Rick Murphy - State Representative - Arizona District 9

 
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Rick Murphy 2004 Campaign - Key Arizona Issues

 TAXES

CheckmarkFundamental Tax Reform/Replace State Income Tax with a Consumption Tax
         
IN PROGRESS

It is an established fact of economics that any activity that is taxed will be performed less often.  Taxing productivity (income) is counterproductive in the long term and always harms the economy.  A few other states already have similar systems.  Those states have been doing a better job of growing and diversifying their economies than Arizona has.  Strategies can be implemented to assure the poorest among us don't disproportionately bear the brunt of this idea.  For example, basic necessities like food are already be exempt from sales tax in most cities.

 

*NOTE:  This is an idea that will probably take several years to bring about and will probably have to go to the ballot.

CheckmarkEliminate Business Personal Property Tax to Create More and Better Jobs
         
IN PROGRESS

Arizona’s current punitive tax on non-real estate property drives companies with large capital assets (most high-tech companies) to other states, like Nevada and Texas.  If we want to bring more and better high-paying jobs to Arizona, we must stop penalizing the companies for being here in the first place and investing in upgraded equipment.

 

*NOTE:  Since the lawyers have ruled that this must go to the ballot, it has been more difficult to accomplish than I expected.  However, I think I have proven that I'll keep working on it until it gets done.  This year, I sponsored HCR2056, which has passed the House and is now ready for a Senate floor vote to send this measure to the ballot.

CheckmarkAdamantly Oppose Proposed New Sales Tax on Services
         
CONTINUING EFFORT

Many Democrat legislators want to expand sales taxes to include services, from haircuts to legal fees and more, to fund various new and expanded programs.  However, they don't seem interested in fundamental reform of our tax structure.  I oppose their proposal.

CheckmarkLimit Special Tax Breaks Given to Handpicked Companies
          DONE IN 2007!

(As of 2004) Arizona cities give away hundreds of millions of dollars every year to companies that will locate somewhere in the state anyway, just to have them choose their area. This corporate welfare makes it tough for small businesses, which are the source of most new jobs, to compete.

 

*NOTE:  I worked with Democrat Sen. Ken Cheuvront on this issue and even had to stand up to the then-Senate President to get this bill passed.  There was a lot of pressure to water down the bill to the point of making it worthless.  It took true bi-partisan cooperation in both the House and Senate to get this important bill passed.  We both won a Legislative Courage award for this bill.

CHILDREN

CheckmarkTrue Top-to-Bottom Reform of Child Protective Services
         
PARTIALLY DONE IN 2008! & STILL IN PROGRESS

CPS has historically been one of the most inept, mismanaged and ineffective agencies in state government.  It routinely fails to meet the needs of parents and the children it is charged with protecting.  Too often, CPS wastes time investigating good parents about ridiculous issues while truly abusive or neglectful parents are allowed to keep their kids.  Then CPS complains it needs more money and staff.  Comprehensive reform is the only way to solve the ongoing CPS crisis.

 

*NOTE:  I worked closely with then-Reps. Kirk Adams and Jonathan Paton (Chair and Vice-Chair of the Government committee) on CPS reform bills enacted in 2008 and have been a sleader on this issue in the House in 2009-10, since I have daily personal experience as a foster parent.

CheckmarkRemove Children From Bad Parents Sooner
         
IN PROGRESS

CPS currently calls a long-term (years with no effort to change) pattern of drug use/abuse a "lifestyle choice" that is not necessarily a reason to remove a child.  That should by itself be sufficient grounds for the removal of a child, pending efforts by the parent to get clean.  Too often, the first “documented evidence of abuse or neglect” is the child’s lifeless body.  This ongoing disgrace is simply unacceptable.

CheckmarkMake Children Adoptable Sooner
         
IN PROGRESS

Children removed from parental custody should become adoptable after 12 months if the parent has failed to make substantial improvement.  The sooner abused or neglected children are given a permanent loving home, the lower their likelihood of becoming criminals and the brighter their future.

CheckmarkMore Accountability for CPS Workers
         
PARTIALLY DONE IN 2008! & STILL IN PROGRESS

Many CPS workers are good at their job and are doing it for the right reasons.  Many others, however, are truly inept, lazy or both.  Current personnel rules make it very difficult to purge these bad workers from the department. The good workers tire of cleaning up the messes left by their lazy peers and many end up quitting, which leaves too many new hires and bad workers to protect children.  Good workers are not afraid of objective accountability.

 

*NOTE:  I know first-hand of multiple cases where a case worker intentionally lied in documents or in court and kept their job, even after they were caught.  This climate of mediocrity is bad for everyone except the bad workers who just want to keep their guaranteed paycheck.

CRIME

CheckmarkThree-Strikes Law for Felony Violent Crimes
          DONE IN 2006!

The three-strikes law in California has been successful in getting violent and “career” offenders off the streets and was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Arizona should enact a similar measure.

 

*NOTE:  I sponsored a three-strikes law during my first term.  While that bill didn't pass, it helped lay the groundwork for the bill that ultimately passed.  I worked with the sponsor, committee chairman and others to help make the bill strong, but fair.

CheckmarkBetter Protection for Victims of Domestic Violence/Stalkers
          NEW!

Too many times someone (usually a woman) is stalked by someone who just won't stop and who is clever enough to leave little direct evidence.  The victim is sometimes told that it is "just your word against theirs" and nothing substantive is done.

 

*NOTE:  I'm personally aware of situations where evidence exists that could prove the victim is telling the truth, but is told it is "too expensive" to process the evidence.

EDUCATION

CheckmarkEliminate the Marriage Penalty for Tuition Scholarship Tax Credit
          DONE IN 2006!

(As of 2004) Individuals are currently limited to $500, while the maximum for married couples is only $625.  Raising their limit to $1,000 would eliminate this Marriage Penalty.  Corporate donations should also be allowed.

CheckmarkScholarships for Private School Costs
          PARTIALLY DONE IN 2006!

Parents who prefer private school for their children should get a credit of $5,000 to use at the non-public school of their choice.  Most private schools cost less per year than the approximately $9,000 we currently spend per pupil for public schools.  Competition on the basis of results will force public schools to improve.

HEALTH INSURANCE

CheckmarkNew Health Insurance Strategies for the Chronically Ill & Disabled
         
IN PROGRESS

Widen availability of health insurance through the private sector for chronically ill persons so that they can move from AHCCCS/public assistance to being as self-sufficient and productive as their condition allows.

 

*NOTE:  Health insurance issues are among the most complex and difficult to address at the state level, primarily due to excessive federal regulation.  Health insurance reform will take years of hard work and, even then, could be hampered by term limits.

 

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