Tag Archives: az chamber of commerce

Happy Valentine’s Day…NOT!

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

On this Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d ask, when it comes to our public schools students in Arizona, “who loves you baby?”  Yesterday, I was listening in on the AZ House Education Committee meeting. There were many bills on the agenda, but I was primarily interested in HB 2394; empowerment scholarship accounts [ESAs]; expansion; phase-in. I wasn’t hopeful the bill would die, as its companion bill SB 1431, had already been given a due-pass by the Senate Education Committee. As expected, HB 2394 followed suit on a 6–5 vote as did HB 2465, which will allow all students eligible for an ESA account to remain on the program until age 22 and for up to $2,000 a year to be put into a 529 savings account.

The passage of these bills, along with the companion ones in the Senate, demonstrate the disdain many GOP legislators have for our district schools and, for the underpaid educators who toil within. This, because ESAs divert more general fund revenue per student to private schools than district schools receive. As reported by the Arizona School Boards Association, an ESA student, on average, costs the state general fund $1,083 more in grades K–8, and $1,286 more in grades 9–12 than a district student. This is in part because there are many school districts that enjoy a fair amount of locally controlled support in the way of overrides and bonds. The state therefore, is relieved of providing equalization funding to them, but when students leave to go to private schools, all the funding must come from the state general fund. ESA students also receive charter additional assistance funding of roughly $1,200 per student, which district schools do not receive. Turns out that the claim of voucher proponents that they save the state money, is not just “alternative facts” but totally untrue. And, although voucher proponents love to claim there is no harm to district schools when students take their funding and leave, the truth is that about 19 percent of a districts costs are fixed (teacher salaries, transportation, facility repair and maintenance, utilities) and can’t be reduced with each student’s departure. Continue reading

AZ Chamber Prez says AZ Teachers are “Crybabies”

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Glenn Hamer, President of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, said, “It’s amazing to me that the teachers unions are out there like a bunch of crybabies screaming about the difficult of getting additional pay to teachers.” His comment was in response to why teachers union should support reforms to the initiative process.

There are so many things wrong with this comment, I don’t even know where to start. First of all, I’m told that Hamer makes about six times the amount the average Arizona teacher makes. After all, Arizona’s teachers are the 47th lowest paid in the nation with the average teacher pay falling nationally 1.6 percent over the past decade, but 7.6 percent in Arizona. The low pay is a big part of the reason 53 percent of Arizona teacher positions were either vacant or filled by uncertified personnel in January 2017. And oh by the way, teacher colleges enrollment is down and 25 percent of AZ teachers will be eligible for retirement by 2020, further exacerbating the problem. Continue reading

They can dish it out but can’t take it

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

Dish it out

If there’s one thing as constant as the sun rising over the Arizona desert every morning it is that Arizona conservatives love to rag on California. Since I moved here close to twenty years ago I’ve been hearing right wingers characterize California as the epitome of every bad liberal thing imaginable. If you are a Republican running for office it’s practically a requirement to dis those commies on the Left Coast and, if at all possible, paint your Democratic opponent as an effete “San Francisco Nancy Pelosi liberal”. Our current Governor Doug Ducey wasn’t shy about getting his digs in on the Golden State when he was running for election, insisting that companies were leaving California in droves due to its terrible business climate, a claim that was fact-checked and found wanting.

But California Governor Jerry Brown said something unflattering (and true) about Arizona so, of course, Arizona conservatives including the Governor had a giant stupid hissyfit over it.

STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR DOUG DUCEY REGARDING COMMENTS BY GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN

PHOENIX – “All of Arizona mourns for the victims in California. To politicize a tragedy of this magnitude and use it as an opportunity to attack our state is out of bounds. Not only will we be ignoring Gov. Brown’s advice, but I call on him to retract his incredibly thoughtless and ill-advised comments.”
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Man, when I’m right, I am right!

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

Mike PenceGovernor Mike Pence of Indiana

The Indiana Assembly passed, and Governor Mike Pence signed, a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” similar to Arizona’s SB1062 from last year, which was vetoed by then-Governor Jan Brewer under the threat of more boycotts of a state still reeling from boycotts sparked by anti-immigrant SB1070 in 2010. I mostly agree with WaPo’s Hunter Schwarz’ analysis on how it is playing out differently in Indiana.

While Indiana has begun to feel the heat from businesses (and the NCAA, which is hosting the Final Four in Indianapolis next week), it doesn’t face two particular pressures Arizona did: (1) hosting a Super Bowl the following year and (2) a pre-existing narrative that it’s an intolerant state. Arizona already lost Super Bowl hosting duties once before, in 1993, because it didn’t recognize Martin Luther King, Jr., Day as a state holiday. And coupled with the furor over SB 1070, the controversial immigration enforcement law Brewer signed in 2010, the state was on the verge of becoming known for intolerance, not a good thing for business and tourism. Brewer said she vetoed the bill because it would have created more problems than it solved, but it didn’t hurt that the state’s economy also could have suffered.

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Impressive response by Arizona Business Leaders™ to the terrible budget

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

scott walker az chamber of commercePhoto: AZ Chamber of Commerce and Industry announcement

By “impressive”, of course, I mean “pathetic”. The GOP led AZ Legislature dropped a turd of a budget in the middle of Friday night/Saturday morning that guts (among other things) university and community college funding and – because this is the cruelest session toward poor people that I’ve seen since I moved here in 1997 – cuts millions in Medicaid assistance, limits Temporary Assistance to Needy Families to an arbitrary lifetime cap of one year, and fails to fund child abuse and neglect prevention. Continue reading