April 1, 2010
Host: Ted Simons
Democratic Legislative Leadership
- House Minority Leader David Lujan and Senate Assistant Minority Leader Rebecca Rios discuss the priorities of their caucuses for the remainder of the legislative session.
- David Lujan - House Minority Leader
- Rebecca Rios,Senate Assistant Minority Leader
| Keywords: democrats
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Andrew Thomas announced today that he's officially running for attorney general and Thomas says his last day as county attorney will be April 6th and will run as a -- will face
Tom Horne in the primary for attorney general.
Ted Simons: A bill that would lighten the penalties for juveniles who send sexual material to kids via -- lawmakers said the current bill is not right yet and a revised version could be acted on next week.
Ted Simons: Democrats have accused Republicans of passing a phony budget and disagree with the idea of suing the federal government over healthcare reform. Here to talk about it from the democratic perspective is house minority leader David Lujan and senate assistant minority leader Rebecca Rios. Let’s start with the idea of suing the federal government over the new health care planWhy is it not a good idea?
Rebecca Rios: My feeling is this. And I understand this is very important to the Republicans. But there was no need for the governor to call a special session. That was clearly a P.R. stunt to give her a lot of attention. She can join in a lawsuit with the other 14, 15 states that are suing Without any cost to the Arizona taxpayers. For me that's the issue. One of our Republican colleagues said it would cost about $3 million. I don't know how they can justify spending $3 million on an attorney to participate in a lawsuit that we can do without expending all of that money.
Ted Simons: The whole idea is protecting the state from what some see as a federal quote/unquote mandate. Why is that a bad idea?
David Lujan:: I agree with our own attorney general Terry Goddard and the 37 other attorney generals around the country and a host of legal scholars who say the lawsuit has no merit. The United States congress has broad powers under the commerce clause to do what they did with the healthcare reform. There's many other examples of legislation that's been passed that the United States Supreme Court has upheld. This is pure political gamesmanship and a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Ted Simons: Yet Republicans will say they're fighting these provisions to -- if Arizona wants federal dollars, but the federal government should not dictate programs without sending the money to fund them. Is there a disagreement there or in terms of logistics it doesn't make sense?
David Lujan:: What makes this particularly ridiculous, there's no federal mandate on Arizona. Even if they were to proceed with the lawsuit and win, which I don't think they will, the state of Arizona would still have an obligation to provide the healthcare funding because it's not a federal mandate. It's a mandate imposed by the people of Arizona when they voted in 2000, proposition 204. So we would have to provide the healthcare. It's what the people of Arizona want. We're not listening to the people when we pursue this litigation.
Ted Simons: The concept of a mandate bandied about. A de facto mandate, the idea that if you don't do this, this will happen. It may not be a mandate, but close, isn't it?
Rebecca Rios: Part of what we need to take into consideration, as David said, the voters required that we provide healthcare under prop 204. I think a lot of what the Republicans have used as an argument is this cost that's been pushed down on the states but yet when we look at the estimates from our join legislative budget committee, the Republicans are saying this is going to cost $9 million over the next 10 years, but a cost savings of $3.2 billion. What are we achieving? The net result will be a cost savings to Arizonans and healthcare.
Ted Simons: But the cost savings begin in 2014, correct? How do we get to 2014? There's a lot of money in between here and there.
Rebecca Rios: Part of what you're saying is the healthcare coming up with an initiative. There are people who believe that we need to provide healthcare resources and the healthcare industry proposing an initiative. At the end of the day in the legislature as with anything it's a matter of priorities and healthcare has not been a priority for Republicans. Had it been, they would have found a way to fund it.
Ted Simons: Again, the idea we're going to have to pay for something somehow. The Republicans say if we don't fight this, more cuts are on the way. Agree?
David Lujan: No, I don't agree. Actually, we could restore kids care and the prop 204 money without any cost to the state for the next fiscal year because it looks like congress is going to extend the stimulus dollars which will pay for the kids care and the loss of prop 204 coverage. It won’t cost anything gfor the fiscal year ’11. It's fiscal year '12 and '13 that we need to find the money. We don't have to spend one additional dollar under the healthcare reform. We just have to maintain the funding levels that the people of Arizona have told us to fund.
