Saturday, January 30, 2010

My views on AZ state budget in today's Star

Visit me today in Tucson with AG Terry Goddard at 11a, Rudy Garcia Park, 5001 S Nogales Hwy. Also LD29 Town Hall, 2-4p, 4350 E 22nd St.

TUCSON -- Arizona Daily Star, Opinion, Jan 30 10

District 29

Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson

Committees: Water and Energy; Military Affairs and Public Safety

Education

Additional cuts to the K-12 education system should be the absolute last resort. Gov. Jan Brewer and Republicans already made the largest cut to education in Arizona history last year, and Brewer now wants to make another cut of $750 million. A strong public education system is the foundation of our state's economic recovery and long-term stability - we must invest in our education system both in good times and in bad so we can attract businesses and jobs to our state. Arizona cannot rebound from our current economic downturn without having a school system that provides students of all ages the knowledge and skills they need to be the work force of the future. And our higher-education system must have the tools to foster new and diversified industries for Arizona - such as biotech and renewable energy - through research and development.

Health care

The health-care services on the chopping block are not for people on welfare. Most of these individuals have some income but they don't make much money and they are struggling to pay the bills during these tough times. Balancing the budget on the backs of those who are only trying to keep their jobs, support their families, keep their children healthy and live the life all middle-class Americans want, is not the answer and only pushes Arizona down the wrong track. And there are other options that would allow us to keep vital health-care services in place. Eliminating health-care coverage for these families will also disqualify Arizona for more than $1 billion in federal dollars. Arizonans send their taxes to Washington and we should make sure that money comes back to Arizona to pay for health care.

Budget cuts

I am not ideologically tied to one type of cut - and I know more will be needed. But I believe that in deciding what to cut, programs and services that are vital to Arizona economic growth, like education, must be protected. A comprehensive and, preferably, a bipartisan approach to solving our budget crisis must be taken that includes cuts, stabilizing revenue and maximizing use of federal stimulus dollars. The budget shouldn't be solely balanced on the backs of children, seniors and middle-class families. Those are the wrong priorities for Arizona.

Revenues

There are many special-interest groups that have preferential treatment in the state's tax code. They are exempted from sales tax or income tax through complex credits and loopholes. Now is the time to close the loopholes and ask all Arizonans to help make sure funding is available for education and vital state services. I support requiring big corporations and the rich to pay their fair share in taxes rather than raising taxes on middle-class families to pay for tax breaks on country club memberships and spa treatments. Items as bizarre as 4-inch pipes for paper used to print movie advertisement posters are exempted from the sales tax while middle-class families pay sales tax on school supplies. Right now in Arizona, schools need funding worse than movie production studios.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Coal ash industry allowed to edit US EPA reports

Coal ash destroyed house in Tenn.

WASHINGTON -- For years U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publications and reports about uses and dangers of coal combustion waste have been edited by coal ash industry representatives, according to EPA documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Not surprisingly, the coal ash industry watered down official reports, brochures and fact-sheets to remove references to potential dangers and play up “environmental benefits” of a wide range of applications for coal combustion wastes – the same materials that EPA is currently deciding whether to classify as hazardous wastes following the disastrous December 2008 coal ash spill in Tennessee.

“For most of the past decade, it appears that every EPA publication on the subject was ghostwritten by the American Coal Ash Association,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, who examined thousands of industry-EPA communications. “In this partnership it is clear that industry is EPA’s senior partner.”

Read the full story...

More on coal ash hazards and US locations...


- adapted from PEER

Monday, January 25, 2010

GOP's corporate bailouts wrong for Arizona

Brewer & GOP are on the wrong track.

UPDATE, Jan 28: House Rs passed this bad bill today. The only bipartisan position was against it as all Ds and one R voted no.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizonans have watched Republican lawmakers fail multiple times to solve the budget deficit, and today Republicans’ corporate bailout package will take Arizona one step farther down the wrong track.

House Republicans’ plan to bail out big corporations and the rich while making middle-class families pay for it will be heard in the House Ways and Means Committee today at 2 p.m.

