Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 26, 2009


Host: Ted Simons

Copper Mine Land Exchange

  |   Video
  • The Resolution Copper Mining company is asking Congress to approve a federal land swap that will allow the company to begin mining a huge body of copper ore near Superior, Arizona. The project could provide a huge economic boost to a community, but it may also have some negative impacts. Join us as we travel to Superior to hear from both critics and supporters of the project.
Keywords: federalland swap, superior, arizona, copper ore,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: A REASON FOR A VISIT WAS TO LOOK OVER A SITE OF A PROPOSED COPPER MINE THAT COULD BECOME THE NATION'S LARGEST COPPER PRODUCER. AS PRODUCER DAVID MAJURE AND SCOT OLSON SHOW US, BEFORE MINING CAN TAKE PLACE ON THE SITE, A CONTROVERSIAL LAND SWAP HAS TO HAPPEN.

David Majure: COPPER MINING MADE THIS TOWN, RAISED IT UP AND BROUGHT IT CRASHING DOWN.

Roy Chavez: YEAH, UP AND DOWN. IN THE BEGINNING STAGES, IT WAS BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.

David Majure: ROY CHAVEZ GREW UP IN SUPERIOR, SERVED AS THE TOWN'S MAYOR. HE WATCHED THIS BOOMTOWN GO BUST.

Roy Chavez: A LOT OF THESE BUILDINGS YOU SEE HERE WERE ORIGINALLY OWNED BY FAMILIES.

David Majure: IT NEVER FULLY RECOVERED AFTER THE MAGMA COPPER MINE CLOSED IN 1996 AND IT SHOWS.

Roy Chavez: IT'S OVER 100 YEARS OF THE INDUSTRY IN THE AREA, GOOD AND BAD, BOOM AND BUST. YOU LIVE BY THE SOOT, YOU DIE BY THE SOOT.

David Majure: THE PROSPECT OF NEW FORTUNE IS ON THE HURRICANE NORBERT. THE RESOLUTION COPPER COMPANY HAS -- THE PROSPECT OF NEW FORTUNE IS ON THE HORIZON.

Tom Goodell: THIS IS A WORLD CLASS ORE BODY. IT'S UNUSUAL TO FIND THIS MUCH COPPER IN ONE SPOT.

David Majure: THE COMPANY SAYS THERE'S ENOUGH TO PLUS 20% OF OUR NATION'S COPPER DEMAND FOR THE NEXT 50 YEARS. GETTING TO IT WON'T BE EASY. IT'S OVER A MILE UNDERGROUND.

David Salisbury: THIS IS FOR THE NEW SHAFT. IT'S DESIGNED TO GO 7,000 FEET DEEP. IT WILL BE 28 FEET FINISHED DIAMETER. A SHAFT OF THIS SIZE OF THIS DEPTH HAS NEVER BEEN DONE IN THE UNITED STATES. YOU KNOW, WE'RE REALLY TALKING THE SUPER BOWL OF MINING PROJECTS HERE.

David Majure: TO GET IN THE GAME, THE COMPANY SAYS IT NEEDS ABOUT 2400 ACRES OF FEDERAL FOREST SERVICE LAND JUST EAST OF THIS LOCATION. MORE THAN 700 ACRES OF IT WAS WITHDRAWN FROM MINING BY PRESIDENTIAL ORDER IN 1955 INCLUDING THE OAK FLAT CAMPGROUND, SANDY BAHR OF THE SIERRA CLUB WOULD LIKE TO KEEP IT THAT WAY.

Sandy Bahr: WE THINK OAK FLAT IS SPECIAL.

David Majure: IT'S A POPULAR PLACE FOR ROCK CLIMBING AND NATIVE AMERICANS SAY THEY HAVE SPIRITUAL TIES TO THE LAND.

Sandy Bahr: THERE ARE A LOT OF OLD OAK TREES HERE AND THAT PROVIDE SHADE AND A NICE PLACE FOR PEOPLE TO CAMP AND PICNIC. IT'S JUST TO THE EAST OF SUPERIOR, AND IT'S BEEN A CAMPGROUND FOR A LONG TIME AND PROTECTED FROM MINING ACTIVITIES FOR A LONG TIME.

David Salisbury: IF WE LOOK OVER THIS WAY, THIS IS WHERE THE OAK FLAT CAMPGROUND IS HERE. AND THEN IF WE PAN BACK OVER TO THIS DIRECTION, THE ACTUAL ORE BODY WE'RE LOOKING AT IS OVER IN THIS DIRECTION. IT COVERS ABOUT A SQUARE MILE.