Ted Simons: Yet maintaining the levels, the Republicans say it's impossible, the state doesn't have the money right now.
David Lujan: There's a lot of alternatives, Democrats put out a lot. Let me just give one. Kids care. Costs $18 million a year to fund kids care. The department of revenue estimates there's over $400 million in delinquent taxes owed to the state of Arizona which they can't collect because we've will to lay off the tax collectors. If we give them $1 million they say they can rehire them to bring in $400 million in delinquent dollars. We don't have to talk about raising taxes in that instance. The Republicans haven't considered that option.
Ted Simons: Is that a realistic option. A million dollars for a bunch of folks who can get $400 million.
Rebecca Rios: Absolutely. That came out from the direct of the Department of Revenue. When the cuts were made. These folks knew what the net result was going to be.
Ted Simons: We should mention we had the department of revenue director on recently and said some of the folks are being hired back. That's encouraging in one respect there. For others, I'm not so sure. The idea that the federal healthcare plan infringes on the liberty of Arizonans, the ability to choose. The fundamental freedoms of Arizonans, talk to me about that.
Rebecca Rios: Well, I think what you're saying is there have always been opponents to reform. We had opponents to reform the civil rights act, the voting rights act. The social security act. That's part of the process but I believe there are provisions in the bill where folks that can't afford insurance, won't be mandated to provide coverage. There are exemptions and what's most amusing, a lot of the folks have not read the bill. Don't know exactly what's in it. It happens on both sides. We get caught up in the fervor of the moment without knowing the details.
Ted Simons: A lot of play, and hearing that a lot and a lot of people are concerned about that, should they not be concerned?
David Lujan: There's a lot of things we have historically, you pay out of your payroll for Medicare and other things that the government mandates but I think in order to have the healthcare reform system work, we all need to participate and make sure that -- because otherwise, the costs are going to be shifted somewhere. Either in the hospital emergency rooms or we're going to pay more through our health insurance premiums so it's important for everybody to participate.
Ted Simons: Longer waiting, rationing and these things are mentioned by the members of the state legislature as consequences of federal healthcare reform.
David Lujan: Every one of them is a complete and utter myth and it's people who have not read the healthcare reform bill. You know, it was amusing to watch in the house appropriations committee, the Republican members bring up the things you mentioned and my colleague, Kyrsten Sinema pointed out the inaccuracies in every one of them. There's an example of people parroting things they hear on talk radio but have no substance behind them.
Ted Simons:What about the legal standing, why Arizona has a legal standing in a case like this. Republicans say we do, I'm guessing you say we don't.
Rebecca Rios: There we've seen, there's a number of scholars who indicated they don't have legal standing. So -- and when pressed, what is your legal standing, they weren't able to answer that. So I don't know that they know what they're legal standing was, they aren't able to -- they weren't able to articulate that during a recent press conference.
Ted Simons: The gist is they’re trying to give a voice to those who may not have a voice. The concept of a class action suit, there are folks who don't have the resources, time available do that, the state could be acting on their behalf, on the behalf of citizens. Again, does that make sense?
David Lujan: No, and that's an example of why this lawsuit has no merit from the state standpoint. The state doesn't have standing to pursue this. You're talking about individual requirements and not a state mandate. There's no state mandate in this bill. So the state wouldn't have standing in those instances to sue on behalf of individuals. Individuals could bring the lawsuit, but not the state.
Ted Simons: And back to the idea of a mandate and whether or not it's a true mandate or a de facto mandate. We're hearing from Speaker Adams, filing the suit, just going after this particular plan is much better than the alternative which would be in his eyes, cuts. Cuts to education and healthcare, etc. How do you respond?
Rebecca Rios: I have seen them use everything they disagree with as an excuse for -- if we don't this, we're going to cut education. Everything is used and connected to education. They've cut $1.5 billion from education. For me, it doesn't hold water. It's a convenient excuse for something they intend to cut anyway.
