March 19, 2014
Host: Ted Simons
- Republican Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar will discuss the latest congressional issues.
- Paul Gosar - Congressman, Arizona
| Keywords: politics
Ted Simons: Republican Congressman Paul Gosar represents the 4th Congressional District which covers western and northwestern parts of the state and stretches through the Phoenix metro area. Good to see you again.
Paul Gosar: Good seeing you, Ted.
Ted Simons: We talked about Tesla, what's happening at the state level. Considering this big old battery plant, I guess, for Arizona. The entire congressional delegation signs off on this, let's talk about this.
Paul Gosar: Isn't that amazing? We can agree on something. This is very, very important, 65,000 jobs. We want to show that Arizona is open and willing for business. So this is a good move.
Ted Simons: Is there concern about that state law that requires a dealership to sell a vehicle? Is that something that needs to be looked at?
Paul Gosar: I think it's from the standpoint of the governor and the commerce authority and the state legislature to look at. As a federalist I want to make sure the states have their jurisdiction and work with them. That's always what we've tried to do. We've had lots of inquiries from other companies and manufacturers and we want to push them the same way. We don't want to pick and choose winners but we want to make sure there's a job market open right here in Arizona.
Ted Simons: We've worked hard to create one of the best business environments in the country by removing obstacles and we just went through a time where a lot of folks were making fun of Arizona, right or wrong, that image, how are we doing well by that image? People mentioned Tesla, they may not want to do business in a state with that kind of image. Does that make sense to you?
Paul Gosar: I don't know that that's the image, Ted. We came into this image as the last of the Lower 48 coming in. The one thing you've got to do that we are having a maverick type attitude in this state -- and I think that's what necessary for this next new generation of Arizonans to embrace and be the power of the southwest. I don't run from that, I run to that. We're willing to ask the questions.
Ted Simons: Was it concerning to you, though, a firm that looks at diversity and acceptance like a Tesla might be concerned about an SB 1062?
Paul Gosar: In a business model they ought to look at this. It's a golden opportunity for them to be part of an historic movement in Arizona. We’ve got blue skies, batteries that are state of the art. Here we are the mining center of the United States? It's time to play business.
Ted Simons: One more note on this the letter says a highly skilled workforce was mentioned but others are saying highly skilled workforce, right now education in Arizona is not emphasized enough to make that kind of a claim.
Paul Gosar: I disagree. I think we have our own aspect of growing pains and in education. We've got three great Universities, NAU, ASU and U of A. They are great steppingstones and on the forefront of that. We want oversight of our educational system at the K-12 level. We're tired of the status quo. Instead of teaching to the mediums, we want to teach to the excellence.
Ted Simons: Tesla is expected to decide when?
Paul Gosar: Here shortly. They are given notice they are in the final evaluation. It could be any time.
Ted Simons: Renewable energy on public lands, what exactly are we talking about here?
Paul Gosar: What we're trying to do is bring local control to some of the oversight on public lands. That is in renewables like solar and wind and geothermal. Some of these royalties that are expected to come back to the state, they are divvied out in their preparations. 25% goes to the county jurisdiction so that the counties that are most responsible for having these public lands, having to maintain them, actually get the revenues to come directly for them. It also starts the process of everybody having skin in the game of the permitting process. It's a win-win for the local communities.
Ted Simons: Is it revenue sharing similar to what is happening with oil exploration?
Paul Gosar: Absolutely, we want to be on the same footing.
Ted Simons: And infrastructure would be one of the things that would benefit, I would imagine?
Paul Gosar: Well, we would allow the county and state to decide in that regard. There's another 15% that actually goes to the permitting process and streamlining and 35% goes to establishing corridors for endangered species and nature preserves.
Ted Simons: What's the current situation?
Paul Gosar: It goes partly to the state and partly to the federal government. Part of that reason in the last budget process we split those revenue on public lands 50/50. That was extended to 52% going to the federal government and only 48% coming to the state. That's where what we need to do is have an equitable type of those royalties coming back to home reserve.
