Tag Archives: election

Barack Obama

Obama faces tough road with improving economy

Here’s the assignment President Barack Obama has won with his re-election: Improve an economy burdened by high unemployment, stagnant pay, a European financial crisis, slowing global growth and U.S. companies still too anxious to expand much.

And, oh yes, an economy that risks sinking into another recession if Congress can’t reach a budget deal to avert tax increases and deep spending cuts starting in January.

Yet the outlook isn’t all grim. Signs suggest that the next four years will coincide with a vastly healthier economy than the previous four, which overlapped the Great Recession.

Obama has said he would help create jobs by preserving low income tax rates for all except high-income Americans, spending more on public works and giving targeted tax breaks to businesses.

He used his victory speech in Chicago to stress that the economy is recovering and promised action in the coming months to reduce the government’s budget deficit, overhaul the tax system and reform immigration laws.

“We can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class,” Obama said.

The jobs picture has already been improving gradually. Employers added a solid 171,000 jobs in October. Hiring was also stronger in August and September than first thought.

Cheaper gas and rising home prices have given Americans the confidence to spend slightly more. Retailers, auto dealers and manufacturers have been benefiting.

That said, most economists predict the improvement will remain steady but slow. The unemployment rate is 7.9 percent. Obama was re-elected Tuesday night with the highest unemployment rate for any incumbent president since Franklin Roosevelt.

Few think the rate will return to a normal level of 6 percent within the next two years. The Federal Reserve expects unemployment to be 7.6 percent or higher throughout 2013.

Economists surveyed last month by The Associated Press said they expected the economy to grow a lackluster 2.3 percent next year, too slight to generate strong job growth. From July through September, the economy grew at a meager 2 percent annual rate.

Part of the reason is that much of Europe has sunk into recession. Leaders there are struggling to defuse a debt crisis and save the euro currency. Europe buys 22 percent of America’s exports, and U.S. companies have invested heavily there. Any slowdown in Europe dents U.S. exports and corporate profits.

And China’s powerhouse economy is decelerating, slowing growth across Asia and beyond.

Most urgently, the U.S. economy will fall over a “fiscal cliff” without a budget deal by year’s end. Spending cuts and tax increases of about $1.2 trillion will start to kick in. The combination of those measures would likely trigger a recession and drive unemployment up to 9 percent next year, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.

Many U.S. employers are wary of expanding or hiring until that potential crisis is averted. That’s why analysts have said resolving, or at least delaying, the fiscal cliff should be the most urgent economic priority for the White House.

In the longer run, analysts are more optimistic. Americans are feeling generally better about the economy. Measures of consumer confidence are at or near five-year highs.

And the main reason unemployment rose from 7.8 percent in September to 7.9 percent in October was that more people felt it was a good time to look for work. Most found jobs. Those who didn’t were counted as unemployed. (The government counts people without jobs as unemployed only if they’re looking for one.)

A brighter outlook among consumers is due, in part, to a steady increase in home prices after a painful six-year slump. Higher home prices can help create a “wealth effect,” making homeowners feel richer and spurring more spending.

Banks are also more likely to lend freely when home prices rise because homes are more likely to hold their value.

Americans have also been shrinking debts and saving slightly more. Household debt as a percentage of after-tax income dropped from about 125 percent before the recession to 103 percent in the April-June quarter, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest data. That ratio was roughly 90 percent in the 1990s.

But thanks to record-low interest rates, the cost of repaying those debts has dropped sharply. That, in turn, will free up more money for consumers to spend on cars, appliances and other goods.

Americans paid 10.7 percent of their after-tax income in interest on mortgages, credit cards and other consumer debt in this year’s April-June quarter, according to the Fed. That was down from 14 percent at the end of 2007. And it’s the lowest proportion since 1993.

“That’s 3 percentage points of disposable income that I am no longer using to pay for stuff that I bought earlier but I can instead use to buy stuff now,” noted Alan Levenson, chief economist at T. Rowe Price.

Economists note that economic recoveries after financial crises tend to be painfully slow. In part, that’s because time is needed for consumers to reduce debts and for banks to recover and lend again.

Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, noted that banks have boosted lending for the past 18 months — another sign that the passage of time is helping the economy rebound.

Obama “is going to have an easier time of it … because we’re further along the road to recovery after the financial crisis,” Ashworth said.

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The Arizona Chamber’s guide to the ballot propositions

With less than three weeks remaining before the 2012 General Election, many Arizonans are getting ready to put their early ballots in the mail. Before you fill in those boxes with ink and head to the post office, please take a moment to review the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s recommendations on statewide propositions.

The Chamber has weighed in on five ballot measures, taking a position of support on four and opposing one.

