Friday, December 4, 2009

Mr. Reagan on Big Tents

Exerpts from a Speech at

Conservative Political Action Conference

Washington, DC

Governor Ronald Reagan (R-CA)

March 1, 1975

Americans are hungry to feel once again a sense of mission and greatness.

I don ‘t know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, “We must broaden the base of our party”—when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur - even more - the differences between ourselves and our opponents.

When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating in this Republican Party?

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?

Let us show that we stand for fiscal integrity and sound money and above all for an end to deficit spending, with ultimate retirement of the national debt.

Let us also include a permanent limit on the percentage of the people’s earnings government can take without their consent.

Let our banner proclaim a genuine tax reform that will begin by simplifying the income tax so that workers can compute their obligation without having to employ legal help.

Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people.

Let us also call for an end to the nit-picking, the harassment and over-regulation of business and industry which restricts expansion and our ability to compete in world markets.

Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government’s coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our economic machine.

Our banner must recognize the responsibility of government to protect the law-abiding, holding all those who commit misdeeds personally accountable. Laws already on the books should be enforced!

And we must make it plain to international adventurers that our love of peace stops short of “peace at any price.”

We will maintain whatever level of strength is necessary to preserve our free way of life.

A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principles. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert our principles and raise them to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their own way.

Monday, August 24, 2009


The AZ GOP distributed the following points during their executive board meeting on Saturday, August 22, 2009:

Limited choices
1. The Health Choices Czar will choose your healthcare plan for you.
2. A Government committee will decide what treatment procedures you receive.
3. Government will create a healthcare exchange to control private healthcare plans.
4. Government will dictate benefit packages for private healthcare plans under the healthcare exchange.
5. All individuals who are deemed Medicaid-eligible will be automatically enrolled in Medicaid.
6. It will prohibit the purchase of new private healthcare insurance from qualifying as acceptable coverage for purposes of the individual mandate after the effective date of the new regulations.
7. Will create one size fits all healthcare standards.
8. Government will decide which healthcare providers can participate in the public healthcare option.
9. Will require all employer-provided healthcare plans to be approved by the Department of Labor and a new Health Choices Administration (Czar).
10. Government will decide personal health decisions.
11. Government legislation will increase the cost and limit the healthcare choices for veterans.
12. The bill will lead to a "single-payer" system as private insurers are eliminated by a Government monopoly on regulations and controls.
13. Government plan will not create competition because federal government will impose a list of benefits that each plan will be required to offer.
14. Preventive care will be reimbursed, but patients will pay for all other routine doctor visits and tests with their own money from their HSA account.
15. Government will determine and provide approved list of end-of-life resources and procedures.
16. Government will control end-of-life treatment.
17. Government plan will eliminate diversity of plans and creativity in the healthcare insurance sector. Government Intrusion 18. Government will have real-time access to individuals' financial information.
19. Government may have direct access to your bank accounts for automatic funds transfer.
20. Individuals not having acceptable healthcare coverage, according to government regulations, will be taxed 2.5 percent.
21. School-Based Health Clinics will provide healthcare services for students without parental notification.
22. Will require cumbersome Government review of claims.
23. Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to financial and personal records.
24. Government bureaucrats will instruct and consult with individuals regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc.
25. Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as a patient's health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for an end-of-life plan.
26. Government plan will unleash the IRS on anyone who fails to sign up for a government-approved healthcare plan.
27. The IRS is authorized to verify incomes of those under the public healthcare options.
28. Government plan will lead to interference in families and the growth of intrusive Child Protective Service agencies.
29. Government is more likely to pass additional restrictions or increase taxes on smoking, fast food, etc., leading to a further loss of personal freedoms.

Limited Healthcare
30. Government will ration healthcare. You will only get so much medical care per year.
31. Government will have the authority to deny coverage to dependent family members of veterans.
32. Government plan will require people to be assigned a primary care doctor, and the doctor will control your access to specialists.
33. Government plan will reduce services for Medicaid covered patients.
34. Government plan will reduce spending for Medicare and Medicaid, resulting in rationing.
35. Government plan will suppress the development of new medical procedures by doctors and hospitals as they will not be reimbursed for their research efforts.
36. Government plan will make the medical profession less attractive and rewarding to people, which will lead to fewer people entering the field.

