The following is Sen. Steve Pierce’s full statement on the budget
“Mr. President, we all know that earthquakes happen now and again in California. Two earthquakes – of the geological kind – rocked California over the last few days. Well, Mr. President, Tuesday a political earthquake rocked California, and we need to pay attention. Every single one of us needs to pay attention. Our leadership and our governor need to pay attention. The aftershocks of this latest earthquake rocked the political class. Voters are ticked off and the same thing can happen here in Arizona.
California’s economy is in a death spiral. Their budget is as out of whack as ours. For years, California has pursued a tax-and-spend philosophy and it finally caught up with them. Their deficit is $42 billion . . . . And people are fleeing the state so fast; it’ll make your head spin. So what was their plan? Tuesday, California asked their citizens to pass six ballot measures; not five points, but six that raised taxes in one form or another instead of forcing the legislature to cut spending. Sound familiar?
Well, guess what? The voters told them to go take a flying a leap, rejecting five of the six. After their governor and their teacher’s unions, and their health care allies ran ads warning Californians of the dire consequences if the measures didn’t pass, and after spending over $27 million dollars on the campaign to pass these measures of tax hikes, education spending increases, increased borrowing capacity, and fund sweeps. After all that . . . still everything failed. Miserably. Wasn’t even close. Well almost everything. The only measure that passed was the one that denied pay raises to lawmakers. That measure was appropriately titled 1F.
Voters are mad. Taxpayers are mad. Our governor and our elected officials… that’s us. We need to hear this. We need to hear it loud and clear. We lawmakers have a duty and a responsibility to protect the fiscal integrity of our state. We need to rectify our budget mess by restructuring and resizing state government. We need to do it. We didn’t run for office only to ask taxpayers to do it. We need to do it.
This isn’t about which party you belong to. This is about doing what’s best for our state.
Look, I’m new here. I’m the freshman and I know that. I haven’t been around as long as many of you. I guess that makes me a bit of an outsider. And I think given the crisis we’re in, an outsider’s perspective might just be a good thing. I told my constituents that I was going to represent them to the best of my abilities. Not the special interests, not the lobbyists, and not the needs of government. I’m going to side with the people of Arizona and what is right for Arizona…we all should. In yesterday’s appropriations votes on budget bulls, I was the only one that crossed party lines to cast a vote…we all need to examine where we are and what is right for Arizona….
Yes, there are worthy causes, and yes we face tough choices Just look around. This economy is disastrous right now. People are hurting, losing jobs, and sacrificing every day waiting for a new tomorrow. 200,000 Arizonans would gladly have less salary than no salary. We need to operate Arizona the same way. Government’s size needs to be reduced. It needs to do more with less. It is a reality everybody in the private sector is facing today and it is a reality we need to face as well.
The budget we’re going to vote on won’t be perfect. It won’t be a ‘Republican’ budget or a ‘Democrat’ budget. It’ll be a ‘Reality’ budget. Not everyone is going to like it. But excuse me; I didn’t think we were elected to come down here to make only the easy decisions. I didn’t think we ran for office just to have fun and pass out money we don’t have. I didn’t come here for a popularity contest. And as my father would say – ‘life’s no crystal staircase!’
When the tallies were counted in California and measures went down in defeat, they asked Gov. Schwarzenegger, ‘What are you going to do now?’
His response: ‘The longer we wait, the worse the problem becomes and the more limited our choices will be. That is why tomorrow, we will come together to begin to develop a budget solution that gets our state back on track.’
Mr. President, I agree. Let’s get this done for all of Arizona.”