Category Archives: Governor

‘Dark money’ lawsuit, ‘dirty money’ initiative

A lawsuit has been filed to void a new Arizona law expanding the ability of some organizations to make anonymous “dark money” contributions to political campaigns. Howard Fischer reports, Lawsuit challenges dark money growth:

A voter advocacy group, a union and Democrat lawmakers are asking a judge to void a new Arizona law expanding the ability of some groups to make anonymous “dark money” contributions to political campaigns.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Maricopa County Superior Court charges the Republican-controlled Legislature acted illegally earlier this year in exempting some organizations from laws that require them to register before they can spend money to influence who is elected. More to the point, it also allows them to avoid disclosing to voters who provided that cash in the first place.

But attorney Jim Barton said there are other legal flaws in the measure.

One, he said, is that the exemption lawmakers provided to certain nonprofit organizations applies only to those that also are registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission. But Barton said the legislation denies the same privilege to unions which, while organized as nonprofits, do not register with the commission.

Potentially the most sweeping, Barton said lawmakers violated a constitutional provision that requires the legislature to have laws that tell the public about all of the contributions to and expenditures by campaign committees and candidates for public office.

He said SB 1516 allows nonprofits and similar entities to make unlimited contributions to political parties. Then the parties can spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of their nominees.

“Since the reporting of these particular contributions are not required, then built-in disclosure safeguards (required by the Arizona Constitution) are broken,” Barton wrote.

A spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office, which enforces the campaign finance laws, said the lawsuit is being studied.

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David Garcia Sees New Voters Propelling Him to Governor’s Office

“Every time Trump tweets, a new Democratic activist is born.”

Candidate David Garcia plans to win the race for Arizona Governor by harnessing disaffected voters, and recruiting a generation of Latinos to become new voters who will support Democrats for years to come.

“To change Arizona and win in 2018 we need to focus on new voters,” Garcia told the Democrats of Greater Tucson yesterday in a rousing presentation. “We have a surge of Democratic energy. It’s incredible. We need to take this unique opportunity to get a group of reliable voters that we have not been able to bring out.”

He cited California as an example of a once-Republican state that is now solidly Democratic. The state’s Latino population boomed in the 1990s and they rejected the Republican hard-line stance on immigration. The state’s immigrant population has elected Democratic candidates decisively in every election since 1992.

Minority voters were a major factor in electing a Democrat to Governor in Virginia this month.

The Latino vote

“Latino voters vote for Democrats 70% of the time,” he said. “They are not engaged and we need to get them on board. The numbers are there to win.”

Repeating a quote from his Democratic rival Steve Farley, Garcia said, “Every time Trump tweets, a new Democratic activist is born.”

He cited three ways that he can take the Governor’s office away from Doug Ducey:
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An off-year referendum election: a rejection of ‘Trumpism without Trump’

Tuesday’s off-year election was a referendum on Donald Trump one year after his surprise election, and it turned out to be a resounding rejection of “Trumpism without Trump” and a “blue wave” for Democrats. When Democrats actually turn out to vote, Democrats win.

Daily Kos as a good rundown of the election results in the Morning Digest:

Democrats utterly crushed Republicans in just about every major race across the country, but the exclamation point came, without any doubt, in Virginia. There, despite much fretting, Democrat Ralph Northam obliterated Republican Ed Gillespie by a dominant 54-45 margin, far exceeding the polls, which averaged out to just a 3-point Northam lead. Not only was this the biggest Democratic win in a governor’s race in the Old Dominion since 1985, it showed just how toxic Donald Trump is to suburban voters—and just how badly Gillespie’s openly racist message failed.

But the victories hardly stopped there. Democrats also held Virginia’s two other statewide posts, as Justin Fairfax won the open lieutenant governorship and Mark Herring was re-elected as attorney general, both by 53-47 margins.

Downballot, though, was the scene of an even bigger, historic, and downright epic bloodbath, and perhaps the biggest harbinger for 2018. Republicans entered the night with an enormous 66-34 advantage in the Virginia House of Delegates, but Democrats smashed all expectations and had picked up a monster 14 seats by the time we put the Digest to bed—the biggest Democratic year since 1899. That shrunk the GOP’s edge to just 51-49, and some late-breaking races could yet go the Democrats’ way [Four other races were so close that they qualify for a recount, and results will determine control of the chamber. Democrats need to win two of those four recounts to draw even in the chamber, and three of four would give them a majority. Democrats poised to make significant gains in Virginia legislature], potentially setting the party up to take over the chamber—an outcome no one could have imagined or dared to predict.