Financial Implications
37. Most of the population will be forced onto the Government plan until they will have no choice but to raise taxes on all Americans.
38. Will force young, healthy people, new to the work force with lower incomes than older workers, to pay more than their actual healthcare cost.
39. Government plan will subsidize older workers, who have private health insurance plans by limiting premiums.
40. Government plan will ban insurers from charging premiums based on the health of the individuals, thus most will pay more.
41. By mandating plans, Government will prevent individuals and employers from choosing less expensive plans that cover only major medical expenses.
42. No ability for cross-state shopping for a cheaper, better insurance plan.
43. The CBO says the current Democrat House plan would increase the deficit by $239 billion over 10 years.
44. Reductions to reimbursements similar to those made in Medicare by Government, could prompt health providers to charge private insurers more.
45. A sudden change due to government intervention in how payments for healthcare are made could significantly disrupt cash flows and financial strength of businesses.
46. Government plan doesn’t address the future infrastructure and capital financing aspects of healthcare.
47. Government plan could severely impact the financial strength of the U.S. drug companies, which employs hundreds of thousands of workers.
48. For taxpayers who earn between $32,490 and $43,320 a year, they will lose health insurance deductions, effectively a tax increase.
49. Government plan eliminates a provision in the Medicare prescription drug law, which would eliminate coverage for drug costs over $2,700 a year.
50. Patients aren't likely to curb their drug costs and doctor visits if healthcare is free; thus, total costs will be several times what they are now.

Government Mandates
51. Government will mandate linguistic appropriate services. For example, translators for illegal aliens.
52. No new private insurance will be allowed after passage of this bill.
53. For many employees in large corporations all ready covered by the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974, they will be required to choose only from approved plans after five years.
54. If an employer's health insurance co-pay, deductible, or coverage changes for any reason -- the employee must drop out and shop through the exchange.
55. Government will set mandated rates for public health insurance options.
Impact on Business
56. Government will audit the financial records of all small and large employers who self-insure.
57. Employers will be mandated to pay for healthcare for part-time employees and their families.
58. Employers with payroll of $400,000 and above, who do not provide a healthcare plan, will pay an 8 percent tax on all payroll to the government.
59. Employers with payroll between $251,000 and $400,000 who do not provide a healthcare plan will pay a 2 to 6 percent tax on all payroll to the government.
60. Will require employers to provide healthcare coverage for their employees or pay a tax penalty of $750 per year.
61. Half of all small businesses with 20-249 employees will have their income adversely affected by a surtax.
62. If the surtax on businesses doesn’t generate enough revenue to cover the costs of the government plan by 2013, the surtax automatically doubles.
63. Large employers will be required to automatically enroll workers in coverage, which will cost over $1 trillion.
64. Employers will be required to prove compliance under the proposed law to the Government.
65. Employers will drop their private health insurance coverage when offered a cheaper Government-run plan.
66. For small businesses, that can choose from a wide range of plans to offer their current employees will be forced to offer only "qualified" plans to new employees, via the health exchange.
67. Government plan will not allow businesses a deduction for employee health plan. Medical Profession
68. Government will set standards for doctor/patient time, professional judgment, methods, etc., thus determining the value of medical service.
69. Will impose new regulations on the individual and small group insurance providers.
70. Doctors will be financially rewarded for denying care, as HMO physicians were rewarded more than a decade ago.
71. No matter what medical specialty a doctor may have, all will be paid the same wage, thus suppressing individual effort, productivity and creativity.
72. Hospitals and clinics will be penalized for what the government deems to be preventable readmissions.
73. Possible penalties for Doctors who treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission.
74. Doctors would be prohibited from owning and investing in private healthcare companies.
75. Hospitals and clinics will be unable to expand without government approval.
76. Government plan could restrict drug companies' patents, which will lead to legal disputes, fewer new drugs and delay cheaper generic drugs.
77. Less income could force doctors to lay off fellow doctors, nurses and assistants.

