PHOENIX — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was in Phoenix last week to make the Democratic Party’s case against tax reform — but skipped the Tucson part of the tour.
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.
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.”
State Senator Steve Farley of Tucson opposes the tax relief legislation and has claimed that it “helps the rich while slashing benefits for teachers spending own [money] on supplies.”
Farley did not attend the forum.
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 Arizona Democrats Exposed.