Arizona Chamber of Commerce Doubles Down on AZ GOP's Failed Economic Policies

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Just in time for Halloween: The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced that it's changing its name to the Arizona Chamber of Economic Incompetence.

Okay, not really, but it might as well.

With its endorsement of Republican Doug Ducey for governor, the chamber is siding with the failed economic policies of nearly six years of absolute Republican rule in this state, a trifecta of Republican majorities in both the state Senate and the state House and a bumbling executive office, headed by toxic tippler Jan Brewer.

This is a point I made in this week's cover column "Courting Disaster," and it's one that the chamber's CEO Glenn Hamer helped reinforce today with an e-mail to the public, reminding them whom the chamber is backing in Tuesday's election.

The e-mail, titled "The Chamber Recommends," makes you wonder if they even bother talking to economists over there. Reckon they're too busy drinking the Republican Kool-Aid and drooling over pictures of Megyn Kelly.

"Ducey is committed to putting downward pressure on taxes," Hamer writes, pulling out the proverbial knee-pads for The Deuce. "He will continue Gov. Brewer's work to improve our regulatory structure, will promote a jobs-friendly legal environment and is an education reformer. He brings an energy and insight to the office that will get our jobs machine moving at full speed."

Yep, he'll be continuing booze-hound Brewer's legacy all right. Let's review a little of her handiwork, shall we?

Remember when she was calling herself "champion of the Arizona comeback"? Well, no more. Essentially, we lag the rest of the nation in coming out of the Great Recession.

We've only recouped 60 percent of the jobs we lost during the downturn. Our unemployment rate is a full point behind the national numbers: meaning, and get this, Cactus Country Republinuts, Obama is doing better nationally than you doofuses.

Plus, Arizona's housing market continues to lag, and more people are moving out of the state than moving in.

Oh, almost forgot, we're number four in poverty! Yes, 20 percent of Arizonans are below the poverty line, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

The state itself is broke and faces a $1.5 billion budget shortfall in the next two years, and, as Senate President Andy Biggs told the Arizona Republic in January, we're up a creek, because we've already sold the state Capitol once.

"We don't have anything to lease anymore," Biggs glumly told the Rep's Alia Rau.

More recently, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee reported that, "September marked the 6th consecutive month of revenue collections falling below the enacted budget forecast."

Basically, the economy bites and as a result, the state is not taking in as much money as it expected.

So what's the Emperor of Ice Cream's recipe for economic success?

Cut taxes, you know, like the Republicans have been doing for the last six years; and like GOP Governor Sam Brownback and his fellow tuskers did in Kansas in 2012, causing a budget meltdown and downgrades to the state's credit rating.

Oh, and Ducey wants to keep fighting a court order to give money back to the schools, because as Il Duce has already stated on the stump, it's not that we're dead last in the nation in per-pupil spending (according to the National Education Association) that's the problem. No, sir. It's that we don't spend what little we give the schools the right way.

We have Ducey (and the voting public, which means you) to thank for killing the idea of making permanent the 1 cent sales tax increase from 2010. Which has worked out grand, obviously.

As for the chamber's other picks, I'll give the suits a little credit for endorsing Democrat David Garcia for state superintendent over idiot Teabagger conspiracy-theorist (and Republican, natch) Diane Douglas.

But that's negated by their nod to state Senator Michele Reagan over former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard for Secretary of State.

Did these geniuses see Reagan's performance during her Clean Elections debate with Goddard or her performance on Sunday Square Off recently?

Her behavior is bizarre, and she can barely communicate. And they want this basket case one heartbeat away from the Ninth Floor?

Wow. You know, I remember a time when business people used to respect competence and wanted to make money. These days, they just want zero taxes, even if that means driving the very economy that keeps them in business into the frickin' ground.

Hamer's electronic missive, which you can read below, ends with this statement:

"The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona's competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans."

Um, all I can say is, based on the chamber's endorsements, it wants none of the above.

The Chamber Recommends...

Glenn Hamer Oct. 30, 2014

We are just a few days away from Election Day. Soon the TV ads will cease, the junk mail will stop coming and our street corners will look a lot less crowded.