Here’s a brief look at each of our positions:

Proposition 116 – Property Tax Exemptions – Support
The Arizona Chamber joins the Arizona chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business in supporting Proposition 116, which will help small businesses grow and create jobs by reducing the tax burden on their equipment and machinery. A tax on the value of equipment and machinery increases the fixed cost of operating a business in Arizona and creates a disincentive to new investment. Proposition 116 would exempt the value of equipment and machinery equal up to the wages of 50 Arizona workers (now about $2.4 million), making it more likely Arizona businesses will hire new employees and purchase necessary equipment.

Proposition 117 – Property Tax Assessed Valuation – Support
As our friends at the Arizona Tax Research Association have pointed out for years, our state’s property tax system is overly complicated, with two valuations: full cash value and limited property value. Under Proposition 117, the annual growth of the limited property value would be limited to five percent, and it wouldn’t exceed the full cash value. Also, the limited property value would be the only taxable value, helping to deliver a much greater level of predictability and stability in Arizona’s property tax system.

Proposition 118 – Establishment of Permanent Funds – Support
Passage of Proposition 118 will restructure the distribution formula for the Permanent Land Endowment Fund, whose largest beneficiary is K-12 education. Currently, in some years the formula distributes tens of millions of dollars; in other years zero.  This reform will smooth out the distribution so that there is some allocation to education every year.  The result will bring about reliable and consistent K-12 education funding with no new taxes and no new spending from the General Fund. Arizona Treasurer Doug Ducey deserves applause for crafting this reform.

Proposition 119 – State Trust Lands – Support
Proposition 119 will help prevent incompatible land use that could put at risk the jobs associated with military bases. Arizona’s military installations contribute over $9 billion in economic output. Proposition 119, whose supporters include Land Commissioner Maria Baier and Greater Phoenix Leadership, will help ensure they are able to complete their critical missions and remain an integral part of Arizona’s economy for decades to come.

Proposition 204 – Permanent Sales Tax Increase – Oppose
The Chamber recognizes that a high-performing education system requires the financial resources necessary to produce a highly qualified workforce. To that end, the Chamber strongly supported Proposition 100 in 2010, which established a temporary one cent per dollar sales tax, and over 10 years ago our organization supported Proposition 301. We also supported new funding this past year at the Legislature to fund Move on When Reading, a proven reform targeted at ensuring that students exit the third grade with the ability to read. Going forward we will support efforts to properly implement the Common Core standards, which is a state-led effort to increase educational standards so America’s students can compete with the best and brightest students from around the world.

Unfortunately, this new $1 billion a year permanent tax would leave Arizona with the second highest sales tax rate in the country — leaving a number of cities with a combined rate over 10 percent. It would make future efforts to reform our sales tax code and help to create jobs much more difficult. Not surprisingly, many chambers and prominent business groups oppose this effort including the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, NFIB, the Arizona Small Business Association, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the East Valley Chambers Alliance. The education reform aspects are basically non-existent and simply not worth the risk to our state’s economy. Arguably two of the most prominent education reform advocates in the state, Dr. Craig Barrett and former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jaime Molera have come out in opposition to Prop. 204. The Arizona Republic wrote a thoughtful piece opposing Prop. 204 as well. We strongly urge a no vote on Proposition 204.

We believe that by following the Arizona Chamber’s recommendations on these important ballot measures Arizona voters will be casting a vote in favor of growing jobs and increasing our state’s economic competitiveness. For more information on these items and candidate races, be sure to check out the Arizona Prosperity Project’s website, a convenient tool to learn more about the big issues in this election.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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A look at the 9 measures on Arizona ballot

Here are the nine voter initiative and legislative referendum measures on Arizona’s Nov. 6 general election ballot:

SALES TAX INCREASE — Proposition 204 would replace a penny-on-the-dollar temporary sales tax increase set to expire in mid-2013 with a permanent increase of the same size. Revenue would have to be used for education, construction projects and social services. Initiative.

PRIMARY ELECTION — Proposition 121 would revamp the state’s primary election system. The two top finishers in the primary election would advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation. And voters, regardless of party affiliation, could vote for any candidate. Initiative.

STATE SOVEREIGNTY — Proposition 120 would have Arizona declare that the state has exclusive authority over all land within its borders. American Indian reservations and military bases would be exempt. Referendum.

PICKING JUDGES — Proposition 115 would give governors more say over judicial appointments. The governor would generally get at least eight nominations for each appointment, up from at least three now. Also, her appointments of attorney members of the nominating commission would not have to come off a list of lawyers recommended by the State Bar of Arizona. Referendum.

CRIME VICTIMS — Proposition 114 would provide a new legal shield to crime victims. A crime victim would not be liable for damages suffered by a person engaged in a felony or fleeing from a situation involving a felony. Referendum.

BUSINESS EQUIPMENT TAX— Proposition 116 would provide tax savings for smaller businesses. The exemption on value of equipment and machinery subject to property tax would increase from the current inflation-adjusted amount of $68,079 to $2.4 million for newly acquired equipment and machinery. Referendum.

