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:
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.
Despite the 10 vetoes, Ducey didn’t clear all the legislation on his desk. He still has six House bills and five Senate bills awaiting action . . . additional hostages he is ready to kill.
Ducey struck down more bills on Friday in one day than he has dismissed all session, bringing the total number of bills vetoed to 16. The governor’s vetoes this session have surpassed the number of bills he vetoed in 2016 and 2017.
* * *
Obviously, Ducey was sending a message, but the way he went about it isn’t going to win him any support, Mosley said. He’s telling House lawmakers that he doesn’t want to work with them, said Rep. Paul Mosley, R-Lake Havasu City.
Ducey is the one who threw lawmakers under the bus by forcing them to find a way to pay for his proposed pay raise for teachers, Mosley said.
“He’s basically trying to be the CEO of the state instead of the executive. … He was the CEO of Cold Stone so obviously he thinks it’s OK to treat people like they’re not important,” he said.
Ducey’s veto spree came hours after his spokesman, Daniel Scarpinato, said the governor’s office received reports that House leadership planned to pay for the teacher raises with the increased district additional assistance dollars Ducey promised schools. The governor’s office finds the House GOP plan “very troubling,” Scarpinato wrote in an email to reporters.
House Speaker J.D. Mesnard floated a teacher pay plan last week that would have usurped from the district and charter additional assistance to pay for teacher raises. Talk of Mesnard’s plan was quieted when Ducey unveiled his own plan.
On Friday, Mesnard denied pushing back against Ducey’s pay plan in favor of one that would reroute other education funding to teachers raises. Calling the accusation inaccurate, Mesnard said the Legislature is working to make all of the puzzle pieces fit so the state can give teacher raises and a bump in district and charter additional assistance.
Mesnard did not comment on the governor’s vetoes.
The governor’s actions caught House GOP leaders by surprise.
“We try real hard to send up good policy bills,” said House Majority Leader John Allen. “These were vetoed because of politics, not policy.”
Former Governor Jan Brewer acted impulsively as well. But she at least had the good grace to give the legislature fair warning by imposing a legislation “embargo,” i.e., “do not send me any bills until the budget is done,” to avoid the current situation that we have now where the governor is acting impulsively to veto bills in order to extort his way to his budget demands, which are fiscally unsustainable, and the legislature is rightfully cautious.
This is no way to manage a state government. It is a failure of leadership.
The anti-tax GOP ideologues in our lawless Arizona legislature and our Koch-bot Governor Ducey are refusing to comply with their constitutionally mandated duty to adequately fund public education in Arizona:
Article XI, Section 6: The Arizona Constitution mandates a “system of common schools” that are “open to all pupils” and are “as nearly free as possible.”
Article IX, Section 3: The Arizona Constitution also mandates “(T)he Legislature shall provide by law for an annual tax sufficient, with other sources of revenue, to defray the necessary ordinary expenses of the state . . . “
Article XI, Section 10: The Arizona Constitution also mandates “taxation” to “insure proper maintenance of all state educational institutions.”
The only way to give teachers a pay raise and to restore public education funding to pre-recession levels (a decade ago) is to rescind prior corporate welfare tax cuts, or to impose new taxes, specifically taxes dedicated to funding public education in a sustainable manner.
Because of the “Two-thirds For Taxes” Amendment, Prop. 108 (1992), this requires a two-thirds vote of each chamber, and a governor who will sign the tax bill. Neither our governor nor Tea-Publican legislators are considering performing their constitutionally mandated duty. This is misfeasance, if not malfeasance, in office.
It is long past time that they are held accountable for their years of inaction: vote them out.