David Majure: RESOLUTION COPPER IS ASKING CONGRESS TO APPROVE A LAND EXCHANGE. IT WANTS OWNERSHIP OF OAK FLAT AND THE RIGHT TO MINE THERE. IN RETURN, IT WILL GIVE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT 5500 ACRES OF IMPORTANT LANDS FOR CONSERVATION, BUT CRITICS SAY IT'S NOT CLEAR IF THE PUBLIC IS GETTING A GOOD DEAL OR HOW THE MINING OPERATION WILL IMPACT THE ENVIRONMENT.

Sandy Bahr: HOW DO YOU MAKE A GOOD DECISION WITHOUT GOOD INFORMATION?

David Majure: BAHR SAYS BY GOING TO CONGRESS THE COMPANY IS CIRCUMVENTING THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECT ACT. IT'S A PROCESS TRIGGERED BY MAJOR FEDERAL ACTIONS THAT IMPACT THE ENVIRONMENT.

Sandy Bahr: IT SAYS WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT THIS ISSUE. WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT ALTERNATIVES. WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT THE IMPACTS. WE'RE GOING TO BE UP FRONT WITH THE PUBLIC ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE. WE'RE GOING TO PROVIDE THE PUBLIC AN OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT AND TO ASK FOR CHANGES.

David Salisbury: WELL, WE'VE MADE A COMMITMENT IN THE LEGISLATION THAT WE WILL DO A FULL NEPA PROCESS.

David Majure: THE LAND EXCHANGE PROCESS DOES REQUIRE AN ANALYSIS BUT IT COMES AFTER THE BILL IS PASSED.

Sandy Bahr: IT'S A LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP LAW. WITH THIS PROCESS, YOU TAKE THIS GIANT LEAP WITHOUT ANY PROPER LOOK.

David Majure: RESOLUTION COPPER SAYS ITS LAND EXCHANGE BILL IS A BUSINESS DECISION BASED ON THE NEED TO SINK A SHAFT AND EXPLORE BENEATH OAK FLAT BEFORE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OR MINE FEASIBILITY CAN BE DETERMINED.

David Salisbury: WE AS A COMPANY, WE HAVE TO COMMIT NEARLY A BILLION DOLLARS TO DO THAT CORRECTLY. FOR US TO COMMIT TO THAT KIND OF MONEY WITHOUT SOME CLEAR PATH FORWARD IS A SIGNIFICANT BUSINESS RISK FOR US. AND SO WE'VE GOT TO HAVE SOME CONFIDENCE THAT AT THE END OF THIS PROCESS, THAT THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL, THERE'S A WAY TO BUILD THE MINE AND DEVELOP A PROJECT THAT'S GOING TO REAP THE ECONOMIC BENEFIT BOTH FOR US AS A COMPANY AS WELL AS FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES AS WELL.

David Majure: THE MINE IS SURE TO HAVE AN ECONOMIC IMPACT ON THE TOWN OF SUPERIOR. IT'S EXPECTED TO OPERATE FOR MORE THAN 50 YEARS WITH 1400 EMPLOYEES AT THE PEAK OF PRODUCTION. SIGNS OF SUPPORT ARE ALL OVER THE PLACE AND RESIDENTS LIKE MIKE MCKEE ARE OPTIMISTIC.

Mike McKee: I WANT THE MINE TO COME BACK. I KNOW IT'S GOING TO GIVE US THAT OPPORTUNITY, YOU KNOW, TO LET THE TOWN COME BACK ALIVE A LITTLE BIT.

David Majure: MIKE AND ROY HAVE BEEN FRIENDS FOR QUITE SOMETIME BUT THEY DON'T ALWAYS SEE EYE TO EYE, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO THE MINE.
Mike McKee: WE DON'T LET OUR DIFFERENCES RUIN OUR FRIENDSHIP.

David Majure: ROY IS PART OF A SMALL GROUP CONCERNED ABOUT HOW THE MINE WILL IMPACT LAND AND WATER.

Roy Chavez: DURING THIS PROCESS OF THE LAND EXCHANGE, THOSE QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED AFTER THE FACT. HOWEVER, WE BELIEVE AFTER THE FACT IS WAY TOO LATE.

David Majure: IN THE MEANTIME, RESOLUTION COPPER IS TRYING TO GAIN THE TRUST OF THE COMMUNITY THAT'S BEEN BURNED BY MINING TIME AND TIME AGAIN. IT'S INVESTING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO CLEAN UP THE MESS MAGMA LEFT BEHIND AND PROVIDING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO SUPERIOR.