Ted Simons: We had the Republican leadership on the program recently and Speaker Adams, I mentioned the fact, the democratic idea was to use tax exemptions for warranties and get that exemption out of there which would pay for kids care, according to what the Democrats were saying and Democrats according to it him, quote, there have been no proposals from the Democrats dropped in the hopper or shared in a Plaintiff's Exhibit meeting related to new revenue sources. Is that true?
Rebecca Rios: That's not true. We've posted things on websites and had press conferences and they're not interested. They would rather tax everyday working Arizonans to fund Adams' job cuts proposal. They're not interested in closing corporate loopholes and for him to say we've not provided anything is false.
Ted Simons: Now this is a quote, Democrats is not -- have not come forward with an proposal to increase revenue. Again? Just with a broad brush and said here's our
idea and let's hammer it out.
David Lujan: We've given them -- the first minority party that I'm aware of that put out two balanced budget proposals but it's what we've seen, trying to shift the responsibility and I can understand why they'd want to, because the Republicans have control of the legislature in Arizona for over 40 years. They've controlled the budget process for over 40 years and when you're dead last in the country in funding public education and completely eliminated healthcare for 40,000 Arizonans, I can understand why they would want to shift the responsibility. But they can't. They have 40 years of failed leadership on their watch.
Ted Simons: I'm hearing they're not getting a concrete proposal. Dropped in the hopper from the Democrats because the Democrats don't want to put themselves on the line.
David Lujan: It's interesting, the Republicans put out their bill 24 hours before we voted on it, in the history I've been following the legislature, a few hours before the budget. They wanted us to put out a budget bill at the beginning of the session, which has never been heard of. If you look at past legislators where they actually used to work together in a bipartisan fashion, they never put out their budget bills ahead of time but they were able to work in a bipartisan faction and this isn't about Democrats being shut out of the process, this is about people of Arizona being shut out of the process.
Rebecca Rios: It's important to remember, there was a plan that was put forward on a bipartisan basis to the joint appropriations committee and it was just a framework of how we could pay off our debt within five years and it was a thorough proposal. Chairmen Pearce and Kavanagh tore it apart. They're not open to other ideas other than cuts. They don't want to increase revenue in the ways we've proposed and what you find are economists and others in the community have the knowledge and don't have to appear in front of the appropriations because of the way they're treated and that was a blatant example you have folks who worked on a project and it was summarily dismissed by both chairmen.
Ted Simons: The sales tax, headed for the ballot -- will you campaign for the tax hike?
Rebecca Rios: I will only vote for this if that Adams' tax cut, jobs bill, whatever we've renamed it, does not pass and not signed by the governor.
Ted Simons: Because?
Rebecca Rios: Because it's just a redistribution of wealth. It's not fair.
Ted Simons: If it does pass and it's a good chance it will, will you be against the sales tax as well?
David Lujan: I agree with Rebecca. It's going to take out a billion dollars in revenue every single year. Rebecca is exactly right. It shifts the revenue and helps to fund their corporate tax cuts.
Ted Simons: We'll stop it there. Good to have you on the show.
- As Apple prepares for the release of its new tablet computer, the iPad, ASU journalism professor Tim McGuire shares his thoughts about how the device may impact the way we get our news.
- Tim McGuire - ASU journalism professor
, print journalism
Ted Simons: Here to talk about the iPad and its potential impact on nones and magazines is Tim McGuire, a ASU journalism professor. Is the iPad a savior of print journalism?
Tim McGuire: It's a significant thing because you now have a machines that going to be mobile. It's going to allow people to merge their information and their entertainment habits. You can play a game one minute, watch a movie the next. Read "Time Magazine' the next and it will create capabilities that print has been lusting for for some time. An interactivity they haven't had. I've seen one demonstration with three-dimensional ads where you can make a car turn around. It's a big deal.
Ted Simons: I'm still trying to get used to the iPad. The -- the idea that you can take it anywhere you want. Does journalism -- is journalism ready for this new platform? This new venue?
Tim McGuire: I think, in fact, it's past ready. I think the print version is clearly under attack business Wyoming and one of the reasons -- business wise and one of the reasons, you and I have gone through a lot of reasons that business is in trouble. But it's all about advertising and one of the big problems is advertising in a newspaper is not targeted, it doesn't reach the -- the exactly intended audience, and it's very flat. It's one or two dimensional. Advertising will become multidimensional. Video, audio. You -- many demonstrations are being done. The advertising is just going to blow your mind.