PROPERTY TAX — Proposition 117 would impose a cap on property tax increases. Increases could not exceed 5 percent over the value for the previous year, beginning with the 2015 tax year. Referendum.

EDUCATION FUNDING — Proposition 118 would set a minimum amount for funding for schools and other designated beneficiaries of income from the state trust land fund for the next nine fiscal years. There is currently no minimum requirement on using the fund’s income. Referendum.

TRUST LAND SWAPS — Proposition 119 would allow swaps of state trust land under certain conditions. Trust land could be exchanged with other public land in Arizona to protect military installations from encroaching development or to convert trust land to public use. Referendum.

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Campaign issue: Energy

Americans depend on energy for everything from driving their cars to powering factories, homes and offices — and of course our smartphones, laptops and tablets. How that energy is produced and where it comes from affect jobs, the economy and the environment.

Where they stand:

President Barack Obama proposes an “all of the above” strategy that embraces traditional energy sources such as oil and coal, along with natural gas, nuclear power and renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydropower. Obama has spent billions to promote “green energy” and backs a tax credit for the wind industry that his Republican rival Mitt Romney opposes. While production of renewable energy has soared, critics point to several high-profile failures, including Solyndra, a California solar company that went bankrupt, costing taxpayers more than $500 million.

Romney pledges to make the U.S. independent of energy sources outside of North America by 2020, through more aggressive exploitation of domestic oil, gas, coal and other resources and quick approval of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas. Obama blocked the pipeline because of environmental concerns but supports approval of a segment of it.

Why it matters:

Every president since Richard Nixon has promised energy independence — a goal that remains elusive. In 2011, the U.S. relied on net imports for about 45 percent of the petroleum it used, much from Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Still, U.S. dependence on imported oil has declined in recent years, in part because of the economic downturn, improved efficiency and changes in consumer behavior. At the same time, domestic production of all types of energy has increased, spurred by improved drilling techniques and discoveries of vast oil supplies in North Dakota and natural gas in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and West Virginia. Production also is booming in traditional energy states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

The natural gas boom has led to increased production, jobs and profits — and a drop in natural gas prices for consumers. Natural gas, a cleaner alternative to coal, has generally been embraced by politicians from both parties.

Still, there are concerns. Critics worry that popular drilling techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, which allow drillers to reach previously inaccessible wells, could harm air, water and health. Hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, involves blasting mixtures of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to stimulate the release of gas. Environmental groups and some public health advocates say the chemicals have polluted drinking water supplies, but the industry says there is no proof.

Similarly, the Keystone XL pipeline could help make the nation more energy secure — or pollute the environment in the event of a spill. Developer TransCanada says the 1,700-mile pipeline from western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast would pipe more than 1 million barrels of oil per day, more than 5 percent of the nation’s current oil consumption.

Opponents say the pipeline would bring “dirty oil” that would be hard to clean up after a spill.

Wind and solar power have grown, thanks in part to support from Obama, but their success is tenuous. Besides Solyndra, several solar companies have declared bankruptcy in part because of Chinese competition. Wind companies are laying off workers while Congress dithers on a tax credit crucial to the industry.

The changes aren’t likely to have an immediate effect on the cost of the energy source Americans are most familiar with: gasoline. Gas prices are dependent on crude oil prices, which are set on the global market.

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Politics and Social Security

The issue:

Unless Congress acts, the trust funds that support Social Security will run out of money in 2033, according to the trustees who oversee the retirement and disability program. At that point, Social Security would collect only enough tax revenue each year to pay about 75 percent of benefits. That benefit cut wouldn’t sit well with the millions of older Americans who rely on Social Security for most of their income.

Where they stand:

President Barack Obama hasn’t laid out a detailed plan for addressing Social Security. He’s called for bipartisan talks on strengthening the program but he didn’t embrace the plan produced by a bipartisan deficit reduction panel he created in 2010.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney proposes a gradual increase in the retirement age to account for growing life expectancy. For future generations, Romney would slow the growth of benefits “for those with higher incomes.”

Why it matters:

For millions of retired and disabled workers, Social Security is pretty much all they have to live on, even though monthly benefits are barely enough to keep them out of poverty. Monthly payments average $1,237 for retired workers and $1,111 for disabled workers. Most older Americans rely on Social Security for a majority of their income; many rely on it for 90 percent or more, according to the Social Security Administration.

Social Security is already the largest federal program and it’s getting bigger as millions of baby boomers reach retirement. More than 56 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and children get Social Security benefits. That number that will grow to 91 million by 2035, according to congressional estimates.

Social Security could handle the growing number of beneficiaries if there were more workers paying payroll taxes. But most baby boomers didn’t have as many children as their parents did, leaving relatively fewer workers to pay into the system.

In 1960, there were 4.9 workers for each person getting benefits. Today, there are about 2.8 workers for each beneficiary, and that ratio will drop to 1.9 workers by 2035.