Michael Hing: THE TOWN SIGNED A MAJOR AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY TO PROVIDE SOCIAL IMPACT DOLLARS FOR THE COMMUNITY, AS MUCH AS $400,000 FOR THE NEXT 20 PLUS YEARS.

David Majure: THE MAYOR MICHAEL HING SAYS IT'S UP TO THE TOWN TO KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON MINING OPERATIONS.

Michael Hing: WE'RE GOING TO HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE, YOU BETTER DO IT RIGHT. I'M THE FIRST TO SAY YOU BETTER DO IT RIGHT.

David Majure: DONE RIGHT, THE MINING MAY BE JUST WHAT THIS TOWN NEEDS.

Mike McKee: OBAMA ISN'T GOING TO HELP US OUT WITH A STIMULUS PACKAGE. THIS IS A STIMULUS PACKAGE.

David Majure: IT'S ONE MORE BOOM FOR THIS TOWN THAT HAS SOME WORK TO DO TO KEEP FROM GOING BUST.

Michael Hing: WE CAN'T SOLELY DEPEND ON THE MINE. WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO DIVERSIFY OUR ECONOMY HERE.

Ted Simons: AFTER TOURING THE SITE OF THE PROPOSED COPPER MINE, INTERIOR SECRETARY KEN SALAZAR SAID HE'S OPTIMISTIC THAT A COMPROMISE ON THE LAND EXCHANGE IS POSSIBLE IF ALL SIDES CONTINUE TO TALK. COMING UP ON "HORIZON," GET A RECAP OF THE CASH-FOR-CLUNKERS PROGRAM AND HOW IT AFFECTED THE ECONOMY. WE WRAP UP OUR SERIES ON HEALTH CARE REFORM BY HEARING FROM THE ARIZONA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY. THAT'S THURSDAY AT 7:00 ON "HORIZON." THAT IS IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.

Health Care Reform

  |   Video
  • Ritch Steven, Chair of the AARP Arizona Advocacy Network, shares his views on health care reform.
Guests:
  • Ritch Steven - Chair, AARP Arizona Advocacy Network
Category: Medical/Health

View Transcript
Ted Simons: THIS WEEK ON "HORIZON" WE'RE FEATURING DISCUSSIONS ON HEALTH CARE REFORM. TONIGHT WE CONTINUE OUR SERIES OF CONVERSATIONS WITH RITCH STEVEN, CHAIRMAN OF THE AARP ARIZONA ADVOCACY NETWORK. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US ON "HORIZON."

Ritch Steven: THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME THE OPPORTUNITY.

Ted Simons: BEFORE WE GET INTO ALL OF THIS, TALK ABOUT AARP AND WHO WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.

Ritch Steven: WELL, A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE THAT AARP IS 40 MILLION MEMBERS, BUT THEY AREN'T ALL RETIRED. YOU HAVE TO BE 50 AND OLDER TO JOIN. SO ABOUT HALF OF OUR MEMBERS ARE 50 TO 64 AND HALF ARE ABOVE 65. SO WE HAVE A LOT OF WORKING MEMBERS WHO HAVE JOBS, WHO HAVE INSURANCE, WHO HAVE HEALTH COVERAGE ISSUES, AND WE ALSO HAVE MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE IN MEDICARE AND THEY HAVE A WHOLE SET OF OTHER ISSUES.

Ted Simons: LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME OF THOSE ISSUES. WE'LL START WITH HEALTH CARE REFORM. DOES AARP BELIEVE THAT HEALTH CARE REFORM IS NECESSARY?

Ritch Steven: WE HAVE BEEN VERY CONSISTENT IN OUR POLICY, IN OUR MESSAGE AND IN OUR WORK FOR YEARS, SAYING THAT HEALTH CARE REFORM IS A VITAL NECESSITY. WE MUST MAKE HEALTH CARE REFORM START NOW.

Ted Simons: WHAT NEEDS TO BE REFORMED?

