So, let’s get this straight: A state lawmaker wants government to take over a private business so the state can use tax money to provide inferior service at the expense of private job creators.
And while they’re at it — they want to make it harder for the public to access public information.
Darn those big-government, anti-private-enterprise Democrats.
Oh. Wait. (Cut to shot of newscaster pressing earpiece to ear). Excuse us: The bill’s author is a Republican — Rep. John Kavanagh.
So why would he introduce HB2554, which would use $65,000 in taxpayer money to set up an obscure Website to post legal notices currently published in local newspapers and their Web sites throughout the state?
Could be he’s just mad at newspapers — especially small-town newspapers like the Roundup, his hometown Fountain Hills newspaper or maybe the well respected Capitol Times, a legislative watchdog weekly.
Granted — publishing legal notices for 90 days on some obscure state-run Web site might save some agencies money, although even that seems unlikely. Please note: Kavanagh has proposed a new fee — read that tax — to set up and operate the Web site. Now, maybe you believe his peculiar claim that you can set up a state Web site that will handle a flood of constantly changing legal notices for just $65,000. We’re skeptical ourselves, seeing as how the last time the Arizona Corporation Commission tried to update its much less comprehensive Web site Starpas, the cost ballooned to $250,000 although it never actually worked.
But maybe Kavanagh can get some of those ObamaCare programmers to take on the job after hours.
The bill seeks to solve a non-existent problem with a new government program — and added spending.
Currently, local newspapers give those legal notices wide circulation both in print and on the Internet — in a setting much more accessible to those affected. Newspapers not only archive notices, they also repost the legal notices at no extra charge to a statewide Web site operated by the Arizona Newspapers Association.
Businesses don’t even want this turkey of a bill — which is opposed by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.
Of course, we’ve seen some version of this bill for the past dozen or so years. Previous versions were introduced by lawmakers who openly declared all they really wanted to do was hurt newspapers who had criticized them for other things they’d done.
Hopefully, Rim Country’s representatives — Rep. Brenda Barton, Rep. Bob Thorpe and Sen. Chester Crandell — will reject the absurd and damaging notion that government ought to take over a job that private industry is already doing quite well. This plan would be bad enough coming from a Democrat; it makes no sense at all from a Republican.