Ted Simons: Are we seeing renewable energy production? Are we seeing an increase, the promise of an increase on federal lands now?
Paul Gosar: I think the opportunity is absolutely there. Ted, instead of being a follower we're trying to lead the way and start that discussion, so that everybody is utilizing our public lands in an enhanced use application.
Ted Simons: Flood control issues are always big in Arizona, especially in rural Arizona.
Paul Gosar: We saw the budgetary plan, we got three of those instances moved forward. One in the big South is lower Santa Cruz. It's time to harness that water and start to look at our growth aspects, let's harness it and make it the CAP of the South. A constant battle trying to get the Feds to figure up an agreement in Flagstaff, and the levy over in Winslow.
Ted Simons: Protecting homes and rail lines in Flagstaff, correct?
Paul Gosar: Oh, absolutely. The southern part of Flagstaff very episodically floods. This channels that episodic flooding away from those businesses and allow good transportation.
Ted Simons: And this is $3 million?
Paul Gosar: We constantly go over and over this thing until we get this remedy done.
Ted Simons: It also benefits to have more than one lawmaker working on this. You teamed with Andrew Patrick on this?
Paul Gosar: When we were elected we were elected to represent everybody. I'm a builder kind of guy. The thing about it is that's what enhances an economy. It doesn't build an economy but it enhances it. The federal government in article I, Section 8, is responsible for structure aspects.
Ted Simons: Some of the business is not even in your district, correct?
Paul Gosar: I was hired to help Arizona and that's my intention, to help anybody that needs my help.
Ted Simons: You came out just recently with a number of ideas, five I believe, on cutting federal costs on everything from plane flights for congressional members to bonuses to V.A. members.
Paul Gosar: We've got to be serious about waste, fraud and abuse. We have to follow through oh on our promises to the American taxpayer that government is riddled with fraud. We have to start answering up. What we've done in the budgetary process, it gives you the opportunity to put these ideas forward and show the American people we can cut these costs. They are reasonable, sound and common sense. And then make sure they are applied into the budgetary process.
Ted Simons: When you talk about prohibiting members of Congress from flying first class, is it wise to call that fraud?
Paul Gosar: I lead by leadership. I walk a mile in my moccasins and lead by that example. We get upgraded when there are empty seats and that's fine.
Ted Simons: Another one was these life sized photographs of building facades. What is that all about?
Paul Gosar: When you do restoration projects like what you see in Washington, D.C., particularly on the Washington monument, we had to put these huge facades on there to pretend nothing was happening. What's the problem with discussing we're fixing the Washington monument. That's extra costs that we can't afford right now.
Ted Simons: And funding for the highway traffic administration's roadside survey, this is getting a lot of attention. If folks could pull you over and start to ask questions and doing all sorts of things.
Paul Gosar: This is bureaucracy run amok. These are some of the little things we've been able to pick up in regards to the bureaucracy, the spending habits. We don't have a habit of throwing in revenues, we have a big problem with spending.
Ted Simons: With these five, there's nothing here that breaks the bank, tips the Bank One way or the other, it's the message?
Paul Gosar: But they all add up. Every mom and pop is tightening their belt. We didn't like sequestration because it cut across the board. This is the scalpel knife coming in here, exposing and putting light on the spending problems in the bureaucracy. Then let us answer and get it done.
Ted Simons: What kind of response are you getting from these?
Paul Gosar: We're getting a lot. You still have to go through the rules process, but these are common sense and I don't think many people will have big problems with them.
Ted Simons: Back in Washington, we talked about Arizona issues but for national issues, the Ukraine is major, I don't know what Congress can do about it but the missing Malaysian plane, everyone is talking about that. What's happening with foreign relations around the world in general?
