AZ GOP response to #RedForEd ranges from ‘class warfare,’ to suing teachers, to McCarthyism

Yesterday I noted that Rep. Noel Campbell (R-Prescott), is the only Republican to propose a tax increase to support public education. Shocking! Arizona Republican proposes a tax increase to support public education.

Unfortunately for Rep. Campbell, he falls back on the most regressive tax – the sales tax – which is most susceptible to fluctuations in the economic cycle. It is not a reliable and sustainable revenue source.

The regressive sales tax is favored by Arizona’s corporate CEOs who want to raise $2 million for education with a 1.5-cent citizen’s initiative on the ballot in 2020 – “don’t you dare rescind our corporate welfare tax cuts, or impose new income or property taxes on our corporations.”

Howard Fischer reports that the sales tax proposal is D.O.A. No teacher-pay deal reached ahead of Arizona strike; sales-tax increase floated:

State Rep. Noel Campbell says a three-year, one-cent sales tax, on top of the existing 0.6 of a cent levy dedicated to education, would provide about $1 billion a year, more than enough money not only for pay raises for teachers and support staffs but also to help restore some of the funding that’s been cut over the years in state aid to education. It also would give schools enough to provide full-day kindergarten if they wish; that program’s funding was cut during the Great Recession.

If nothing else, it also would provide some breathing room while education advocates come up with a more permanent solution that could go to voters on the 2020 ballot, Campbell said.

He said he’s not buying Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s prediction that a growing economy will produce $670 million by the 2020-2021 school year to fund a 19 percent pay raise for teachers and restore $371 million over five years in money taken from schools.

“I do not support the governor’s pie-in-the-sky economic forecast,” he said.

But Campbell’s plan is getting no love from either side of the political aisle.

Minority Leader Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix, dismissed it out of hand, saying sales taxes are the most regressive — low-income people generally spend more of their income paying them — and many residents are paying rates approaching 9 percent when state and local levies are totaled. There’s also no assurance of long-term funding when the temporary levy expires.

“It could be a bridge to nowhere,” Rios said.

She and other Democrats prefer things like increasing taxes on the wealthiest Arizonans and revisiting the various corporate tax cuts that have been enacted.

* * *

Democrats want an identified source of dollars that is sustainable and paid for by the people and corporations most able to afford it.

“We’re looking at helping teachers that are being underpaid and yet you want to tax them more on all the essentials of daily living,” Rios said of the idea of higher sales taxes.

She wants to curb the ability of corporations to divert some of what they owe in income taxes to instead help pay for students to attend private and parochial schools. Rios also thinks the state should review the tax rates paid by its highest-income earners.

“I think it’s a fairness game and everybody paying their fair share,” she said.

* * *

Those ideas, however, drew derision from House Majority Leader John Allen, R-Scottsdale, who said they amount to class warfare, creating “strife between the haves and the have-nots.” Taxing the rich is precisely the way to undermine economic recovery, he added.

“I’ve never gotten a job from a poor person,” Allen said.

Wow! This guy is so obtuse that he does not realize his offensive comments are themselves classic “class warfare,” dripping with derisive condescension for the “have-nots.”

He is not the only one in House GOP leadership with a visceral hatred for the “have-nots.”

Tea Party leader and House Majority Whip Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, wants to file a class action lawsuit against poorly paid teachers for inconveniencing her and her wealthy constituents with a teacher walkout. Arizona lawmaker suggests lawsuit over teacher walkout, lashes out at constituent:

Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, railed against the planned teachers’ walkout on social media Tuesday, and said she was consulting with a lawyer for a class action lawsuit on behalf of Arizonans affected by the school closures.

* * *

Townsend, who is in leadership as the House Majority Whip, responded to a constituent, Tony Matthews. Mathews’ wife, who is a Mesa public school teacher, posted the exchange on Facebook on Monday night.

“I’m sure we can take it from the correctional officers (sic) pay who make minimum wage in some cases, release some of the prison population, take it from the developmentally disabled and close adult homes from (sic) the disabled, freeze Alzheimer’s research, take it from Veteran’s services, dental services for the underserved, desperately needed road funds, the university funding, and put another freeze on Kids Care health insurance, ” Townsend wrote. “We’ll find it somehow.”

The Facebook post had been shared about 1,600 times by Tuesday afternoon. Many of the 370 plus comments were negative against the lawmaker, though some were critical of teachers.

Mathews said initially he thought the response was sarcastic, but Townsend said it was not.

Townsend took also to Twitter on Tuesday to ask teachers who have felt intimidated into participating in the walkout to contact her to register their opposition. She said she has heard from 31 teachers via Facebook, Twitter and email.

Later, Townsend said she was speaking with a lawyer regarding a possible class-action lawsuit.

Townsend suggested the lawsuit should benefit anyone “impacted by the extended school year or other harm that comes to them by the teacher walkout.” She asked people who will be affected to contact her.

Those affected by a walkout likely would include some of Townsend’s family members. They have purchased airline tickets to Phoenix in anticipation of her son’s high-school graduation, which may be delayed by the walkout, she said.

No high schools have announced delays in graduation ceremonies. Some districts have explicitly said they would go on as scheduled.

Townsend said attorneys will have to decide who the defendants are in such an action. She said those affected could be students who plan to start jobs after graduation, or go on a mission after school ends.

The Republic‘s Laurie Roberts notes the obvious problem with this proposed lawsuit: Arizona legislator threatens to sue over teachers’ strike. But sue who?

