The "T" Word

State leaders can't stomach the truth -- Arizonans need to be taxed more, and right away!

That means an extensive and fearless review of all laws passed in the last decade that affected state revenues.

I'd like to see them start with a funny little law I wrote about several months ago in which East Valley legislators gave a massive tax break to their rich friends in Chandler's Stellar Airpark. In essence, legislators gave a tax break to fat cats who live next to airfields and have airplane hangars attached to their mansions.

It was compassion for those poor souls who must fly home in a Lear jet every day.

Ax that law now. Ax every little cancer like it.

Along the same lines, listen to legislators, such as Republican majority whip Randy Graf, when they pitch legislation to protect whistle-blowers in state government.

Whistle-blowers, as last year's Enron and Worldcom scandals prove, save money as they right wrongs. Arizona state officials, though, more often harass and fire those who report waste, fraud and abuse. And after the messenger is killed, the message is forgotten.

Once the bleeding is stopped, go for the desperately needed infusion:

Raise my taxes.

We'll all make do. We'll bring our lunch a couple more days a year. Sell plasma. Car-pool a couple times. Trim down on out-of-state purchases.

It would be worth it to have a government healthy enough to help the state provide the services that the nation's more progressive, and more successful, states provide.

You know, those states with all the high-tech industries, high-paying jobs and economies built on something other than cheap labor feeding endless sprawl.

But modern Arizona Democrats are so frightened to say the "T" word. They know the Republican majority is waiting to shoot down any such proposal, then make political hay by labeling their opponents "tax-and-spend liberals."

(By the way, was that "tax-and-spend liberal" cliché around when Carl Hayden was building Salt River Project, the San Carlos Project and the Central Arizona Project? Or were the Haydens of the world still being called "heroic statesmen" back then?)

This is where Janet and some as-yet-unseen courage comes in. She must take the issue to the people who keep passing initiatives telling governors and legislators they're incompetent at running a quality state. We have demanded more from our state government, she can say. So we must now give something of ourselves to meet our demands for something better. It's how life works, it's how a government fueled by taxation of its beneficiaries works.

She needs to wage war on the sub-mediocrity that Republicans built.

She needs to channel a little Carl Hayden.

And for God's sake, she needs to stop being so nice to her idiotic predecessors like she was in her State of the State.

Put Fife, Jane and their cronies in the Plexiglas box they deserve to be in and place their 12-year legacy on trial before the people of Arizona.

Don't placate them into compromise. Shame them into doing their duty.

And if they still just pick their teeth, hang them in the court of public opinion.

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