NRCC hits Tom O’Halleran for “no” vote on tax reform — to backdrop of new Cox bonuses

PHOENIX — Cox Communications announced this week that its employees in Arizona will be receiving pay increases, and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) took the opportunity to remind families that Congressman Tom O’Halleran voted against the tax reform package that made it possible.

The telecommunications company has 3,200 employees in Arizona and is offering bonuses between $1,000 and $2,000 to all of them.

“This change in the tax rate favorably affects our cash flow and allows us to accelerate investment in infrastructure, technology and product development,” the company said. “Sharing some of those tax reform benefits with our employees is the right thing to do and a way we can thank our employees for their hard work.”

But not all elected officials in Arizona support the legislation.

O’Halleran, a Democrat, represents the state’s first congressional district. He voted “no” on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017, which President Donald Trump subsequently signed into law. The NRCC said that middle-class families across the state are “celebrating” the tax package.

“Who’s not so happy about it?” Jack Pandol, a spokesman for the organization, asked in a press release. “Tom O’Halleran, who voted with Nancy Pelosi against these tax cuts and bonuses.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi visited Arizona in February 2018 to make the Democratic Party’s case against the tax cut package. However, Pelosi skipped the Tucson part of the “tax scam” tour attended by Congressman Raul Grijalva, also a Democrat.

Tucson Electric Power, a utility in southern Arizona, recently announced that it is seeking ways to pass along the benefits of the legislation to consumers. Arizona Public Service (APS) did the same, requesting a $119 million rate decrease from the Arizona Corporation Commission.

According to a poll released three weeks ago, the tax reform package has significantly increased in popularity since its passage.


Nancy Pelosi, in Arizona, makes case against tax relief “crumbs”

PHOENIX — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was in Arizona last week to make the Democratic Party’s case against tax reform.

Pelosi traveled to Phoenix Tuesday with the aim of convincing Arizonans that they will suffer “devastating effects” from the tax reform package signed into law by President Donald Trump, according to the Arizona Republic. She participated in a Facebook Live discussion moderated by the newspaper and visited the left-leaning Arizona Center for Economic Progress during her trip.

The Associated Press originally reported that Pelosi would visit Tucson two days later, but KVOA learned soon after that she would not be in attendance.

She was flanked at Tuesday’s event by U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva. The house minority leader hand-picked Grijalva — who represents a portion of southern Arizona and is considered one of the most liberal members of the state’s congressional delegation — to serve on the conference committee tasked with combining the U.S. House and U.S. Senate versions of the tax reform legislation in December 2017. Grijalva has called the legislation “a national disgrace.”

Pelosi received widespread criticism in January 2018 for dismissing $1,000 bonuses — which many workers are receiving as a result of tax reform’s passage — as “crumbs.” The Democratic former speaker said of the legislation, “This is the end of the world … This is Armageddon” and referred to it as “the worst bill in the history of the United States Congress.”

The tax reform package was the focus of Tuesday’s forum, which occasionally delved into other topics like ongoing negotiations over the DREAM Act. A one point, during a question about income equality, a member of the audience shouted, “How much are you worth, Nancy?”

“We’re not talking about that,” Pelosi responded, as the two struggled to talk over each other. “I’m a mother of five. I can speak louder than anybody.” (The house minority leader has a minimum net worth of $29.35 million and minimum assets of $42.81 million, according to Roll Call.)

“Workers don’t want one-time bonuses,” Grijalva said in Tucson Wednesday.

Last Monday, the New York Times released a new poll concluding that the tax relief package has significantly increased in popularity, including among Democrats, since going into effect. The chief research officer at SurveyMonkey, which conducted the poll for the newspaper, said that the improved public opinion about the legislation is “dramatically different” than it was only one month earlier.

The improvement is likely the result of taxpayers seeing their paychecks grow.

Thousands of workers in Arizona were eligible for these bonuses and pay increases. In addition, consumers across the state may soon see a reduction in their electricity bills.

Arizona Public Service (APS) currently is seeking a $119 million rate decrease from the Arizona Corporation Commission in order to pass along these benefits to families. Tucson Electric Power also is considering ways to bring relief to its customers in southern Arizona.

A version of this article appears at The Farley Report.


Poll: Arizona Democrats out-of-touch with voters on tax reform

PHOENIX — All four Democratic members of Arizona’s congressional delegation opposed the tax reform package signed into law by President Donald Trump, but, according to a new poll conducted for the New York Times, that’s not in line with how the American people see it.

The poll, released on Monday, was conducted by SurveyMonkey for the New York Times. It found that the 2017 tax reform legislation increased in popularity after it went into effect, with 51 percent of Americans now supportive compared to only 46 percent last month.

Support for the legislation “has grown even among Democrats,” the newspaper reported. SurveyMonkey’s chief research officer added, “Public opinion is moving in the direction of this bill . . . Considering where it was, it is dramatically different.”

In December 2017, Democratic U.S. Representatives Tom O’Halleran, Raul Grijalva, Ruben Gallego, and Kyrsten Sinema all voted against the legislation.

Grijalva, one of the congressional delegation’s most liberal members, was hand-picked by House Minority Leader Nancy to serve on the conference committee tasked with fusing the U.S. House and U.S. Senate versions of the tax reform package. He called both versions “a national disgrace.”

Gallego, who last week slammed President Trump as a “psychopath,” used similar language, calling the legislation “one of the biggest heists in American history.”

Sinema and O’Halleran issued more measured statements, both claiming that the tax package would not help middle-class families.

However, families across the country already have begun to benefit from the legislation in the form of tax relief and pay increases. The president of an aerospace company based in Tucson confirmed in an interview with the National Association of Manufacturers that the tax reform package will empower the business “to invest in more equipment and hire more people.”

Arizona Public Service (APS) announced in January that the utility will be passing along the benefits of tax reform to its customers across the state by seeking a $119 million rate decrease. Arizona Corporation Commissioner Justin Olson is supporting such efforts. Tucson Electric Power also announced in February that the southern Arizona utility is looking at ways to do the same.

A version of this article appears at The Farley Report.