Nevertheless, Social Security is ripe for congressional action in the next year or two, if lawmakers get serious about addressing the nation’s long-term financial problems. Why? Because Social Security is fixable.

Despite the program’s long-term problems, Social Security could be preserved for generations to come with modest but politically difficult changes to benefits or taxes, or a combination of both.

Some options could affect people quickly, such as increasing payroll taxes or reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments for those who already get benefits. Others options, such as gradually raising the retirement age, wouldn’t be felt for years but would affect millions of younger workers.

Fixing Social Security won’t be easy. All the options carry political risks because they have the potential to affect nearly every U.S. family while angering powerful interest groups. Liberal advocates and some Democrats oppose all benefit cuts; conservative activists and some Republicans say tax increases are out of the question.

But Social Security is easier to fix than Medicare or Medicaid, the other two big government benefit programs. Unlike Medicare and Medicaid, policymakers don’t have to figure out how to tame the rising costs of health care to fix Social Security.

Social Security’s problems seem far off. After all, the program has enough money to pay full benefits for 20 more years. But the program’s financial problems get harder to fix with each passing year. The sooner Congress acts, the more subtle the changes can be because they can be phased in slowly.

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Prosperity Project educates businesses about election issues

Last week I talked about jobs – the issue everyone should be talking about, but isn’t.

Jobs and the economy are the number one issues for voters this election season. The majority of voters want to enter the voting booth armed with facts about the candidates on their ballot. They want to know how these candidates plan on getting America back to work. Will the policies they support help lower the country’s too-high unemployment rate?

There is an easy-to-use tool voters can use to find out about the positions held by the individuals on the November ballot, including where candidates stand on jobs and the economy: The Arizona Prosperity Project.

The Arizona Prosperity Project is a non-partisan voter education tool available to all Arizonans. It’s based upon the belief that when Arizona citizens are informed and active in government and elections, our families, our communities and our state benefit.

Visitors to azprosperity.org can access objective information about each of the candidates they’ll see on their ballot. Information includes voting records for incumbents and candidate questionnaires for challenger candidates; everything necessary to make an informed decision when voting by mail or on Election Day.

In addition, azprosperity.org offers an issues section, which outlines topics important to Arizona’s job creators. It’s the go-to location for learning about legislative actions on each topic and how the public can be involved.

VotaAZ.org is another excellent resource for Arizona voters. Developed in partnership with the Arizona Chamber and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, VotaAZ educates Hispanic voters about issues that impact job security, economic competitiveness, wages and benefits.

Similar to azprosperity.org, visitors to VotaAZ.org can access – in Spanish or English – information on the candidates they’ll see on their ballot, along with viewing past election results and guides to the democratic process. VotaAZ also allows users to register to vote, find their local polling place and learn about Arizona’s voter ID Laws.

But the Prosperity Project is more than just an outstanding online education tool. The P2 can be deployed onsite at your business, too, with collateral material that explains to employees where candidates stand on important issues, voter registration drives, and even customizable websites for your company to share non-partisan information with employees about the issues important to your particular business or industry.

As we recover from the Great Recession, we’ve learned that good policy matters. Businesses of all sizes and industries have felt the effects – both good and bad – of decisions made in Washington, D.C, at the state Capitol or City Hall.

Voters have an opportunity to make a difference this election season and influence who will be making decisions in the next Congress, Legislature or city Council. They have the chance to initiate a discussion about jobs and ensure their candidates are offering real solutions to end our over 40-month streak of unemployment over 8 percent. Arizona Prosperity Project and VotaAZ provide a solid foundation for this important discussion.

To learn more about the Arizona Prosperity Project and how it can be put into action at your business, contact Erica Wrublik at (602) 248-9172.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Barack Obama,

Jobs report gives Obama a boost

President Barack Obama got much-needed good news Friday following his disappointing debate performance as the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level since he took office. Republican rival Mitt Romney said Obama still hasn’t done enough to create jobs.

The figures announced by the Labor Department — 114,000 new jobs last month to bring unemployment to 7.8 percent — gave Obama fresh evidence to support his argument that his economic policies are working. Romney countered that the country can’t afford four more years of the president’s leadership and said he would lead a recovery with pro-growth policies for job creation and rising income.

“This is not what a real recovery looks like,” the former Massachusetts governor said in a statement less than an hour after the jobless figures were released. He pointed to millions of people still struggling to find work, living in poverty and using food stamps to feed their families. He also argued that the rate is low in part because some people have quit looking for work.

The unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in August, matching its level in January 2009 when Obama became president. There is one more monthly unemployment report before Election Day, so Friday’s numbers could leave a lasting impact on Americans who are already casting ballots in states that allow early voting.

The candidates were headed Friday to opposite ends of one of those early voting states, Virginia. Romney was campaigning for support in the state’s far western coal country while Obama was rallying students at George Mason University in the Washington suburbs.