Ritch Steven: WE'VE GOT A COUPLE OF THINGS. WE DO NOT ENDORSE ANY PIECES OF LEGISLATION THAT ARE CURRENTLY BEING DISCUSSED. WHAT WE DO IS WE ASK OUR MEMBERS, AS A MEMBER DRIVEN ORGANIZATION, WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO THEM. WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO ADVOCATE FOR ON YOUR BEHALF? WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO LOOK FOR IN LEGISLATION TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR NEEDS ARE REPRESENTED? AGAIN, WE HAVE A VERY BROAD MEMBERSHIP. SO WE HAVE A COUPLE OF THINGS. WHAT WE'VE HEARD IS, THAT THEY WANT US TO SAY, LET ME BE FREE TO PICK THE DOCTOR I WANT AND WORK WITH THE DOCTOR AND MAKE SURE THAT MY NEEDS ARE MET. THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY AREN'T DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BY INSURANCE COMPANIES. THEY DON'T WANT TO BE DISCRIMINATED FOR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS. THEY DON'T WANT TO BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE I'M OLDER AND HAVE TO PAY A WHOLE LOT MORE. THEY WANT THEIR DRUG COSTS BROUGHT UNDER CONTROL. MOST PEOPLE OVER THE AGE OF 50 START GETTING ON SOME FORM OF DRUGS AND THEY NEED THAT HELP.

Ted Simons: WITH THOSE PRIORITIES, I GUESS, IN PLACE, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS TALKED ABOUT PUBLIC OPTIONS. OBVIOUSLY THAT'S OFF THE TABLE NOW. FROM WHERE THE AARP SITS, A PUBLIC OPTION, IS IT VIABLE? IS IT SOMETHING AARP WOULD LOOK AT ASSIST OFFERING ALL OF THESE THINGS THE MEMBERS ARE LOOKING FOR?

Ritch Steven: WE HAVE NOT ENDORSED THE PUBLIC OPTION APPROACH, BUT WE HAVE NOT SAID NO TO THE PUBLIC OPTION APPROACH. WHAT WE HAVE SAID AND WHAT OUR RESEARCH HAS SAID IS WE WILL LOOK AT -- AND THERE ARE A VARIETY OF WAYS YOU CAN DEAL WITH THE ISSUES THAT PUBLIC OPTIONS WOULD PROVIDE -- WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR IS FOR THE INSURANCE COMPANIES TO BE ABLE TO GIVE US SOME DEGREE OF SECURITY IN THE INSURANCE THEY OFFER US AND CONTROL OF COSTS THAT WE EXPERIENCE.

Ted Simons: IS THAT SECURITY AND THAT CONTROL OF COST LACKING RIGHT NOW?

Ritch Steven: WE BELIEVE IT IS. WE BELIEVE IN A VARIETY OF AREAS IT IS NOT WORKING AS WELL AS INDEPENDENT SHOULD.

Ted Simons: SO WOULD THE ANSWER -- WORKING AS WELL AS IT SHOULD. SO WOULD THE ANSWER BE MORE OF A FEDERAL MARKET FOR THESE INSURANCE COMPANIES? THERE HAS TO BE A ROAD TRAVELED, DOESN'T THERE?

Ritch Steven: IT APPEARS THE GOVERNMENT COULD SET RULES KIND OF LIKE IN A FOOTBALL GAME. IT'S GOING TO SET WHAT ARE THE RULES OF THE GAME AND THEY CAN COME BACK AND THEY COULD TALK TO INSURANCE COMPANIES. THEY COULD TALK TO HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS. THEY COULD TALK TO CUSTOMERS, LIKE US, AND SAY, WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR BEHAVIORS OR WE NEED TO DO BUSINESS DIFFERENTLY, BUT WE CANNOT CONTINUE TO SPEND THE KIND OF MONEY WE'RE SPENDING IN THIS COUNTRY AND WATCH THAT NUMBER DOUBLE IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS. IT WOULD JUST BE VERY DETRIMENTAL TO TOO MANY THINGS THAT WE NEED TO DO.

Ted Simons: WE'RE HEARING BY WAY OF TOWN HALLS AND CRITICISM AND CONCERN REGARDING AT SOME POINT OF THE IDEAS OUT THERE RIGHT NOW, CONCERN THAT EMPLOYER-BASED INSURANCE WOULD ESSENTIALLY DISAPPEAR UNDER MANY OF THE OPTIONS OUT THERE RIGHT NOW. IS THAT A CONCERN OF AARP?

Ritch Steven: SOME OF OUR MEMBERS HAVE THAT CONCERN, BUT MOST OF OUR MEMBERS DO NOT HAVE THAT CONCERN.

Ted Simons: OKAY. ANOTHER CONCERN IS NO MORE MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT IF SOME OF THESE PLANS ARE PUT INTO PLACE. IS THAT A CONCERN OF AARP?

