Category Archives: Education

How the Senate health care bill would affect Arizona

Howard Fischer reports on an analysis by Arizona’s AHCCCS office. Analysis: Senate health-care plan could cost Arizona $2.9B or more:

The new Senate health-care plan would cost Arizona at least $2.9 billion between next year and 2026 — and perhaps as much as $7.1 billion — according to a new analysis by the Ducey administration.

Or the state could avoid most of those costs simply by cutting off health care for more than 400,000 who got coverage in 2013 when Arizona took advantage of a provision in the Affordable Care Act — the law Congress is working to repeal.

The analysis by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, shows the Senate proposal is only marginally better than the one approved by the House. That has an Arizona price tag of $3.3 billion over the same period.

The $2.9 billion is just in lost federal dollars that provide care for nearly 320,000 childless adults with income below the federal poverty level, about $11,800 a year for a single person. Plus, there are another 82,000 adults considered the “working poor,” earning up to $16,400 a year, whom the feds would no longer fund.

That’s only a piece of the picture.

If federal funding goes away, the assessment on hospitals that lawmakers approved in 2013 to pay the state’s costs for those people automatically self-destructs. That means the loss of another $2 billion over the same period, money the taxpayers would have to pick up.

Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature would pass “emergency” legislation to make sure that this does not happen.

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Farley Kicks Off Bid for Governor with 3-Point Plan for Education

By Larry Bodine.

State Senator Steve Farley will announce a three-point plan to restore education funding in Arizona when he publicly kicks off his bid for Governor on Monday at the Arizona Inn.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., at Arizona Inn, 2200 E. Elm  St. in Tucson. Event from 6 to 8:30 p.m. RSVP at https://goo.gl/2Q9rAe

At a jam-packed invitation-only fundraiser on Saturday, Farley said he was confident he could be incumbent, Goldwater Institute-backed Gov. Doug Ducey.

Introduced by former Congressman Ron Barber, Farley outlined a three-point plan to restore education funding in Arizona:

A K-12 system that is a foundation for opportunity system for all Arizonans, second to none.

“One if four children currently live in poverty. That’s not tolerable,” he said.

A university system that’s strengthened, not cut.

“That’s where the new industries will be coming from. And when people who go to university come up with new industries, they’re going to stay in Arizona. You won’t have to bribe them to come to Arizona. They’ll be here.”

A community college system that’s a lifelong institution for training and retraining.

“We’ve cut our K through 12 system by 21% since 2008. We’ve cut our university system by $2.5 billion. And we’ve cut off community colleges in Pima County and Maricopa County entirely from state funding.”

Former Congressman Ron Barber 6-3-17

Former Congressman Steve Barber said, “Some people say the Governor is going to be hard to beat. But not when you have someone who knows state government as well as Steve does. We need a solid, progressive thinker in the Governor’s office, and that’s Steve Farley.”

331 Corporate tax loopholes

Farley said the funding will come from closing 331 corporate tax loopholes that are in the sales tax code, which now bleed $13.7 billion a year from the state general fund.

“We’ve got to look at those and get rid of them. If we could get rid of $2 billion of them, we could lower the sales tax by a penny while increasing funding for education.”

Farley, age 54, is the son of two public school teachers, and said:

“Teachers work hard not because they’re getting paid well. Teachers work hard because they believe in their kids.”

“There’s absolutely no excuse that Governor Ducey and this legislature have cut our education system to the point where we have the lowest average teacher salaries in the country,” Farley said.

A captivating speaker, Farley is also smart. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College (Mass.) in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He has 11 years’ experience in the Arizona statehouse.

$9 million campaign goal

Farley said he needs to raise $9 million to fund his campaign. “Remember we’re fighting against the Koch brothers golden boy. He’s going to have a lot of money. We’re going to have a lot of money too. We may not match them. But we’ll add the money we’re going to be able to raise together with the face-to-cafe contact I’m going to try to have everyone in every town in this state,” Farley said.

“People are ready for change,” he said. “We can shine as an example for the country here in Arizona, where too often we’ve turned up as a joke on The Daily Show.”

Where is Ducey vulnerable?

“Most people don’t know Doug Ducey. And the people who know him don’t like him that much. He doesn’t feel like one of us. And the fact that he lies all the time. He says one thing but he does exactly the opposite. I’m going to remind people that he was the leader of the effort to kill $1 billion a year from education. He created the problem we’re trying to solve.”

Scuttlebutt:

Former Arizona state Representative Victoria Steele, who served for four years, will run for Farley’s vacant Senate seat. She is NOT running again for Congress.

Arizona state Representative Randall “Randy” Friese is considering a run against US Senator Jeff Flake. He is a Democratic member representing District 9 in Tucson.

There are 9 Democrats vying to run against Martha McSally:

  • Matt Heinz – Ex-State Rep., Physician & ’12/’16 Candidate 
  • Lou Jordan – Retired USAF Colonel
  • Ann Kirkpatrick – Ex-Congresswoman, Ex-State Rep., Ex-Sedona City Attorney & ’16 US Sen. Nominee
  • Billy Kovacs – Hotel Manager & Marketing Consultant
  • Jeff Latas – Airline Pilot, Businessman, USAF Veteran, Democratic Activist & ’06 Candidate
  • Mary Sally Matiella – Ex-US Asst. Army Secretary & Accountant
  • Joshua Polacheck – Ex-US Foreign Service Officer
  • Charlie Verdin – Businessman
  • Bruce Wheeler – Ex-State Rep.

