Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

January 11, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

State of the State

  |   Video
  • A special hour-long HORIZON featuring Governor Jan Brewer’s State of the State Address in its entirety followed by commentary from political analyst Stan Barnes and former lawmaker and Pinal County Supervisor Pete Rios.
Guests:
  • Stan Barnes - political analyst
  • Pete Rios - Pinal County Supervisor
Category: Government

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. Governor Jan Brewer wore red today for her first state-of-the-state speech, an appropriate color considering the state of the budget. There is a deficit of $1.4 billion. She wants $10 million for job creation and stressed the need for more revenue. I'll discuss her speech with two political analysts. First, here is the Governor's state-of-the-state address in its entirety.

Governor Jan Brewer: Speaker Adams, President Burns, honorable Senators and Representatives, Chief Justice Berch and the justices of the Supreme Court, Secretary of State Bennett and all other constitutional officers, tribal leaders, honored guests and my fellow Arizonans, I have worked hard all my life, in many ways and places. For 27 years I've had the chance to serve Arizona, to help this wonderful place grow. I served beside you and I'm proud to serve the same master each of you serve, the people of Arizona. Like you, I know Arizonans to be a tough-minded bunch, strong, iron-willed and equal to every challenge. That's a good thing because, as we gather today, our still-young state is challenged as never before. Let me be abundantly clear. I know we will meet this challenge. I believe in Arizona's future. I believe in our strength. I believe in our goodness, and I believe in our grace. I believe Arizona's second century will far surpass its first. Let me be clear about something else, as well. Meeting this challenge will not be easy. I know this for a fact. Because if there's one thing I've learned in my years of public service, it's doing the right thing almost always means doing the hard thing. That's what it'll come down to in the days ahead, choosing 3 what's tough over what's tempting, choosing commitment over ignorance, choosing government that is necessary over government that is merely desired. Choosing the truthful over the false. Honesty versus lies, right versus wrong. Those are the choices Arizona faces, the essence of the challenge laid at our feet. What's wrong, you ask. Wrong is the five high-rolling years before I took office when the system was designed and operated to grow government as large as possible. Wrong is the state budget deficit of nearly $5 billion across two fiscal years. Wrong is a federal government who's unfunded mandates and sweetheart deals threaten Arizona's freedom and threaten to bankrupt our state. Wrong is arguing the system works, when evidence to the contrary is everywhere and obvious. What's right, you ask. Right is telling the hard truth when everyone exacts a political cost. Right is acting not in self-interest but on behalf of others. Right is self-sacrifice, committed to the greater good. Valor. Valor like that found in a man from Litchfield Park, a fellow West-sider named Thomas Rabjohn, a 39-year-old husband to Nikki and a father for their three daughters. Tom put aside his work as a Phoenix police officer last year to join his National Guard unit and deploy to Afghanistan. Officer Tom Rabjohn resumed his job as Staff-Sergeant Tom Rabjohn, team leader. Last fall Staff-Sergeant Rabjohn and his fellow soldiers went to a combat area and successfully disabled a number of deadly explosive devices. He was a long ways from Litchfield. They carried out their perilous work with consummate skill and calm, then before disengaging came upon yet another device. The discovery came too late. With his last breath on this earth, this courageous man shouted a warning to his two fellow guardsmen. He saved their lives. He gave his own. Let's remember Staff-Sergeant Thomas Rabjohn. Let's remember his beautiful family, his dear wife Nikki is with us today. Nikki, please stand and accept the thanks of a grateful people. Let us also remember the 153 Arizonans who gave their lives in this war against terrorism, and the many who have been injured and awarded the Purple Heart. Let's remember every serviceman and woman, every police officer and firefighter, every Arizonan and every American who has ever stood watch, every man and woman across the years who has fought and suffered and died in desperate love of the freedom we still know. Let us remember the very best of us and try in their honor to find the best within ourselves. And then, my friends, let's continue our work. We certainly have a lot of work to do.

