Times have been tough for many of us, but Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature really came through with the recently completed legislative session. Let's talk about some of the winners!
- If you've been scraping by on just a million bucks a year (after taking advantage of all those loopholes to lower your income), you're in luck! Ducey pushed through a tax cut aimed right at you! Those who earn more than a million a year will be bringing home, on average, an extra $46,625 a year, according to estimates from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. And if you're really struggling—earning between $500,000 and a million bucks—you still get, on average, $12,134. (Lawmakers would love to give you more but that would be rewarding you for not making that seven-figure income—and we look out for the real go-getters in this state!) Earn the median income of $53,000 in Pima County? Don't worry, we'll give you an extra $96. That's like two Big Gulps a week! (Yeah, yeah—education groups are preparing to launch a referendum to send this one to the ballot to see if voters will reject it, but lawmakers have put all kinds of hurdles in the way of petition drives in recent years, so hopefully the lawyers will keep that happening.)
- If you've been worried about Arizona's schoolchildren learning about all these "woke" theories that suggest that the nation has a long history of white supremacy, don't fret! Lawmakers passed a bill making it illegal to teach anything that might make kids think systemic racism had anything to do with slavery, laws against mixed-race marriages and the freedom to stop Black and Mexicans from staying in hotels or eating in restaurants alongside their betters. There's nothing like white folks telling people of color that some knowledge is illegal to prove that systemic racism is a thing of the past.
- On a similar topic: If you were worried that some lefty no-nothing might be on a civilian review board and start second-guessing cops, lawmakers took care of that problem! Now, the only people who can serve on civilian review boards are cops or ex-cops, thanks to a new law that requires anyone on a review board to have undergone 80 hours of police training. And, as the Arizona Mirror reported, that training is only available to someone who is in law enforcement. Now that's right kind of accountability!
- Speaking of law and order: Were you worried that Arizona might get some kind of sentencing reform through the Legislature? Arizona's tough-on-crime laws still stand after Senate President Karen Fann killed a proposal to allow early release for non-violent offenders who definitely belong behind bars.
- Concerned that some school board might make kids who are too young to get the COVID vaccine wear masks in the classroom? Well, now that's a choice for kids to make, not some dumb adult! State lawmakers made it illegal for school boards to require those dumb masks. And they made it illegal for schools to require the COVID vaccine because—let's face it—when your number's up, your number's up. Taking precautions to prevent the spread of a disease is just un-American. Take that, Fauci!
- Think that the owners of professional sports teams don't get enough from the public with their taxpayer-funded stadiums? Well, now they get to profit from sports gambling within those hallowed walls as part of a deal Ducey cut with the tribes to let them expand their own gambling operations. What do you want to bet those sports owners will be happy to invest some of their ill-gotten gains into Ducey's next political project? That's what we call rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies.
- If you've been worried that a legislative record like this might result in more people voting for Democrats, don't worry! While they didn't succeed in every effort, lawmakers came up with a few new hurdles in the path of would-be voters, including a new law that kicks people off what used to be called the Permanent Early Voter List. (Now it's the Active Early Voter List—because unless you're active in sending back your ballot, you can't be on it anymore!)
- After doing such an amazing job, lawmakers who live outside of Maricopa County are getting a raise! Sure, voters have to approve a pay raise—but lawmakers can increase their own per diem, the money they get for the expenses they incur while serving the ruling class. Now, instead of $60 a day, lawmakers will get nearly $200 a day based on the federal per diem. This was the dream of state Sen. David Gowan, who is always on the lookout for how he can pad his own wallet in his service to the ruling class while cutting back on programs for the freeloaders.