Larry Bodine is a Precinct Committeeman, Precinct #238, in Tucson, AZ.

Dem Statewide Meeting: ‘We Can Win with a Progressive Message’

Pamela Powers Hannley

Pamela Powers Hannley giving the Legislative Update to the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus.

I have been back in Tucson for two weeks now, and it’s been a fun whirlwind of visits, phone calls, and events with Tucson friends and family, LD9 constituents, fellow Unitarian Universalist church members, labor union members, and Progressives.

Saturday, May 20 was my first campaign event of the 2018 season– the Arizona Democratic Party’s State Committee Meeting in Tucson. In addition to tabling, I gave Legislative updates to the Arizona Democratic Women’s Federation and to the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus. Scott Prior and I co-chaired the Progressive Caucus for three years. This was the first full meeting with the new co-chairs Jenise Porter (Pima County) and Joe Murphy (Maricopa County).

Here is my speech to the Progressive Caucus.

Everyone says that this session of the Arizona Legislature was “different”. There are several reasons why it was different. For one, Speaker J.D. Mesnard assigned Democratic bills to committees and allowed floor votes on many of them. According to people on both sides of the aisle, he also ran the House much more efficiently than the previous speaker. In my opinion, the real reason that this session was different is that the House Freshman Class is the largest  in recent history (or ever). Many House incumbents lost, termed out, retired, or tried to move to the Senate. For House Democrats, this meant a demographic shift with our caucus now being majority Latino, half women, and surprisingly progressive on many policy issues.

I’m here to tell you that Progressives– particularly the women– made a difference in the Arizona House this session.

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State Sponsored Discrimination

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Some parents don’t know best. There. I said it. Let’s face it, some parents aren’t present, some are abusive, and some are drug addicts. Then there are those who are trying their damnedest to provide for their children but their minimum wage jobs (without benefits) just don’t pay enough to make ends meet. Bottom line is, not all parents know how, or care enough to provide, the best they can for their children. Where that is the case, or, when hard working parents need a little help, it is up to all of us in a civil society, to ensure all children are safe and that their basic needs are met. As education reformer John Dewey said over a century ago, “What the best and wisest parent wants for his child, that must we want for all the children of the community. Anything less is unlovely, and left unchecked, destroys our democracy.”

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos evidently doesn’t agree. In recent testimony to Congress, no matter what question she was asked about how far states would be allowed to go in discriminating against certain types of students, she kept deflecting to “states rights” and “parental rights,” failing to say at any point in the testimony that she would ensure states receiving federal dollars would not discriminate. From watching her testimony, if she had been the Secretary of Education with Donald Trump as President back in the early 1960s, the Alabama National Guard would undoubtedly never have been called up to integrate the schools. Continue reading

Save Our Schools Arizona referendum to overturn the ‘vouchers for all’ bill

For activists looking to channel their energy into something more productive than attending marches, their dance cards just got filled for the long hot Arizona summer. Time to get yourself a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

Last week former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson formed “Voters of Arizona” (no web site yet) to file referendums against the Chamber of Commerce organizations’ bills to effectively strip Arizonans of their constituional right to enact laws by citizens initiatives in Arizona. Expect to hear more about this in coming weeks.

Now the long anticipated referendum to overturn the “vouchers for all” bill passed by anti-public education Tea-Publcans in the Arizona legislature is ready to launch as well. The Arizona Republic reports, Parent group will seek to overturn Arizona school-voucher expansion:

Public-education advocates are launching a referendum campaign to halt the controversial expansion of Arizona’s school-voucher-style program.

Members of the group “Save Our Schools Arizona” said they will file paperwork this week and begin gathering signatures to refer their proposal to the November 2018 ballot. The group has planned a rally and news conference on Monday at 5 p.m. at the state Capitol.

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False Choices for Arizona

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Just when I was starting to think highly of the AZ Republic Editorial Board’s judgement, they came out today with: “The focus of this budget was clearly education – from kindergarten through the university level. It is the beginning of a long climb to provide Arizona’s schools with the resources they need to serve our youth and help drive the state’s economic growth.” Wow! Talk about drinking the Koolaid!

After all, this headline a couple of days ago: Gov. Doug Ducey gets much of what he wanted for education, was bad enough. Those in Ducey’s camp no doubt read it as him being successful, but those who know what he proposed against what our districts need, know that his getting “much of what he wanted” wasn’t well…all that much.

Instead, it is clear that his commitment to delivering tax cuts every year he is in office is much more important to him than fixing our state’s severe teacher shortage.. That’s clear in his woefully inadequate proposal of a permanent 2% increase, rolled out over five years which amounted to only $15 per month in the first year for the average teacher. As it turns out, the Legislature funded a 1% increase for next year with a “promise” to fund it again the following year. This funding is only for existing teachers, is more a stipend than a “raise” since it is not distributed on a per-student basis and therefore doesn’t increase with inflation. It amounts to about $500 per year, or about $40 per month. The Republic Editorial Board writes that, educators “will be watching next year to see if this is a good-faith effort.” Not so much I think. I mean, fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. I don’t think educators or public education advocates have much faith in any promises the GOP-led Legislature or this Governor make to public education. Continue reading