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

Friday, March 25, 2011

Misappropriating justice: Mesa legislator pushes flat tax.

So, they want to cut education and health care while increasing the burden that the rest of us have to pay for what little public services they're willing to preserve for our use: the prisons. How much longer will the Arizona public keep following them down this road like sheep?

Look - the guy sponsoring this bill supports the longer prison minimum mandatories they're trying to push through, too. Those SOBs are trying to slap a few more years on all of us without even setting up a sentencing commission because they know all the evidence will tell them just how damaging to our people these new guidelines are. They're trying to justify the new prison beds they're bidding out to the prison profiteers so many of them are in bed with in this state. This is on top of the sales taxes that they're gouging us with.

Free Speech Zone, AZ Senate: thanks to Carlos Galindo and crowd for claiming this space, making it safe for me to do my thing there last week.

To this guy Court, the bill's sponsor, $200 isn't a lot of money for the rest of us to shell out to give him and his kind their hard-earned tax cut.
Surprise: he's the vice-chair of the House Appropriations Committee - and he's on the Education Committee! This does not bode well for the rest of the session. Our legislature is clearly out of touch with how the jobs and foreclosures pictures in Arizona are affecting the lives of ordinary citizens. $200 is all that keeps some people alive.

What about the Me Party does the Arizona electorate still not understand?
Here's the legislative policy agenda from Americans for Prosperity. Most of us have been cut out of this equation - except for the front end, where they reclaim a good bit of our wages as "taxes" that no longer serve our communities' needs. "American Prosperity" comes primarily through the labor of those who have been convinced to be grateful to their oppressors for giving them a dead-end job they can barely live on. That's hardly a collective goal to aspire to or a social value to be proud of.

If the rest of us are just going to end up footing the bill for AZ's privileged few to get tax breaks while all we get for our investment is a job or a cell in state prison, then
I say we disenfranchise or deport the 12% of state residents who make over $100,000/year here - they're a big part of our problem. Who needs an employer class, when we constitute most of the consumers, pay most of the taxes, and can organize our workplaces into worker collectives? All the state legislature is doing is hurting us with more laws, so lets abolish them, too...

Who lives in Mesa, anyway?

What is wrong with you people?

You keep giving us selfish, abusive white men as your leaders.


Arizona flat income tax a hike for many
Study: 88% of Ariz. filers would pay more

Mary Jo Pitzl - Mar. 25, 2011 12:00 AM The Arizona Republic

If Arizona shifts to a one-size-fits-all income tax, it would raise taxes for 88 percent of Arizona filers while cutting them for the 12 percent with a taxable income of more than $100,000 a year, a legislative analysis shows.

The teeter-totter effect of moving to a flat tax by cutting some taxes while hiking others has reignited the debate that flares every time lawmakers toy with the idea.

Proponents say the tax - in this case, a 2.13 percent rate - is a fair way of imposing an income tax because everyone pays the same rate. Currently, Arizona has a progressive tax rate, ranging from 2.59 percent to 4.54 percent. It increases with income level.

Opponents say House Bill 2636 would increase the tax burden on lower- and middle-class taxpayers while giving the wealthy a tax cut.

On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee approved the bill on a 4-2 vote. Last week, the House of Representatives gave it a party-line OK, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. It's now up to Senate President Russell Pearce to decide whether to assign it to the Rules Committee and move it on to the full Senate. It's unclear what Pearce will do.

Rep. Steve Court, R-Mesa and the bill's sponsor, said he's trying to simplify the state's tax structure by moving to one rate instead of the current five rates.

"It would be the flattest tax in the country, other than those (states) that don't have a tax at all," Court said.

He acknowledged the shift in tax policy would mean higher income taxes for many but said it would not be a huge increase.

"The average in each of those categories is the individual would not pay more than $200," he said, citing information the state Department of Revenue prepared for him.

He declined to share that information. He also said he didn't know the impact of tax cuts on those with an adjusted income of $100,000 or more.

But the Children's Action Alliance said an analysis it commissioned from the Washington, D.C.-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows higher-income earners would gain an average tax savings of $918. That was based on taxable incomes ranging from $152,000 to $354,000.

The advocacy group's analysis agrees with Court's estimate of an average increase of about $200 for those with incomes below $100,000.

Dana Naimark, president and CEO of the Children's Action Alliance, said the math didn't strike her as fair.

"I just cannot see (how) Arizonans are going to see this as fair, which is how it's being touted," she said.

The flat tax would be phased in and would be fully in place by 2015. Legislative budget analysts estimate it would reduce the state's general fund by $50 million.
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee did not analyze the impact on individual taxpayers but instead calculated the cumulative effect on taxpayers in different income brackets.

To flatten the tax, numerous deductions and exemptions - such as for mortgage interest, dependent children and personal exemptions - would be eliminated.

But the bill retains most tax credits, which are taken after a person's Arizona taxable income has been calculated. They include credits for contributions to school-tuition organizations, contributions to after-school activities in the public schools and donations to the working poor.

The prospective loss of the mortgage deduction has drawn the opposition of the Arizona Association of Realtors, a powerful Capitol lobbying group.

Lawmakers lamented the loss of the popular mortgage and charitable deductions but said it's necessary to make the tax flat.

"We have to take the bitter with the sweet," said Sen. Steve Yarbrough, chairman of the Finance Committee.

Yarbrough said the bill may not win legislative approval this year, but he said lawmakers needed to pursue this change to tax policy.

"It may take a year or two, but I think we need to keep trying," said Yarbrough, R-Gilbert. "The underlying objective is meritorious."

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