Category Archives: Taxes

David v. the Goliath of the dark money ‘Kochtopus’ and lawless Tea-Publicans on Proposition 305

First, the good news … because you really could use some good news these days.

The “Kochtopus” network trying to prevent the citizens referendum of the “vouchers on steroids” bill to privatize public education from appearing on the 2018 ballot lost in court on the first round. The trial judge dismissed the case saying “there is no legal basis for the challenge.” Dismissals for failure to state a claim are awful hard to overturn on appeal.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Voucher measure can go to ballot, judge rules:

A judge has refused to block voters from getting the last word on whether they want to expand a system of vouchers that uses public funds to send children to private and parochial schools.

In a six-page ruling made public Tuesday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Margaret Mahoney ruled that the law in effect last year when the referendum was filed did not give individuals the right to challenge petition drives. She pointed out it was repealed in 2015.

Mahoney acknowledged that lawmakers did vote to reinstate the individual challenge law last year. And that change took effect on Aug. 9, 2017.

But the judge pointed out that the petitions demanding a public vote were turned in on Aug. 8. Quite simply, Mahoney said, there is no legal basis for the challenge.

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Trump takes credit for the Obama economic recovery, but will not take the blame for the next market correction and recession when it comes

Over the weekend, Clad in pink and vowing to vote, activists around the globe flooded streets for another women’s march.

The serial sexual predator and misogynist Twitter-troll-in-chief couldn’t resist trolling the women marchers.

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Donald Trump, once again, is taking credit for the economic recovery that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, handed off to him.  Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers explains at the Washington Post, Trump doesn’t deserve credit for all the economic good news:

President Trump will be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. Inevitably, attention will focus on whether the president projects a commitment to internationalist values or reiterates his truculent nationalism in the name of making America “great again.” Attention will also focus on the durability of the current economic and market upswing that has buoyed the spirits of businesses and investors around the world.

While Trump will probably try to take credit for all the economic good news, it is unlikely that he deserves it. He is president of the United States, not the world. And the economic surprises in the rest of the world have been more favorable than those in America. The scale of upward revisions of growth forecasts for 2017 and 2018 has been higher in Europe, Japan, China and emerging markets broadly than for the United States. Many other stock markets have outperformed those here. If Trump’s pro-business policies were driving the global economy, one would expect an increase in net capital flows into the United States, and so a stronger dollar. In fact, the dollar has weakened significantly in the past year, despite more Federal Reserve tightening than was anticipated at the beginning of 2017.

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Poor children are pawns to be used by Paul Ryan in shutdown politics

Evil GOP bastard House Speaker Paul Ryan has a plan to avert a government shutdown at midnight on Friday. He intends to use poor children covered under the CHIP program as pawns and to attach the long-delayed CHIP program renewal — something which should have already been approved as a stand alone bill — to a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to entice enough votes to pass the short-term spending bill and kick the can down the road again into February.

POLITICO reports, House Republicans coalesce behind plan to avert shutdown:

House Republicans on Tuesday night appeared to coalesce around a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown Friday — even as conservatives threatened to oppose it and a bitter fight continued over the fate of more than 700,000 Dreamers.

Speaker Paul Ryan unveiled a plan at a House GOP Conference meeting to fund the government through Feb. 16, and numerous rank-and-file members quickly endorsed it despite their frustration with another short-term patch. To further sweeten the pot, the Wisconsin Republican’s bill also includes a delay of several Obamacare taxes and a six-year extension of a popular health care program for children.

“It’s a good strategic position because not only does it offer CHIP [funding] for six years … but you also have a medical device tax delay as well as the Cadillac tax delay,” said Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.), referring to some of the taxes that would be delayed. “I think it puts Democrats in a very difficult position of having to vote against that in the House or in the Senate.”

House GOP leaders will whip the bill Wednesday before a possible Thursday vote. If the funding measure passes the House, senior Republican sources in both chambers expect the measure to clear the Senate.

House GOP leaders, however, still have some work to do: House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said many of his conservative members oppose the plan, dismissing the tax delays as a “gimmick” that won’t necessarily help leaders find 218 votes for passage.