78. Government may use partisan political groups such as ACORN to sign up individuals for government healthcare plan.
79. No company or individual can sue the government on price fixing. No "judicial review" against government monopoly.
80. Another federal bureaucracy, Health Choices Administration, will be created.
81. Will leave over 30 million uninsured based on Congressional Budget Office analysis.
82. Free healthcare for 12 to 13 million illegal immigrants.
83. Government will surcharge high income individuals.
84. Government legislation does not include tort reform. Trial lawyers will continue to cause unneeded defensive medical procedures by doctors.
85. The public option never has been and never will be cheaper (see Massachusetts', Canadian, British, and French plans).
86. No private company or individual will be able to sue the government for price-fixing.
87. Government will regulate rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs.
88. Government plan will make abortion more widely available and more common by requiring insurers to pay for the procedures and providing funding to pay for abortions.
89. Workers and businesses already pay for everybody on Medicare and Medicaid and the Government plan would just add more people to them.
90. Government plan will require insurance companies to sell coverage to anyone at any time, which will allow people to buy insurance only when they need medical care.
91. Existing healthcare in the U.S. already covers over 90% of citizens.
92. No matter how much regulation or enforcement effort, no government healthcare plan will be 100 percent effective.
93. Government plan will establish price controls, which will lead to a black market in healthcare services
94. Real reform in healthcare should be market driven and not government controlled.
95. The unintended consequences of such a hastily assembled Government healthcare plan will be daunting and costly.
96. Government will mandate linguistic appropriate services. For example, translators for illegal aliens.

What it DOESN’T Do
97. Government plan will not allow for the adoption of health information technology.
98. Government plan does not provide guidelines to stop unnecessary medical procedures.
99. Government plan provides no incentives for quality and positive patient outcomes.
100. Government plan does not provide incentives to existing Medicare and Medicaid programs to reward more efficient and effective doctors and hospitals.

Monday, July 20, 2009

If you had any doubts about the healthcare bill...

By Rep. John Carter (R) Texas

Monday night Democrats voted to shut down the U.S. House Representatives rather than allow a handful of Republican Congressmen to speak on the floor. What could have been so offensive or frightening about our discourse that Speaker Pelosi felt she had to protect her party by gagging free speech in the House?
In fact, we had planned to speak on the lack of transparency of the House since Democrats took control. We had planned to criticize Speaker Pelosi for repeatedly denying Members, the media, and the public to right to read legislation before it was voted on. We were set to discuss House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s statement last week that if his Members were required to read the Democrats’ healthcare reform package before it was voted on, it would fail.
So the Speaker obviously feels that if the public is truly aware of her party’s agenda, they will reject it. She is now making sure the public is kept in the dark by trampling the centuries-old democratic traditions of the House. What are those traditions? Every day that the House is in session, following the final vote of the day, representatives are allowed the privilege of free speech on the House floor in what is known as “Special Orders.” They may speak for one minute, five minutes, or one hour segments, and must request their time in advance. Time is allocated equally to both parties on a first-come basis.
Since the advent of live C-SPAN coverage of the House, this has provided a national televised outlet for both Republicans and Democrats to speak to the nation on topics they feel were not adequately addressed during regular order in the House, during which the Democrat majority has the parliamentary ability to limit debate and speeches.
Special Orders therefore frequently serves as a political safety valve if the party in the majority becomes too dictatorial during debate, using their majority status to truly oppress the minority’s ability to debate and offer amendments.
That is now the case in the House, with the Democrat majority under Pelosi repeatedly rejecting House rules to ram a far-left agenda through before the public has time to learn what is actually in the bills.
This is what we were committed to bring to public light.
House rules require a bill be publicly posted for three days before it can be voted on. That basic rule was written by none other than Thomas Jefferson as part of the original rules package of the House, as it is essential to the survival of representative democracy.
The House can waive that rule if it chooses on specific occasions. The Republican-controlled House chose to waive it when considering the Patriot Act in 2001 following the terror attacks of 9-11. They thought there was enough of a national defense emergency to just bring the bill to the floor for a vote.
But Nancy Pelosi and her House Democrats have chosen to ignore the rule on every major issue taken up by the House this year, including:
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - The Obama Stimulus: This one just had to pass that very day because time was a-wastin’ in getting those new jobs coming. We couldn’t wait for Members to read it. But then the President waited four days to sign it into law while he spent the weekend in Chicago, and months later none of the new jobs have come into existence.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization (SCHIP): Speaker Pelosi couldn’t wait on this one either, although the deadline for reauthorization was still two months away.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: Lilly was peddled as covering decades-old wage discrimination cases, but after waiting 20 years, Congress couldn’t wait one more day to let Members actually read the thing.
The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009: No excuses at all on this one. They just didn’t want the details known.
The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009: This one has been languishing since last October, but we suddenly had to pass it that day.
The AIG Bonus Tax Act: This had to get through right then, don’t mind the details, we just had to go after those bonuses. Only when we read what passed after the fact, the bill contained waivers for all of the same executives the bill was supposed to reign in, many with curiously close ties to Treasury Secretary and tax cheat Tim Geithner.
The Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009: No rush whatever on this one time-wise, the Democrats just didn’t want people talking about the hundreds of billions given to foreign banks that should have gone to our troops.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act/National Cap-and-Trade Energy Tax: No excuse was offered on this one, the Speaker just didn’t want anybody reading Henry Waxman’s 300 page amendment he sneaked in overnight before we were forced to vote. Three weeks later, the Senate shows no intention of taking up the bill before the opening day of dove season, if then.
There’s a reason all these bills are listed. The list constitutes every major policy bill undertaken by Congress this year. House Democrats are not just waiving the three-day rule -- they have destroyed it, and are intentionally pushing their agenda to the floor with blindfolds on the media and the public.
This constitutes an astonishing and chilling acceleration of the assault on representative democracy that began in earnest this January.
Representative democracy works when a U.S. Representative listens to the input of their constituents, and votes the way the majority of their district would vote. Only a Representative can’t listen if no one has ever seen the bill, or had time to provide input. They have to vote blind, which for too many, is voting the way their leadership tells them.
This is what Republican House Members were going to the floor to say Monday night. We were set to decry the loss of openness in the House.
Instead, we were met with a slammed door by Democrats, who are now committed to burying truth along with democracy.
The Democrats are the majority -- for now. They chose to silence debate on the floor by gagging House Republican Members from using their historical right to speak after the close of the day. But they cannot stop us from speaking outside the halls of Congress and letting the American public know the truth about their ongoing attack against the very foundations of a free Republic.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Declaration of Independence

