Category Archives: Lobbying

Poor People’s Campaign kickoff on Monday

Here is something you can persuade your local church congregation into supporting and participating in. After all, WWJD?

On Monday, thousands of low-wage workers, clergy and activists will gather at the U.S. Capitol and more than 30 statehouses across the country to kick off the Poor People’s Campaign (organization website), a civil disobedience movement that aims to push the issue of poverty to the top of the national political agenda. Here’s how the Poor People’s Campaign aims to finish what MLK started:

Inspired by a 1968 initiative planned by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the multiracial coalition will involve 40 days of protests and direct actions to highlight the issues of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism. Organizers are pitching it as one of the largest waves of nonviolent direct action in U.S. history.

About 41 million Americans live below the official poverty line, the majority of them white. Organizers with the Poor People’s Campaign say official measures of poverty are too narrow, and the number of poor and low-income Americans expands to 140 million if food, clothing, housing and utility costs, as well as government assistance programs, are taken into account.

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The First Chapter Completed in Funding our Schools? Maybe not for Tucson.

Walking around the state capital late this morning, there were universal signs of enthusiasm, passion, and unity among the supporters, dressed in red,  for increasing school funding. People held signs advising gatherers to remember the November elections and the need to vote in people who will finish what started this week.

The well-organized and very visible Superintendent of Public Instruction campaign of David Schapira, with signs and volunteers throughout the capital park,  joined with the forces promoting the Invest in Education Ballot act, collecting signatures. The leaders of the Red for Ed Movement were not letting up, with leaders like Noah Karvelis telling reporters what will happen next.

Not satisfied with the budget that passed today, district union representatives were telling their people from their districts that the fight must still go on after a week of rest and returning to the classroom. These representatives encouraged teachers to collect signatures for the Invest in Education Ballot Initiative, by collecting at least 200,000 signatures so 150,000 will be validated. They also said that they needed to work towards electing public school advocates this November, no matter which party they belonged to.

The one area of immediate concern expressed was when a few of the educators from Tucson relayed that their districts may not reopen for a couple of reasons.

  • First, they are justifiably not happy with how the support staffs have been treated.
  • Second, they are understandably furious that Pima County, unlike Maricopa, did not have their property tax increases in the budget taken care of by the state government. Saddled with this increase, net instructor raises would be minimized and support staff would receive a net cut in their salaries.

What will happen in Tucson and the other Pima County District Schools will be revealed later. It is important that the Red for Ed Movement stick together and work to correct this imbalance this county is beset with as well as the other funding issues not addressed in this budget. It is six months to November and there is a lot of work to do.

 

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2018/05/03/arizona-teacher-strike-scottsdales-ingleside-pima-madisons-madison-park-open/577156002/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona-education/2018/05/02/arizona-budget-legislature-teacher-strike-redfored/575753002/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2018/05/03/redfored-has-changed-arizona-politcs-so-who-won-and-who-lost/577208002/

 

 

Budget passed by the legislature, signed by the governor

The #RedforEd protestors will return to work now. They only partially succeeded on one of their demands, a 20 percent pay increase for teachers, but that is all they are going to get out of this Tea-Publican legislature and governor.

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona Legislature passes state budget, including #RedForEd teacher pay-raise plan (note to the copy editor, this is NOT the “#RedForEd teacher pay-raise plan,” it is the GOP leadership’s plan):

The Arizona Legislature passed a state budget early Thursday that included nearly $273 million aimed at giving teachers pay raises. It came after nearly 13 hours of debate in the House and Senate.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill dealing with education, which had the teacher pay raise plan as part of it, at about 6:10 a.m. Thursday, according to a post on his Twitter feed.

Passage of the pay raises was called the triggering event that organizers said would end the statewide teacher walkout, the largest in recent U.S. history.

The galleries in both chambers remained crowded overnight Wednesday with teachers and education advocates wearing the red shirts indicative of the #RedForEd movement.

The Senate passed all the budget bills just after 5:30 a.m., and the House followed suit more than three hours later.

For the educators, watching the votes wasn’t about a victory. Most of the lawmakers they cheered through the hearings and debates voted against the budget bills.

All but one of the Republicans they jeered voted for it. The education portion of the budget bill had four Democratic votes for it in the Senate; in the House, all Democrats voted against it.

More so, for the educators it was about bearing witness, feeling engaged in a process they felt they had spurred on by their threat to walk off the job, followed by the unprecedented action of actually doing so.

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Governor Ducey’s school safety plan gutted by Republicans beholden to the gun lobby

We all knew this was going to happen. Arizona Senate waters down school safety bill:

State senators voted Tuesday for what was crafted as a comprehensive school and public safety plan — but not before Republicans removed a key provision designed to take guns away from dangerous people.

SB 1519, given preliminary approval on a voice vote, still allows police to ask a judge to have someone brought in for mental evaluation. And judges remain able to order temporary removal of weapons if there is “clear and convincing evidence” the person is a danger to self or others.

But Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa (this asshole again) removed language that would have allowed family members, school administrators, probation officers, behavioral health professionals, roommates and “significant others” to go to court to seek what are known as Severe Threat Orders of Protection.

This amendment guts this bill, period,” said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson.

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Differing Plans for Different Philosophies to Solve the Education Funding Crisis in Arizona

Teachers are on Day Four of their walkout

Teachers are on Day Four of their walkout

As the educator walkout continues this week, there are currently five published plans that have been offered to solve the funding crisis our education community faces in this state. Each plan has positive features to one or more groups. All of them have drawbacks to one or more groups. Hopefully, mature public servants on both sides will get together and try to fashion a plan based on aspects of part or all of these proposals that will enable the children and educators to return to school.

Plan One: Invest in Education Act Ballot Initiative

What is the scope of the plan? To place an initiative on the November ballot to raise the state income tax on high earners to raise monies to fully fund schools. People earning from $250,000 to $499,000 would pay an additional 3.46 % in state taxes or $17,265.40 maximum. People earning $500,000 or higher would pay an additional 4.46 percent or $22,300 minimum.

What is the name of the person/groups that support this plan? Superintendent Candidates Kathy Hoffman and David Schapira, Gubernatorial Candidate David Garcia, Arizona Center for Economic Progress.

What is the financial method utilized to solve the education funding crisis in Arizona? Increasing the state income tax for high earners.

What is at least one positive aspect to this plan? It is a steady and consistent revenue stream that would not be susceptible to an economic downtown like a sales tax.

What is at least one negative aspect to this plan? As designed, it only raises close to $700,000,000 of the $1,000,000,000 needed to fully fund schools. Also, as columnist Laurie Roberts points out, it does not ask any of the other income groups to contribute. This initiative puts the added burden solely on high-income earners. This could potentially galvanize the corporate right and create a highly charged partisan fight, waking up the conservative base just as the Blue Wave hits in the November elections.

Plan Two: Governor Ducey’s Plan

What is the scope of the plan? To give teachers a 20 percent raise in stages by 2020.

What is the name of the person/groups that support this plan? Governor Ducey and his allies in the legislature.

What is the financial method utilized to solve the education funding crisis in Arizona? Revenues based on economic performance and possible reallocation from other sensitive budget areas for the needy. This may also include the shifting of property taxes to local communities where they are forced to pay more.

What is at least one positive aspect to this plan?  Most of the teachers would get a raise.

What is at least one negative aspect to this plan? First, it does not fully fund education or even the teacher raises. How are the teacher raises determined in the local districts?  Where are the raises for support staff?  Where are the monies for capital improvements and investments? They are not there.

Second, the funding apparatus, even in its revised form is both unclear and unstable. Updated proposals relayed that the Governor would divert funds from other areas of need like prescription drugs to fund the raises, which would be pitting one group of needy recipients against another. Furthermore, the Governor’s proposals depend on a consistently strong state economy. There are no provisions, other than raiding other budget areas, like prescription drugs, if there is a downturn.

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Gov. Ducey’s budget fails to deliver, screws over Tucson and TUSD

Rebuffing the RedforEd protests by educators picketing the state Capitol, Republican lawmakers took the first steps Monday to providing a 9 percent raise this coming year for teachers. Arizona lawmakers take steps for 20 percent teacher pay hike, but not necessarily for all:

The final version of the budget deal negotiated between GOP leaders and Gov. Doug Ducey – no educators or even the minority Democrats in the legislature – puts $273 million into the $10.4 billion spending plan for the coming year specifically for teacher pay hikes.

But unlike Ducey’s original proposal, each school district would get its share in bulk dollars. That leaves it up to board members to decide how to divvy it up.

The Arizona Republic adds:

The additional money for districts would be based on a statewide teacher salary average of $49,000, Stefan Shepherd of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee told House Democrats Monday. Twenty percent of that figure is $9,800.

Districts will get a bundle of money based on that $9,800 figure multiplied by the number of teachers they reported having, Shepherd said.

But, Shepherd said that means districts with higher-than-average teacher salaries would not receive enough money to give all their teachers 20 percent raises.

Conversely, districts with lower-than-average salaries would receive more than enough to give teachers 20 percent raises.

And nothing in the budget bill would require the additional funds be spent on teacher salaries, Shepherd told lawmakers.

“There’s no language that says you have to give X percent pay raise,” Shepherd said.

In touting his plan on KFYI-AM last week, Ducey said, “Make no mistake. When we pass this plan, every teacher in the state will have a 20 percent pay raise by 2020.” (Yeah, he lied).

Last week Ducey said his offer meets the key demand of the educator groups whose members voted last week to walk out beginning Thursday. “So they know it’s been delivered on,” he claimed. No, it decidedly has not. Ducey’s budget “only partially meets one of the five stated demands made by protesters.” Facts still trump GOPropaganda..

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