McClellan: State Republicans trying to hard to one-up themselves - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

McClellan: State Republicans trying to hard to one-up themselves

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Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.

Posted: Friday, February 3, 2012 8:26 am | Updated: 1:33 pm, Sun Feb 5, 2012.

If you're a Republican in this state, you ought to be embarrassed. No, not by the governor's recent finger wag - who knows what actually went on there?

No, you should be embarrassed by what we do know that goes on - the behavior of your fellow Republicans in the state Legislature.

They consistently make fools not only of themselves but of the Republicans who consistently return them to office.

Let me just cite a few of the idiocies so far in this session.

Your Republican appropriations chair, Don Shooter, says he won't take public comment when his committee meets on this year's budget.

His reasoning? "I heard it last year."

The arrogance of that is matched only by its insipidness. The budget has the most profound effect on Arizona citizens each year. That one of the most powerful Republican committee chairs in the Legislature won't deign to hear from the public is shameful. Equally shameful is that he will get away with it and be reelected later this year. Why? Because enough of your fellow Republicans will vote for him.

Then there's the newest Birther Bill, soon to be introduced by Judy Burges and Carl Seel. That's right, these two still want to keep the "Obama's-not-really-an-American" myth alive. Forget that the president presented the long form certificate almost a year ago, effectively ending a phony subject. Except here in Arizona, where Republicans Burges and Seel still have a sneaky suspicion that Obama the Socialist/Closet Muslim Just Ain't a Real American. Sadly enough, that belief is firmly set in more than a few of your fellow Republicans' minds.

Next you have the most powerful Republican in the Legislature trying to reverse existing law because, well, he just doesn't like it. Speaker of the House Andy Tobin has introduced legislation designed to reverse the redistricting of the Independent Redistricting Commission and hold a special election in May to vote on another map.

At a cost of $8 million. On a map created by? Tobin himself. Without input from either fellow legislators or the public. The last time we went through this process, the Democrats didn't like the results, and sued. And lost in court. But they didn't try to reverse the process legislatively, nor did one powerful Democrat attempt to usurp the law voters approved a decade ago. Will you and your fellow Republicans object to Tobin's power grab? Probably not.

Finally, you have to deal with John Kavanagh's proposed $2,000 surtax on college students. His plan, according to the Tribune, "stipulates state university students must pay at least $2,000 towards their tuition unless they have a full-rde scholarship based on athletics or academics."

This from a man who has conspired with other Republicans to consistently cut funding to higher education over the last five years, the result of which has been a rocketed acceleration in tuition for Arizona students. Our younger daughter's senior year at the University of Arizona cost us $5,000 in tuition five years ago. Next year, our son's freshman tuition is at almost $9,500. And now Kavanagh wants to add to college costs (which when other costs are factored in, are estimated to be almost $22,000 a year for an Arizona student to live on campus).

And his rationale for exempting athletes? His argument is that they "generate a lot of extra money." Yes, mostly plowed back into the athletic programs. As he well knows, only two programs make money for the universities - football and men's basketball. And at the community college level, I doubt either one of those pays for itself. So using Kavanagh's argument, all athletes except university football and men's basketball players should have the $2,000 charged to them.

Though Kavanagh doesn't seem to think that $2,000 a year added to the cost of education is much of a burden, your blue-collar Republican friends whose kids have to find all kinds of ways to finance their way through school might find it to be a bit more than the slight nuisance Kavanagh sees it as.

There you have it, Arizona Republicans: a series of absurdities and abuses perpetrated on Arizona by your legislators, men and women you consistently return to office only to see them do the same thing over again. And I've only scratched the surface.

It's tiring and sad. And you only have yourselves to blame.

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