“Bottom line, this is no ‘jobs creation package’ and Arizonans know it,” Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema said. “The reality is that it’s a corporate bailout package to benefit big corporations and the rich, while middle-class families foot the tax bill.”

According to Republicans’ plan, business property class assessment ratio will be reduced from 20 percent to 15 percent, meaning businesses will pay less in property tax while homeowners pay more.

"It's unfair for Republicans to continue to shift the tax burden on to regular people by pushing new tax breaks for corporations and the rich," said Rep. Daniel Patterson. "Everyone needs to pay their fair share. Arizonans want balanced reform, not the old, failed out-of-touch schemes coming from Brewer and the guys running the legislature."

Republicans also want to give away a nearly 30 percent income tax break to big corporations without a guarantee or incentive that big corporations will use it to create more jobs.

“The headquarters of a big corporate retailer, for example, located in another state like Arkansas or Minnesota, would get to decide how to use Arizona’s tax break,” said House Democratic Policy Leader Steve Farley. “It could be used for any number of things like salary raises for corporate executives who already are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Republicans also want to repeal the education equalization tax, which they failed to do last year, and which directly funds education. Education took the biggest cut in Arizona history last year, and this year, Gov. Jan Brewer is proposing $750 million more in cuts to kids’ classrooms.

Republicans’ plan also appears to violate the gift clause in the state constitution, by giving big corporations money just to move to Arizona, when that money could fund schools.

“This is more about Republicans bailing out big corporations and the rich and giving away middle-class Arizonans’ hard-earned cash,” House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell said. “With Republicans’ corporate bailout package, corporate Arizona is getting a second Christmas. Clearly Republicans are just pushing Arizona further down the wrong track.”

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Join LD29 Town Hall in Tucson Sat. Jan 30

Do you live in LD29? click for larger image.

TUCSON -- I and my district 29 lawmaker teammates Sen. Linda Lopez and Rep. Matt Heinz will host another LD29 Town Hall on Jan 30. This will be our 5th LD29 Town Hall in the last year.

Please join us for an update from the Capitol and to have your voice heard:

LD29 Town Hall with Reps. Patterson & Heinz and Sen. Lopez
Sat. Jan 30, 2-4pm
Eckstrom-Columbus Branch Library
4350 E. 22nd St., Tucson

Your district 29 team is working to help people, solve problems and build bridges for positive change in Arizona.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ex-Citizen journalists launch TucsonSentinel.com

Tucson's Sentinel Peak, aka 'A' Mountain, over downtown.

TUCSON -- Ex-Tucson Citizen staff have formed the Tucson Sentinel news site, tweets former Citizen reporter Renee S. Horton. Check it out.

Good luck, Sentinel. Hope the Sentinel will find ways to challenge the Star and others some.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Reps. expose reality of Brewer’s reckless AZ budget

House Ds trying to put out economic fires.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Gov. Jan Brewer released a budget plan that continues to push Arizona down the wrong track, and House Democrats on Tuesday pointed out what Brewer isn’t telling Arizonans about her plan.

Brewer’s plan:
· Eliminates the state Department of Juvenile Corrections, causes 1,000 people to lose their jobs and shifts the burden on local counties that already are dealing with budget crises of their own.
· Makes $750 million in cuts to education, including eliminating all-day Kindergarten, building renewal funding for dilapidated schools and gifted programs for Arizona’s brightest.
· Kicks 360,000 kids, adults and seniors off health care.
· Closes 21 of Arizona’s state parks, eliminating critical dollars from Arizona’s small businesses and rural economies.

“By proposing eliminating Juvenile Corrections, an important facet of public safety in Arizona, Gov. Brewer has failed to lead and continues to push Arizona down the wrong track,” House Democratic Leader David Lujan said.

Brewer’s budget cuts $200 million from building renewal funds that help prevent things like roof collapses, three of which happened last year at McDowell Mountain Elementary in Fountain Hills, C.I. Waggoner Elementary in Tempe and Santa Maria Middle School in Tolleson.