Paul Gosar: We have lost our place as a world leader and director of what's wrong and what's good. This is an exercise about what you have done in your history. We make lines in Syria and then don't follow through. When you don't -- aren't sincere about your actions they come to rest here. When you do actions like the Keystone pipeline, go across that line we are going to economically strangle you. We've got the energy to export to Europe. All of a sudden it's very different for Putin. The only thing he has as marketable assets is gas and oil.
Ted Simons: If you beat Putin down in public, that's a good idea? Or do you let him crow a little bit and work under the scenes?
Paul Gosar: I'm more interested in what we do as Americans building up a trusted friend and ally. Once you restore the respect for the United States, Putin will fall in line.
- Jim Small from the Arizona Capitol Times will give us the latest news from the state capitol in our weekly political update.
- Jim Small - Journalist, Arizona Capitol Times
| Keywords: legislative
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. A federal judge ruled today that Arizona and Kansas can require proof of citizenship when residents use a federal form for voter registration. Both states sued the Federal Election Assistance Commission after the commission had refused to add a state mandated proof of citizenship on federal registration forms. Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said he was "delighted" with the ruling. State Senator Steve Gallardo criticized the decision, saying that college students in particular will be harmed by the judge's ruling. The state Senate released its budget this week, and lawmakers again attempted and failed to undermine Arizona's new education standards. Here now with our weekly political update is Jim Small with the "Arizona Capitol Times". Good to see you.
Jim Small: Good to join you.
Ted Simons: I think the House compared today. What do you say, comparing and contrasting what the governor is looking for?
Jim Small: The legislative budget proposals want to spend less than what the governor is calling for, and they anticipate less in revenues, also. They got out of the committee along party line votes, Republicans supporting and Democrats opposing. They are meeting bright and early, in the morning, to go to the floor and debate the bills and they will come back sometime later in the afternoon and vote on the bills and send them over to the House.
Ted Simons: On both House and Senate side, any grumbling going on there? From the Republican side in particular, that's where the problems were last session.
Jim Small: Right now, no. Even the breakaway Republicans from the Senate from last year in the fight over the Medicaid expansion look like they are all going to vote for the budget when it comes out of the Senate tomorrow. There's a sense of trying to move the negotiations along and realize this isn't the final budget. Whatever gets out of the Senate or the House next week is going to have to go to the governor. They are going to have to work things out with her to figure out where they are going to end up.
Ted Simons: One of those things I'm sure is the business for no new funding for a common core assessment, a common core test. Is that a place-holder or serious business?
Jim Small: Looks to be serious business right now. $13 million, something like that, $15 million for this assessment. The state hasn't signed on to it yet. We don't know which one the State is going to sign onto. Until the state decides which one it's going to pick and gets bids back on doing this test, we shouldn't allocate any money to it. The business community, four major business groups, the Arizona Chamber, the Greater Phoenix Chamber, the Greater Phoenix Leadership and Southern Arizona Leadership Council sent a letter to all 90 lawmakers and said the Senate budget does some really good things, but any budget that doesn't include the funding for this assessment is something that needs to be fixed. Essentially, why do we have these standards? And if we don't have a test to measure how students are being taught, we're not going to know anything about whether they are effective or what needs to be fixed. They said basically they would be flying blind in education.
Ted Simons: Coming into the session, the new child welfare agency, the Senate version wants much less money for the CPS successor than the governor wants. I think people thought there would be a little arm-wrestling going on with that. But the assessment for common core, did anyone see that being a major issue for this session?
Jim Small: Some people did. We heard from people in the fall that, you know, keep your eyes on this idea of this test. Last year there was a big fight, there was basically a bill to get rid of the AIMS test and replace with it a test called the Parks test to test against these standards standards. That bill got through one chamber and went to the Senate and it ran into some roadblocks. They ended up with a really stripped down version of that bill through the legislature last year. That was kind of a harbinger of what we're seeing now. It seems to be stronger in the Senate than the House, but the House frankly hasn't had any of these bills come to the floor yet.