Obama, seeking to rebound after Romney dominated their first debate Wednesday night, is accusing his rival of being dishonest about how his policies would affect the tax bills of middle-class families and the Medicare benefits of retirees — a squabble that has even injected Big Bird into the race.

“I just want to make sure I’ve got this straight: He’ll get rid of regulations on Wall Street, but he’s going to crack down on ‘Sesame Street’?” Obama said Thursday in Madison, Wis., referring to Romney’s statement in the debate that he would cut a federal subsidy for PBS, which airs “Sesame Street.” ”Thank goodness somebody’s finally cracking down on Big Bird.”

Arizona's Unemployment Rate Drops in October 2010

Arizona’s Unemployment Rate Drops in October 2010

The state’s unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percent to 9.5 percent in October, as the economy added 27,400 jobs. This is the largest October job gain since 2004. The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) reports today that the private sector generated 93 percent of those jobs, or 25,600.  Year-over-year, total non-farm employment was up 1.1 percent last month.


Oct. 2010Sept. 2010Oct. 2009
United States9.6%9.6%10.1%
Arizona9.5%9.7%9.3%

This is the third consecutive month of over-the-year gains in total nonfarm employment, and the rate of gains has been increasing each month. According to the ACA, Arizona now ranks 18th in the nation in over-the-year employment growth. The state was ranked 32nd in September. Significantly,  Arizona’s construction industry continued to show signs of improvement, and in October posted its first over-the-year increase since December 2006.

“Overall, Arizona’s employment situation is beginning to show indications of welcome improvements,” according to the ACA employment report.


Oct. 2010Sept. 2010Oct. 2009
Overall2,432.42,405.02,408.0
Monthly  Change1.1%0.7%0.7%
Annual  Change1.0%0.5%-7.2%

Over the month, 10 out of the state’s 11 major sectors saw job gains. The sector that had the most gains for the month was trade, transportation and utilities, with 7,100.

Gains were reported in: professional and business services (1,700); financial activities (600); educational and health services (6,400); natural resources and mining (100); construction (5,100); leisure and hospitality (3,300); government (1,800); other services (1,400); and manufacturing (200).

The only sector to lose jobs was information (-300).

The unemployment rates dropped in almost all of the state’s largest metro areas.


Oct. 2010Sept. 2010Oct.2009
Phoenix Metro8.5%8.7%8.8%
Tucson Metro8.3%8.6%8.6%
Yuma Metro25.8%23.9%21.9%
Flagstaff Metro7.9%8.1%8.4%
Prescott Metro9.7%10%9.9%
LHC-Kingman Metro10.9%10.8%10.8%
Proposition 203 Passes - Arizona Legalizes Medical Marijuana

Proposition 203 Passes – Arizona Legalizes Medical Marijuana

On Nov. 23, Arizona is set to officially become the 15th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana.

Almost two weeks after the Nov. 2 election, the final numbers for Proposition 203 have been tallied and the measure has passed by the slimmest of margins — a mere 4,341 votes. The final numbers: 841,346 people (50.13 percent) voted yes on Prop. 203, and 837,005 people (49.87 percent) voted no.

Passage of Proposition 203 means thousands of legitimate medical marijuana patients will be able to receive their prescriptions, says Andrew Myers, spokesman for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project.

The first medical marijuana dispensaries won’t be open for almost a year due to the regulatory process, Myers added.

He also stated that Arizona’s medical marijuana industry would be very different from that of California, which at one point had around 1,000 dispensaries in Los Angeles County alone.

Proposition 203 limits Arizona to one dispensary for every 10 pharmacies and creates a state-regulated industry. This means if pharmacy numbers remain the same, Arizona will only have 124 medical marijuana dispensaries, Myers says.

Proposition 203’s approval won’t be certified until Nov. 23, to allow those behind the scenes to double check the numbers. However, Myers doesn’t anticipate any significant changes.

The certification might also be delayed until a recount on Proposition 112 is completed. Proposition 112 would amend the Arizona constitution to require citizen-initiative petitions to be filed six months in advance of an election. Currently, a citizen-initiative petition only needs to be filed four months prior to an election. With the current vote count, Proposition 112 has lost by fewer than 200 votes, the amount necessary to cause a recount, Myers noted.

Whether Proposition 203 is legally certified on Nov. 23 or not, the measure has passed, and you can expect legalized medical marijuana to come soon to Arizona.

To see all election results, visit the Arizona Secretary of State’s website. More election coverage on AZNow.Biz includes our political columnist Tom Milton’s analysis and our recap of the election results.

Polling Station

AZ 2010 Midterm Election Analysis

The best day to be the President of the United States has got to be Inauguration Day. You take the oath of office. You give a speech that the whole world stops to listen to and it is guaranteed to be recorded in history the moment you give it. It is all processionals, parties, and smiles. The next day you start working on your agenda, and two years later you face midterm elections.