One of our family's traditions is to read the Declaration of Independence on Independence Day each year. Happy 4th of July!

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

I couldn't let the day slip away without acknowledging the tremendous debt I owe to the brave men and women who have fought and died for my freedom over the 200+ years of this nation's history. I am grateful not only for their tremendous sacrifices, but for the sacrifices of the families that they left behind. It is fitting and proper that we should take a day each year to remember those who paid the last full measure of devotion so that we could enjoy the freedoms we do today. One of the headstones we looked at today described the RAF cadet interred there as his parents "much loved and only son". This inscription really touched me as I realized how much this particular family had given up in defense of freedom for themselves and their countrymen. This young man never married or enjoyed all of the wonders of parenthood. He didn't have a career, finish his education, or live to ripe old age. Instead, he was cut down in his prime while doing his duty.
I am grateful for the opportunity Memorial Day gives me to take my children to visit our local cemetery and pay our respects to brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have put it all on the line so that we could enjoy the life we now have. I am thankful for this wonderful land we live in and those who have fought to establish it and keep it free. God bless their memory!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Senator Pearce on Budget Cuts to Education

Dear family, friends and fellow citizens,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the proposed spending reductions to education. As a state senator in Arizona, I always appreciate hearing the concerns of the public, and as a father and grandfather, I can personally relate to the apprehension regarding the future of education in Arizona. Here is the '09 challenge: We just resolved a $1.6 billion deficit to fix, with only 5 months left, with only 50% of the budget to work with due to voter protected initiatives, and entitlement programs. Now, we are trying to solve a $2.5 to $3 billion deficit for fiscal 2010 that starts July 1st, again with only 50% of the budget on the table to work with. Tax increases are not the answer with families and businesses struggling to survive. Record foreclosures, a 26 year high in unemployment and many folks including myself that live on a fixed income. The attachment will clear up some of the misinformation on education funding in Arizona.

