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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010
We'll Call It "Lujanesque"

I haven't done a proper fisking since the days of Jonny Talton but after reading this op-ed piece by Arizona House Minority Leader David Lujan I couldn't resist. It's nice to know when the state is facing a fiscal crisis of epic proportions in an election year that Arizona Democrats stand tall in the saddle.

Let's begin.

Arizonans watched Republican lawmakers and the governor fail last year to solve one of the biggest budget deficits in history - and they continue to take our state down the wrong track.

Wow. There's so much to pick apart here that I'll have to leave some things like "wrong track" for another time but allow me to point out the two obvious points. First when Mr. Lujan says, "one of the biggest budget deficits in history" he means "biggest STATE budget deficits in ARIZONA history" because he needs to distinguish it from the "biggest NATIONAL budget deficits in AMERICAN history" that we see was created by Democratic lawmakers and the President in Washington .

Second, Governor Brewer came into office when again? Oh that's right January, more than half-way through the fiscal year. So she inherited one of the largest STATE budgets in ARIZONA history from who again? Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano that's who.

Janet spent the previous 18 months ignoring the mounting deficits and then when her bag of tricks was just about to run empty, she quit and took off for Washington leaving the mess for someone else to clean up and take the blame.

So for Janet Napolitano the system worked.

It's not surprising Arizonans are aggravated with the Republican majority of lawmakers and their wrong priorities, driving our state into more debt, eagerly cutting education and jobs and harming middle-class families across our state.

"Eagerly cutting education...." Yes it's too bad that the Republican lawmakers (women too!) don't each grow Snidely Whiplash mustaches and cackle as they tie education, jobs, and middle-class families to the tracks in front of the oncoming locomotive.

House Speaker Kirk Adams.... super villain!

We begin 2010 with more than $3 billion in the red because Republicans and Gov. Jan Brewer refused to employ common-sense solutions.

Wow only common-sense solutions stand between us and fiscal nirvana? I thought we were $3 billion in the hole because of a historic collapse in the housing market and the fact that revenue has been dropping for 18 months after then Governor Napolitano said the downturn will be short-lived.

Anyway go on Rep. Lujan! What do we need to do to the close the second largest budget deficit in the country? What pearls of common-sense wisdom will you throw in front of the Republican swine?

It makes no sense that country-club memberships and spa treatments aren't subject to sales tax, while middle-class families pay sales tax on clothes and school supplies. Closing loopholes are //is a smart budget-balancing solution that Republicans refuse to use.

So taxing country-club memberships and spa treatments is your answer?

Republicans also cut funding to the Department of Revenue, resulting in cuts to staff who go after tax cheats. Arizona now is losing $220 million in collections and is set to lose a projected $300 million more.

I love how people use numbers to support their own ill-conceived beliefs, 73% of all people see right through that practice.

Two quick points for Rep. Lujan.... first how do you come up with the figure $220 million lost in tax collections? Second, how much of that money do you honestly hope to get back even under the best of circumstances? Even your sainted Janet Napolitano, she who misunderestimated the amount of money we could generate off photo radar cameras by a multiple of 3, thought that hiring 112 more Revenue employees to go after tax cheats wouldn't generate more than $50 million or so.

Maybe the trick is to position those 112 employees outside of country clubs and spas.

Currently, big corporations receive thousands of dollars in accounting credits for fling their taxes, while most middle-class families pay an accountant to do their taxes. Eliminating this tax loophole would save the state millions.

How do you get from "big corporations receive thousands of dollars" to "save the state millions"? Is this some sort of New Democrat math? Do you mean big corporations EACH receive thousands of dollars when they "fling" their taxes?

Actually most middle-class families probably aren't paying for a CPA per se but here's a wacky idea that Rep. Lujan could propose which would save Arizona taxpayers millions...

Simplify the tax code so Arizonans don't have to pay millions to accountants or tax preparers to do their taxes. It irks me that the government writes the tax code in such a way that we citizens often have to pay experts to figure out how much we need need to pay in taxes or how much of that interest-free loan that make to the government every other week (called withholding) we can get back in terms of a refund.

However, I get the feeling for Rep. Lujan it's not so much about saving taxpayers money as it is for everyone to pay their fair share.

The budget is too big to solve from one side of the aisle, and if Republicans would work in a bipartisan way, we could balance the budget without doing irreparable harm to Arizona's future.

If the Republicans would work in a bipartisan way in the same way the Democrats haven't voted for the sales tax referral.... or come up with any ideas outside of taxing spa treatments

Solving the budget and protecting middle-class families and kids requires making cuts to wasteful non-essential services, using federal stimulus dollars, closing tax loopholes and implementing tough immigration reform.
But Republican lawmakers, who have been in office for too long, and Brewer, refuse to meet us halfway. It's time to walk down the middle of the road toward a stronger Arizona

All I have heard the past 12 months or so from House Democrats is that there is no more budget fat left to cut and that we are now cutting into muscle or bone or some sort of ligament tissue. So where's that list of non-essential services?

Also the first thing I think of when I see the terms "saving the budget" and "tough immigration reform" in the same sentence is cutting services to illegal immigrants coupled with deportation and the day I see that proposed by an Arizona Democrat is the when I see pigs fly through blizzard conditions in Hell. I guess Rep. Lujan cannot be any more specific on this in the same way he is regarding taxing spa treatments and country club memberships.