I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More Dirty Legislative Tricks at the Capitol

Well, I think I was quickly removed from Russ Pearce's email list after posting one of his messages, but Doug still keeps me pretty informed. Here's tonight's AEA Legislative Update from Doug Kilgore:


Burns and Adams Ploy to Force Governor to Sign Flawed Budget

August 18, 2009, 6:00 p.m.

Take Action Today!

AEA was at the capitol today fighting for a fiscally responsible budget that invests in public education. Senate President Burns decided to once again delay the budget process in an effort to force a bad budget on Arizona. He is once again holding the budget bills passed by the Senate and House in order to garner corporate support to pressure the governor to sign a fiscally irresponsible budget that contains massive cuts to public education and a tax break sought by the largest corporations in Arizona.

Here is how the Republican legislative leadership's newest political ploy works.

The Senate met briefly today when Senate President Burns had them abruptly adjourned until 1:00 p.m. on Thursday. This makes it impossible for the budget to be sent to the governor until then. There was a high probability the governor would have vetoed the budget package today since she quickly vetoed an almost identical package on July 1.

The Senate President now has all the budget bills that have been passed by both the House and Senate in his control except for one, the Revenue Budget Reconciliation Bill. That bill had to be passed by the House and sent back to the Senate before Burns could transmit a budget package back to the House who is required to send it to the governor.

The House continued to meet today and was able to pass the missing budget bill by 3:00 p.m. So, it is clear that it would have been easy for Burns and House Speaker Adams to send the budget package to the governor today. Burns and House Speaker Adams chose a different strategy.

They chose to adjourn for two days.

The budget package Senate President Burns will be sending the governor is almost identical to the one she vetoed on July 1.

It includes massive cuts to public education, nearly $500 million.

It eliminates 2500 state jobs, cutting deeply into vital services to our citizens.

The budget shifts the property tax burden from corporations to homeowners for school district and municipal bond and override elections. This will make it more difficult to pass such measures.

It contains language that removes some basic employment rights of teachers, although these policy issues have no impact on the budget.

It is not fiscally responsible. It does not include revenue to help balance our state's huge budget deficit, especially in FY 2011 and FY 2012 when the federal stimulus money will be gone and deficits are expected to grow to over $2.5 billion again. It does not include a sales tax referral as called for by the governor on numerous occasions. It does not offer any other revenue sources as an alternative to the sales tax.

It permanently repeals the statewide county school equalization tax which eliminates $250 million of revenue. Considering the shortfall of state revenue to fund public education and other vital services, it makes not sense to repeal this school tax at this time. The governor does not favor the repeal at this time. According to her spokesperson, Paul Senseman, Brewer never wanted an immediate repeal. Instead, with the state facing a $3 billion deficit, she wanted the levy to come back, and then be phased out over the next three years.

When the legislature sent an almost identical budget to the governor on June 30, she called it a "flawed budget" that was "fiscally irresponsible with devastating cuts to public education." (Read the entire July 1 veto letter from the governor.)

So, why did the Republican leadership of the House and Senate choose to adjourn for two days rather than send the governor this budget?

The legal deadline for counties to begin collecting the statewide county school equalization tax was yesterday when counties were required to send out the tax notices. But, somehow, it was announced today that the Maricopa County Assessor is willing to wait until Friday and the Pima County Assessor is also delaying carrying out their duty.

This delay along with the delay in sending the governor the bills will allow for two days of corporate purchased or orchestrated media pressure to be focused on the governor in an attempt to coerce her to sign the budget.

They will wait until Thursday and send her a message the day before the new "deadline" for property tax notices to go out. Their message will be simple. Tomorrow, the governor will be increasing "your property taxes by $250 million" if she vetoes the permanent repeal of the school equalization tax. (They won't mention that the actual impact on the owner of a $200K home is only $5 per month and it is the largest corporations who will benefit from the repeal.)

The governor needs to hear from regular citizens over the next few days. She needs our support to stand up to the greed of corporations who are trying to avoid their responsibility to help support public education and vital services to our citizens.

There is a better way to solve this budget deficit. It is time for the governor to sit down in bipartisan discussions with the Republican and Democratic leadership of the House and Senate. Senator Rebecca Rios (D-Pinal County), the Democratic Caucus Assistant Leader, told the Senate today that a budget could be finished within a week through bipartisan negotiations.

Contact the governor today. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ask your friends, coworkers, and neighbors to contact the governor, too.

Keep up with the budget issues and citizen action at

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