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Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona, and America

In 2012, Koch-bot governor Sam Brownback led a radical Tea-Publican legislature to enact the “Kansas experiment” out of blind faith in trickle-down economics. They enacted “a tax cut that eliminated state income taxes entirely for pass-through entities — such as sole proprietorships and limited liability partnerships — which are taxed at the owner’s individual income tax rate. The law also lowered individual income tax rates, cutting the top rate to 4.9 percent from 6.4 percent.” Kansas Tried a Tax Plan Similar to Trump’s. It Failed.

The tax package reduced state revenue by nearly $700 million a year, a drop of about 8 percent, from 2013 through 2016, according to the Kansas Legislative Research Department, forcing officials to shorten school calendars, delay highway repairs and reduce aid to the poor. Research suggests the package did not stimulate the economy, certainly not enough to pay for the tax cut. This year, legislators passed a bill to largely rescind the law, saying it had not worked as intended.

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[C]ongressional Republicans and President Trump are trying to take the experiment with pass-through preferences national, beyond Wichita and Topeka to cities with residents who measure incomes in seven, eight or nine figures.

The Republican tax rewrite unveiled this month aims to jump-start economic growth in part by establishing a 25 percent tax rate on small businesses and other firms that operate as pass-through entities, a cut from the top rate of 39.6 percent that such business owners pay now.

But the abandoned experiment in Kansas points to how a carve-out intended to help raise growth and create jobs instead created an incentive for residents, particularly high earners, to avoid paying state income taxes by changing how they got paid.

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So how’s that trickle-down working out for Arizona?

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports that Arizona Legislature’s budget analysts predict 2018 shortfall:

The Arizona Legislature’s budget analysts last Thursday predicted a budget shortfall that could top $100 million in the current and coming year as the impact of corporate tax cuts continues to overwhelm increases in sales, insurance premium and personal income tax collections.

Whaaa? You mean tax cuts don’t pay for themselves and are revenue neutral? (sarcasm).

Chief budget analyst Richard Stavneak told economists and state officials who make up the Legislature’s Finance Advisory Committee that the shortfall will hit $104 million. That’s out of an expected $10 billion in spending for the budget year that begins next July 1. A panel of state lawmakers also attended the meeting.

Excluded from that projection is $90 million in current spending that is labeled one-time but appears to be an ongoing commitment by the Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey, Stavneak said. That puts the expected shortfall next year close to $200 million if that spending isn’t cut. The revenue picture could also brighten, but signals are mixed, he said.

Phased-in corporate tax cuts enacted under former Gov. Jan Brewer in 2011 have cut more than $600 million in yearly revenue since 2014. Rep. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, said it may be time to revisit the corporate tax cuts and predicted a budget battle next year.

“It’s going to be a free-for-all. We’re back to the cutting, I don’t see any other way,” Shooter said. “It’s going to come down to who’s going to bleed the least, what’s going to be the least painful, I guess.”

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Ducey is a disaster for Arizona

Governor Doug Ducey, the ice cream man hired by Koch industries to run their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona, self-labels himself, for purely propaganda purposes, as “the education governor.”

The governor’s label would be a joke if his misguided policies did not come with serious and dire consequences for the actual condition of public education in Arizona.

Perhaps the governor should accept responsibility for his policies making Arizona the worst — that’s right, dead last — in public education, as the Republic’s Laurie Roberts describes. Arizona ranks as worst state to be a teacher:

Quick, what is the worst state in which to be a teacher?

If you said Arizona, give yourself a gold star.

WalletHub this week released its annual rankings for the best – and worst – states in  which to spend a career in the classroom. The financial services website compared the 50 states and Washington D.C., analyzing 21 key indicators, ranging from income growth potential to class size to safety.

The best states in which to be a teacher: New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, Pennsylvania.

The worst: Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, Hawaii and finally, down there in our usual spot at the bottom of the barrel, Arizona.

We ranked as one of the states with the highest turnover, the highest student-teacher ratios and the lowest spending per student.

And we ranked as dead last in the number of people expected to be competing for teacher jobs by 2024. Gee, I wonder why.

Lest you think things are looking up, two years ago Arizona ranked 49th  overall. Now, we’re 51st.

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