After the GOP Conference meeting, the House Freedom Caucus met and did not take a position on the stopgap bill. But Meadows expressed skepticism leadership’s plan would pass in its current form with just Republican votes.

Based on the number of ‘no’ and undecided votes, there is not enough votes for a Republican-only bill,” he said.

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The GOP’s war on the poor: Medicaid work requirements

Now that Tea-Publicans have accomplished their one goal of passing their “tax cuts for corporations and plutocrats” bill, this year their attention will turn to punishing the poor for being poor, those damn “takers”!

The GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan, “the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin,” wants to fulfill his life-long dream of dismantling Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the so-called “entitlement” programs, more accurately the “social contract” programs for which people paid taxes into during their working years on the premise that it will be there for them in their retirement years.

But with the Senate down to a bare 51-49 GOP majority, the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Mitch McConnell, says Entitlement reform is not on 2018 Senate agenda despite what House Speaker Paul Ryan and senior Trump administration officials say. It’s Ryan vs. McConnell on entitlement reform. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s dream of dismantling the nation’s entitlement programs in 2018 has run into a harsh reality: His own party isn’t on board.

Nevertheless, Tea-Publicans are going to chip away at the social contract programs this year. In a break from longstanding legal precedent, last week the Trump Administration Says States May Impose Work Requirements for Medicaid:

The Trump administration said on Thursday that it would allow states to impose work requirements in Medicaid, a major policy shift that moves toward fulfilling a conservative vision for one of the nation’s largest social insurance programs for low-income people.

Federal officials said they would support state efforts to require able-bodied adults to work or participate in other “community engagement activities” as a condition of eligibility for Medicaid.

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Arizona legislature to court: you can’t tell us that we are violating the law by not funding schools

Earlier this week, I pointed out that Governor Doug Ducey, as well as reporters and pundits, were not discussing the lawsuit filed last year by Arizona school districts for being short-changed by our lawless Tea-Publican legislature on capital funding. Arizona schools to sue state over funding – again:

A year after voters passed Prop. 123 to resolve a $1.6 billion lawsuit over school funding, Arizona school districts are again taking the governor and Legislature to court.

And this lawsuit is even larger.

School budget officials have estimated the cuts since 2009 total about $2 billion.

On Tuesday, Governor Ducey offered a weak response: School capital funding case goes to court, Governor Ducey only offers pennies on the dollar of what is actually owed.

On Friday, the state of Arizona was in court arguing that the court does not have jurisdiction to decide that our lawless Tea-Publican legislature and governor are violating the law, and a previous landmark Arizona Supreme Court decision, on capital funding for schools. The state’s position is not supported at law or prior court decisions. State presses for dismissal of Arizona school funds suit:

An attorney for the state told a judge Friday he has no legal right to hear a complaint that the Legislature is not providing enough funds for schools.

“This is a political question,” Brett Johnson told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin.

The courts have previously rejected the “political question” doctrine in prior decisions.

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Pass HB 2158 to permanently extend Prop. 301 education funding

State Rep. Doug Coleman, R-Apache Junction, on Wednesday introduced legislation that would permanently continue the Proposition 301 education sales tax that brings in about $600 million a year to Arizona schools, which is set to expire in mid-2021. Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, is signed onto the bill as a co-sponsor. Republican bill would permanently extend Arizona’s education tax:

The education sales tax, which voters passed in 2000 as Proposition 301, is set to expire in mid-2021.

State Rep. Doug Coleman told The Arizona Republic that House Bill 2158 would essentially “get rid of the cliff” surrounding Prop. 301.

Prop. 301 is a 0.6 cent per dollar education-funding sales tax. Its future has been a point of contention and concern among education and business advocates and state leaders. The money funds things such as teacher salaries and classroom expenses.

The sales tax — and the hundreds of millions of school-funding dollars that come with it — will be gone unless voters approve an extension of the tax in the 2018 or 2020 election or two-thirds of the state’s 90-member Legislature pass legislation to maintain the funding.

Democratic lawmakers last year introduced legislation to extend and expand Prop. 301, but Republican leadership never granted it the required public hearing or votes.

Coleman said his House Bill 2158 would not have additional funding beyond what schools already receive and would not change how the money from the sales is doled out to schools.

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