“It’s easy to see that every issue on the minds of Arizonans today has a common and critical thread: Fiscal responsibility and funding sustainability. And how Arizona approaches handling the State’s budget from here on out will impact every area of concern in the tabs below.
It’s not enough to make “spending less” as the goal of a fiscally sound Arizona government; budget cuts alone will not solve our deepening deficit problem.
Programs we fund must help produce more jobs in the private sector (which, in itself, helps raise revenues over time) and develop entirely new revenue streams, without raising or creating any new taxes. To revitalize Arizona’s economy, we need to think and work harder to find ways to accomplish both.
I have confidence that with grit, determination and willpower, with innovative thinking and careful administrative practices, we can do it.
Will it be painless? No. Will it take time? Yes. Can it be accomplished? Absolutely.”
- Karen Fann
Arizona remains among the nation’s fastest growing states - and with population growth comes a deepening concern about our water supply.
Even though much of our landscape includes desert, Arizona is also an agricultural state. That industry generates $9.2 billion to the State’s economy, so it is essential that we ensure ample water supplies to our rural and urban areas.
Depending on their location, all areas throughout Arizona have unique sets of problems. Some have ample water, yet do not have the infrastructure in place to adequately supply it, while others are limited in water supplies and need access to water sources outside their immediate vicinity. Often, nearby municipal water supplies are either too cost prohibitive for rural areas to obtain or the water is already fully appropriated.
As chairman of the Upper Verde River Watershed Protection Coalition, I have worked with numerous water groups and committees over the past 9 years. I understand the all-important and often contentious issues surrounding water supplies. This past session I sponsored HB2363, which introduces the concept of macro-harvested water. A Joint Legislative Study Committee on Macro-Harvested Water has been developed and consists of 29 members. Rather than continuing to burden taxpayers with legal battles over existing water rights, the committee will identify new water rights and evaluate issues arising from the collection and recovery of macro-harvested water.
Please read more on the bill here:
We must view Arizona water in consideration of both short-term needs and long-range planning, thereby helping ensure the wise use of available water today and in the future. This will require coordinated planning and a spirit of cooperation among Arizona’s diverse communities. Together our communities must address infrastructure financing, development and acquisition of water, preservation and protection of existing water supplies, protections of exempt well owners’ property rights, and education of all stakeholders about current best practices in water management.
To learn more about water management in Arizona, go to http://www.azwater.gov/azdwr
The Work We’ve Done.
I’m proud that I sponsored HB2368 and HB2519. Both bills were supported by the NFIB and the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and its nearly 3000 members. HB2368 is a workers’ compensation omnibus bill. It creates a more stable average monthly wage index calculation; ensures that the lien rights of insurance carriers or self insured employers in workers compensation cases are not limited to situation where an employee is initially injured by the negligence of another person, but also when a worker further aggravates the injury due to the negligence of another person; and it requires the Industrial Commission of Arizona to develop and implement a process by December 31, 2014 for the appropriate use of evidence-based medical treatment guidelines for providers. Small businesses need a broader range of options from insurers, allowing them to offer reasonable, and affordable employee health care coverage.
HB2519 is an unemployment insurance omnibus bill. This reform bill will help businesses and the overall state budget by making individuals more accountable for the benefits they receive from unemployment insurance. For instance, individuals will be required to be looking for work at least 4 days of the 5-day work week; they’ll be required to make at least three work search contacts per week, as outlined in DES rules, and could potentially lose their UI benefits is they fail or refuse a pre-employment drug test, (the drug language testing in this bill has been pre-cleared by the U.S. Department of Labor).
You can read more on the bills here:
You can read more on the bill here:
Karen Fann recently was awarded the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Sentinel Awards. The award honored Karen for her outstanding legislative and regulatory work on behalf of Arizona businesses. From left to right, State Representative Karen Fann, GPCC Vice President Michelle Bolton, State Representative Justin Olson and Phoenix City Councilman Bill Gates.
The State last session State budget for voted in contains tax cuts for small businesses and individuals, which will stimulate Arizona’s economy. In addition, Bill HB2815 is designed to help employers increase business, which in turn helps create jobs. It also extends from 5 years for 20 years the allowable carry-forward for business net operating losses, which greatly benefits start-up companies. The Bill also created a study committee to evaluate our state’s Job Training Program. It also opens an existing tax credit program to more manufacturers that make significant capital investments.
SB1442 is authorizes the State Treasurer to make payments from the distribution base to a city, town or county to fund up to 80% of the costs related to public infrastructure improvements for the benefit of a manufacturing facility. This again will help to generate new jobs for industries and projects that will - in turn - yield additional revenues over time. New job creations for Arizonans must be targeted in such areas as infrastructure improvements, border control, education, public safety and renewable energy, to name a few. This will provide our taxpayers a return on the investment of these dollars, in addition to putting Arizonans back to work.
An important component of new job creation is helping small businesses to retain employees and add more jobs. They need some relief from overreaching government mandates, as well as tax incentives designed to help small businesses grow, thereby enabling them to hire more employees and further contribute to State revenues. In addition, so many small business owners would like to provide health care benefits for their employees. Unfortunately, far too many have had to drop or forego such employee benefits due to out-of-control health insurance costs. Small businesses need a broader range of options from insurers, allowing them to offer reasonable, and affordable employee health care coverage.