"Brewer is still failing badly on the budget as she continues to recklessly swerve Arizona toward a deadly economic cliff, jeopardizing our future," said Rep. Daniel Patterson (Tucson-LD29). "Brewer needs to end her chaos at the capitol and start to work with us to help jobs, schools and the economy."

Also as a result of Brewer’s plan, fewer people will seek preventative care and longer wait times in the emergency rooms, and she’ll make Arizona voters go back to the ballot to vote again on Proposition 204, which they already approved.

“Gov. Brewer’s $750 million cut to classrooms is on top of the largest cut to education in state history that she made just last year,” Assistant Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema said. “It is wrong to rob health care from kids and seniors. Disrespecting voters and making these kinds of cuts to health care are the wrong priorities for our state.”

Brewer’s budget also closes the majority of Arizona’s state parks and dangerously suggests privatizing them.

“State parks not only serve an important historic and tourist value to Arizona, but also they bring vital dollars, jobs and business to these rural and small town economies,” House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell said. “Who wants to see a roller coaster going through Kartchner Caverns or heavy advertising of a large corporation in front of Red Rock State Park? That’s not the Arizona we all know and love.”

- adapted from House Dems PIO

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tucson, Arizona and USA celebrate MLK holiday

TUCSON -- My family and I will be proudly joining others in our community Monday to celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction of evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars--must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation." MLK, Jr. 1963

Friday, January 15, 2010

Reps. comment on Brewer’s wrong-track budget

Arizona needs a fair approach to the budget.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- House Democrats comment on Brewer’s wrong-track budget. House Democratic Leader David Lujan made the following statement:

“Today the governor released a budget plan that continues to push Arizona down the wrong track and makes even more devastating cuts to education, jobs and health care.

“To get Arizona on the right track, Democrats support making cuts to wasteful, non-essential services, closing tax loopholes, using federal stimulus dollars and implementing tough immigration reform. While she did adopt some of our ideas, like restoring some Department of Revenue funding to go after tax cheats, Gov. Brewer continues to fail to listen to the voters of Arizona by asking them to vote on Propositions 105 and 204, which they already approved.

“House Democrats are disappointed that the governor’s state of the state speech was so partisan, but as always, we continue to be committed to work toward a bipartisan, comprehensive solution for a stronger Arizona.”

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Arizona united against predatory payday loans

Tobin on the wrong side, again.

UPDATE: News release

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Rep. Andy Tobin (R-LD1-Paulden) has introduced a bill that would repeal the July 1, 2010 payday loan sunset date and perpetuate 400% interest rate payday loans indefinitely. His bill, HB 2161, was introduced in the middle of the night, and currently lacks any co-sponsors. Tobin is a key part of House Republican leadership as the majority whip.

from left: Sen. C. Gray, Rep. Patterson, Sen. McCune Davis, Sen. Garcia, Rep. Goodale at bipartisan press conference today.
"Rep. Tobin's bill doesn't respect the will of Arizona voters," said Rep. Daniel Patterson. "Arizonans said loud and clear they don't want predatory payday loans crippling Arizona's families and making tough times even tougher. As elected leaders, we should respect voters' decisions, and in this case they wisely want the sun to set on payday loans."

Just as 1.3 million Arizona voters rejected the payday industry’s attempt to remove this sunset with Prop 200 in 2008, the community comes together again to say: “Let the Sun Set on 400%!”

What: Press Conference to Show Broad Community Opposition to Continuation of Payday Lending in Arizona
Where: Arizona State Capitol — Senate Lawn
When: Thursday, January 14th, 12:00 pm

Speakers*: Sen. Debbie McCune Davis (D–LD14-Phoenix)
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Gray (R–LD19-Mesa)
Rep. Daniel Patterson (D–LD29-Tucson)
Rep. Doris Goodale (R–LD3-Kingman)
Rep. Frank Antenori (R–LD30-Tucson)
AARP Arizona
Kathy Jorgensen, Society of St. Vincent de Paul
* List in formation

www.NoMoreLoanSharks.com

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SoAZ Reps work for parks; Patterson Capitol notes

Rep. Pat Fleming

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Rep. Patricia Fleming (Sierra Vista-LD25), is advocating keeping open two major state parks that bring in small business dollars for southern Arizona’s economy.