Townsend, R-Mesa, wasn’t clear on who, exactly, she wants to haul into court, but I’m pretty sure she’s not planning to sue the GOP-run Legislature.

You know, the politicians who systematically have stiffed the schools over the last decade to the point where the state now investing $924 less on a child’s education now than it was a decade ago?

* * *

Townsend said she’d like to be a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

“If I have standing I absolutely will.”

As for who to sue, that, she says, would be up to the lawyers. She declined to identify the law firms involved, saying there are several working together and that an announcement would be coming in the next day or so.

Hmmm, Townsend and her legislative colleagues should be the defendants for failing their constitutionally mandated duty to raise taxes to support public education. They are guilty of misfeasance, if not malfeasance, in office. Counter suit!

But for the truly over the top visceral hatred for poorly paid teachers, you have to see today’s wingnut red meat op-ed from Rep. Maria Sims (R-Paradise Valley).

Sims does her best imitation of Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee: “I hold in my hand a list of Communists in the teacher movement” (note: anyone who is not a dyed-in-the-wool wingnut conservative like her is a Communist). #RedForEd leaders are not as nonpartisan as they claim:

This public school mom and #redheadfored (and many other state leaders) are actively advancing the argument on our teachers’ behalf.

But as a strike looms, I’ve come to realize another undeniable truth: Our teachers deserve better advocates than the self-declared “bipartisan” leaders of #RedForEd. These two promise more harm than good by politicizing Arizona education in pursuit of their self-proclaimed agenda — a national socialist revolution.

No surprise they endorsed a Democrat

Education funding has been moving in the right direction, and Gov. Doug Ducey now ventures a confident economic forecast in support of 20 percent pay raises and another $100 million in district additional assistance. Yet #RedForEd leaders still demand a strike.

So does #RedForEd really have our children’s best interests at heart? Was it coincidence this “nonpartisan” group started publicly advancing a strike the same day it endorsed Democrat David Garcia for governor?

Was Gov. Ducey off-base when he spoke out loud about “political theater?” If anything, he was excessively polite.

Karvelis worked for Bernie Sanders

It turns out our friends at #RedForEd are more red than many people know. Cursory research (my public school teachers taught me well) reveals that #RedForEd’s music teacher leaders, 23-year-old Noah Karvelis and comrade Derek Harris, are political operatives who moved here within the last two years to use teachers and our children to carry out their socialist movement — cue Karvelis’ former boss Bernie Sanders.

It appears that Harris left his teaching job in Texas, a state that pays close to $10,000 more on average, for this purpose.

Don’t take my word for it. These two callow leftists are so enamored of their wild-eyed agenda that they write about it … a lot. But wait, this is all about a “bipartisan” effort to educate our children, right?

Wrong.

He’s full of online rants from leftist sources

Harris contents himself with sharing pithy social media pearls such as “Republicans are the true sodomites” and “Ronald Reagan — still dead,” so let’s focus on Noah Karvelis. You would likely not want your children boarding his intellectual ark — or sitting in his exotic classroom.

He’s the media darling, teaching two years in Arizona with a provisional certificate. He prides himself on teaching the hip hop music of Kendrick Lamar (whose lyrics include “we hate Popo [police], wanna kill us dead in the street for sure, nigga”) to 10-year-olds, indoctrinating them in “social movements and societal change” and “socioeconomic and racial privilege.”

In his online rants, Karvelis takes inspiration from virulently anti-American sources (Truthout). He urges people to embrace ’60s radical Angela Davis, but neglects to mention her leadership of Communist Party USA.

He admires the teachings of Howard Zinn, another crank who was fired from Spelman College for “radicalizing students,” and he said President George W. Bush is the “moral equivalent” of vicious Islamic terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Ever expansive in his fondness for red revolution, Karvelis also credits the teachings of long-distance Communist academic Noam Chomsky.

Kids are collateral damage in the revolution

Channeling Lenin, Karvelis writes, “[t]he pieces for a movement are slowly coming into position … How do we capitalize on this moment?” His answer is familiar – exploit the working class to energize his revolution.

Curious how he makes no mention of teachers, children or their needs. Any worker will do.

Following the presidential election, Karvelis railed, “We must continue our fight and bolster the working class as we strive towards a progressive political revolution … we will move our revolution ever closer to imminent success.”

Because the pending delivery of a substantial pay raise disrupts his game and disturbs the waters in which he admires his own reflection, Karvelis moves the markers and still calls down a strike.

If he gets it, we will see contemporary radical politics at its treacherous worst, where harm to our children and their academic achievement are necessary collateral damage in the cause of leftist revolution.

Arizonans should take a stand against such threats to our children and our democracy. We all deserve better. #TooRedForEd.

This clearly disturbed woman desires attention, so you can contact her at msyms@azleg.gov; on Twitter, @SymsForAz.

If you think a reasoned, rational solution to the teacher and education crisis in Arizona is remotely possible with wingnuts like this serving in the Arizona legislature, you are sadly mistaken. It is time to clean House and vote them out.

One response to “AZ GOP response to #RedForEd ranges from ‘class warfare,’ to suing teachers, to McCarthyism

  1. For Sure Not Tom

    Townsend wants to sue teachers and Sims says they’re dirty commies, all because they want to be paid for their work?

    Good lord.

    The GOP did not fall into the abyss, they dove in, head first, after a running start.

    Also, #ComeBackWileybud