Category Archives: Taxes

Gov. Ducey starts killing hostages to force the legislature to meet his demands for his budget

The Arizona Capitol Times reports that Governor Ducey has impulsively started killing hostages, i.e., vetoing bills passed by the legislature and awaiting his signature, in order to extort a budget out of his GOP-controlled legislature which includes his deeply flawed and fiscally unsustainable plan for teacher pay raises in an attempt to placate Arizona teachers before they walk out on Thursday. Ducey goes on veto spree to push teacher plan:

Gov. Doug Ducey let legislators know today he wants a budget – now.

Ducey, playing hardball with state lawmakers to get his teacher-pay raise plan passed, vetoed 10 Republican-sponsored House bills in an attempt to force the legislature to finish the state budget.

The message included in each of the 10 veto letters reads the same.

“Please send me a budget that gives teachers a 20-percent pay raise by 2020 and restores additional assistance,” the letter reads. “Our teachers have earned this raise. It’s time to get it done.”

The vetoed bills were not particularly contentious. Among those struck down, the governor vetoed bills that would have codified provisions for electric bicycles, created additional protections for sexual assault victims and authorized the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family to work with various agencies to teach young children about the dangers of illegal drugs, alcohol and marijuana.

Ducey’s veto rampage comes a day after the Arizona Education Association and Arizona Educators United announced teachers will go on strike April 26. Lawmakers could pass a budget before Thursday if it is introduced in the Legislature on Monday.

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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Calling the governor’s plan not fiscally sustainable, the Arizona PTA has withdrawn its backing for Gov.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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Not Fake News, Just Propaganda

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Yesterday, a friend emailed me a copy of a Goldwater document that had been placed in all the “mail” boxes at his “Life Plan Community” (retirement/assisted living). The document was titled, “The Truth about Teacher Pay”, and dated April 12, 2018.

Even without the Goldwater logo at the top, I could have easily identified it as a right-wing propaganda piece. In it, the Goldwater Institute Director of Education Policy, Matthew Simon, began by making the point that “though fingers are pointed at state legislatures with calls for higher teacher salaries, the reality is that in many cases, locally elected school district governing boards are responsible for the size of paychecks.” He went on to write that, “independently elected governing boards wield considerable power in their positions by creating policies, crafting school district budgets and setting teacher pay.”

Simon provides a couple of examples of the significant difference in pay between various school districts to make his point. He then writes that, “teachers in Arizona have launched their demands at legislators in a well-coordinated campaign.” Of course, this “well-coordinated campaign”, is just a dog-whistle to infer the big bad “union” is driving the train. Truth is, the #RedForEd effort comes from a grassroots movement. There is no statewide collective bargaining unit in Arizona, because our state is a “Right to Work” state. Which means, employees really have no rights at work. Continue reading

Governor Ducey’s ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ plan to fund teacher raises; teachers to vote on strike

After our Koch-bot Governor Ducey went from “those damn teachers should be grateful for the pittance I gave them” to doing a complete 180 degree flip-flop last week, saying he would agree to the teacher’s demands for a 20 percent pay increase by 2020, the question he left unanswered was “how do you intend to pay for it?” In a rare editorial opinion the Arizona Daily Star editorialized, Star Opinion: Gov. Ducey’s 20 percent teacher raises? Show us the money.

The Arizona Capitol Times has a partial answer today, and as you might expect, it’s the same old dog and pony show the GOP does with the state budget every year. Ducey proposes spending sweeps, reductions and rosy revenues to fund teacher raise. Lord help us.

Gov. Doug Ducey plans on funding a 20 percent teacher raise over the next three years with rosy revenue projections (magic!) and a mix of funding sweeps, lottery revenues and spending reductions.

State budget analysts provided legislators an analysis of Ducey’s plan, which the governor announced on April 12 amid emphatic teacher protests and threats of a strike. The governor promised he would push for a 9-percent raise in 2018, to be followed by 5 percent raises in the next two years.

That plan would cost the state $240 million in fiscal year 2019 alone. By FY21, the cost rises to $580 million, according to budget documents obtained by the Arizona Capitol Times.

In fiscal year 2019, that includes $176 million added to the base funding formula for K-12 schools, and $64 million in one-time dollars meant to act as “bridge” to the adjustment in Proposition 301 approved by the Legislature.

The Prop. 301 extension, approved in March, will shift $64 million in debt servicing to the Classroom Site Fund in fiscal year 2022, when the debt is paid off.

On top of those dollars, another $165 million would be added for teacher pay in fiscal year 2020, followed by $175 million in FY21.

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After Prop. 123, ‘we don’t get fooled again’

You can smell desperation coming from the governor’s office on the ninth floor.

Last year Gov. Ducey’s budget gave teachers a 2 percent raise over five years, or put another way, they would get a four-tenths of a percent raise per year over five years.

The legislature eventually settled on one percent last year — this was actually a one-time bonus — and one percent this year, with no promises for future pay raises.

The peasants should be grateful that we gave them anything.”

But now there is a national teachers revolt that has rocked West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and the grassroots educators group #RedForEd in Arizona is threatening a walkout of their own. Arizona teachers demand 20 percent raises, more money for students:

Frustrated and desperate, Arizona educators are demanding 20 percent pay raises to address the state’s teacher crisis and have threatened to take escalated action if state leaders don’t respond with urgency.

Besides the 20 percent teacher raises, educators’ demands are:

  • Restoring state education funding to 2008 levels. Arizona spends $924 less per student in inflation-adjusted dollars today than it did in 2008, according to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Restoring education funding to that level would cost the state about $1 billion.
  • Competitive pay for all education support professionals, such as teachers’ aides and paraprofessionals. Dollar figures for this weren’t specified Wednesday.
  • A “permanent” step-and-lane salary structure in which teachers are guaranteed annual raises and steady advancement in wages.
  • No new tax cuts until the state’s per-pupil funding reaches the national average. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 figures, the most recent available, Arizona spent $7,489 per pupil compared with the national average of $11,392.

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Evil GOP bastards are plotting to deny your right to vote on Proposition 305

Tea-Publican state lawmakers are plotting with outside groups (read “Kochtopus” and Betsy DeVos) on a plan that could knock Proposition 305 off the November ballot before voters can decide the fate of Arizona’s expanded school-voucher program (vouchers on steroids bill). Will Arizona Republicans ‘repeal and replace’ voucher expansion to thwart referendum?

The goal is to repeal last year’s legislation that expanded the ESA program to all 1.1 million public-school students and replace it with legislation intended to address criticisms of the expansion, according to more than a half-dozen people familiar with the wide-ranging discussions.

Sen. Bob Worsley, a Republican from Mesa (a mythical moderate Republican), has talked in broad terms over the past week with lawmakers and outside groups about new Empowerment Scholarship Account legislation but did not offer specific details to The Arizona Republic.

The “repeal and replace” idea would circumvent Arizona’s referendum process, which allows voters to try to veto a law if they gather sufficient signatures to place it on the ballot.

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