it was signed into law by Governor Ducey late last month.

  2. HB2507

    During the early part of the pandemic, many churches and religious services were shut down and considered non-essential. But the U.S. Constitution protects the free exercise of religion, including the right to hold beliefs inwardly as well as the right to act on those beliefs publicly. That’s why House Republican Majority Leader Ben Toma sponsored HB2507.

    This critical piece of legislation defines a religious service as an essential service during a declared state of emergency. And it protects the fundamental right of the people of Arizona to exercise their religion freely during a time of crisis. Finally, it also protects religious organizations from discrimination when they seek to operate during a state of emergency. HB2507 was signed into law by Governor Ducey in April.

  3. HB2616

    One of the most heartbreaking parts of the pandemic was watching children be forced to wear masks with no study to back this up. That’s why Representative Joseph Chaplik sponsored HB2616. This bill puts the final say on masks in the hands of parents rather than school officials or other bureaucrats. Just like with the bills above, Governor Ducey signed it into law last month.

  4. HB2453

    Wearing a mask shouldn’t be a prerequisite for having access to the government. That’s why Representative Neal Carter introduced HB2453. This bill prohibits government properties from requiring masks, with the exception of areas with workplace safety and infection control measures that are unrelated to COVID-19. Governor Ducey signed HB2453 into law earlier this month.

  5. SB1009

    As you may recall, at times it felt like that the state of emergency due to COVID would last forever. It was only until this past March that Governor Ducey ended it—over two years after he originally issued it.

    That’s why Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita introduced SB1009. This bill ensures that governors only have the authority to issue a state of emergency for public health emergencies for 30 days. After that, the governor is limited to extending that state of emergency for 30 days at a time with a limit of 120 days. From there, the state legislature has to consent to any new state of emergency.

    Governor Ducey signed SB1009 into law at the beginning of May.

In addition to signing each of these bills into law, Governor Ducey also took immediate action at the beginning of January to protect students and parents from more school shutdowns. As students headed back to school after their winter break, he made up to $7,000 available for families who may face financial or educational barriers due to unexpected school closures. This was a step in the right direction to make sure that families who met the income requirements had access to funds for childcare, school-coordinated transportation, online tutoring, and school tuition if their school was shutdown.

It’s certainly too bad that it ever came to this. While there’s no doubt that COVID was an issue that warranted some action, it never should have included trampling on the rights of the people—especially children. Thankfully, state lawmakers didn’t waste any time after last November’s court decision. And now, the people of Arizona are protected by law against schools, mayors, governors, and more who want to further restrict our freedoms due to COVID.

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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!

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