Category Archives: Governor

Tucson demonstration against Gov. Ducey’s State of The State Address today

Governor Ducey will be in Tucson today to deliver a warmed-over repetition of the pablum he served up in his State of The State Address to the legislature on Monday to the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Progressive Democrats of America plan to demonstrate Against #DoubleTalkDucey:

On Tuesday, Jan. 9, Gov. Ducey will be giving a Tucson version of his State of the State speech at a $110-per-person luncheon hosted by the Tucson Chamber of Commerce. We’ll be waiting outside to show him that we’re done with his double talk, and ready to demand something better.

Frustrated by the way that Ducey claims to support public education — while refusing to pay teachers anything close to what they deserve? Infuriated by the way Ducey claims to stand for inclusivity — while continuing to support people like Joe Arpaio? Fed up with the way Ducey pretends to champion Arizona’s middle class — while supporting tax cuts for his rich friends? Join us! Bring signs and come ready to chant and speak out.

Thanks to ProgressNow Arizona, Indivisible Southern Arizona and Mi Familia Vota for organizing this action. They are asking that we meet on the sidewalk near 215 S. Granada at the Convention Center at 11:00 am on Tuesday morning.

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Gov. Ducey’s State of The State Address is not well received

Our self-proclaimed “education governor,” Doug Ducey, yesterday delivered pablum in his State of  The State Address, making lofty promises of increased pubic education funding but failing to explain how he intends to pay for it. Gov. Doug Ducey’s State of the State speech: 6 big takeaways:

Education promises, but few details

Ducey focused the bulk of the education portion of his speech [2 pages out of a 17 page address] on trying to “get some facts straight” by touting improved student performance and additional K-12 spending under his administration.

Specifically, he noted that overall inflation-adjusted funding per student in Arizona has increased by 10 percent since 2015. Arizona spent an inflation-adjusted $3,782 per student in 2015, compared to $4,157 per student in 2018, according to documents from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

But both those figures remain below what Arizona spent per student in 2008 and are unlikely to satisfy those who argue that schools are underfunded.

A recent study by the progressive think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found Arizona cut more K-12 funding than any other state between 2008 and 2015.

Ducey in his speech vowed to “restore long-standing cuts from the recession made before many of us were here.”

He listed seven specific areas — including full-day kindergarten and new school buses — where his budget would invest more dollars toward education, but he did not include details. Those details are expected in his budget proposal Friday.

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Public education funding is top priority in new legislative session: this is war

On Saturday, Thousands marched, calling on Ducey and Republican lawmakers to fully fund public schools:

Dawn Penich-Thacker, SOS Arizona spokeswoman, said the march was created for two reasons. The first, she said, was to celebrate public schools for doing what they can with the limited funding that state leaders have invested in education.

The second, she said, is to hold Ducey and lawmakers accountable, making them aware that their talking points on education funding fall short of resolving what has become a crisis in public education.

Earlier, Save Our Schools issued a plan to raise almost a billion dollars for public education without a sales tax increase. This good faith attempt to play on the Tea-Publican’s field also falls far short of the funding actually needed by our public schools.  Our former blogger David Safier breaks down the educators’ plan at the The Range in the Tucson Weekly. How to Raise a Billion Dollars For Schools Without Raising Sales Taxes.

These lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears from our Koch-bot governor and lawless Tea-Publican legislature who are hellbent on privatizing public education through school vouchers, the long-term goal of the “Kochtopus” (and a violation of the Arizona Constitution). Further, these ideological extremists are true believers in the false religion of faith-based supply side “trickle down” economics, the First Commandment of which is “Thou shalt never raise taxes (for corporations and plutocrats).”

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‘The priority of 2018 is for our nation to rise up and say: Enough’

People tend to use the new year as a reason to adopt new year’s resolutions that they soon forget or abandon. Humans are creatures of habit after all.