(Statistics above from Governor’s Executive Budget Status Report, 12/09.)
We faced a very hard task the last two years, but we can proudly say the State budget and finances are close to being sustainable. This is good news. State revenues are picking up, but there is still much to do. With your support of voting me back to the House, I will continue to be fiscally conservative so the financial future of this fine State’s vitality continues to prosper.
The Budgets for Fiscal Year 2013 contains revenue projections that are based on real economic indicators and factors in unforeseen changes in economic conditions. The budget utilizes a multi-year budgeting approach, which ensures that spending decisions made today do not compromise the state’s financial outlook in the foreseeable future.
To learn more about the several Bills and Resolutions passed from our Second Regular Session, please visit this website through the below link:
Reduction of spending is only a partial solution. Creation of new jobs and additional revenue streams are essential to a comprehensive solvency plan for Arizona’s budget - a plan that includes prudent use of existing resources, but does not raise taxes on Arizona citizens who are already overburdened in a weakened economy.
The health and well being of the citizens of Arizona is vital for a prosperous community. Choosing your own doctor and health care professionals is also important as a free citizen of the United States. When your freedoms are compromised, I feel that I’m the person that will listen and be a strong voice for you.
During the regular session of 2012, I helped to keep our children and citizens safe by introducing bill HB2356, which was voted into law this year. The bill addresses the growing issue of a synthetic drug known as “bath salts”. It expands the definition of dangerous drugs to include 7 chemical compounds that create “bath salts”. Not only has this highly addictive and dangerous substance caused tragedy with families, but with extra costs in our hospitals and police forces. This new law is the first step to help continue to enforce safety and well being of our communities.
You can read about the law here:
The cost of illegal immigration to Arizona is staggering - with the current estimate at more than $3 billion dollars. Those who’ve slipped across U.S. borders to reside in Arizona illegally weigh heavily on our health care, educational and prison systems - in addition to taking jobs now urgently needed by Arizona’s legal residents.
This drain on Arizona’s taxpayers and our State’s budget can no longer be tolerated. Illegal immigration is a violation of our federal and state laws. We cannot arbitrarily enforce some laws and not others. That’s why SB1070 or the Arizona Immigration Law was passed. The law is very carefully and cleverly crafted to restate — in many ways verbatim — existing federal law. Arizona's SB 1070 makes it a misdemeanor, in the state of Arizona, to enter the state from a foreign country without proper documentation. It specifically and statutorily prohibits racial profiling/discrimination by any state or local law enforcement official or government agent. Unfortunately, many lawsuits challenging the law are expected to continue.
For about a quarter century, the federal government has failed miserably to uphold and enforce its own immigration laws. Parts of the Arizona border with Mexico have now become the primary points of illegal entry into the U.S. It is not just the illegal entry of persons; it is the illegal entry of drugs, other contraband and even terrorists whose purpose is to kill Americans and to disrupt our way of life! Only swift action can help effectively secure our borders to protect our citizens from terrorism, drugs and gang wars. I believe in:
• Deportation of illegal residents
• Severe penalties to those Arizona employers who willfully break the law by use
of illegal-immigrant workers
You can see an updated article on SB1070 here:
Education represents the largest single expenditure in Arizona’s budget.
Public school spending on students in kindergarten through 12th grade now consumes more than 22% of the State’s total budget.
The exorbitant amount of taxpayer dollars currently spent on unfunded mandates and bureaucracy prevents the limited funds we do have from being directed to teaching our children. I believe that parents should have the choice in their children’s education and local school boards and parents should have more say in how their monies are being used to teach our children. We must find ways to eliminate or reduce spending on unfunded mandates and unnecessary regulations which inhibit direct funding for education. Stopping Arizona’s heavy losses due to illegal immigration, for example, could provide funding to allow us to forgo federal programs like the current, flawed version of No Child Left Behind. With today’s limited resources, Arizonans need a better way to invest in our children’s future.
From police & fire protection, to correction facilities to flood control, there are many public safety issues that we address at the Capitol. The budget that was passed this last session includes $75 million over the next two years to be allotted for public safety programs. Along these lines, two bills I introduced, HB2360 and HB2184 both address concerns of public safety. HB2360 allows for flood control districts to act quickly with flood victims for the safety and property protection. HB2184 assists struggling Fire Districts to maintain their level of service for the safety of all citizens and property. Please read more on the bills here:
I am proud to have the endorsements of the following organizations:
Arizona Chamber of Commerce
Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
Arizona Technology Council
Arizona Nurses Association
Arizona Catlemen's Association
Arizona Realtor Association
AZ Chapter Associated General Contractors
AZ State Contractors Coalition
AZ Rock Products Association
Home Builders Association of Central Arizona
Motor Vehicle Providers Association (MPVA)
Arizona Fraternal Order of Police
Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona
Arizona Highway Patrol Association
Arizona Citizens for the Arts
Well, believe it or not, it's campaign season again already. In case you had not heard, I am running for reelection to Legislative District 1.
Some supporters have asked if they can sign my petition online. Yes, that is one of the new changes in election law. If you would like to do so, please sign my petition here.
There is a lot more news to share in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned!
Thank you so much for your continued support of my candidacy.