As you well know, the landscape of Arizona’s economic environment has changed. Families and businesses throughout the state have been forced to adapt to a faltering economy. In fact, it is the worst budgetary shortfall in our state’s history. In consideration of rising expenses that far outweigh declining revenue, Legislators are being forced to make the same difficult choices that face many American families. We are working to correct Arizona’s steep budget crisis during this economic downturn, but there are only three viable options: increasing taxes, borrowing money, or reducing spending. Times of recession call for conservation. Increasing taxes would likely prolong this recession, or, even worse, push it into a depression. Likewise, borrowing money would only delay the problem, hurt the overall financial health of our state and essentially mortgage our children’s future.

A significant portion of the proposed education “cuts” are really just rollbacks of spending increases that were made over recent years when our accounts were flush with money because of a strong housing market and a relatively prosperous economy. In fact, these increases illustrate the importance and value that Legislators have placed on education. Amidst this fiscal crisis, if we do not make reductions to education, which makes up almost 60% of the budget, or health/human services and public safety, which accounts for another 35%, we have only 5% left to work with—at a time when we are as much as 30% short! As difficult as these decisions may be, and as painful as they may feel in the short-term, reducing spending is necessary to preserve the long-term vitality of our education system.

I continue to fight for families and the taxpayers of this great state. One issue we continue to ignore and is the elephant in the middle of the room when it comes to crime, taxes, education, healthcare, is the illegal immigration issue. No one talks about it as we examine our budget shortfall. The failure of our local law enforcement and social service agencies to enforce our immigration laws costs the Arizona taxpayers significantly. The illegal immigration impact on our state is $2-$3 billion annually - $1 billion in K-12 alone plus lost jobs to Americans, lower wages and, according to FBI and local records, the huge crime wave including deaths and maimings that we are experiencing.

Remember, I did not create this deficit. I have continuously fought to hold down reckless spending while fighting for education, public safety and transportation as our priorities. Our former Governor with co-conspirators have created this mess by growing government by an average of 12% for the past 6 years, while inflation PLUS population has been 6%. It has been reckless spending by those who ignore the impact to the taxpayers in this state. We must protect working families while we address critical issues facing this state. No one said it would be easy.

God bless everyone and may God continue to bless America. I wish you and your family all the best during these difficult times.

Senator Russell Pearce, LD18, Mesa

Senator Pearce's Attachment

Education Funding (Sources are in parenthesis)

Per pupil funding (from all sources): $9700. (JLBC)
Education comprises nearly 60% of the state general fund. (JLBC)
Arizona ranks 21st in aggregate dollars spent on K-12. (
Arizona ranks 21st in aggregate dollars spent on current K-12 operating expenses. (NCES, NEA, ATRA).

Teacher Salaries

Arizona ranks 11th for teacher salaries. (NCES, NEA, ATRA)
Arizona ranks 1st in the average salary of instructional staff on a per capita income basis. (NCES, NEA, ATRA

Test Scores

Arizona ranks 21st nationally for ACT composite scores. (ALEC)
Arizona ranks 27th for SAT Math and Critical Reading scores. (NCES)

Student Enrollment

Arizona ranks 13th in aggregate K-12 total student enrollment. (NEA)

Higher Education

Higher Education general fund monies have increased by 43% since 2004. (JLBC)

by 43% since 2004.

Arizona ranks 11th in percentage of individuals 18-24 years old with a Bachelor's Degree (National Science Foundation)

Why it is INACCURATE to say Arizona ranks 49th in Education:
These rankings are based on the “per pupil” spending calculation which does not take into account the following:

- Uniformity as to what funding categories go into the calculation from state-to-state (for example, Arizona is highly ranked in terms of capital expenditures per pupil, but none of those dollars are factored into Arizona’s per pupil calculations)

- Actual dollars spent in the classroom from district-to-district or state-to-state
cost of living adjustments

- State constitutional requirements/limitations with regard to education funding
estimates and redundancies in student counts

- Calculation variances that occur because of rapid growth issues faced by states like Arizona, versus states experiencing little, no or negative growth

There are better gauges to education ranking that are outcome-based indicators, such as student achievement, test scores, etc.
This calculation looks at education spending in a vacuum. It makes absolutely no sense for public policy to be driven by one isolated apples-to-oranges statistic.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fact vs. Fiction - The Budget Cuts and Education

The Goldwater Institute has published the top ten myths about the education budget cuts. This is eyeopening information and should be considered before lambasting our legislators for doing their job.