Ritch Steven: THERE ARE A NUMBER OF FOLKS THAT HAVE BEEN QUOTED AS SAYING, I LOVE MY MEDICARE. DON'T TOUCH MY MEDICARE. I DON'T WANT A GOVERNMENT SYSTEM. AND IT'S KIND OF, YOU GO, WAIT A MINUTE. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO REALLY GET VERY CONFUSED OVER HOW CAN THEY SAY ON THE ONE HAND THEY'RE GOING TO TAKE $500 PLUS BILLION OUT OF THE COST OF MEDICARE AND NOT AFFECT MY BENEFITS? THE REALITY IS YOU CAN TAKE $500 BILLION OF COST AND NEVER TOUCH BENEFITS AND ACTUALLY MAKE THE SERVICES YOU RECEIVE UNDER MEDICARE BETTER FOR YOU AS A CUSTOMER.

Ted Simons: CONCERN AGAIN, WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT AND OTHER ASPECTS OF REFORM COULD LEAD TO RATIONING OF HEALTH CARE. AARP, WHERE IS IT STANDING ON THAT?

Ritch Steven: WE WOULD NOT SUPPORT RATIONING OF HEALTH CARE TO ANY OF OUR MEMBERS. NEVER HAVE, NEVER WILL. MEMBERS NEED TO RECEIVE WHATEVER HEALTH SERVICES THEY NEED THAT WILL ALLOW THEM TO MAINTAIN THEIR HEALTH IN AN OPTIMAL WAY.

Ted Simons: SENATOR McCAIN JUST HAD A TOWN HALL AND TALKED SOMETHING ALONG THE LINES OF A SENIORS HEALTH CARE BILL OF RIGHTS AND THE IDEA OF TAXES, CREDITS AND VOUCHERS AND THESE SORTS OF THINGS. FROM WHAT YOU'RE HEARING FROM MEMBERS, IS THAT A VIABLE OPTION OR, AGAIN, IS THAT SOMETHING THAT EVERYONE FROM ALL DIFFERENT AVENUES IS COMING AT FROM DIFFERENT WAYS?

Ritch Steven: I THINK THE LATTER IS PROBABLY TRUE. EVERYBODY IS COMING AT IT FROM A DIFFERENT WAY. WE HAVE LOOKED AT TAX CREDITS IN THE PAST, BUT ALL THOSE KINDS OF THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN PUT ON THE TABLE NEVER HAVE AMOUNTED TO A SERIOUS DENT IN THE COST OF ACQUIRING HEALTH INSURANCE. SO WE'VE NEVER REALLY ENDORSED THAT. IF THEY PUT THAT INTO CURRENT LEGISLATION AND ACTUALLY IT CAME OUT IN THE FORM OF A BILL, OBVIOUSLY WE WOULD LOOK AT IT.

Ted Simons: TORT REFORM. WHAT DO YOU THINK? WHAT DOES THE ORGANIZATION THINK?

Ritch Steven: TORT REFORM, WE BELIEVE THAT EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO SEEK GRIEVANCES THROUGH OUR LEGAL SYSTEMS, AND WE'VE BEEN VERY CONSISTENT IN THAT POSITION.

Ted Simons: AND DOES THAT POSITION NEED TO BE REFORMED IN TERMS OF WHAT EXISTS RIGHT NOW?

Ritch Steven: AT THIS POINT WE HAVE NOT TAKEN A POLICY THAT WE THINK IT NEEDS SIGNIFICANT REFORM.

Ted Simons: IT SOUNDS LIKE OBVIOUSLY YOU'RE BEING CAREFUL HERE BECAUSE YOU'RE REPRESENTING AN ORGANIZATION WITH A HUGE MEMBERSHIP. CONSIDERING THAT AND ALL THESE OPTIONS ON THE TABLE AND NOT ENDORSING ANY ONE OF THESE OPTIONS, IS AARP ALMOST AT THE POINT WHERE YOU'RE LOSING SOME RELEVANCE BY NOT COMING OUT AND SAYING, THAT'S THE WAY WE NEED TO GO?

