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

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Budget Crisis Solved: Car Washes! Raffles! Donations!

AZ legislature asks for donations

December 2, 12:52 PMLiberal ExaminerMarlene Phillips

Arizona is in trouble. Facing a $2.2 billion deficit, and with a November Pew Center study showing the state as having the second worst fiscal problem in the country (tied with Rhode Island behind California), state legislatures know they must come up with a solution. But the Republican controlled legislature refuses to consider raising taxes to address the problem. Thirty nine Republican legislators went so far as to sign a no-tax pledge at the urging of conservative Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform based in D.C.

With their hands tied by that no-tax pledge, this week Republican legislators floated another idea to save the state of Arizona: ask for donations.

Calling it the "I Didn't Pay Enough" fund, Republican legislators want to let Arizonans voluntarily tax themselves by adding more to the amount they pay in state income tax. Thirty four state representatives, all Republican, have already backed the idea, and their erstwhile leader, Grover Norquist, heartily approves, calling it "a noble that people who feel they are undertaxed have a place to send their money."

According to the report in the East Valley Tribune the sponsor of the bill admits donations won't make a dent in the overwhelming Arizona state deficit. Republican Representative Judy Burges agreed that at least part of the reason she proposed the bill was to make an ideological and political point, to show up those who claim that Arizonans will pay more taxes for better services. Norquist, too, agrees it's little more than a political joke, since such funds have done little or nothing to help states in trouble in the past. When a similar bill was proposed in Kentucky under the title "Tax Me More," Norquist said: "Tax Me More Funds and their sickly low balances are just what the doctor ordered."

The editors of Arizona's two largest newspapers immediately slammed the proposal as a gimmick from the anti-tax crowd. The Arizona Republic in Phoenix published an editorial calling the idea "an ideological stunt," telling the legislature to "spare us the tax jokes" in a time of fiscal crisis. Tucson's Arizona Daily Star called the idea "a distraction," saying "it was crafted to make a point and not to solve a problem." One of Arizona's most active political blogs, Blog for Arizona, called it the latest entry from the "GOP 'Gimmicks R Us' Shop." Jeffrey Rogers, Pima County Democratic Chair, simply said the bill was "absolutely ridiculous."

Arizona is in trouble. And once again members of Arizona's GOP have shown where their real loyalty lies: with Mr. Norquist, not their own constituents. As Arizona residents wait for their legislature to propose serious solutions to the ever-growing deficit, as we watch growth lag, foreclosures mount, and the state deficit inch closer and closer to $3 billion, we wonder when legislators will finally do something to help the state they supposedly serve. Considering this latest joke from the GOP, solutions won't come from the Republican controlled legislature anytime soon. And that could mean disaster for the Grand Canyon state.

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