Governor Jan Brewer: Last spring you will recall I offered you a five-point approach to resolving the fiscal crisis and restoring our economic vitality. In my year on the job I have grown wiser. Time has grown shorter. I know times are tough, so today let me open these proceedings by offering you a deal, a 40% cutback. I'm going to boil my five points down to three. First, we must make substantial cuts in spending. The economy is still not recovered, our revenues are still depressed and there's no avoiding this hardship. More state jobs are going to be shed and services will be further curtailed or lost. Let me be clear. In the history of this state, no other governor has cut state government more than I have. Working with you we have reduced government spending more than $1 billion and decreased state jobs more than 10%. But I have stated from the beginning that the depth of the problem is so severe that we cannot solve it through cuts alone. The damage done to education and public safety would be far too great and fiscally counterproductive. So second, in the short run we must raise some additional revenue. This is what the reduction of spending, the longer we put this off the less effective it'll be in stabilizing our financial position. Over the long run I supported a responsible progrowth tax reform package that includes tax cuts. However, we must ensure a revenue base that supports vital functions through this downturn. We can no longer consider debt as a source of state revenue. Third, we must make certain that the state never again spends itself into this kind of fiscal crisis. So after we have reduced spending, shored up revenue, and moved away from the brink of financial failure we must enact a limitation on future growth of government, and save more for a rainy day. Government must live within its means.I did not create this situation but I intend to resolve it and continue telling the people the truth about it. I understand that some in this chamber and some who hope to try their own hand at this job differ with one or more of these steps, and that's fine. I have a straightforward message for you. If you have a better plan, produce it, and soon. As for me, I will publish my plan on Friday. And let me make one point very clear. I have great respect for everyone in this chamber and your contributions to our state. But there is no one here and no one elsewhere who has fought any longer or harder than I have for lower taxes, job growth and economic freedoms in Arizona. So spare us the profiles in courage, it's time for a little less profile and a little more courage. Tell us clearly how you would solve a $5 billion problem over the next 17 months. The suggestion box is wide open. While you're preparing your plan, you bear in mind that even with the new revenues I have proposed, the cuts to government will be deep and unprecedented. Some people say with revenues back to the 2004 level we should just adopt the 2004 budget. Unfortunately, we don't get to roll back the odometer on state government, at least not without some help from the voters. Since 2004, we have 140,000 new students, 11,000 new prisoners, and 475,000 new Medicaid enrollees, and all of the expenses they bring. Making the best of the situation requires hard choices with tough consequences. If we keep our priorities straight we will make it through. My friends, there is still time. But if we do not act decisively we will look to the west to California and see our future government overgrown, people overtaxed, borders overrun, employers over a barrel, and freedom simply over.

