Category Archives: Propositions

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While some marginal businesses teetering on failure may have closed due to higher wage costs, those businesses have been replaced by others that are competitive at the higher wage costs.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.

Continue reading

(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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Governor Ducey is pushing the unconstitutional ‘vouchers for all’ bill

Governor Doug Ducey told Arizona voters last year that Prop. 123, which ended the inflation adjustment funding lawsuit by Arizona school districts, was only the “first step” towards better public education funding. For more than a year, Arizona’s have been waiting to learn what the next step is.

It turns out, everyone was played by the Governor with Prop. 123. The governor’s next step is to support the privatization of public education funded by taxpayer dollars — a direct violation of two provisions of the Arizona Constitution — by supporting the “vouchers for all” bill that was pulled before the Prop. 123 Special Election last year, and is now back again this year.

The Arizona Republic reports, Private-school vouchers appear headed to vote with Gov. Ducey’s backing:

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is conducting a behind-the-scenes lobbying effort, pressing lawmakers to pass legislation that would expand school vouchers to all Arizona students, according to several people involved in or familiar with recent meetings.

The governor, who has avoided taking a public stance on a proposed full expansion of the divisive Empowerment Scholarship Account program, has discussed the plan with lawmakers in his Capitol office in recent days. The meetings are expected to continue Thursday, when the legislation is scheduled for votes in the state Senate and House of Representatives.

Continue reading

Arizona budget battle brewing over education funding

Budget negotiations are still in the early stages between our “Koch-bot” Governor Doug Ducey and our Tea-Publican legislative leaders. The Senate has not started detailed discussions with its Tea-Publican caucus, but the House has put forward its budget outline which directly conflict with the governor’s priorities on education matters (we’re still waiting for that “next step” the governor promised after selling the bogus Prop. 123 to voters last year).

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona House budget rejects most Ducey education proposals:

An initial budget proposal from Republicans in the Arizona House focuses available new funds on teacher raises and school capital costs, rejecting Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposal to parse it out over more than a dozen education-funding programs.

It also offers a larger tax cut than Ducey suggested.

Always with the tax cuts!

Continue reading

Action Alert HB 2244: Kill This Bill (update: bill passed; SB 1236 is up Wednesday)

Not content to make gathering petition signatures for citizen initiatives more difficult, the Chamber of Commerce organizations and their lickspittle Tea-Publican servants in the Arizona legislature are now moving to impose “strict compliance” procedural requirements on citizens who want to propose their own laws.

A strike everything amendment to HB 2244 is set for debate today at 2:00 p.m. in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Call your state senator to oppose this attempt to undermine your constitutional right to propose laws, and sign up to testify today. kill this bill!

Howard Fischer reports on More hurdles for initiatives:

HB 2244 being pushed by Sen. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, would allow a court to keep an initiative off the ballot if backers are not in “strict compliance” with all election laws. That would overturn a series of existing court rulings which have erred on the side of giving voters their say and measures to remain on the ballot if there is “substantial compliance” with the law.

Lesko said she is particularly miffed that Arizonans were allowed to vote in 2012 on a proposal which would have made permanent the state’s one-cent sales tax surcharge.

It is undisputed that a copy of the initiative filed electronically with the secretary of state’s office differed from the one filed on paper and was actually circulated. But courts concluded the circulators had been in “substantial compliance” and allowed the vote to go forward.

That annoyed Lesko.

“What’s the point of having laws,” she said.

And what’s the point of having a constitutional right to citizen initiatives if  our legislators can simply make it damn near impossible to ever exercise  that right to put a citizen initiative on the ballot?

Continue reading