Midterms are probably the worst day for a president!

It looks like the Democrats will end up losing more than 60 seats in the U.S. House and at least 6 in the Senate. Republicans now take control of the House, and while not gaining a majority in the Senate, they have a more workable margin.

While the economy seems to be the leading reason for voter discontent, it is more than a coincidence that 1994 and 2010 were both Democratic midterm disasters preceded by new Democratic Presidents (Clinton and Obama) that tried to radically reform health care with a national model. (The equivalent for Republican’s would have to be reforming Social Security. Regan tried that and had a 1982 midterm that saw the Senate handed back to the Democrats.)

While slow economic progress is blamed for the large losses to Democrats on the national level, it is a different story in Arizona. Republicans have been in control here for quite awhile. Besides Janet Napolitano’s time as Governor, Republican’s have controlled just about everything else. Arizona is facing a horrible economy with a massive budget deficit, and yet, voters rewarded the Republicans with gains in both legislative bodies, which they had already controlled. The Arizona Senate went from an 18-12 Republican majority to 21-9. In the Arizona House, the Republicans held 35 out of the 60 seats before this election. They have added at least 2 seats to their majority with 3 other seats leaning in their favor. They could get to 40 seats. That is a 2/3 majority, like the Senate now has.

It also appears that Republican’s will win all of the major Arizona statewide offices. Governor Brewer was reelected just months after she looked vulnerable in her own primary. She also had a terrible debate. (Told you the debate wouldn’t matter!)

As for Arizona’s initiatives, again a conservative voter attitude seemed to prevail. Voters said yes to a proposition that prohibits reforms in the President’s healthcare plan (106), yes to eliminating affirmative action programs (107), and yes to secret ballots being mandatory for union organizing (113).

Everything else voters said no to. This included changing rules regarding wildlife management and hunting (109), medical marijuana (203), and major changes in the state’s political process. This includes no to state land reform(110), no to a Lieutenant Governor (111), no to changing the amount of time to verify initiative petition signatures (112), and no to using funds voters already designated to a specific purpose in past elections (301 & 302). Remember Nancy Regan’s slogan; “just say no.”

Some of these proposition results aren’t final. For election results visit AZNow.Biz’s results post.

What to watch for in the coming two years:

President Obama will need to move more to the center to meet Republicans who now have a large say in policy. If he becomes a better diplomat between the parties watch his agenda move better. If not, look for a stalemate.

In Arizona, Republicans should be able to do anything they want. This may not happen. Arizona still has huge financial woes. If Republicans can’t get on the same page, inner-party conflict will become ugly. The big question is how well our Republican Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate President get along. If they can’t work together and coordinate their agendas, they won’t be able to blame Democrats for being the problem.

The biggest part of this disaster for the Democrats may be the impact it has on redistricting. After the 2010 Census is complete, they will draw new district lines. Controlling this process gives a huge advantage to the party in power.

      Vote Signs

      Arizona’s 2010 Midterm Election Results

      Midterm election results – In the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans won many seats on both national and local levels, and there’s now a Republican majority in the United States House of Representatives. Here’s how Arizonans voted at the polls yesterday

      More election coverage from AZNow.Biz includes our political columnist, Tom Milton, analyzing the 2010 midterm election results in his weekly column and an infographic of Arizona’s past voting statistics.

      For a full list of election results, including those elected to the Arizona House of Representatives, the Arizona Senate, city propositions, court appointees and other results, please visit the Arizona Secretary of State’s Web site or your county recorder’s Web site for local results.

      Midterm Election Results:

      Last updated 11/13/2010 at 9:40 am

      Governor

      REP – Jan Brewer – 54.28%
      DEM – Terry Goddard – 42.43%
      LBT – Barry J. Hess – 2.24%
      GRN – Larry Gist – 0.93%

      United States Senate

      REP – John McCain – 58.69%
      DEM – Rodney Glassman – 34.55%
      LBT – David F. Nolan – 4.67%
      GRN – Jerry Joslyn – 4.44%

      United States Representative District 1

      REP – Paul Gosar – 49.65%
      DEM – Ann Kirkpatrick – 43.68%
      LBT – Nicole Patti – 6.54%

      United States Representative District 2

      REP – Trent Franks – 64.82%
      DEM – John Thrasher – 31.03%
      LBT – Powell Gammill – 4.05%

      United States Representative District 3

      REP – Ben Quayle – 52.15%
      DEM – Jon Hulburd – 41.08%
      LBT – Michael Shoen – 5.03%
      GRN – Leonard Clark – 1.58%

      United States Representative District 4

      DEM – Ed Pastor – 66.84%
      REP – Janet Contreras – 27.48%
      LBT – Joe Cobb – 2.95%
      GRN – Rebecca Dewitt – 2.57%

      United States Representative District 5

      REP – David Schweikert – 51.94%
      DEM – Harry Mitchell – 43.18%
      LBT – Nick Coons – 4.77%