Governor Jan Brewer: Looking east we can see it on a far grander scale. Our federal government has reached new levels of arrogance, foolishness and disregard for the constitution. The biggest external threat to our budget comes from the federal government. Oppressive health care mandates, job-killing environmental restrictions and continual refusal to pay for cost-cutting for illegal immigration. They are just getting warmed up. We asked them to defeat a costly expansion of federal health care mandates on our state. Already federal mandates nearly reach $2 billion a year. Folks, that's money we simply don't have. On top of that, Washington's alleged solution will cost Arizona another half a billion dollars every year. Only in Washington can you look upon massive federal entitlement programs bleeding red ink and propose an even bigger new entitlement program. That is how it goes in Washington. When you begin by spreading the wealth around you end up destroying it. The President and the Congress tell us they are going help us by reducing costs. In reality what they are doing is eliminating freedom for our citizens. Dictating the policies for their families and forcing our employers in the state to pick up the tab. We don't need that kind of help. At last count 14 attorney generals, Republican and Democratic, are investigating this legislation for violating the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution. As you know, in the past I successfully joined the legislature and Superintendent Tom Horne to represent the state of Arizona against the Arizona Attorney General at the U.S. Supreme Court in the Flores case. Today if our attorney general will not join this effort to defend the state of Arizona against this infringement on state's rights, I will. Until then, I have a simple message to every member of our delegation. For the good of our state, just vote no. The federal government is also failing to control our southern border and refusing to pay for its failure. As you know, I have ordered the Arizona Department of Corrections to return to the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as soon as possible, all nonviolent criminal aliens for immediate deportation as allowed under existing law. The cost of incarcerating these criminal aliens is not Arizona's responsibility. It is Washington's legal and moral obligation. This is both insult and injury to the Arizona taxpayer. In this process we must ensure public safety, my highest priority as governor. I will be working with Senator Russell Pearce and others to enhance existing penalties to any criminal alien who returns to our state. Enough is enough. Secure our borders. Washington also likes to pretend that government creates jobs. But we know better. No government ever created a dollar of wealth or a dime of capital. Only the free market can do that. Meeting our economic challenges means working with the private sector to jump-start Arizona's economy. As long as I am your governor, the sign out front will always read, Arizona is open for business. And the word is already getting out. Today we celebrate significant progress in establishing our foothold in the solar industry. And in advancing our competitive position in the national and global economy. Our goal is to land the top solar manufacturers in the world and we are well on our way. Recently I was proud to announce the arrival of SunTech Power Holdings. It's the first solar company to come to Arizona because of the renewable energy tax incentive program I signed into law in June. And hats off to Senator Barbara Leff and Representative Michele Reagan. For all their leadership and working with the Department of Commerce to pass this legislation.Trust me, SunTech is just the beginning. I have been meeting with other large-scale manufacturers who want to come to Arizona. Today I want to introduce Jim Bernard, vice president of Tower Automotive, a leading auto supplier that has diversified his business into the production of solar equipment. How's that for American creativity? Just a few days ago I helped secure an agreement from Tower Automotive to come to Arizona and invest more than $50 million and create nearly 200 quality jobs, jobs that will put Arizonans back to work and help Arizona families get back on their feet. The components made by Jim's company are used by another Arizona company, Stirling Energy Systems, who help generate grid-quality solar electric power. Joining us to help celebrate the location of their key supplier in Arizona is Jeff Collins, vice president of Stirling Energy Systems. Thank you for choosing Arizona and we welcome Tower to our great state. Jim and Jeff, please stand and be recognized. SunTech and Tower Automotive are strategic wins for our state, proof that we can leverage or natural assets like our plentiful sunshine and land, as well as our employee base and educational community, to attract new and better jobs every day. As we sit here today material suppliers want to locate manufacturers. That is sure to draw additional companies and jobs to Arizona. We welcome our new leaders to Arizona, and we must not forget those who are already here fighting every day to create new opportunities. Industries and small businesses who have been hit hard but who are choosing to stick it out with us. And I say thank you. We need to do more to unshackle our job creators. During the last year I have met with hundreds of business leaders about job creation. From these discussions I'm taking the following specific actions to make Arizona even more competitive in creating jobs. First, I'm announcing the formation of a governor's jobs cabinet. This team of key state agency directors will cut through the red tape and the green tape to speed job creation. Second, I will be allocating a significant portion of remaining federal stimulus funds directly to bring new jobs to Arizona. Specifically, I am devoting $10 million in one-time stimulus funds to job training. That way our employees will be ready to work for new companies choosing to locate in Arizona. Third, under the leadership of Jerry Colangelo and commerce director Don Cardon, I have created the Governor's Council. Working with other business leaders they will transform the Department of Commerce into an engine for job creation.

