Posted by Michael Bryan
I got a robocall from Paula Aboud tonight that plugged me into a telephonic town-hall-style meeting with Senator Aboud, who is launching her Congressional campaign for CD2. Pretty cool use of the technology, actually.
During the call, Paula repeatedly made the point that she liked to work across the aisle and to broker compromises with her GOP colleagues. She touted her experience doing so in the Arizona Senate, her family dynamics (which includes brothers who are conservatives), and her deep personal satisfaction derived from working with Republicans.
Given the demographics of CD2, it is to be expected that Aboud, or any Democrat seeking the seat, will portray themselves as a moderate in the Giffords mold. Aboud didn't surprise me by talking about her ability to seek common ground and claims to moderation.
What did surprise me, greatly, is that Aboud praised, and suggested Democratic voters support, a GOP plan to increase the business personal property tax exemption from $68,000 to $2.4 million: a 3500% increase that will largely benefit larger businesses and will blow an increasingly large hole in the state budget going forward. This change will likely be on the ballot during this year's general election as a ballot referendum to amend the Arizona Constitution.
This proposal has been previously examined on this blog by myself and the BlueMeanie, and found to be deeply flawed. As currently crafted, it is willfully misleading and deceptive, shifts property tax burdens onto struggling homeowners, and constitutes a major gift to big corporate taxpayers at the expense of the rest of us. This proposal is not a good idea - and certainly not one that Democrats should support.
And Aboud did not just mention it in passing as an example of potential tax relief to small business (whom this proposal does a very poor job of targeting), but returned to it more than once, praising it and suggesting it should be supported by her listeners. It seems possible that Aboud may make her support of this proposal a theme in her attempt to cast herself as a tax cutter for the CD2 election, thereby appealing to independents and fiscal conservatives.
If so, Paula should find a tax proposal to back that doesn't seek to shift the property tax burden onto homeowners already struggling to hold on to their homes. Increasing the business personal property tax exemption by %3500 is not a good way, nor a fair way, nor even a fiscally efficient way, to create new jobs for Arizona; it is only a good way for big corporate tax-payers to lay more of the tax burden on regular folks, and for the GOP to blow another ever-growing hole in Arizona's future budgets.
Word of advice, Paula: you need to win the Democratic primary before you seek the approval of the general electorate. Backing yet another corporate tax boondoggle sponsored by your GOP Senatorial colleagues is not going to help you do that.