      United States Representative District 6

      REP – Jeff Flake – 66.32%
      DEM – Rebecca Schneider – 29.07%
      LBT – Darell Tapp – 3.09%
      GRN – Richard Grayson – 1.36%

      United States Representative District 7

      DEM – Raul M. Grijalva – 50.16%
      REP – Ruth McClung – 44.16%
      INO – Harley Meyer – 2.83%
      LBT – George Keane – 2.71%

      United States Representative District 8

      DEM – Gabrielle Giffords – 48.69%
      REP – Jesse Kelly – 47.23%
      LBT – Steven Stoltz – 3.93%

      Secretary of State

      REP – Ken Bennett – 58.12%
      DEM – Chris Deschene – 41.72%

      Attorney General

      REP – Tom Horne – 51.77%
      DEM – Felecia Rotellini – 48.00%

      State Treasurer

      REP – Doug Ducey – 51.80%
      DEM – Andrei Cherny – 41.33%
      LBT – Thane Eichenauer – 3.99%
      GRN – Thomas Meadows – 2.78%

      Superintendent of Public Instruction

      REP – John Huppenthal – 55.24%
      DEM – Penny Kotterman – 44.60%

      State Mine Inspector

      REP – Joe Hart – 57.02%
      DEM – Manuel Cruz – 42.78%

      Corporation Commissioner

      REP – Brenda Burns – 29.06%
      REP – Gary Pierce – 28.09%
      DEM – David Bradley – 18.99%
      DEM – Jorge Luis Garcia – 17.52%
      LBT – Rick Fowlkes – 3.23%
      GRN – Benjamin Pearcy – 1.59%
      GRN – Theodore Gomez – 1.44%

      Continue:

      Propositions ~ State Senators ~ State Representatives

      Vote today for the 2010 Midterm Election

      Get Out And Vote!

      Today’s the day. Nov. 2, 2010 otherwise known as Election Day. Across the country, millions of Americans are making their voice count by voting for the candidates they believe will best represent them.

      You often hear that if you don’t vote, you can’t complain and I think that sentiment rings true. Politics is always a contentious subject, stirring emotions and opinions. But that’s the beauty of voting, making your voice heard. Every change, big and small, has to start somehow. Voting is a great place to begin.

      If you’re not sure where your local polling place is, you can check your county website for more information or simply Google “polling place” and the name of your city and state. Not sure if you’re registered? With the help of Google’s election center things are easier than ever. Just type in your address and you find your polling place, whether you’re registered to vote, names of candidates and more. That said, the only thing left to do is get out there and vote!

      recorder.maricopa.gov
      maps.google.com/vote

      Cubicle

      Jobs Grow Modestly; State’s Unemployment Rate Is Unchanged

      The state added 16,000 jobs in September, mostly due to the start of the new school year. Despite the modest gains, the Arizona Department of Commerce reported today that the state’s unemployment rate remains at 9.7 percent


      Sept. 2010Aug. 2010Sept. 2009
      United States9.6%9.6%9.8%
      Arizona9.7%9.7%9.4%

      Year-over-year, total non-farm employment was up 0.5 percent last month. August’s year-over-year numbers were revised from a loss of 0.1 percent in total non-farm employment to a gain of 0.3 percent. The August gains broke a 30-month streak of over-the-year job losses for the state.

      For the month, the state’s employment gain of 0.7 percent were below the 10-year average, but was better than the previous two years, when the economy generated job growth of 0.2 percent in September 2008 and 0.5 percent in September 2009. The private sector had an anemic net gain of 700 jobs last month. However, for the past three Septembers, the private sector has lost jobs.


      Sept. 2010Aug. 2010Sept. 2009
      Overall2,403.82,387.82,392.1
      Monthly % Change0.7%1.6%0.5%
      Annual % Change0.5%0.3%-8%



      Over the month, six sectors gained jobs and five lost jobs. The sector that had the most gains for the month was government, with 15,300. But those jobs came primarily from local and state education, with losses in the federal government offsetting some of the gains.


      Professional and business services added 2,900 jobs; financial activities gained 1,700; educational and health services rose by 1,200; natural resources and mining generated 200 jobs; and construction also saw job gains of 200 in September

      The professional and business services sector boasts the highest over-the-year job gains with 13,800. Over the year, trade, transportation and utilities was up 10,100 jobs; educational and health services gained 8,800; leisure and hospitality had a 1,500-job gain; and natural resources and mining generated 1,200 positions.

      Over-the year losses were recorded with government (-7,300); construction (-6,100); other services (-4,000); financial activities (-2,500); information (-2,000); and manufacturing (-1,800).

      The unemployment rates in the state’s largest metro areas mostly held steady or dropped slightly in September.