Ritch Steven: WELL, I THINK THIS IS A VERY CONFUSING ISSUE AND IT'S BEING INTRODUCED IN A VERY CONFUSING WAY. WHEN YOU HAVE 40 MILLION MEMBERS, NOT EVERYBODY IS GOING TO AGREE. THERE ARE TWO CRITERIAS FOR AARP MEMBERSHIP. 50 PLUS AND $16.50. SO YOU GET PEOPLE WHO JOIN AARP FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS. WE'VE LOST A FEW MEMBERS, VERY FEW MEMBERS OVER THIS ISSUE THAT SAY, I DON'T SUPPORT WHERE THE ORGANIZATION IS ON IT. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WHILE I KNOW THE NEWS MEDIA SAID WE LOST 60,000 MEMBERS, WE GAINED 400,000 DURING THE SAME PERIOD WHO JOINED US. IT'S AN EBB AND FLOW ISSUE AND WE WORK VERY HARD AS AN ORGANIZATION TO COMMUNICATE WITH OUR MEMBERS THROUGH THE WRITTEN WORD, THE E-MAILS, AARP.ORG. WE REALLY WORK TO LISTEN TO THEM AND TO TALK TO THEM.

Ted Simons: LAST QUESTION VERY QUICKLY. OF THOSE WHO SAID, I'M OUT OF HERE, I DISAGREE WITH THE ORGANIZATION. WHAT'S THEIR BIGGEST CONCERN?

Ritch Steven: USUALLY THEY THINK WE'RE TRYING TO ENDORSE A SOCIALIZED SYSTEM. INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH WHAT WE FIND OUT IS USUALLY ABOUT THREE TO SIX MONTHS LATER ABOUT HALF THE PEOPLE THAT RESIGNED CALL US UP AND SAY, WHY AM I NOT GETTING THE MAGAZINE OR WHY CAN'T I GET MY AUTO INSURANCE? WE DO HAVE TO SAY, WELL, YOU DO GET THE WHOLE PACKAGE FOR 16.50. YOU DON'T JUST GET TO PICK AND CHOOSE.

Ted Simons: THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

Ritch Steven: THANK YOU, MY PLEASURE.

Legislative Update

  |   Video
  • Arizona Capitol Times reporter Jim Small provides an update on the state budget after lawmakers adjourned the special session, sine die. It’s a move that gives the Governor 10 days to consider signing the budget that’s nearly identical to one she previously vetoed.
Guests:
  • Jim Small - Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Legislature

View Transcript
Ted Simons: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO "HORIZON." I'M TED SIMONS. STATE LAWMAKERS ENDED THEIR SPECIAL SESSION YESTERDAY TO GIVE GOVERNOR BREWER MORE TIME TO CONSIDER WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE BUDGET. HERE TO BRING US UP TO DATE IS ARIZONA CAPITOL TIMES REPORTER JIM SMALL. JIM, GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Jim Small: YEAH, THANKS FOR HAVING ME BACK.

Ted Simons: THE SPECIAL SESSION ADJOURNS, SINE DIE YESTERDAY. SURPRISED AT ALL?

Jim Small: A LITTLE BIT. THERE WAS TALK WHERE THE LEGISLATURE WAS GOING TO GO THIS ROUTE OR WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. PEOPLE WERE TALKING ON MONDAY AND TUESDAY MORNING JUST SAW THE DIFFERENT OPTIONS. WHEN LAWMAKERS AND EVERYONE STARTED TO GATHER FOR THE SPECIAL SESSION YESTERDAY AFTERNOON, IT BECAME QUICKLY APPARENT THEY WERE GOING TO SINE DIE. LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP SAID YEAH, WE'RE GOING TO DO THIS. THEY WENT AHEAD AND DID IT. THE BILLS HAVE BEEN ON GOVERNOR BREWER'S DESK. THEY GOT SENT UP LAST WEEK, LAST THURSDAY I BELIEVE. SHE HAD UNTIL WEDNESDAY, TONIGHT, IN FACT, UNTIL MIDNIGHT TO ACT ON THEM. BY THEM SINE DIE IN THE SPECIAL SESSION, THE CONSTITUTION SAYS YOU HAVE TEN DAYS AND YOU'RE OUT OF SESSION. THAT CLOCK RESTARTS AND SHE ACTUALLY HAS UNTIL SEPTEMBER 5th, THE SATURDAY OF LABOR DAY WEEKEND TO DECIDE WHAT SHE WANTS TO DO ON THE BILLS.

Ted Simons: SO SHE HAS TEN EXTRA DAYS TO WORK ON IT AND LAWMAKERS HAVE TEN DAYS AS WELL TO FIGURE OUT IF THEY CAN WRANGLE UP THE LAST VOTE, CORRECT?