Governor Jan Brewer: Finally, I will convene a summit of leading CEOs of national and international companies in the near future to discuss job creation opportunities in Arizona. While I'm talking about jobs, let me say we should do everything we can to see that Arizona is named a training site for the F-35 joint strike fighter. At Luke Air Force Base, and Air National Guard 162nd fighter wing in Tucson and at the Marine Air Corps station in Yuma. I have a special affection to everyone who serves in the armed bases. They are critical to our national defense and to our state and local economies. Let's recognize that even with a favorable tax and regulatory climate, the jobs of the future will demand an increasingly skilled workforce. That starts with our schools and universities. I'd like to recognize the work to date by the regents and presidents of our university and community colleges. In response to my call for a new higher education model that promotes greater access, quality and affordability, let me also say thank you to the dedicated teachers who give so much to our students. Absolutely. Without them, no challenge could be met, no future assured. We must never give up attracting top talent to teach our children. As we search for that talent, let's not limit ourselves to the traditional colleges of education. Isn't it astonishing that in Arizona today Bill Gates or Craig Barrett would not be considered qualified to teach students about computer science? We must stop our gatekeeping and open the door to all qualified citizens who want to teach our children. That said, teachers are only one part of the education equation. Engaged parents must balance educators' contributions and play an active role in their children's learning. No teacher can ever substitute for an involved parent. We must give parents the ability to make the best choices for their children, starting with where they go to school. We lead the nation in school choice. In Arizona a parent's right to choose the best school must endure. Whether that's a district, private, charter or home school. We must also arm parents with the information they need to help monitor their children's academic progress. We will make sure they have up to date data that is available online at any time. Sorry, kids, no more losing your report cards. We must also tell parents the truth about how their kids' schools are doing. To that end I'm urging the legislature and the State Department of education to immediately replace our school labeling system. Our current system ranks schools as excelling, high performing, performing, underperforming and failing. Who understands that? How about this. We assign simple letter grades, A, B, C, D and F. Our kids live by those grades every day. So should our schools. And finally, we must have the courage to tell parents the truth when their children are not doing well. Frederick Douglas said, once you learn to read you will be forever free. Sadly, too many of our children are still unable to read as they should by the end of the third grade. Yet we continue to promote them to more advanced classes, knowing at every step we dim the light of their promise. We must stop promoting children who cannot read by the end of the third grade. We should know well before the third grade those students falling behind and get them the help they need. I look forward to working with Senator Huppenthal and Representative Rich Crandall and other members to enact these reforms. Starting today we must give the future back to our students. The reforms should not stop at education.

Governor Jan Brewer: Our state government today is not suited for Arizona's second century. So I'm implementing the following reforms to give Arizonans the state government they deserve. I'm establishing a commission on privatization and efficiency, or COPE. COPE will identify state services and agencies whose functions can be eliminated, consolidated, streamlined or outsourced to achieve greater operational efficiency in meeting the needs of our citizens. And I am proud to announce today that Mark Brnovich will serve as chairman. I will consult with President Bob Burns and Speaker Kirk Adams so they can join me in this very important effort. Second, I am also proposing reforms to our existing Medicaid program AHCCCS, beginning with one that's quite fundamental. In these times voters must be asked to reconsider the Prop 204 expansion. Contrary to what voters were told, there's no such thing as free health care. Supporters assured us it would be covered by tobacco revenue. But in reality almost $1 billion of our general fund deficit can be directly attributed to this enormous expansion. We must ask the voters to roll it back. But we agree we must provide essential services to those who have no other place to turn. We must also offer those benefits necessary and assure we have a program free of abuse or waste. To that end I'm instructing AHCCCS to pursue changes to require a photograph on every adult enrollee's card. I'm exploring options to help us drive costs down while maintaining the high-quality care our program is known for. We must decrease visits to high-cost settings like emergency rooms and encourage those receiving state services to take personal responsibility for their own health, as all Arizonans should. We will continue to do better in our role.

