For the past 15 years, Arizona Republicans have cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy in an attempt to intentionally bankrupt the state. At the same time, theyve transferred funds through tax credits to private and parochial schools while hacking away at public school funding. And as the states population blossomed, they did little to expand the economy, choosing to rely instead on home building and tourism.
So what are they doing now that both industries have collapsed? In addition to raising sales taxes (in my locale, the current rate is 10.5 percent on all purchases) and further slashing funding for public schools (funding that already ranked 51 out of 50 states), theyre blaming our problems on illegal immigrants.
For centuries, oppressive regimes around the globe have deflected criticism by blaming minorities. Of course, illegals are in no position to defend themselves. They have no ability to vote. By necessity, they dont even want to admit their status.
So instead of trying to create new jobs in Arizona or even eliminate government waste, the Republicandominated Legislature and Governor Jan Brewer deflect attention from their abysmal performance by villainizing illegals. Even the wannabe teabaggers, John McCain and Jon Kyl have gotten into the act. They falsely claim that Phoenix ranks 2nd in the world for kidnappings. They falsely claim that most of the undocumented workers are drug dealers or mules. They falsely claim that the Obama administration refuses to take action to seal the border. And they falsely claim that undocumented workers contribute nothing to the states economy while flooding social services.
The truth is that undocumented workers contribute a great deal to the states economy through hard work, purchases and taxes. Many pay income taxes, Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes despite the fact that they will never benefit from them. All rent or purchase homes. They also pay sales taxes on purchases of cars, appliances, furniture, clothing and food. And now that SB1070 has been passed into state law, those contributions are fleeing the state putting even more stress on the states economy. Home values continue to drop. Owners of apartment buildings report record vacancies. Employers in numerous industries report that they are having difficulty filling jobs. On top of that, thanks to SB1070, cities and groups around the country have cancelled meetings and conventions in our state. Even if they arent directly boycotting Arizona, many dont want to become embroiled in the controversy.
Of course, there are angry, old white people from other states who have organized a few buycotts in Arizona. Indeed, a group from Texass recently sent a busload of rednecks to Phoenix in support of SB1070. They spent a day touring the city admiring the soutwestern architecture and culture ending with a rally in, of all places a Mexican restaurant.