Ted Simons: Is this the kind of thing that you have a Wall Street app and tap it and here comes the ads whether you want them to or not. Or here they come if you're interested?
Tim McGuire: All the demonstrations I've seen, there's a great demonstration that your viewers can Google. And sports illustrated have a great demonstration they can go and Google. And you can go page by page and there's pullouts where you can become more interactive and you can click on a video and you could play a game within that story to perhaps solve the legislative problem you were just talking about. There will be a high -- high degrees of interactivity and again, you said it, but the mobility is just really crucial. One of the things that newspaper people said for a long time, is you can't take the computer into the smallest room in the house. Well, the fact is, you could take the iPad into the smallest room in the house. That's a big deal.
Ted Simons: Yeah.
Tim McGuire: That mobility, having the ability to access any kind of information
and entertainment you want whenever you want, big deal.
Ted Simons: Maybe not a savior for the print industry, but something to be aware of and take charge of and try to get ahead of the parade a little bit.
Tim McGuire: I think it's going-to-going to be a savior for some big companies. I think time-Warner, I think Murdoch and New York times and some of the big players will develop the capabilities they need. I don't see a -- the star Tribune in Minneapolis, being able it play on that kind of scale and that's why I don't think it's the savior of print.
Ted Simons: The blogosphere is huge and there's so much attention. How about the little guy? Can the little guy survive ?
Tim McGuire: I think there's an inevitable future for the little guy, in that you're going to see people aggregating blogs. You already are. They offer you 1500 blogs and selling them and getting revenue for them. And you can select what you want. Aggregators are going to start to get in what -- with what you call the little guy. In an iPad environment, if that tablet environment was going to win, then the little guy would be in trouble. I just did another thing with my language that's interesting. I try to talk about tablets and not the iPad. The iPad is still a pretty closed kind of thing. Steve jobs believes in proprietary approaches and so you're only going to be able to order your sports illustrated from iTunes. That's a question whether or not that's going to be the answer and so you're going to soon see tablets that will compete with the apple iPad, because they will be more open.
Ted Simons: The idea -- and I -- in reading about the iPad announcement and the future of journalism, I thought one blogger actually had an interesting idea in that the future of journalism will not be the iPad. The future of journalism was on display when the iPad was announced because there was live blogging and three hours after jobs got finished speaking, it was already old news.
Tim McGuire: There's no question, the big argument right now in circles where people think about these kind of issues is are the big players done cooked, gone? And replaced by what you might call citizen journalism? Active amateur kind of environment. It's called the pro-am kind of movement. I think eventually pro-am is going to merge.
Ted Simons: Interesting. We've got some video coming up here, I hope, which will show the iPad. It looks and seems to act a lot like a iPhone. A big version of an iPhone. Again, advertising revenue possibilities, are there newspaper content possibilities, are there -- we talked about how it might help the bigger newspapers and magazines, here's a question: Could this kill a lot of the newspapers out there? This kind of technology?
Tim McGuire: It certainly could. There's going to be eventually be a technology that's -- that speeds up the demise of print. This could be it. This could be the substitute that -- oh, hey, this feels like a newspaper. It gives me the mobility that I needed from a newspaper. It gives me interactivity I could have never gotten. Something like this could. The caution I would give you is I wouldn't go out and buy a lot of apple stock here, because this thing is going to remain very fluid. The rate of invention here is stunning and so all of these things are going to build on the shoulders of others. And so we haven't seen the answer yet and yet as a society, and as media critics, we want to say -- that's it! That's the answer. Let's cool it on the answer.
Ted Simons: All right, Tim, always a pleasure. Good to have you here. Coming up, Arizona lawmakers give the governor the go ahead to sue the feds over the healthcare reform act and an update on other goings on this week. And if you would like to watch tonight''s show again, it's easy. Go to our website. azpbs.org. azpbs.org/horizon. That's it for now. Thank you for joining us. You have a great evening.