So to simplify things this year, there need be only one resolution or goal for 2018 in this national state of emergency: to reduce the number of Trump enablers in this photo to as close to zero as possible in the 2018 midterm elections.

GOP Mug Shot

OK, two resolutions or goals: we also need to reduce the number of Trump enablers in the Arizona legislature and state offices to as close to zero as possible.

The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne writes, This new year, tell Trump: Enough:

In 2018, Trump’s abuses of power, his indifference to truth and his autocratic habits will be the central issues in our politics. Nothing else comes close.

This means there is no more vital business than containing Trump and, if circumstances demand it, removing him from office. This applies not only to progressives and liberals but also to everyone else, from left to right, who would defend our democratic values and republican institutions.

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The time has come to amend the Arizona Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity

The Arizona legislature is about to be consumed by the sexual harassment ethics complaint filed by Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita against Rep. Don Shooter. Unbelievably, there was no formal, written policy in the House of Representatives available to legislators detailing how to respond to sexual harassment claims. Rules, enforcement lacking to prevent sexual harassment among lawmakers.

So the House has now drafted its first sexual harassment policy ex post facto to address the sexual harassment ethics complaint against Rep. Don Shooter. But that draft policy does not go far enough. No LGBT protections in Arizona Legislature’s new harassment rules:

When Arizona House Speaker J.D. Mesnard released a new harassment policy this week, members of the Legislature’s LGBT caucus felt something was missing.

The policy prohibits workplace discrimination in the Arizona House of Representatives based on someone’s race, age, national origin, religion, sex, disability or veteran status, among others.

Not included in that lengthy list: protections for House members or their staffers who might face discrimination for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

NOTE: The Arizona Civil Rights Act does not provide for express protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. A bill has been introduced in the Arizona legislature every year since at least 1994 to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Arizona Civil Rights Act but only once, to the best of my recollection, has a bill ever received a committee hearing. It has always been opposed by GOP leadership, because it is opposed by the religious right Center for Arizona Policy.

State Rep. Daniel Hernandez, D-Tucson, said he and other members of the recently formed LGBT caucus are going to push to change that.

Hernandez said while the policy allows anyone to report instances of sexual harassment, the portion dealing with discrimination should be amended to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

“I would like to see that it gets spelled out,” he said, “just so there isn’t confusion or issues later on.”

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The looming battle over school financing in the Arizona legislature

“A plan by Arizona business leaders to ask voters for a 1.5-cent sales tax hike for education at the 2020 ballot could set the stage for a possibly expensive battle with Gov. Doug Ducey and his Koch brothers allies — assuming Ducey is still in office at that point.” Plan to place education tax increase on ballot could spark battle:

The specifics of the plan, first proposed earlier this year, include $660 million to extend the 0.6-cent sales tax that voters first approved in 2000 as Proposition 301 to fund education. That levy will self-destruct in 2021 unless specifically reauthorized.

Ducey has already said he supports making that tax permanent.

But this plan also includes $340 million for a 10 percent increase teacher pay. That compares with the 1.06 percent pay hike lawmakers approved for this year with a promise of an identical amount next year.

There’s also $300 million to fund the formula, ignored for years by the governor and lawmakers, which is supposed to pay for new school construction and repairs.

Another $240 million would restore state funding for full-day kindergarten, dollars eliminated during the recession.

And there were would be $190 million to help restore some of the cuts made in funding for universities.

Ducey, for his part, remains opposed to anything more than the simple extension of the 0.6-cent tax.

“He doesn’t support raising taxes,” press aide Daniel Scarpinato said Wednesday. Instead, the governor has told state agencies chiefs to find ways to save money in their budgets with the idea of redirecting the dollars to K-12 education.

Ducey has a track record fighting against higher taxes for education. As state treasurer he led the successful 2012 fight against an initiative pushed by parents and educators to make permanent a temporary one-cent sales tax increase which voters had approved two years earlier.

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