A Tea Party Preview.

If you had any doubts of the consequences of allowing the Tea Party to influence our elections, all you need to do is look at Arizona.  For the past several years, the state legislature has caused an already conservative state to take an extreme right turn.  Some of the most reasonable Republican legislators were defeated in the last election because they weren’t viewed as conservative enough.  And since the election, the state has completely slid into the dumpster.

To wit, the state is bankrupt, yet the wingnuts continue to cut taxes for corporations and ignore calls for closing $10 billion in corporate tax loopholes.  Arizona’s public school funding now ranks 51st out of 50 states (Washington, DC is also ahead of Arizona) yet the state continues to cut funding for public schools while, at the same time, increasing tax credits for private and parochial schools.  Tourism is a huge source of revenue for Arizona, yet the state is closing its state parks and is even considering closing its Department of Tourism.  The film industry brings millions into the state each year, yet the Arizona legislature has cut the Film Board’s budget.   

Now the state is asking citizens to vote for a temporary one percent increase in sales tax.  But, at the same time, the wingnuts in the legislature are pushing through another one percent tax cut for corporations and the wealthy!  And, if the sales tax increase doesn’t pass, the legislature is promising to make even more draconian cuts to public schools.  (One educator recently told me that the class sizes could easily exceed 50.)  Arizona even threatens to cut thousands of jobs from the Department of Public Safety.  After all, the state doesn’t really need them, since the legislature just passed a bill that allows anyone to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.  It’ll be just like the Old West with a shootout on every street and in every bar.

Still not scared? 

Then consider the state’s new immigration law.  SB 1070 has already resulted in the cancellations of at least six conventions and hundreds of hotel rooms.  The Los Angeles City Council voted to boycott Arizona which will likely have an even more chilling impact on Arizona’s film industry.  San Francisco has also voted to boycott the state.  And the Mexican government has put out a travel warning for Arizona.  If you don’t think that’s meaningful, consider the fact that Mexico represents the single largest source of tourists to the state – a source that also represents tens of millions of dollars to state revenue. 

Most recently, the Arizona legislature has passed a bill that bans ethnic studies classes in public schools (equating them with treason) and forbidding any teacher with a strong accent from teaching English.  And the legislative session hasn’t ended yet!

Yes, this is the future promised by the Tea Party.  God save America!

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