Top 10 Myths about Education Funding and Budget Reductions
Goldwater Institute separates budget myths from reality as lawmakers grapple with billion-dollar budget shortfall
Phoenix--Arizona faces one of the largest budget deficits in the nation and lawmakers are struggling to close the gap. Because half of all General Fund spending goes toward education, schools and universities will necessarily be affected by the state's across-the-board belt tightening. While some school administrators and special interest groups have referred to the potential budget cuts "slashing education" and "shortsighted and borderline malicious," the Goldwater Institute would like to separate the reality of education funding in Arizona from several often publicized myths.
Myth #1: Schools simply cannot afford the budget reductions being proposed by the legislature.
Fact: The budget cuts proposed by the State House leadership amounts to a 2.5 percent reduction. Over the last five years, K-12 funding has increased by 40 percent. Reducing funding by 2.5 percent will still leave schools with more money than they had in 2008 adjusted for inflation.
Myth #2: Schools have tightened their belts as much as possible. There's simply nothing left to cut.
Fact: Last year Tucson Unified School District lost track of millions of dollars in equipment. With similar highly publicized stories frequently surfacing, there's room to tighten up. In addition to implementing better controls on equipment and supplies, the Goldwater Institute recommends three more ways schools and school districts can cut their budgets without eliminating teaching positions: 1.) Ban teachers from having non-classroom assignments; 2.) Ban teacher's union employees from conducting union work on district payroll; 3.) Cut administrative bloat at the district level. Arizona has an unusually large share of non-teaching public school employees. Teachers make up slightly less than half of on-site staff in public schools, placing Arizona fourth worst among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in teachers as a share of on-site public school staff.
Myth #3: Arizona already ranks 49th in the nation in education funding and we don't want to be number 50.
Fact: When all of Arizona's funding streams are added up, Arizona school funding ranks in the middle of the states at more than $9,000 per student per year.
Myth #4: Suspending the tax credit for donations toward private school tuition will save money and mitigate the need for education budget cuts.
Fact: Getting children into private schools with $1,000 of foregone tax revenue costs less than the $9,000 spent on a child in the public school system. To save money, the legislature should expand the private school scholarship tax credit and move more children from public to private schools. Suspending it will disrupt these students' educations and increase costs to the state as children return to public schools.
Myth #5: Student success will suffer if budget cuts lead to increased class size.
Fact: Research shows that students would be much better off if schools did let their most ineffective teachers go, and redistributed the students to more effective instructors. Teacher quality has been found to be 10- to 20-times more important than class size in achieving student learning gains. Schools could thereby cut their spending and improve student learning simultaneously.
Myth #6: All-day kindergarten is essential to successful child development and should not be eliminated by budget cuts.
Fact: Studies have consistently shown that any benefit from all-day kindergarten disappears by the time a child reaches the third grade, a phenomenon termed "fade out." Also, all-day kindergarten was widespread in Arizona public schools before a specified state funding stream was created two years ago, districts can continue all-day kindergarten if it is a priority.
Myth #7: Individual districts and schools are reluctant to cut their own budgets, so the legislature should direct where cuts will be made.
Fact: Individual districts and schools will be far more effective in determining how to cut their budgets while protecting their students and employees and should be given the flexibility to set their own budget priorities. To that point, Madison Elementary School District Superintendent Dr. Tim Ham said on January 26, 2009: "The Madison School District understands the crisis the State of Arizona is in economically and knows reductions in education funding will be required. We would ask that districts be allowed to use any of their funding sources to meet their obligations. This would require a temporary suspension of current legal requirements. However, it would provide flexibility, local control, and equality among districts."
Myth #8: Cuts in university funding will drive Arizona into "Third World" status.
Fact: Statewide, higher education budgets have increased by $332 million since 2004. If the full proposed FY 2009 cut of $80.5 million to ASU's budget were enacted, it would still receive more state funding than in 2006. Northern Arizona University would lose $31 million in FY 2009, but still receive more state funds than in 2007. The University of Arizona faces a proposed $103 million cut in FY 2009, which would take it back to 2004 state funding levels.
Myth #9: Investment in higher education is critical to the future success of Arizona's economy.
Fact: Comparing states' higher-education appropriations and gross state products yields no evidence that spending drives economic growth. From 1991 to 2000, none of the top 10 states in greatest higher-education appropriations were among the top 10 in economic growth.
Myth #10: Cuts to university budgets will make it necessary to double tuition thereby violating the Arizona Constitution's clause to make higher education "nearly as free as possible."
Fact: Legal precedent has determined that "nearly as free as possible" means tuition for Arizona public universities must remain in the bottom-third of the nation. Any increase in university tuition is required to meet that standard. As it stands, tuition at Arizona public universities is very low compared to national averages.
The Goldwater Institute is a nonprofit public policy research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Protecting the defenseless

