MAGA crybabies at the Capitol want to break up Maricopa County

Three months after the 2022 election the crybabying continues at the Arizona Legislature, only now with a twist.

If you can’t beat Maricopa County, then break it up.

MAGA Republicans have introduced not one but two bills to strip the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors of its power by splitting the county into four smaller counties.

Three of the four counties would be controlled by Republicans and one by Democrats.

1 effort could go straight to voters

Residents in three of the four likely would see their property taxes shoot up. But that, apparently, is a price at least some of our leaders are willing for you to pay.

This, to stick it to the county that refused to throw in with the conspiracy crew about the many, often fantastical ways in which the 2020 and 2022 elections were stolen.

Senate Bill 1137 is the brainchild of Sen. Jake Hoffman, a Queen Creek Republican best known for his role as one of 11 fake electors who tried to hijack Arizona’s vote after the 2020 presidential election. That, and the troll farm he ran in the months during the 2020 campaign, paying teenagers to blanket the internet with fake posts on conservative talking points and baseless conspiracy theories aimed at getting Donald Trump reelected.House Concurrent Resolution 2018 comes courtesy of freshman Rep. Alexander Kolodin, a Scottsdale Republican attorney best known for his various unsuccessful lawsuits challenging the 2020 and 2022 elections. That, and trying to kill the state’s wildly popular early voting program.

While Hoffman’s bill, should it pass, would go to Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, Kolodin’s bill would bypass the governor and her veto stamp, going straight to the 2024 ballot.

This is Hoffman’s second attempt to break up Maricopa County, the nation’s fourth-largest county and home to 65% of the state’s residents. Then-House Speaker Rusty Bowers killed last year’s bill, calling it “a cumbersome thing.” But Bowers is gone now, ousted by Republican voters last year for refusing to go along with the 2020 scheme to overturn democracy in Arizona.

Smaller counties, but way more government

Neither Hoffman nor Kolodin returned a call to talk about their bills. They’ve couched them not as payback but as a good government measure, saying that Maricopa County is too big and getting bigger.

“Any attempt to paint this as retaliation or retribution toward the county is pure conspiracy theory,” Hoffman said during a hearing on his bill last year.

He even said it with a straight face.

Message show:‘Audit’ of Maricopa County election full of infighting, deceit

Kolodin, meanwhile, told Axios’ Jeremy Duda that smaller counties would be more responsive to their residents’ needs.

The answer, apparently, is to grow government by a factor of four, giving us four boards of supervisors where there now is one.

And four county sheriffs, four county attorneys, four county jail systems and four court systems.

Also, four county treasurers, four county recorders, four county school superintendents, four county tax assessors, four county health departments, four county transportation departments, four community college districts and on and on and on.

Not to mention the nightmare of divvying up responsibility for the county’s debts and ownership of its various assets like Chase Field and the county hospital.

4 counties could cost at least $155 million a year

The party of smaller government proposes to split the county four ways:

• Maricopa, which would take in most of Phoenix. • Mogollon, covering Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and parts of north Phoenix. • O’odham, which is now western Maricopa County. • And Hohokam, taking in the East Valley.

Maricopa County estimates the split would boost the cost of government by at least $155 million a year, just for new county officials and staff, according to a fiscal note attached to the bill last year. That’s not counting added capital costs and other issues. Still, it might not be a bad deal for the residents of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley.

Legislative budget analysts predicted the property taxes in the newly formed Mogollon County could be lower than what area residents now pay, given the area’s property wealth and smaller population.

Taxes in the three other newly formed counties, meanwhile, would likely rise.

It’s difficult to say by how much – and, apparently, not necessary to nail down before bringing the bill up for a vote.

With few moderates, it could pass

Normally, I would say this bill has no chance of seeing the light of day but Bowers is gone now and there are few moderating voices left among the Republicans who run the place.

Fewer adults left in the room to point out that this bill isn’t about growing the government to be more responsive to residents. It’s not about addressing water or focusing on regional issues.

It’s about payback to a Republican-run Board of Supervisors that have refused to buy into the delusions about the many ways in which the 2020 and 2022 elections were stolen. County leaders (and judges) who relied on the law and evidence rather than conspiracy theories and the disinformation that has become the lifeblood of the MAGA movement.

And it’s about planning.

You know, for next time an election doesn’t go a certain way.

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  • Here are the co-sponsors of Hoffmann’s plan to split up Maricopa County: Republican Sens. Sonny Borrelli of Lake Havasu City, Anthony Kern of Glendale and Justine Wadsack of Tucson. So, Reps. Joseph Chaplik of Scottsdale, Justin Heap of Mesa, Rachel Jones of Tucson, Alexander Kolodin of Scottsdale, Cory McGarr of Marana, Barbara Parker of Mesa, Jacqueline Parker of Mesa, Beverly Pingerelli of Peoria, and Austin Smith of Wittmann.
  • Here are the sponsors of Kolodin’s plan to put the issue to voters: Republican Reps. Joseph Chaplik of Scottsdale, David Marshall of Snowflake and Barbara Parker of Mesa.

Reach Roberts at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @LaurieRoberts.

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