Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward made several interesting statements during her press conference today backing an increase in the sales tax to fund public education.
For instance, she said that “young, suburban women have drifted to the socialist side” and that they will be lured back to the GOP by this tax-increase proposal. And she said Republicans are the true champions of education funding in Arizona, a statement that can charitably be described as “gaslighting.”
But what stuck out the most to me was when Ward challenged legislative Democrats to support a pair of measures sponsored by Republicans that would let voters increase the sales tax from 0.6 cents to 1 cent.
“On the other hand, Democrats like to talk a big game, but too often they use constituents as political pawns, and then vote against teachers and students when it matters most,” she said, openly daring Democratic lawmakers to back the legislation.
Let’s think about this for a second. The measures in question, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1001 and House Concurrent Resolution 2024, are effectively dead. They were killed by Republican leaders in each chamber, and neither piece of legislation ever received a floor vote.
If, by some miracle, they are revived before the legislative session ends, it strains credulity to think that the measures can pass either the House or the Senate with just Republican support. Hell, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where even half of the GOP lawmakers support asking voters to increase the sales tax.
The only way they pass is with strong Democratic support.
That means the head of the Arizona Republican Party is challenging the Democrats to support rolling the Republican legislative leadership to allow for a tax increase.
I bet House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Senate President Karen Fann love that. Maybe they’ll tell Ward as much tonight at the AZGOP’s annual Legislative Salute fundraiser.