Category Archives: Governor

New study: ‘Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay are at crisis levels’

ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy has a new report coming out in May on education in Arizona that it is previewing this week. Here is the summary I received by email with the highlights from its (corrected) Key Facts brief added in.

Top findings from new report show crisis levels for Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay

PHOENIX – Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay are at crisis levels with more teachers leaving the profession annually than bachelor of education degrees produced by the three universities, compounded by an exodus of instructors for reasons ranging from retirement to poor salaries.

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Those are just some of the data points and facts in the upcoming Morrison Institute for Public Policy report, Finding & Keeping Educators for Arizona’s Classrooms. The study’s top facts are being released today in a two-page brief, with the full report to be released in May.

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Why no state budget? Governor Ducey’s university bonding plan

This was supposed to be the week that the Arizona legislature passed a budget and then declared sine die. Didn’t happen.

According to the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required), the holdup is Governor Doug Ducey’s university bonding proposal, the one he mentioned in his State of The State Address back in January but has still not fleshed out the details at this late date. Ducey’s bonding plan for universities has more questions than details:

Gov. Doug Ducey’s university bonding proposal is a vast unknown for Arizona lawmakers.

He doesn’t offer any long-term growth projections or specifics on how the state’s three universities will spend the $1 billion that the plan is supposed to generate. There is also no mention of oversight from the Governor’s Office or from the plan’s backers.

Lawmakers do understand the broad strokes of the universities’ wish list if they get the money: new buildings, research programs and repairs.

But the plan almost certainly will generate much more than needed to pay off a $1 billion loan over the course of its 30-year life, a fact acknowledged by both backers and foes, and that’s something lawmakers question.

Lawmakers are also hearing from cities and counties, which look to lose millions of dollars under the plan. Ken Strobeck, president of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, said the plan is opaque by design, and he’s done his own analysis that shows the universities will gain more than $1 billion.

“These are not uninformed people,” Strobeck said. “I think they knew exactly what they were doing.”

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Higher minimum wage did not reduce restaurant employment after all (updated)

The Arizona Restaurant Association (ARA) is the principal chamber of commerce organization that has sought to defeat and to undermine Arizona’s Minimum Wage Act first approved by voters in 2006, and reaffirmed by voters in 2016.

The ARA was behind HB 2579, our Tea-Pulican legislature’s attempt to gut the 2006 Minimum Wage Act by narrowly redefining “wages.” The ARA participated in a failed legal challenge to the sufficiency of the 2016 Minimum Wage Initiative, and after the Minimum Wage Initiative was passed by voters, the ARA participated in the failed legal challenge to overturn the will of the voters.

The ARA’s position is always that the minimum wage (most restaurant workers are paid a sub-minimum wage and must rely on the kindness of strangers for tips) is devastating to restaurant businesses. The ARA always claims that a higher minimum wage will reduce employment in the restaurant sector.

While some marginal businesses teetering on failure may have closed due to higher wage costs, those businesses have been replaced by others that are competitive at the higher wage costs. And isn’t that what “creative destruction” in a free market economy is all about?

Howard Fischer reports today that employment in the restaurant sector has gone up since passage of the increase in the minimum wage. Food sector job growth outpaces state since wage hike on Jan. 1:

Remember those claims during the Proposition 206 debate that increasing the minimum wage would lead to less hiring and people being laid off from low-wage jobs?

The latest unemployment statistics suggest that hasn’t happened.

In fact, the data from the state Office of Economic Opportunity shows that the number of people working in bars and restaurants last month not only increased but did so at a rate six times higher than the economy as a whole. Employers who run food service and drinking establishments added 7,800 new workers compared with February, a 3.3 percent boost.

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‘The end is near’ for legislative session

Some key legislative deadlines are approaching, and yet, there is no white smoke wafting from the chimney of the governors office to announce that there is a state budget worked out between the governor and the GOP leadership.

UPCOMING DEADLINES:

April 14 Last day for conference committees
April 18 100th day of session
April 22 Date required by rule for sine die adjournment unless leaders
extend the deadline. Leadership can extend it no more than 7
days; thereafter any extension requires a majority vote in each
house.

Nevertheless, the Arizona Republic reports today, Tick-tock: Will the Arizona Legislature finish its work next week?

Attention Capitol watchers: Tuesday is the heralded 100th day of the legislative session. Traditionally, that signals it’s time for the state Legislature to wrap up and get out of town by the time the end of the week rolls around.

And while chatter is increasing that maybe, just MAYBE, the Legislature will pop out a budget in the next several days, there likely is not enough time to finish everything and adjourn sine die (for “without a day”) by April 22.

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, and Senate President Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, agree that their chambers are largely unified in what they want in the $9.6 billion budget for fiscal 2018. They have previously noted their budget assumptions don’t differ much from Gov. Doug Ducey’s.

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(Update) AZ Tea-Publican legislature aids and abets our corporate overlords in restricting your constitutional right to make laws

The Chamber of Commerce organizations got their lickspittle servants in our Tea-Publican controlled legislature and our “Koch-bot” governor to do their bidding in making it damn near impossible for citizens to exercise their constitutional right to make laws by citizens initiative. Buying a legislature and governor to do your bidding is the exclusive provence of our Plutocratic corporate overlords, and you will obey!

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, House passes two more bills tightening citizen-initiative laws:

Republican state lawmakers on Thursday agreed to impose two new sets of restrictions on initiatives that foes said in combination with already-approved measures will effectively deny the ability of voters to ever again propose their own laws.

SB 1236, approved by the House on a 35-23 party-line vote, would make the committee pushing a ballot measure financially responsible for any acts of fraud or forgery committed by anyone who is paid to gather signatures for the initiative. Those fines would be $1,000 for each violation.

That measure still needs final Senate approval.

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Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III visits Nogales, controversy ensues

Charles Pierce at Esquire covers this story in the way only he can, so let him tell this story. This Is What America Means to Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III:

We’re going to have to make a semi-regular daily feature on the doings of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, presently the Attorney General and the only man in America who thinks Birth of a Nation was a documentary.

On Tuesday, he visited the Arizona-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona, with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and, by way of encouraging the law-enforcement types gathered there, according to Tiger Beat On The Potomac, these were his prepared remarks:

“Depravity and violence are their calling cards, including brutal machete attacks and beheadings,” he said. “It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth.”

Nobody I know is in favor of depravity and violence—at least outside the studios of Fox News, anyway—nor is anyone I know in favor of machete attacks and/or beheadings, although some of our staunch allies elsewhere are rather high on the latter. But when you’ve got the attorney general of the United States planning to refer to other human beings, no matter how criminal they are, as “filth,” you’ve got the Department of Justice descending into the status of a Breitbart comment thread, and that is never good for anyone. When it came time for the speech, Sessions ultimately did not say “filth” out loud, but the Department of Justice doubled down on the word in a statement:

The Department of Justice declined to comment on the departure from prepared remarks, but said:

“As the Attorney General said in his statement, we must take a stand against filth like MS-13 and the cartels that turn cities and suburbs into warzones, that rape and kill innocent people, and that profit by trafficking in drugs and people. It is unfortunate that there are misinformed people that think that we need to treat such violent criminals as if they deserve anything but the worse kind of condemnation.”

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