Governor Jan Brewer: Third, budget cuts within state government have resulted in reduced or limited funding for services for our most vulnerable, the elderly, disabled and low-income residents. Therefore I'm establishing Arizona Serve. With the assistance of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Arizona Serve will connect with a nonprofit organization to help meet those needs. Lastly, I will work with the legislature to enact common sense reforms to deter illegal immigration to our state. We are a nation of immigrants. However, we cannot tolerate those who break the law to gain the right to live in America.
Governor Jan Brewer: My fellow Arizonans, we are living amid hard times, these are difficult days that providence has set before us. I do not shrink from them. I do not cower and neither should you. The moments before us are profound and in many ways painful. But they are filled with hope and opportunity. We are a young state. Arizona's best days are still to come if we make the right decision. They are what the future requires. Around here, we deal in shades of gray. But in our motives there can be no gray, only black and white. Those of us who hold the public trust must choose. Serve others or serve yourself. Make politics an end in itself, a thing for your pleasure and your ego or make it an honest work for the good of free people. Soon Arizonans look at their political leaders and see a countless stage of actors. They see precious few workers in the field. My friends, let us gather in the field. Our state is still waiting for us to conduct some very difficult business. It isn't going to be easy but we must close ranks and get it done. When our public service is over, we will be judged less by what we achieved than what we overcame. And we will be remembered less for what we've gained than what we gave. So let us do what we need to do. Let us be truth-tellers, let us be honest with each other and worthy of the trust that we have been given. Let us commit to an Arizona revival, equal to her spirit. Equal to the promise of her second century, a government that is limited in scope but 19 unrestrained in its goodness. That is what is expected of us, and that is exactly what we will do.

Governor Jan Brewer: Thank you all, and my God bless you and your families may God bless Arizona.

Ted Simons: Here now to talk about the Governor's speech are former state lawmakers Stan Barnes and Pete Rios. Barnes is now a political consultant and Rios serves on the Pinal County Board of Supervisors. Pete, let's start with you. Your thoughts on the speech?

Pete Rios: You know, Ted, love the governor dearly. I thought there was a lot that was not included. I did not see her give us a clear vision of what she saw for the State of Arizona. I really thought she was going to make a call for unity. We're all in this boat together, Democrats, Republican, we have to work on this together. There was no call for unity or bipartisanship. I love Jan Brewer dearly but I think that she kind of didn't deliver the message a lot of people were expecting.

Ted Simons: Was that a surprise to you?

Pete Rios: Yes, it was. Last year she said she wanted to work on a bipartisan basis. This year I thought she would start off with that. But clearly it's an election year and I think politics are having an impact on how the governor is approaching this particular session.

Ted Simons: Stan, what do you think?

Stan Barnes: What Pete just said, Jan, as governor is almost her own party. Most of the Republicans are having a hard time getting along with her. It hasn't worked so well with the Democrats. She's a woman out there on her own. She's trying to explain the almost unexplainable, the condition of the state is so financially bad that it's worse than everyone thinks it is, and conveying that to an electorate that wants good news and not bad news is not an easy thing to do. I was sitting on the floor of the House when she delivered that speech. It felt like a funeral. The energy in the room was terrible. Pete and I have been on and off in more than 20 of those opening day ceremonies. This was not a typical day. Normally it's like school's in again and we're all here and let's do right by Arizona and there is a lot of bipartisan discussion. This time it was raw, we are in trouble and we've got to do something about it.

Ted Simons: What did she need to get across and did she do it?

Stan Barnes: I think yes, she needed to make clear the severity of the situation. I think she did. I don't think anyone who watched the speech came away with any feeling other than we are in a heap of hurt. The five-point plan went to a three-point plan, which is we're going to cut budgets like they have never been cut and we need to raise taxes and we can never do this again. There's clarity and the average guy is starting to get that we are in big trouble.

Pete Rios: You know, Ted, most governors over the last 25, 26 years, give the legislature some sense of direction as to what they expect, what they would like our want them to do in respect to solving issues. In bringing solutions and ideas to the table. I think the Governor did very little of that. She called for jobs and jobs creation, that's good, nobody's going to argue with that. But it's not as if we've never had the Department of Commerce, never had the science foundation that was out there creating jobs and bringing medicine and high-tech jobs to the state. But in respect to asking the legislature or telling the legislature, you know, these are some of the things we need to look at in order to balance the budget, the only thing she included was the penny increase on the TPT, the transaction privilege tax. She didn't address anything having to do with securitizing the lottery, the Racinos, there's been a lot of discussion. I've seen a lot of governors that provide a lot of direction. I didn't see that.

