Holy Matrimony!

All's Fair In Love And Lawmaking--For Better Or For Worse.

By Jim Nintzel

GREAT NEWS FOR all frustrated single men here in Arizona who are finding the fairer sex just a little too ornery: The Arizona Legislature is now considering a bill that would help women learn the skills they need to land husbands.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mark Anderson (R-Stepford), would create a pilot program to teach home-management skills to women on welfare, including "positive thinking and attitude adjustment techniques" and "understanding economic and personal benefits of marriage."

I imagine the curriculum would be pretty simple: How to keep your mouth shut and mix a good Bloody Mary.

Cost of the program: $2 million--not that you can put a price tag on happiness.

Currents Anderson certainly knows a lot about finding a wife. A member of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, he was matched with his wife Lucia by Rev. Moon. In fact, the couple was married along with 4,000 other people in one of those screwy mass ceremony at Madison Square Garden.

Once these welfare women have completed their course and landed that special fella, Sen. David Peterson (R-Stone Age) has come up with a terrific way to make sure the happy couple stays together: covenant marriage, a special sort of union where a spouse has to show fault to obtain a divorce.

Covenant marriage would just be an option for couples who really, really love each other. You could still opt for a standard marriage, with its immoral, easy-out, no-fault divorce option. But once we have those "attitude adjustment" classes in full swing, who'd want to do that?

That's the Arizona Legislature for you: Lawmakers have plenty of great ideas on how to strengthen our family ties, but--surprise!--they've yet to figure out how to allocate tax dollars so we can build decent schools for our kids or adequately fund effective teenage pregnancy prevention programs.

Ah, yes, that brings us to that school finance problem that's been nagging the Legislature for years. Details are sketchy, but that solution is being crafted behind closed doors by Gov. Jane Dee Hull, Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Graham Keegan, Senate President Brenda Burns and Speaker of the House Jeff Groscost. When they've got it all figured out, they'll swing into a quick special session to pass the reform--or at least that's the plan.

Isn't open democracy a wonderful thing?

GUESS NOBODY HAS ever filled in Sen. Scott Bungaard on a little secret: Life isn't fair.

Bungaard (R-Johannesburg) is particularly concerned about fairness--so concerned, in fact, that he's pushing a bill that would put a proposition on November's ballot to amend the Arizona Constitution to prevent state agencies from enacting any kind of affirmative action program.

Because, after all, it's not fair that state universities sometimes make special efforts to recruit minorities, who might otherwise believe a college education to be beyond reach.

Let's face it: With the exception of affirmative action programs, pork is always dished out purely on the basis on merit. Certainly, government jobs never go to the politically connected, and multi-million-dollar contracts are never granted, say, through under-the-table bid-rigging to accounting firms that handle the governor's finances. (Or if it does happen, you probably can't prove it in federal court. Especially if a key figure happens to perish in an auto accident shortly before trial.)

Yep, it's just those parasitic, dark-skinned scam artists taking advantage of the system to steal opportunities from oppressed white victims. And Bungaard is here to put a stop to that!

Bungaard's focus on fairness has also led him to propose a tax cut for the rich, since it's not fair that wealthy Arizonans pay a higher percentage in taxes than poor folks.

Under Bungaard's plan, Arizona would go from our current progressive tax system, ranging from zero up to 5.17 percent, to a flat rate of 3.25 percent. The proposal would result in a $330 million tax cut, even as lawmakers try to find the funds to fix our crumbling schoolhouses.

Of course, even with the tax cut, Bungaard can't jiggle the tax rates without raising taxes somewhere. In this case, the 1,600-plus folks who earn more than $1 million a year would get about 16 percent of the total tax savings--for an average $32,352 each--while about 70,000 folks who earn between $50,000 and $100,000 would see their taxes go up. But it would go a long way toward making the tax system more fair.

Of course, it's not really fair that the wealthy have so much more money than the rest of us, either; but Bungaard's interest fairness seems to decline once he's raised taxes on the middle class so that the rich can treat themselves to another vacation in Europe or another home in ski country.

Fair's fair, right? TW

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