Category Archives: Taxes

New study: ‘Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay are at crisis levels’

ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy has a new report coming out in May on education in Arizona that it is previewing this week. Here is the summary I received by email with the highlights from its (corrected) Key Facts brief added in.

Top findings from new report show crisis levels for Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay

PHOENIX – Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay are at crisis levels with more teachers leaving the profession annually than bachelor of education degrees produced by the three universities, compounded by an exodus of instructors for reasons ranging from retirement to poor salaries.

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 2.22.07 PM

Those are just some of the data points and facts in the upcoming Morrison Institute for Public Policy report, Finding & Keeping Educators for Arizona’s Classrooms. The study’s top facts are being released today in a two-page brief, with the full report to be released in May.

Continue reading

Why no state budget? Governor Ducey’s university bonding plan

This was supposed to be the week that the Arizona legislature passed a budget and then declared sine die. Didn’t happen.

According to the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required), the holdup is Governor Doug Ducey’s university bonding proposal, the one he mentioned in his State of The State Address back in January but has still not fleshed out the details at this late date. Ducey’s bonding plan for universities has more questions than details:

Gov. Doug Ducey’s university bonding proposal is a vast unknown for Arizona lawmakers.

He doesn’t offer any long-term growth projections or specifics on how the state’s three universities will spend the $1 billion that the plan is supposed to generate. There is also no mention of oversight from the Governor’s Office or from the plan’s backers.

Lawmakers do understand the broad strokes of the universities’ wish list if they get the money: new buildings, research programs and repairs.

But the plan almost certainly will generate much more than needed to pay off a $1 billion loan over the course of its 30-year life, a fact acknowledged by both backers and foes, and that’s something lawmakers question.

Lawmakers are also hearing from cities and counties, which look to lose millions of dollars under the plan. Ken Strobeck, president of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, said the plan is opaque by design, and he’s done his own analysis that shows the universities will gain more than $1 billion.

“These are not uninformed people,” Strobeck said. “I think they knew exactly what they were doing.”

Continue reading

GOP to try again with a zombie ‘Trumpcare’ plan, and hurtle towards a government shutdown next week

Congress returns from its recess next week with a government shutdown looming next Friday. “If Congress does not strike the first truly bipartisan deal of his presidency by then, Donald Trump will spend his 100th day explaining to the public why the government he’s charged with running has partially shut down.” How Trump’s First 100 Days Could End in a Government Shutdown.

But first, Tea-Publicans apparently believe they have enough time to try to raise a zombie “Trumpcare” plan from the dead. Sarah Kliff reports at Vox.com, House GOP members are floating a new health plan. Here’s what’s in it.

House Republicans are floating a new amendment to their health care bill — one that would likely cause even more Americans to lose coverage than the last version.

Leaders of the staunchly conservative Freedom Caucus and the more moderate Tuesday Group have reportedly hashed out a proposal that would let some states ditch key Obamacare policies, such as the requirement to charge sick people the same for coverage as healthy people. States would also have the choice to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefit requirement.

The Huffington Post reported on the development late Wednesday night, and Politico posted a short white paper early Thursday describing the changes. We still don’t know how final this amendment is or which House Republicans support the changes.

What we do know is that this latest proposal doesn’t do much at all to assuage concerns about the older proposals. While it meets many of the demands of the party’s far-right wing — namely, the deregulation of the individual insurance market — it does nothing to address concerns about massive coverage loss. Instead, it likely makes those problems worse.

“It’s pretty frustrating to see they’ve worked so hard to come up with another Rube Goldberg–type solution,” says Craig Garthwaite, a health economist at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.

Continue reading

Tax March Protests this Saturday

Donald Trump has routinely stated that he cannot reveal his tax returns because they are “under audit,” and that he will release his tax returns when the audit is completed. There is no evidence that his tax returns are actually under audit. Trump has never produced any letter from the IRS indicating that his taxes are under audit, for any year, despite repeated requests from the media.

Moreover, there is no law or IRS regulation that prevents him from disclosing his tax returns even if under an IRS audit. President Richard Nixon disclosed his tax returns while he was under an IRS audit.

And there is one tax return that we know for certain is not under audit –Trump’s current 2016 federal tax return due on April 18. Previous presidents have released their tax returns well in advance of the filing deadline mostly to encourage Americans to file their taxes. Not this year.

An idea that sprung from a law professor’s tweet after President Trump’s inauguration will unfold Saturday on the Mall in Washington, D.C., where thousands of protesters plan to call on Trump to release his personal tax returns. Thousands expected for Tax Day march calling for Trump to release his returns:

The Tax March, which falls on the nation’s traditional April 15 deadline to file taxes, is expected to be one of the most high-profile demonstrations of the Trump era since protesters around the world participated in women’s marches — marches that served as an unprecedented rebuke to Trump’s presidency on his first full day in office. Presidents are not required to release their tax returns but have done so voluntarily dating to the 1970s.

Continue reading

A Piketty ‘Inflection Point’ Heads Up

[Cross-Posted from Inequality.org]

The concentration of America’s wealth may be reaching a point where any further gains for the top 1 percent must literally come at the direct expense of everyone else.

 

The exquisitely succinct equation at the heart of Thomas Piketty’s best-selling Capital in the Twenty-First Century — r  > g — has impressed readers worldwide. Just three symbols. Even Einstein, for his masterwork, needed five.

Piketty’s core principle: The rate of return on the investments the wealthy make will normally be greater than the rate of growth in a nation’s economy and total wealth.

Piketty considers the three decades right after World War II an exception to his rule. In those anomalous postwar years, the French economist explains, the rebuilding required after Europe’s destruction generated a rate of growth, g, not sustainable in the long term.

In more normal times, Piketty believes, r > g will drive ever-increasing concentration of wealth at the top — unless tax and other policy choices impose sufficient constraint on that concentration. Continue reading

Trump to take health insurance hostage – by sabotaging ‘Obamacare’ – unless he gets his way

When I posted about this the other day, Obamacare subsides to continue while House v. Price remains in limbo, Greg Sargent of the Washington Post was so hopeful that he wrote In the battle over Obamacare’s future, Trump just blinked. Bigly.

That was then, this is now.

Just two days later Greg Sargent now writes, Trump has a strange new plan to threaten Democrats. It’s a sick joke.

President Trump likes headlines that portray him as a man of action, so he’s probably pleased with the barrage of Thursday headlines about his latest move on health care. ABC News, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and many others all inform us that Trump is “threatening” to sabotage the Affordable Care Act to force Democrats to make a deal with him on its future. “Threaten” is a verb that is laden with action, purpose, and intimations of concealed leverage and power. Awesome!

Americans whose health, and for some whose life, depends upon Obamacare health insurance are a mere afterthought, they are simply collateral damage in “the art of the deal.” People must die so “Dear Leader” can claim his “victory.”

Continue reading