McClellan: Legislators keep choosing to defy the wishes of the voters - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

McClellan: Legislators keep choosing to defy the wishes of the voters

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Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.

Posted: Thursday, March 1, 2012 1:36 pm | Updated: 10:30 am, Sat Mar 3, 2012.

We’ve had almost 1,400 bills introduced by our intrepid state senators and representatives this session.

And, boy, were some of them doozies.

There was the no-leash-law-needed bill, the teacher speech bill, the guns in the classroom bill, the tuition surtax bill, the one that would add up to $2,000 a year to the tuition of a poorer student.

Just when I thought John Kavanagh’s $2,000 surtax bill was the dumbest of the session, my very own state senator, Andy Biggs, one-ups him.

With his SB 1155. A tax cut bill. Kind of. A better characterization of it might be “Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.”

It’s a pernicious little piece of legislation, one that would negate the extension of the sales tax passed in 2010, one opposed by Biggs and the rest of the Republican Poobahs.

Biggs — always on the lookout to “help” taxpayers — wants to keep government under control.

So he came up with this little gem:

Any piece of legislation enacted after May 31, 2013 that would increase the sales tax (in other words, any extension of the sales tax increase) would have to be offset by an equal cut in income taxes.

Which means?

As of 2013, the sales tax that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2010 ends. And with it, about $1 billion a year in revenue for our budget.

Several groups are planning a new vote to extend that tax beyond 2013.

Biggs’ legislation attempts to negate that extension. Here’s how:

If the sales tax is extended and the money is dedicated as it is now, the cut in tax revenue must affect other programs. That’d be about a billion in cuts, more or less.

Which means that Biggs has put a poison pill in the upcoming sales tax vote — if you approve it, we’ll still cut the budget. If you don’t approve it, you’ll cut the budget.

Either way, the budget is cut.

In a party line vote, the Senate’s approved this. What a surprise.

Since Biggs is my state senator, I emailed him to find out his rationale for the legislation.

As is typical of Biggs, no answer. It helps, of course, that he is unopposed in the upcoming election, but his non-answer is what we have come to expect from Biggs.

Biggs’ behavior is typical, unfortunately, of too many of our Republican legislators, legislators who regularly tell us they’re “for the people,” but have no problem ignoring the “people” when it suits those legislators’ wishes. Too often, our legislators choose to defy our wishes, giving lie to their constant claim of speaking for the majority. It’s outrageous conduct. Biggs is only the latest example of them thumbing their noses at us.

The question is, how long will we allow them to do that to us?

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