If you haven't already marked your ballot, I encourage you to vote for candidates who will stand up for job creators and ensure that Arizona is as competitive as it can be.

Here are the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry's recommendations for this election:

Governor: Doug Ducey

State Treasurer Doug Ducey has the perfect mix of private-sector and government experience. He built one of the country's and Arizona's most respected brands, Cold Stone Creamery. Ducey is an innovator and will be Arizona's job-creation governor, which is why he's been able to assemble behind him a broad and bipartisan coalition, which includes leaders from former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, to groundbreaking education reformer Lisa Graham Keegan, to Democratic state Rep. Catherine Miranda.

Ducey is committed to putting downward pressure on taxes, he will continue Gov. Brewer's work to improve our regulatory structure, will promote a jobs-friendly legal environment and is an education reformer. He brings an energy and insight to the office that will get our jobs machine moving at full speed.

Attorney General: Mark Brnovich

Arizona deserves an attorney general who will vigorously defend the state's interests in the court of law, not use the office to launch fishing expedition investigations that will grab headlines in the court of public opinion. Mark Brnovich not only has years of prosecutorial experience, but he also understands that Arizona's legal environment is a critical component of our ability to attract jobs.

Secretary of State: Michele Reagan

State Sen. Michele Reagan has been a consistent champion for job creators throughout her tenure in elected office. She is the best choice for secretary of state and will ensure that our elections are conducted with integrity.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: David Garcia

Arizona's ability to demonstrate excellent outputs from our K-12 education system is central to our overall economic development strategy. David Garcia understands the direct link between the quality of our education system and our ability to grow our economy. Garcia won't turn back the clock on our educational standards, he supports parental choice and his experience has equipped him with the knowhow to run the Department of Education effectively.

Corporation Commission: Tom Forese and Doug Little

Put the Corporation Commission in the category of "boring but important." Voters might not be able to easily identify the function of the commissioners, but these utility regulators help ensure that Arizona can count on affordable and reliable power. Tom Forese and Doug Little are two leaders who have the foresight to make energy policy decisions today that will position Arizona for growth tomorrow.

Treasurer: Jeff DeWit

He's a shoe-in for victory on Election Day since he's unopposed, but Arizona can rest easy knowing that the next treasurer has the right skills to manage the state's checkbook. An experienced financial professional, DeWit is a rising star who will take a page out of the Doug Ducey playbook and manage the treasurer's office with a level of professionalism that will make the state proud.

Legislative Races

The Chamber has endorsed a bipartisan slate of candidates for the Legislature that is committed to growing our economy by supporting policies that advance Arizona's competitive standing in the tax, tort, labor and regulatory environments.

State Senate District 1: Steve Pierce - R District 4: Lynne Pancrazi - D District 7: Carlyle Begay - D District 9: Steve Farley - D District 10: Mark Morrison - R District 12: Andy Biggs - R District 13: Don Shooter - R District 14: Gail Griffin - R District 17: Steve Yarbrough - R District 18: Jeff Dial - R District 19: Lupe Contreras - D District 20: Kimberly Yee - R District 21: Debbie Lesko - R District 22: Judy Burges - R District 25: Bob Worsley - R District 27: Catherine Miranda - D District 28: Adam Driggs - R District 30: Robert Meza - D

State House of Representatives District 1: Karen Fann - R District 5: Sonny Borrelli - R District 6: Brenda Barton - R District 8: Frank Pratt - R, T.J. Shope - R District 9: Ethan Orr - R District 10: Bruce Wheeler - D District 11: Vince Leach - R District 12: Eddie Farnsworth - R District 13: Steve Montenegro - R District 14: David Gowan - R District 15: John Allen - R, Heather Carter - R District 16: Doug Coleman -R District 17: J.D. Mesnard - R, Jeff Weninger - R District 18: Bob Robson - R District 20: Paul Boyer - R District 21: Rick Gray - R, Tony Rivero - R District 22: David Livingston - R, Phil Lovas - R District 25: Justin Olson - R District 28: Kate Brophy McGee - R District 30: Jonathan Larkin - D

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona's competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. http://www.azchamber.com/.

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