Stan Barnes: Pete, this governor and this legislature, at least it's leadership, we were just up in her office, they have been there almost ever day for 365 years --

Pete Rios: Years?

Stan Barnes: I meant days. They have been kicking each other in the shins day after day. The legislature knows what she wants. She wants a revenue sweetener to make the pain a little less painful. Even if she gets that, it's going to be record budget cuts and there's going to be some pain.

Ted Simons: What was the most important thing she said in that speech?

Stan Barnes: The line I liked was the profiles in courage play, less profile, more courage. I thought that was well done. It's part of my own personal theory as an observer, what has got the legislature locked up and the Governor to some extent, the ambition of the elected official. The election is right in front of us. They have to summon courage to know the very adult decisions they have to make are indeed going to be used against them by their future opponent, but that's just the way the ball bounces this particular year.

Ted Simons: There was more than one reference to let's be truthful, let's be honest, serve others or you can serve yourself. Make politics a thing for your pleasure or ego, or make it honest work for people.

Ted Simons: There was a lot of that in that speech.

Pete Rios: There was, including a line she used that said, Arizona is open for business. Great line. When we look at the shelves they are empty because we have cut the universities, we have cut K-12 education. We have cut health care. We have cut in so many areas that as we try to incentivize and bring in new business, new corporations, they are going to look and ask, what do you have for sale? There's nothing on your shelves. It's like a fire sale.

Stan Barnes: I like the way she addressed something I hear on the streets of Arizona. Why don't we just go back to 2004-ish when the budget was balanced. I'm glad she touched on that because that kind of simplicity has a certain pull to it. In this case it's really nonsensical. However, something has to be done. That's the take-away from this speech. If we sit on our hands and lock it up in theoretical corners, everybody, Democrats, Republicans, you name it, there's a reckoning coming. Payroll is missed and things are going to change.

Ted Simons: Before the speech we had a chance to talk to a couple of lawmakers regarding just the concept of bipartisanship and working together and getting along. Here what's they had to say.

Rep. Ed Ableser: You've got about three different ideologies at play at the capitol. One that doesn't believe in any government services or taxation at all. You've got another group trying to compromise between cutting taxes for corporations and investing in services. Then the Democratic caucus believes a sustaining amount of revenue to increase the amount of services for our most vulnerable populations such as children and education and needy families.
Sen. Linda Gray You have extremes from the right and left and we need to get those in the middle to come together. I think one of the most important ways we will come together, and I think really soon, is to get the referral on the ballot. We are working on that. I think we will be able to get that out in the next week. I would hope, so we can start getting the revenue coming in. My biggest concern is the $850 million in stimulus money that will not be going to education. Without that money coming in, education is in a really big troublesome spot.

Ted Simons: That was before the governor's state-of-the-state speech. We just saw a conservative lawmaker coming out and saying, referring that back to the voters is the right thing to do. That sounds like a bit of a compromise. Are we seeing that from the other side, as well?

Pete Rios: You will see that from the other side at the time that they are invited to the table to produce a budget. What happened last year was they were never called to the table, never included, they were excluded. That's Democrats, both the House and the Senate. The governor called them to her office at the 11th hour on June 30th at 7:00 p.m. and said, hey, folks, I need votes on this budget. Well, you're not going to vote for something that you had nothing to do with in putting together. So even though we have conservative Republicans saying that, if these folks, the Democrats are not brought to the table, why would they? Why would they support a tax increase that may be used to fund tax caps? They may come to the table, if that money's going to be used to provide additional services and health care and education, but they have not been called to the table.

Stan Barnes: There's been no true bipartisan play yet. It's almost a new party of the pragmatic. The Republican right would not come around. The Democratic left would not come around, and you will get only those who see themselves as a pragmatic problem-solver. There's not 31 in 16 of that animal down there. If you add a citizenry into hot tar and feathers and ready to march --

Ted Simons: Okay. The pitchforks start to fly. When payroll is missed, who suffers?