      Sept. 2010Aug. 2010Sept.2009
      Phoenix Metro8.7%8.8%8.8%
      Tucson Metro8.6%8.7%8.6%
      Yuma Metro23.9%23.7%21%
      Flagstaff Metro8%8%8.2%
      Prescott Metro10.1%10.2%9.9%
      LHC-Kingman Metro10.8%10.9%10.8%

      Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

      The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – October 18, 2010

      This week on AZNow.Biz: Avnet chairman and CEO Roy Vallee talks about leading one of the largest distributors of electronic parts in the world. Green columnist Dustin Jones asks whether sustainable housing is in Arizona’s future, and political columnist Tom Milton looks at the political scene as we close in on next month’s mid-term elections.


      Gov. Jan Brewer showed poorly in debate

      Don’t Expect A Second Gubernatorial Debate

      The candidates for governor will have one debate this year and it was last night. Who won? Well, any answer to that is subjective. Most news agencies (and friends on Facebook) are reporting that Gov. Jan Brewer showed poorly. She seemed uncomfortable right from the start, and I even discussed with one friend whether she was properly prepared or not.

      So, if it is so obvious that she did badly, what does that mean for the race? I believe it means nothing.

      In the past few months, Brewer has been elevated to the national level. Her support for SB 1070 has made her a regular subject on most cable news channels and their websites. She has become a national figure on the immigration issue and in direct conversation with President Obama.

      So back to last night’s debate. Wait! First let’s talk debate strategies. Campaign 101 says that when you have a strong candidate who is well ahead in the polls (Rasmussen Polling has Brewer up 19%) don’t debate your opponent. You give them attention and credibility that they may struggle to get on their own. Because Brewer is a Clean Elections Candidate (publicly financed), she is required to attend at least one debate.

      OK, now let’s go back to last night. She didn’t look good. With 60+ days to go before Election Day and a large lead, I would say this was like taking the medicine quickly and getting it over. Within 30 days this debate will be mostly forgotten as early balloting begins. I believe that Brewer and her staff are probably pretty happy that the debate was early and that it’s done. Now her campaign will become about her dialoguing when she wants and how she wants while the Democratic candidate, Terry Goddard, will continue to chase her around and demand more debates. He will most likely never get them.

      If you are an outraged Democrat who finds this to be unfair, remember, this was the same strategy former Gov. Janet Napolitano used against Len Munsil in the last Arizona’s governor’s race (She actually gave him a second debate in Tucson that wasn’t broadcast statewide).

      Brewer may have lost the debate last night, but the war is still pretty much in her control.

      You can see the debate in its entirety at www.azpbs.org.

      87753346

      Money Reigns Supreme In The Arizona Primaries

      The primaries are over and we are on to the general election. Because primary elections only decide who will represent political parties going into the general election, they are sometimes seen as less-important races. Many times, the primaries are the toughest battles. In a district that is considered Republican or Democrat “safe,” the primary is the real contest and the general election is the afterthought.

      In Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District we can see how this works. It is considered Republican safe. Congressman John Shadegg decided not to seek re-election to this seat. While only one Democrat and one Libertarian candidate sought the office, 10 Republicans entered the race and spent roughly $3.5 million combined in a spirited contest. Ben Quayle won the Republican nomination and will go on to face Jon Hulburd, the Democrat’s nominee, and Michael Schoen, the Libertarian’s. These primaries had 79,011 Republicans cast ballots compared to 27,755 Democrats and 422 Libertarians. It would be hard for a Republican nominee to lose this seat with nearly a three-to-one margin of turnout advantage.

      Two of the most significant factors in winning an election like this are incumbency and money.

      Look at Arizona’s congressional seats. This year, seven of Arizona’s eight congressional incumbents were seeking re-election (with Shadegg deciding to step down). Of those seven, three were unchallenged within their primaries and the four that were challenged all won. Congressional incumbents went seven for seven in their primaries.

      Of the 11 contested Republican or Democrat primaries, eight of them were won by the candidate who raised the most money. The three races that weren’t won by the top money raisers were won by the second-highest money raisers. These primary winners raised an average of $750,000 each.

      Usually, people are discouraged by this. I’ve been asked, “Shouldn’t the candidate’s message and platform be the most important factors to decide a race?”  I agree that they should, but here is the reality: If you are the greatest candidate the world has ever known, you are not going to get elected if people don’t hear your message! Incumbency is valuable because people become familiar with your name and it gives a candidate a tremendous boost raising campaign contributions.

      Why does money have to be so important? Campaigns are about communicating a message to an electorate. Hiring a professional consultant to guide your campaign, using resources such as signs to build name ID, and having the ability to send out mail, make phone calls, or air television ads are all examples of how to communicate a message. All of these things require money. Without money, a candidate is just unknown.

      As much as we would like to root for the little guy to win or the underdog to pull off the upset, the truth is that a candidate we have never heard of who doesn’t have campaign resources rarely gets our vote. They don’t have credibility because we don’t know them. It is unfortunate because sometimes they may be the better candidates.