Friday, May 04, 2012

Tea Party lawmakers miss opportunities to create jobs and build a stronger future

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The legislative session ended yesterday and today House Democrats recap the opportunities Tea Party lawmakers missed during the past session.

“House Democrats started this year with a plan. We introduced legislation that would support local businesses, create jobs and improve government accountability,” House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14), said. “Unfortunately, these efforts were stymied by Tea Party lawmakers who were more interested in promoting their extremist agenda.”

Democratic policy priorities included:
  • Immediately creating jobs
  • Adopting ethics reform and creating more transparency in government
  • Creating a lower tax burden for small businesses who hire Arizona workers
  • Creating local preference for in-state bidders on state and local contracts
  • Ensuring that state and local government contractors use American companies instead of foreign ones
  • Preventing private prison expansion because they have serious safety issues and cost Arizona taxpayers more money
  • Eliminating tax loopholes
Tea Party lawmakers stopped many bills that would have supported these policy priorities from moving through the legislature. The following bills were blocked by Tea Party legislators:

Investing in infrastructure to create jobs immediately
  • HB 2298 – improvement districts; renewable energy (Campbell)
  • HB 2085 – energy conservation; public buildings (Ableser)
  • HB 2243 – commerce authority; solar grants (Gallego)
  • HB 2699 – department of administration; solar panels (Chabin)
 Adopting ethics reform and creating more transparency in government
  • HB 2665 – The ALEC Accountability Act; financial disclosure; model legislation; lobbying (Farley)
  • HB 2704 – Fiesta Bowl Scandal Reform; disclosures; lobbyist; gifts; public officers (Campbell)
Creating a lower tax burden for small businesses that hire Arizona workers
  • HB 2705 – small business employment; tax rate (Campbell)
Creating local preference for in-state bidders on state and local contracts
  • HB 2392 – state contracts; preference; Arizona business (Saldate)
  • HB 2680 – procurement; Arizona bidder; preference (Campbell)
Ensuring that state and local government contractors use American companies instead of foreign ones
  • HB 2510 – government procurement; American products (Campbell)
  • HB 2638 – state contracts; foreign headquarters (Gallego)
Preventing private prison expansion
  • HB 2202 – private prisons; prisoner; facility; limits (Campbell)
  • HB 2203 – private prisons contractors; public records (Campbell)  
  • HB 2204 – private prisons; regulation (Campbell)
Eliminating tax loopholes by requiring an automatic sunset
  • HB 2645 – sales tax exemptions; repeal; dates (Farley)
  • HB 2685 – income tax credits; repeal dates (Farley)
Instead of setting aside partisan bickering and working together for the people of Arizona, Tea Party lawmakers focused on legislation that expanded private prisons, awarded tax credits to the wealthy while they refused to fund KidsCare, keeping thousands of Arizona children from having health care coverage.

Republicans passed a budget that kills jobs. The state will lose jobs in tourism because Republicans failed to fund the State Parks Department and they have limited future funding for the Office of Tourism. Both are major job creators in Arizona. They also killed jobs in the health care industry by failing to support rate increases for all health care providers. This budget jeopardizes jobs and people’s health across the state.

“Tea Party legislators showed us that their priorities are all wrong. They will have a lot to answer for to the voters,” Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley, D-Tucson (District 28), said. “House Democrats will be back next session to make sure the priorities of Arizonans are represented.”

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