Al Melvin’s bigoted tweet shows, once again, that the problem is on one side. And it’s not just the politicians.
Arizona State Senator Al Melvin posted that this afternoon. (Cynthia, who tweeted “Amen!” in approval to Melvin basically declaring America a conservative Christian-only zone, describes herself as “Christian,Mother,Native Texan,Student,Abstinence Advocate(4 all ages) Pro-Israel-No Profanity Zone” on her profile.)
Someone on Facebook joked wryly that today was a “Chamber of Commerce day” for Arizona, in light of Secretary of State Ken Bennett’s recent embarrassing escapade in Birther Nation. (Bennett, Arizona’s Secretary of State and the top person in charge of Arizona’s elections, is running for Governor. He is also Mitt Romney’s campaign co-chair. Which, as Jan Brewer demonstrated when she served the same role for GWB in 2004, is not a conflict of interest at all!)
Anyway, this all leads me to consider all the handwringing and whatnot over “extremism” in the Arizona Legislature. And I just have to note, once again, that some people have done awfully well since the Tea Party took over.
If Yogi Berra were a political analyst, he might describe the May 3 passage of HB2815 as the second consecutive year that the Legislature passed a once-in-a-generation competitiveness package.
The work put in on this year’s package is a testament to the commitment of Gov. Jan Brewer, House Speaker Andy Tobin and Senate President Steve Pierce to make Arizona the absolute best place to grow a thriving business.
The centerpiece of the bill was a landmark cut in the capital gains tax. Before passage of HB 2815, Arizona taxed capital gains like regular income. But thanks to the Legislature, we will phase in reductions of 10 percent, then 20 percent and finally 25 percent in the tax on capital gains, resulting in a 3.4 percent effective tax rate on capital gains.
This is big — the kind of stuff that wins plaudits from The Wall Street Journal and tax policy observers from around the country. Arizona is now in select company, as highlighted by the work of Arizona Chamber Foundation research analyst Chris McIsaac, whose cheekily titled policy brief, “Unchain the Gain,” demonstrated the economic power behind lower taxes on capital gains.
That is so awesome! In case he hadn’t made it clear enough, Glenn Hamer went back to the Capitol Times again and reiterated just how awesome this legislative session had been for the AZ Chamber of Commerce and Industry:
The two years of the 50th Arizona Legislature will go down in the history books as the years when the Legislature hit reboot on the Arizona economy and turned what was a basket case into a best case.
Consider where we were in 2010. We had a structural deficit, which was about the worst in the nation. We had just lost 300,000 jobs in the Great Recession. We were essentially California with a smaller economy and drier weather.
The past two years have been marked by job-creating reforms in taxes, regulations, civil justice and education. Our budget is now in balance.
Arizona’s tax system is now a model for other states. The centerpiece of last year’s tax package was a 30 percent phased-in reduction of our corporate income tax rate. The package also included a phased-in 100 percent elective sales factor for manufacturers that produce in Arizona but sell most of their goods outside of our borders. The property assessment ratio for businesses will be reduced to 18 percent. Our already best-in-class R&D tax credit was strengthened.
All this happened in a session that many observers described as the craziest in memory, in the sheer volume of whackadoodle bills and rhetoric, with very little pushback from the vaunted “business community”, for obvious reasons. So what was a little birtherism, then, to Ken Bennett? What’s the harm of indulging the majority of Republican primary voters in their hostile and stupid little fantasy that President Barack Obama was really born in Kenya and, therefore, not eligible to hold his office? Same with Governor Jan “Moral Values” Brewer, who signed every hideous Center for Arizona Policy attack on women this year and bragged to Howie Fischer that she thinks it’s totally fine to impose her moral beliefs on everyone in Arizona. Both Bennett and Brewer are what passes for “moderate Republicans” around these parts now. Which means their wingnut embarrassment potential has not yet eclipsed their usefulness to “business leaders”.
Back to Al Melvin’s awful tweet: This is not the first time “Captain Al”, as he’s known in southern Arizona, has acted the buffoon since he burst on the political scene in 2006. Melvin is a highly decorated retired senior Naval officer with degrees from the Merchant Marine Academy and Thunderbird School of Management. Oh, also endorsements from the Arizona Chamber and the National Federation of Independent Business for his previous campaigns. The election season is still young and time will tell if he pays any price for his bigoted statement (which he has not deleted or apologized for as of this writing). I’m guessing that if he promises enough tax cuts and union-bashing at the endorsement interviews, the establishment will overlook this little Twitter outburst. It’s well worth it to them.