Reps. Jack Brown, Barb McGuire, Lynne Pancrazi, I and others are also working to keep open more parks.

In addition, I am working on bills for economic fairness, re-open highway rest areas, foreclosure relief and anti-fraud. More on these and others later.

I and other House members met today in the MAPS Committee and passed two non-controversial fire and police related bills.

I miss my family and I'm going home to Tucson Thursday.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Back at the AZ Capitol for 2010 and beyond

Arizona Capitol

PHOENIX -- Watch out! The GOP-run Arizona legislature is back.

Brewer and Republicans continue to drag Arizona down the wrong track.

Please follow me on twitter @RepPatterson or facebook for daily updates and I will try to update this blog several times a week, including about public interest bills I'm working on.

LD29 voters, I ask for your support of my 2010 campaign, visit DanielPatterson.net

Friday, January 08, 2010

What effect does twitter, facebook have on blogs?

Communications breakdown?

TUCSON -- As I start 2010, the 5th year for this blog, I have to wonder what effect social networking sites such as twitter and facebook, which I use, have on this and other blogs?

I like twitter, and starting in 2009 found it to be much quicker and easier to put out my views to many interested people and link them to relevant sites, especially on my many very busy days.

I also like and cherish my blog, but my blog posting, which for years was at least once a day or more, declined in late 2009, as regular readers may have noticed. I'm not sure right now if this decline will last or not -- likely not with the 2010 Arizona legislative session coming up -- but is it bad to move toward more twitter and less blogging?

Are we tuning in to shorter bits of information with twitter and facebook? If so, is this bad, good or neutral?

What do you think? How are twitter and facebook effecting the blogs?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Rival GOP ‘plans’ offer no hope for AZ economy

49th Arizona Legislature 2nd regular session starts Jan 11.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizonans have watched Republican lawmakers and the governor fail multiple times this past year to solve one of the biggest budget deficits in history and continue to push our state down the wrong track. Today was no different.

Republican lawmakers and Gov. Jan Brewer announced this morning rival plans that will fail again to stimulate our state’s economy and get Arizona on the right track.

“Republican lawmakers’ plan shows they want to raise taxes on middle-class homeowners while giving huge tax breaks to big corporations and the rich,” said House Democratic Leader David Lujan. “Gov. Brewer’s speech today also fell short of any real plan. Pointing out how nice the weather is in Arizona in the winter doesn’t replace the need for real leadership and resolution of tough issues.”

According to Republicans’ plan, business property class assessment ratio will be reduced from 20 percent to 15 percent, meaning businesses will get to pay less in property tax, and homeowners will have to pick up the tab. Kids’ education also will suffer another blow from the Republicans’ plan. Other tax breaks for corporations in these plans will cost hundreds of millions of dollars when we are already facing a budget deficit of $3 billion.

"Brewer and legislative Republicans continue to be unfair to citizens, and that must stop," said Representative Daniel Patterson of Tucson. "Arizona needs leaders in 2010 with the courage to do the right thing for the common good, and we don't have it in Brewer, Burns or Adams."

“What’s not stated in this ‘plan’ are the massive funding cuts to kids’ education to pay for these tax cuts for big corporations and the rich,” said Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema. “In addition to these tax cuts, Republicans want to expand the $100 million-a-year private school STO tax credit to give even more money to a program rife with fraud and abuse.”

Closing these kinds of loopholes are smart, simple budget-balancing solutions, but are no where to be found in Republicans’ plans.

“It makes no sense that country club memberships and spa treatments aren't subject to sales tax, while middle-class families pay sales tax on clothes and school supplies,” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “We should be making cuts to wasteful non-essential services, using federal stimulus dollars, implementing tough immigration reform, closing tax loopholes and making the rich and big corporations pay their fair share so we can walk down the middle of the road toward a stronger Arizona.”

- adapted from House Dems PIO