Category Archives: Lobbying

#RedforEd March and Rally Thursday

Carolyn Classen posted information in the calendar above about the Arizona Educators United Rally at the Arizona State Capitol scheduled for Noon.

The march this calendar item references is the Arizona Education Association #RedForEd March and Rally (link).

AZ-RedforEd-Rally-banner

After years of cut after cut to education funding, years of students sitting at broken desks, years of taping textbooks to keep them together, and years crumbling school buildings, we’ve had enough.

On Thursday, Arizona’s educators are walking out for our students.

We’ll be meeting at 10 a.m. at the Chase Stadium and marching to the Capitol Building, where there will be a rally.

Sign up to receive details.

The teacher organizations will be joined in solidarity with support from their union brothers and sisters in the Arizona AFL-CIO.

Brothers and Sisters,

We are witnessing a national uprising in education fueled by students and educators. I believe we in Arizona Labor have a moral obligation to provide no-strings-attached support and help as needed. We will share what information we have for continued support leading up to Thursday (4/26).

Students demand safe schools in which to be educated.

Teachers demand economic justice to afford educating them.

Thousands of educators and their supporters will converge on the State Capitol as they strike to send a loud, clear message to Governor Ducey and Legislative leaders: The time for flimsy, empty promises of change is over.

Please contact me directly for help getting involved:
cell: 480-217-1920   office: 602-631-4488

In solidarity

Fred Yamashita
Executive Director
Arizona AFL-CIO

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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.

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AZ teachers know their math and economics, AZ legislators not so much

As state policy makers weigh their options in response to the “Red for Ed” movement that is organizing the teacher protests, some conservatives and their allies are once again, like a broken record, blaming administration costs as a reason teachers in Arizona have among the worst pay in the nation. It’s just right-wing propaganda. Analysis shows no link between school district administration costs, teacher pay:

A “messaging guide” by the State Policy Network, a network of conservative think tanks, that aims to discredit the nationwide movement to increase teacher pay urges conservatives and anti-union activists to turn the conversation to how “red tape and bureaucracy” and “administrative bloat” suppresses teacher pay.

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But an Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting analysis of school district spending data compiled by the Arizona Auditor General’s Office shows no correlation between how much a school district spends on administration and how it pays its teachers.

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CD 8 Special Election Day

The CD 8 special election today is just the first in a “two-fer” election this year. November is the grand prize. Close counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and “two-fer” special elections.

Donald Trump won this district by 21 points. A single digit finish for Democrat Hiral Tipirneni is still a “win” because it will attract DNC and outside group money this fall that she has not received in this special election.

The New York Times takes notice today, Special Election: Republicans Are Dominant But Still Nervous:

We’re watching Tuesday’s special election in Arizona closely, not because we expect the Democrats to stage an upset (the congressional district is solidly Republican), but because Republicans are showing concern over the outcome. Here’s what makes this House race interesting.

The district is deeply red.

Debbie Lesko, a former Republican state senator, is facing the Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, a doctor, in the race for the Phoenix-area seat that is reliably Republican.

After the district lines were redrawn in 2012, the district has voted Republican in the past three elections, and it has supported Republican presidential nominees by large margins.

Donald J. Trump won the district by more than 20 percentage points in 2016. Four years earlier, Mitt Romney had won it by almost 25 points.

The Eighth District seat was vacated by Representative Trent Franks, a Republican who resigned after he was revealed to have offered $5 million to an aide in exchange for carrying his child.

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Gov. Ducey’s so-called school safety bill advances out of committee

The Senate Committee on Commerce and Public Safety voted 4-3 on April 19 to advance Governor Ducey’s so-called school safety plan, a plan crafted with and endorsed by the NRA. NRA endorses Arizona Gov. Ducey’s plan to prevent school shootings; bill passes committee:

The National Rifle Association, the country’s most powerful gun-rights lobbying organization, has endorsed Gov. Doug Ducey’s plan to prevent mass shootings in schools.

Republican lawmakers in the Arizona Senate announced the NRA’s support Thursday during a committee hearing, where Ducey’s proposal cleared a crucial first vote.

Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, the committee chairman, said legislation outlining the governor’s plan, Senate Bill 1519, respects Second Amendment rights while taking steps to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals.”

“Arizona is listed by many as the No. 1 Second Amendment state in the country. I want to keep it that way,” Smith, who’s sponsoring the bill, said at the outset of Thursday’s hearing.

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Gov. Ducey’s teacher pay plan is unsustainable, teacher walkout appears likely (Updated)

Calling the governor’s plan not fiscally sustainable, the Arizona PTA has withdrawn its backing for Gov. Doug Ducey’s teacher pay hike plan. PTA group withdraws support from Ducey’s teacher pay hike plan:

Beth Simek, the organization’s president, told Capitol Media Services this afternoon that her own research shows there is no way Ducey can finance both the pay raise and restoration of capital funding without cutting the budget for other needed programs. And Simek said she believes some of what the governor plans to slice could end up hurting the very children her organization is working to protect.

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Simek said that she was not given all the relevant information about how Ducey plans to finance his plan when the governor first asked for support. So, what she did was strike out on her own and gather as much in specifics as she could from various other sources, including other state agencies.

Most crucial, she said, are the cuts being made elsewhere in the budget.

For example, Simek said, Ducey’s plan cuts $2.9 million that had been allocated for skilled nursing services in both the state Medicaid program and the Department of Economic Security. Also gone is $1.8 million aid for “critical access hospitals” and $4 million that the governor had proposed in additional dollars for the developmentally disabled.

“We can’t support that,” Simek said. “That hurts kids and it hurts families.”

The governor’s plan also cuts back $2 million in arts funding, which arts advocates say would decimate grants that fund programs that benefit pupils.

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