Stan Barnes: I was going to make that point. Even Democratic members who have been able to get away with, it's not my problem, it's the Republican majority's problem, there will be an anti-encumbent feeling that is real. It could, however, become an opportunity to actually make something go. The political animal doesn't want to go until there is heat, pressure, time. If the state misses payroll, people have to act. Now there's an educated electorate that can forgive adult tough decisions at the capitol.

Pete Rios: It's the broad-brush approach, all of those legislators regardless of the dnr. We need somebody to take the bull by the horns, be a leader. The only person who can really do that is the governor. Will she do that? Will she summon Republican and Democratic leadership to her office and say, folks, we need to work this out together and hammer out some kind of a compromise where leadership buys in. This is how we did it in the olden days. Then it's up to leadership to go out and get the votes.

Ted Simons: We just heard the governor say to everyone there -- I'm sure she had some targets in mind -- to everyone there, tell us clearly how you will fix this. The suggestion box is wide open. Will the Democrats just come up with a finely tuned budget, force it on the governor and say, here, we're suggesting.

Pete Rios: Democrats will tell you they have a budget proposed and it's on their website. They have already put their neck out there on the chopping block. A lot of that is going to be used against them come election time because a Republican opponent will say, did you know that so-and-so proposeed a billion-dollar tax increase? That is what some are leery about on both sides of the 27 aisle. We have to put that aside and deal with the issues confronting the state of Arizona. The quality of life we have grown accustomed to is suffering and suffering badly.

Stan Barnes: There is a Democratic budget but there ain't votes for it. There's a Republican budget and there aren't votes for that, either. And including the governor, who doesn't want to support what she considers an evisceration of the state government. That means breaking apart the majority caucus. While that may seem trivial to people that are casual observers, it's a very big deal in government. The Republican majority does not want to split itself with a governor in their own party. The governor is governing in the pragmatic middle. She's going to be the pragmatic problem solver, the new budget in the middle.

Ted Simons: House and Senate leadership, are they willing to take those steps toward the middle? Are they willing to move that caucus to where it doesn't want to go?

Stan Barnes: So far it's no to that question. My personal theory is when the reckoning comes and the State can't meet its payroll and that awakening happens among the electorate, that may change.

Pete Rios: If you look at the Chairman of Senate Appropriations, my dear friend Russell Pearce and also Cavanaugh, these are two people that you're not going to move, in respect to revenue increases or doing anything that's going to generate more revenues. If it's cuts, you got them 100%. Somebody's got to take the bull by the horns and it's got to be the governor. Sometimes you have to run over these people.

Stan Barnes: We're either going to find a miracle pragmatic super-majority of 20 senators and 40 house members to plug the budget problems today and raise taxes. Or we're going to go backward in dollars and violate the state constitution. Just say the heck with voter-mandated items and run to the superiority. Even though it's terrible, it might be the politically more doable thing. The minute they pass it they can walk down and receive all the lawsuits. But that would be a port in the storm and get us through until the next fiscal year.

Ted Simons: That's not a very attractive port, is it?

Pete Rios: No, not at all, not for people that have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the State of Arizona. I hope that doesn't happen.

Ted Simons: Last question here for both of you: MVP of the upcoming session, who's it going to be?

Pete Rios: The only person that can rise to that level is the Governor of the state of Arizona. I don't see it in the Republican caucuses in the house and Senate. Possibly Bob Burns, but I really don't see it. I don't see it in the Democratic caucuses simply because they have been cut out of the process.

Ted Simons: Give me a Kurt Warner of the upcoming session.

Stan Barnes: Closest is Kirk Adams. The Speaker of the House is a young man with a great temperament beyond his years. He happens to be my legislator from East Valley. In a poker game he's holding a bunch of bad cards and he'd really like to fold and play another day. He's a speaker in the worst condition Arizona's ever been. How he acts dealing with his own ambition and skillset, those ambitions, putting together enough votes to make this thing happen will make him the MVP.

Ted Simons: We'll stop it there. Thank you very much for joining us.

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