On January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States issued their ruling in the Roe v. Wade case, essentially declaring that a woman's right to privacy outweighed the fundamental right of an unborn child to live. The result of this landmark decision: 52 million innocent lives lost over the past 36 years.

Earlier today I saw a great post on Sonoran Alliance about the steps being taken by the Obama administration and other Democrats to make abortions more readily available. Their decisions have far reaching consequences, and the videos shown on this post give a lot of food for thought.

As I was reviewing the videos and information on the post, three quotes came to mind that seemed to fit the debate on abortion:

"Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally." - Abraham Lincoln

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"Have you ever noticed that everyone who is pro-choice has already been born?" - Bumper Sticker

When the travesty of this malignant court decision is overturned, America will be on her way to a brighter future. I look forward to that day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Budget and the 49th Legislature

The first general session of the 49th State Legislature got off to a start this week with the official swearing in of the legislators and the governor's State of the State Address. The 800 pound gorilla in the room for this session is the $1.2 billion hole in the FY 2009 budget as well as similar forecasts for the 2010 and 2011 budgets.

The projected shortfalls in the state budget for the next few years are huge, and leave our legislators with a host of choices to make, none of which are going to be pain free. To help drive this point home, the House/Senate leadership convened a joint panel discussion with local business leaders/owners this morning, as well as a joint budget study session this afternoon.

During the panel discussion, each panelist explained how the current economic climate has affected their business, the tough decisions they have had to make, and the actions they have taken to position themselves for survival in the short term while keeping an eye on future opportunities. They also provided the legislature with their own thoughts on ways the business climate can be improved in Arizona. These suggestions mostly revolved around equalizing the tax codes and removing onerous regulations (which isn't a big surprise) but they drove their points home with specific examples of ways this could improve the economy in the long run. I saw that most of the legislators took notes - I hope they refer to them often during this session.

During the joint budget study session, the specific challenges of the current budget were reviewed in detail for the members. Several legislators seemed to realize the extent of the shortfall and how it would affect their pet programs during this presentation.

As a guest of Sen. Pearce, today I had the opportunity to sit in on these meetings as well as listen in on the conversations he had with other legislators and members of leadership. It was eye opening to see the amount of work that goes into preparing all of the options for members to consider, as well as the realities of making tough choices with the budget. I also got to see the opportunities that this budget crisis presents for our legislature. Without minimizing the difficulty of the decisions that will be made on programs and departments, the shortfalls in the budget actually present the legislature with a golden opportunity to streamline, reduce costs, and create efficiencies. The overall effect can be a government that better serves the people of our state.

Unfortunately there are going to be human costs to these decisions. In spite of this, our legislators and governor are just going to have to make the tough calls and deal with the consequences. The option of continuing to fund everything and not make cuts is just not tenable, and we are ill served by elected officials who won't "cowboy up" and make the hard choices. Families can't live beyond their means and neither can businesses, so why should government get away with it? In this climate cuts have to be made by everyone.

This creates a dilemma for politicians who will eventually incur the wrath of people affected by the cuts they decide to make. People are going to be unhappy with them and it may cost them later on, but it is the right thing to do. It will be interesting to see which legislators do the right thing and which ones do the "expedient" thing. From what I have seen of Sen. Pearce and several of the other legislators I spoke with today, I have high expectations. Time will tell.

A special "Thank You!" to Sen. Pearce for allowing me to be his shadow today and answering my questions. I also want to acknowledge the unsung heroes of our state legislators. Their executive assistants do a tremendous job keeping the legislators schedules, managing the traffic in and out of their offices, answering phone calls, keeping track of their paperwork and making the contacts our legislators need to do their job. Sen. Pearce's assistant, Karen, is a superhero, and has made each of my visits to Sen. Pearce's office a productive and enlightening experience. Thanks Karen!