No surprise here: Disbarred former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has the most intense border-security plan of any of the Republican candidates for governor.
Thomas is proposing 3,000 National Guardsmen on the border, along with double-layer fencing either along the border or along a "fall-back line" within the state.
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Fellow Republican candidate Christine Jones has proposed something similar, but not to the extent of what Thomas is proposing.
Thomas' written plan explains:
As Governor, Thomas will deploy 3,000 Arizona National Guard troops to the border. The projected cost based on congressional estimates is $60 million a year. These forces will be deployed along the border wherever permitted by federal and other authorities. If these authorities deny such access, the National Guard will be deployed along a fall-back line that rings those entities which decline to cooperate. This fall-back line will funnel traffic into smaller, more manageable areas. Thomas said he would work with federal, tribal and local jurisdictions in these efforts but will ensure the work ultimately is completed.
Our colleague Stephen Lemons did some research into how much it costs to deploy National Guardsmen to the border. It cost $110 million for National Guardsmen to work alongside Customs and Border Protection at the southern border for one year. That makes Thomas' claim of 3,000 troops at $60 million seem a bit
Thomas also outlines his plan to pay for the $60 million (or $300 million) in troops, and another $50 million for his plan to build a border fence across the state.
For one, he wants to fund it by "trimming the welfare rolls." That includes making anyone on food stamps or Medicaid "provide community service one weekend a month and two weeks a year." He's also in favor of various caps and restrictions on the state's Medcaid program to pay for his plan.
However, before all that happens, Thomas outlines that he "will demand that the federal government pay the expenses." That's similar to Jones' plan of funding her border-security plan with a Hail Mary as well.
Thomas' plan for funding is summed up in this one nonsense sentence:
Thomas said he is confident the Obama administration will agree to these requests when confronted with the reality that should they refuse, the administration and the Democratic Party will be fully exposed in Arizona as the party of welfare and food stamps.
But wait, there's more!
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If that all goes wrong, Thomas has one more way to fund it: ". . . should all of these funding efforts fall short, Thomas promised to ask the voters, in a special election, to earmark funds from current state coffers to pay for this border-security plan. This would include, as necessary, funds dedicated to other causes by past public votes."
Thomas, who lost his law license for abusing his power as county attorney, also writes that "reforming the courts" is an integral part of his plan.
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