Ted Simons: We just had three more bills to essentially undermine common core in a variety of ways. Those are addressed, voted down with the help of some Republicans.
Jim Small: And largely it's the Republicans that voted for the Medicaid expansion last year for the budget with the governor. The Governor has been a strong supporter of the common core standards. They were implemented under her administration, the state board of education did that in 2010. She supported them from the beginning. And she continues to support them. I think those votes from those Republicans, they look at it and say, look, the Governor wants these standards and the business community wants these standards. Why would we vote to get rid of them and go back to nothing? Essentially if you say the state can't use these common core standards, we have to go back and develop all new standards or go back to the ones in place almost years ago.
Ted Simons: Sounds like there's still a bill out there that needs to be decided, in regard to requiring districts to develop their own standards. They keep on rolling through.
Jim Small: They do. That bill -- we'll see if it comes to the Senate floor or not.
Ted Simons: That's true.
Jim Small: I don't think it's going out too far on a limb to expect it to meet the same fate as similar bills.
Ted Simons: APS and the idea of solar panels and a property tax hike on solar panels, which would be a tax hike. Correct me if I'm wrong here APS says we have no interest or position on this, but everyone who talks to APS says, oh, they do have a position on this.
Jim Small: The Department of Revenue reinterpreted a statute and put a tax on residential solar rooftop panels that hadn't been taxed before. The old interpretations say they aren't taxed and the new one says they are taxed to get something firmly in state law. The solar industry folks have said for months APS is involved in this, they want this tax to be in place. APS says consistently, we have no position on this bill, nothing that we're involved with. But we've heard from the governor's office they have met with APS tax folks to discuss this issue, among others. Also some legislators, House Majority Whip Rick Gray told one of my colleagues, yeah, I met with an APS lobbyist and he was supportive of this tax. Representative gray represents the Sun City area. The solar industry has installed a lot of rooftop solar on community centers and also on people's homes, selling them on the idea, you're on a fixed income. If you can reduce your energy costs by $50-$100 a month, that's a good thing.
Ted Simons: Sounds like the property tax assessment would hike perhaps the average resident, maybe seeing $50-$70 a month insurance, right?
Jim Small: If this tax goes into effect, and essentially the tax will be on, say, a company like Solar City. But it'll be passed on to the consumer. You essentially wipe out any energy savings they would have right there on the average unit with the average tax.
Ted Simons: We're going to make sure this assessment doesn't happen, and another says we're going listen to what APS says they are not saying, but apparently they are, and look at this tax.
Jim Small: A couple of competing things out there, one of them is in this tax conformity bill, something the state does every year to make its tax line up with federal tax code changes. There's a provision that would codify the new interpretation of the law and say this tax happens. Just yesterday the Senate Elections Committee heard a strike everything amendment that does the opposite. No, we're going to make sure this tax doesn't happen. Michelle Reagan, the sponsor of that amendment, said look, I was here when we put in that exemption for this rooftop solar. The point was specifically to do that, to make sure people aren't paying a tax on it, in order to encourage use of it. We're not going to go back and try to rewrite the rules that DOR basically was acting out of order when it went and reinterpreted that statute.
Ted Simons: Definitely to be continued. We will talk more about this with Congressman Gosar. Tesla, I don't know if it's a striker or not, but they can't sell their cars here, there's a move to change that?
Jim Small: Arizona's law requires you to basically have a dealership in order to sell vehicles here. The Tesla store about the mall, they can't actually sell you a vehicle there, they have to jump through some hoops to do that, you can't test-drive and inspection like that. There's a bill to open that up and it says we'll allow direct sales to the consumer. Dealerships aren't terribly happy about it. I think they see some potential harm to them down the line if all of the car companies or other major car companies decide to do the same thing and essentially put them out of business.
Ted Simons: Jim, good to see you. Thanks for joining us.