"The Gang of Six"

by Sylvia Allen, Navajo County Supervisor, District 3.
Former Arizona State Senator

   President Reagan:  "You can't be for big Government, big taxes, and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy."
 
Why is it that elected officials don't learn from history, and why do some stray from sound principles?

Some Background:  During my first two weeks as a state senator in June of 2008, the legislature was finalizing the last Napolitano budget.  For the prior five years of her governorship, her state budgets had increased by a billion dollars in spending each year.  The next year, as we prepared to vote on the budget, the state had a $3 billion deficit.  The next three years were gut-wrenching, as we had to cut spending and borrow money to bring the state budget back in balance.  We worked hard to accomplish this without increasing taxes that would have put more of a burden on businesses and our citizens.

On May 16 of this year, six Republican Senators (Rich Crandall, Steve Pierce, John McComish, Adam Driggs, Bob Worsley, and Michele Reagan) forgot this past budget history, as well as their conservative principles.  But, much worse, they turned on their fellow Republicans and voted with Senate Democrats in an amendment feeding frenzy that resulted in a pork-heavy, spend-expand-grow budget that increased the proposed balanced budget by $306 million.

To get the Democrats to agree to vote for the Governor's ObamaCare expansion (increasing AHCCCS to 133 percent of the federal poverty level), the six Republicans had to agree to vote for the Democrats' pork.  But make no mistake, Crandall, Worsley, McComish et al added pork of their own.  The Six Republicans voted with the Democrats more than 50 times during Senate procedural votes to redesign the proposed budget.

Senate President Andy Biggs, who opposed the Medicaid expansion, offered 11amendments in an attempt to keep the Medicaid Expansion constitutional and
in control of the legislature sadly, they voted and defeated all his amendments.  Senator Kelli Ward, the only elected physician, offered 7 amendments with additional protections -- all defeated.

Millions of Americans are against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion. In 2010, 62 percent of Arizonans voted for the Healthcare Freedom Act, making a
strong statement against ObamaCare.  The Supreme Court ruled last summer that the States could not be forced into the expansion.

I heard that before the final budget vote the six Senators had pizza in the Governor's office to celebrate.  Are you celebrating, Arizona?  Before the spending spree, the $9 billion budget already represented a $168 million increase, but now the budget has swelled to $306 million extra.  THIS DOES NOT EVEN INCLUDE THE MEDICAID EXPANSION.  We won't know for sure how much that is going to cost until we do it!!

Are you celebrating?  Do you believe that Arizona's economy will grow 7 percent next year?  If it doesn't, there won't be money to cover the budget going forward.  We will be back in a deficit situation and still in debt. Let's hope the Arizona House of Representatives can remember Arizona's budget history, exercise principle, and restore a balanced budget.

One final thought - the U.S. and AZ Constitutions are not socialist documents.  So why do elected officials, who take an oath to uphold our Constitutions, promote and vote for socialist programs?  Like Reagan said, "You can't be for big Government, big taxes, and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy [i.e., the Constitution]."