Jim Small: YEAH. THAT SEEMS TO BE ONE OF THE REASONS TO DECIDE TO DO THIS, TO BUY SOME TIME TO HAVE ONE FINAL LAST-DITCH EFFORT TO EITHER CAJOLE A REPUBLICAN, TO TWIST AN ARM, TO GET SOMEBODY ON BOARD THIS SALES TAX REFERRAL OR INCOME TAX PACKAGE OR TO SWEETEN THE POT FOR DEMOCRATS. IN THAT VEIN, THEY STARTED MEETING, HAVING FIVE-PARTY TALKS. REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP, THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNOR HAVE BEEN WORKING TOGETHER TO TRY TO WORK OUT A DEAL.

Ted Simons: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE BIPARTISAN TALKS. REALLY SOMETHING GOING ON HERE? ARE THESE NEGOTIATIONS? ARE THEY TALKS? ARE THEY MEETINGS? ARE THEY HI, HOW ARE YOUS? WHAT ARE THEY?

Jim Small: I THINK THEY'RE SOMEWHERE BETWEEN TALKS AND NEGOTIATIONS HI, HOW ARE YOU DOING. CERTAINLY MAY NOT CALL THEM NEGOTIATIONS, BASED ON WHAT'S BEEN TOLD TO THE REPORTER. HE SAID THE DEMOCRATS OFFER GIVEN YESTERDAY MORNING IS NOT IN THE SAME BALLPARK AS WHAT’S ALREADY ON THE TABLE. HE SAID IT WASN'T A SERIOUS OFFER. DEMOCRATS COUNTERED WITH THE FACT THAT IT IS A SERIOUS OFFER. THEY MADE CONCESSIONS FROM WHERE THEY WERE BEFORE BUT THE REPUBLICANS NEED TO BE WILLING TO COMPROMISE. THEY CAN'T EXPECT THE DEMOCRATS TO FALL IN LINE.

Ted Simons: HOW OFTEN HAVE THEY BEEN MEETING? DOES IT SOUND LIKE THEY WILL CONTINUE TO MEET?

Jim Small: THEY MET LAST FRIDAY MORNING FOR THE FIRST TIME. THEY MET EARLY YESTERDAY A COUPLE OF TIMES IN THE MORNING AND THEN IN THE AFTERNOON. THE NEXT SCHEDULED MEETING IS TOMORROW AFTERNOON. YOU KNOW, EXACTLY HOW THIS GOES I THINK REALLY DEPENDS ON WHAT KIND OF CONCESSIONS BOTH SIDES ARE WILLING TO MAKE. DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN THE ONES MAKING OFFERS TO THIS POINT. THEY'RE NOT REALLY CLEAR. THEY'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE DETAILS. EVERYBODY IS KEEPING MUM ON THAT. HOUSE MINORITY LEADER DID SAY ONE OF THE MAIN COMPONENTS OF THEIR PROPOSAL IS TO LET THAT PROPERTY EQUALIZATION TAX, THE STATEWIDE PROPERTY TAX COME BACK ON THE BOOKS. USE THAT MONEY TO RESTORE SOME OF THE CUTS LAWMAKERS HAVE ALREADY APPROVED. I DON'T KNOW IF THAT WILL WORK. THAT'S ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT'VE DIED ON THE HILL AND FOUGHT FOR. LAST YEAR, THEY SENT THE BILL UP TO FORMER GOVERNOR NAPOLITANO. I DON'T KNOW THEY'RE WILL TO GIVE THAT UP.

Ted Simons: SPEAKING OF THAT, IS THERE A THOUGHT THAT IF PERHAPS THE GOVERNOR GOES AHEAD AND SIGNS SOME OF THE BUDGET BUT EQUALIZATION RATE SHE GOES AHEAD AND VETOES SO THAT SHE HAS A BIT OF NEGOTIATION TO GO AND CAN GET PARTIES BACK AT THE TABLE AGAIN, ESPECIALLY REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP, IS THAT A POSSIBILITY?

Jim Small: THAT IS ABSOLUTELY A POSSIBILITY. IF YOU ASK PEOPLE DOWN AT THE CAPITOL TO GIVE THEIR PROGNOSTICATION ABOUT WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN, YOU'RE GOING TO HEAR EVERYTHING FROM SIGN THE ENTIRE BUDGET, TO VETO THE ENTIRE THING TO THINGS IN THE MIDDLE, MAYBE SHE'LL VETO SOME THINGS AND SIGN OTHER THINGS INTO LAW. I THINK THE PEOPLE WHO THINK SHE'S GOING TO VETO SOMETHING, I THINK A LOT OF THEM THINK IT WILL BE THE PROPERTY EQUALIZATION TAX BECAUSE IT'S THE BIGGEST LEVERAGE SHE HAS AGAINST REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS TO GET THE SUPPORT FROM THEM TO PUT THAT SALES TAX THING ON THE BALLOT.

