In the January 18, 2008 CSA Legislative Recap:
Legislators, Supervisors Kick Off 2008 Session
On Monday, county supervisors from around the state were on hand for the kick off of the legislature's regular 2008 session and Governor Napolitano's State of the State address. The session promises to be a challenging one, but the opening day brought together officials from across the aisle. Visit the photo gallery
Many thanks to the supervisors who participated in the event: David Brown (Apache), Richard Searle and Paul Newman (Cochise), Matt Ryan and Deb Hill (Coconino), Shirley Dawson (Gila), James Palmer (Graham), Richard Lunt (Greenlee), Gene Fisher (La Paz), Fulton Brock, Andrew Kunasek, Don Stapley, Max Wilson and Mary Rose Wilcox (Maricopa), David Tenney (Navajo), David Snider (Pinal), Thomas Thurman (Yavapai), and Lenore Stuart (Yuma).
Pima County Names Wright as New Legislator
The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved the nomination of Young Wright to the legislature today, filling the seat vacated by Representative Lena Saradnik (D-26). Rep. Saradnik retired earlier this month due to health issues.
The soon-to-be Representative Wright will be sworn in on Tuesday. She has served as a Pima County employee as well as a three-term member of the Amphitheater School Board. For more information, visit The Arizona Daily Star.
Budget Work Continues on FY08, FY09
The legislature wrapped up hearings on FY08 budget fix proposals last week, but no solution has been released. The total shortfall is estimated to be between $870 million and $1.2 billion.
This week, members of the House and Senate received economic forecasts from their budget staff as well as two prominent state economists. Elliott Pollack and Martin Vest both predicted economic difficulties for the coming year, and Pollack summarized: "Whether we have a recession or not, the year 2008 will NOT feel good." (Click here
to view the presentations of their economic forecasts.)
While a FY08 fix tarries, the legislators will turn their attention to FY09 budget proposals. All committee hearings have been cancelled to make way for full-day Joint Appropriations Committee hearings (agendas and information can be found in the Next Week
article.) Governor Napolitano's FY09 budget proposal was released this afternoon; check CSA's Advocacy
page soon for a summary of the county impacts.
Property Tax Bills: State Rate Repeal, Caps on Secondary Levies
SB 1002 (Waring)and HB2220 (Weiers), identical proposals to permanently repeal the state equalization property tax, passed the tax-writing committees this week along party line votes. In 2006, the tax was suspended for three years and, without legislative action, will return in 2009. Many Republicans think making the repeal permanent is an important step toward relieving the property tax burdens on businesses and homeowners. Democrats point to the state's budget deficit and argue that the legislature cannot afford to forgo the estimated $225 million the tax would collect. Click here to watch testimony on SB1002 on the Senate web archive.
In addition, Rep. Yarbrough introduced HB 2586: special districts; secondary levy limits. The bill proposes restrictions to the property tax levy growth on county-controlled districts: flood control, library, and public health. The bill is not yet scheduled for a hearing in House Ways and Means, but could be heard as early as January 28.
Legislature Proposes Mandate on County Airports
The House Homeland Security and Property Rights Committee gave tentative approval to a proposal that would require county-operated airports to house equipment and personnel of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). HB 2258: civil air patrol; hangar space
, sponsored by Chandler Republican Warde Nichols, is intended to provide support to the volunteer CAP, a volunteer-based aeronautical group that contracts with the federal government for work on homeland security projects.
Greenlee County Supervisor Richard Lunt, as well as other representatives of local governments, expressed significant concern about the proposal. "Greenlee County appreciates the things CAP does," Lunt stated, "but this mandate would force our county to pay for building new hangars and office space."
The majority of the committee expressed sympathy for these concerns and expressed their commitment to work on a solution before the bill moves forward.
CSA Report on County-Related Legislation
The following county-related bills were considered by the legislature this week:
HB 2259: civil air patrol; aviation fund (Nichols) - Passed House Homeland Security and Property Rights by a vote of 8-0. The bill attempts to provide some funding for airports that are required to provide space to the Civil Air Patrol.
SB 1004: extreme DUI; jail (Waring) - Passed Senate Public Safety and Human Services by a vote of 7-0. The proposal conforms statute to remove a reference to the judicial ability to suspend sentences for extreme DUI offenders; a proposal last year removed the same judicial authority from another portion of law.
SB 1020: VLT exemption; seniors; income based (Tibshraeny) - Passed Senate Transportation by a vote of 3-2. The proposal would allow an individual who qualifies for the property valuation freeze to be exempt from paying vehicle license tax (VLT) for one vehicle. Counties receive a portion of the VLT for general fund and transportation purposes.
SB 1024: elections; city websites; campaign finance (L. Gray) - Passed Senate Government by a vote of 7-0. As amended, the measure requires counties and municipalities to post campaign finance information on their web sites. The proposal would impact county recorders; AACO registered as neutral to the bill.
Next Week at the Legislature
All regularly-scheduled committee hearings have been cancelled next week, while the Joint Appropriations Committees will focus on the FY09 budget.
|Tuesday, January 22
|Wednesday, January 23
|Thursday, January 24
|Friday, January 25
to watch the committee hearings live, or click here
to view archived video of committees.
CSA Seminar: Understanding the Basics of Open Meeting, Ethics Laws
The County Supervisors Association and the League of Arizona Cities and Towns are jointly presenting a half-day training seminar on The Basics of Arizona's Open Meeting, Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Laws. The seminar will take place at CSA on Thursday, February 28, from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
Tim Delaney, Founder of The Center for Leadership, Ethics and Public Service, will present the training session for all county and municipal elected officials and staff members. The training will cover the basics of the Open Meeting and Conflicts of Interest Laws, as well as explore ethical issues elected officials and staff face while serving the public.
The deadline for registration is Thursday, February 21. Online registration is available at www.regonline.com/openmeetinglaws, or you may contact either Penny Adams at (602) 452-4502 or PennyA@countysupervisors.org, or Matt Lore at the League at (602) 258-5786 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Space is limited, so make sure you sign up now.
Apply Now for NACo's County Leadership Institute
The National Association of Counties (NACo) and New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service are jointly offering the County Leadership Institute (CLI). The CLI enhances the capacity of county elected officials to identify and implement solutions that engage a broad network of interests which cross boundaries that traditionally separate different sectors and jurisdictions.
The CLI will be held in New York City on May 28 - 31, 2008. The program is offered to recently-elected (2 - 10 years) county officials. Nominations from prospective participants flow through CSA to NACo, and the deadline to submit your nomination to CSA is Monday, February 25.
Previous Arizona participants have included Supervisors Don Stapley (Maricopa), Liz Archuleta (Coconino), John Maynard (Santa Cruz) and Lenore Stuart (Yuma). Each has praised the CLI for providing invaluable information and networking.
NACo's National County Government Week will take place April 6-12. The event will create an opportunity for county officials statewide to raise public awareness and understanding about counties, essential county services and effective programs. This year's theme is "Protecting Our Children." For more information and resources, visit NACo's website.