Category Archives: Propositions

How the Senate health care bill would affect Arizona

Howard Fischer reports on an analysis by Arizona’s AHCCCS office. Analysis: Senate health-care plan could cost Arizona $2.9B or more:

The new Senate health-care plan would cost Arizona at least $2.9 billion between next year and 2026 — and perhaps as much as $7.1 billion — according to a new analysis by the Ducey administration.

Or the state could avoid most of those costs simply by cutting off health care for more than 400,000 who got coverage in 2013 when Arizona took advantage of a provision in the Affordable Care Act — the law Congress is working to repeal.

The analysis by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, shows the Senate proposal is only marginally better than the one approved by the House. That has an Arizona price tag of $3.3 billion over the same period.

The $2.9 billion is just in lost federal dollars that provide care for nearly 320,000 childless adults with income below the federal poverty level, about $11,800 a year for a single person. Plus, there are another 82,000 adults considered the “working poor,” earning up to $16,400 a year, whom the feds would no longer fund.

That’s only a piece of the picture.

If federal funding goes away, the assessment on hospitals that lawmakers approved in 2013 to pay the state’s costs for those people automatically self-destructs. That means the loss of another $2 billion over the same period, money the taxpayers would have to pick up.

Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature would pass “emergency” legislation to make sure that this does not happen.

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Save Our Schools Arizona referendum to overturn the ‘vouchers for all’ bill

For activists looking to channel their energy into something more productive than attending marches, their dance cards just got filled for the long hot Arizona summer. Time to get yourself a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

Last week former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson formed “Voters of Arizona” (no web site yet) to file referendums against the Chamber of Commerce organizations’ bills to effectively strip Arizonans of their constituional right to enact laws by citizens initiatives in Arizona. Expect to hear more about this in coming weeks.

Now the long anticipated referendum to overturn the “vouchers for all” bill passed by anti-public education Tea-Publcans in the Arizona legislature is ready to launch as well. The Arizona Republic reports, Parent group will seek to overturn Arizona school-voucher expansion:

Public-education advocates are launching a referendum campaign to halt the controversial expansion of Arizona’s school-voucher-style program.

Members of the group “Save Our Schools Arizona” said they will file paperwork this week and begin gathering signatures to refer their proposal to the November 2018 ballot. The group has planned a rally and news conference on Monday at 5 p.m. at the state Capitol.

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The other show drops: Lawsuit against our lawless Tea-Publican legislature for unconstitutionally underfunding capital needs of school districts

I first posted about this pending lawsuit back in February 2015 and I have occasionally posted updates about its status.  Background: Update) Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature faces another lawsuit for its failure to fund public education:

Meanwhile, an earlier case in which our lawless Arizona legislature shortchanged our public schools, in which the Arizona Supreme Court held that the statutory financing scheme for public education violated the Arizona Constitution, Article XI, § 1, Roosevelt Elem. School Dist. No. 66  v. Bishop (No. CV-93-0168 1994), is now the basis for yet another lawsuit against our lawless Tea-Publican legislature.

A public interest advocacy group is planning a lawsuit alleging that the state has unconstitutionally underfunded building maintenance and soft capital for school districts, which could force the state restore hundreds of millions of dollars of budget cuts made in recent years.

The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest plans to sue on behalf of several school districts and taxpayers, said attorney Tim Hogan. The Glendale Elementary School District’s governing board in December [2014] voted to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff, and Hogan said he plans to bring in several other school districts, along with property taxpayers from districts that have approved bonds to make up for funding shortfalls.

“It will allege that the current system is unconstitutional because it doesn’t provide any dedicated capital funding to school districts sufficient to ensure that they meet the state’s minimum standards,” Hogan said of the lawsuit. “School buildings have to be renovated. They have to be repaired. They have to be maintained. And all of that requires significant dollars.”

In its landmark ruling in Roosevelt Elementary School District No. 66 v. Bishop, the Arizona Supreme Court concluded that the state had violated a provision in the Arizona Constitution requiring the state to establish and maintain a “general and uniform” public school system. As part of its settlement in the case, which led to the creation of the Arizona School Facilities Board, the state agreed to provide funding for building renewal, which covers all aspects of building upkeep and maintenance, and soft capital expenditures such as textbooks and computers.

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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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(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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The ‘Kochtopus’ Goldwater Institute is plotting to lift the caps in the new ‘vouchers for all’ law

The evil GOP bastards at the”Kochtopus” Death Star, the Goldwater Institute, are already plotting the next step in their 50 year strategy to fully privatize public education in Arizona (in violation of the Arizona Constitution). Howard Fischer reports, Lift on voucher cap in the works:

A key architect of the universal voucher plan approved Thursday is already looking to undermine the key provision of the compromise that secured the votes for the program’s expansion.

In a message to financial supporters late Thursday, Darcy Olsen, chief executive officer of the Goldwater Institute, said those who want to give more state money so parents can send their children to private and parochial schools should not be dismayed about the cap of about 30,000 that is in the final version of the bill.

We will get it lifted,” Olsen said.

And Olsen didn’t even wait until Gov. Doug Ducey had penned his approval hours later to the delicately crafted deal, a deal in which the Goldwater Institute participated — and the deal that managed to bring on the bare minimum 31 votes in the House and 16 in the Senate to secure approval.

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