Ted Simons: SHE VETOES THAT, THOUGH, THAT'S GOING TO HURT HER POLITICALLY, IS IT NOT? THAT'S A TOUGH SELL IF SHE DECIDES TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR.

Jim Small: I THINK YOU COULD EASILY MAKE THE ARGUMENT THAT THE ENTIRE PROCESS UP TO THIS POINT HAS BEEN CERTAINLY NOT BEEN HELPFUL POLITICALLY. WE'VE SEEN, YOU KNOW, NO END OF THE POLITICAL IN FIGHTING AS THE REPUBLICAN LEADERS. MY GOODNESS, WE HAD SENATOR BOB BURNS SAYING GOVERNOR BREWER WASN'T CAPABLE OF DOING THE JOB. THAT WAS TWO MONTHS AGO. YOU HAD A LOT OF FALLOUT FROM THE WAY THIS ENTIRE PROCESS HAS BEEN RUN. TO THIS POINT, SHE'S SHOWN THAT SHE'S VERY COMMITTED TODAY THE SALES TAX BALLOT REFERRAL. I DON'T KNOW AT WHAT POINT THEY DECIDE TO WAVE THE WHITE FLAG ON IT AND SAY, OKAY, WE QUIT. WE GIVE UP. WE FAILED.

Ted Simons: I WAS GOING TO SAY. IT SEEMS AS THOUGH SHE HAS A LOT OF OPTIONS, BUT MANY OF THEM INVOLVE BRINGING THESE FOLKS BACK YET AGAIN FOR ANOTHER SPECIAL SESSION AND HAVE THEM ADDRESS THE SALES TAX HIKE, TEMPORARY SALES TAX HIKE SEPARATELY FROM EVERYTHING ELSE. AGAIN, A POSSIBILITY?

Jim Small: ABSOLUTELY. THAT IS CERTAINLY WHAT REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP IS PUSHING FOR DOWN AT THE CAPITOL. THEY WANT HER TO SIGN THE BUDGET WITH THE PROMISE THEY'RE GOING TO COME BACK AND WORK ON IT. IF THAT MEANS SHE HAS TO CALL THEM TO SPECIAL SESSION, SO BE IT. THEY'LL DO. I THINK MOST PEOPLE DOWN THERE EXPECT THERE TO BE A SPECIAL SESSION ONE WAY OR ANOTHER IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS. IF THERE'S NOT FOR WHATEVER REASON, I THINK MOST PEOPLE WOULD ALSO AGREE THAT THERE'S GOING TO BE A SPECIAL SESSION BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR JUST TO FIX THE BUDGET CURRENTLY ON HER DESK. IT LOOKS LIKE THE EARLY REVENUE NUMBERS ARE COMING IN LOWER THAN EXPECTED. THAT MEANS THERE'S GOING TO BE A COUPLE OF HOLES TO PATCH.

Ted Simons: LAST QUESTION. ON THE BIPARTISAN TALKS. ARE LAWMAKERS IN GENERAL, NOT NECESSARILY LEADERSHIP, BUT THE FOLKS STILL HANGING OUT DOWN THERE, ARE THEY OPTIMISTIC SOMETHING CAN COME OF THESE BIPARTISAN TALKS?

Jim Small: IT DEPENDS ON WHO YOU'RE TALKING TO. IT'S KIND OF A MIXED BAG ON THAT. I THINK SOME PEOPLE ARE REALLY HOPEFUL THIS WILL WORK OUT. DEMOCRATS I THINK ARE HAPPY TO JUST FINALLY BE AT THE TABLE WITH SOME MEANINGFUL DISCUSSIONS WITH THE GOVERNOR. THEY'VE HAD THEM WITH REPUBLICAN LEADERS AND THOSE DIDN'T WORK OUT WELL. ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OF THE AISLE, I THINK MOST PEOPLE ARE KIND OF HOPING FOR HER TO JUST SIGN THIS THING AND WE'LL GO WORK ON THE TAX PROVISION LATER AND WE CAN COME BACK AND DEAL WITH THAT IN A MONTH.

Ted Simons: ALL RIGHT. VERY GOOD, JIM. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Jim Small: THANK YOU.

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