Tag Archives: progressive

AZ House: Left & Right Converge on Funding Issues (Sometimes) (video)


A bipartisan vote stopped HB2492, a corporate welfare bill for Arizona’s largest, most successful employers.

Everyone keeps telling me “things are different this year” in the Arizona House of Representatives.

From my perspective, there are many possible reasons why things are different, but the three most obvious are: 1) Speaker of the House J.D. Mesnard has chosen to run the House efficiently and fairly; 2) 23 House members (including 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans) were elected for the first time in 2016; and 3) the Democratic Caucus is highly diverse, with half of the members being women, more than half Latino, and several Progressive.

The result has been some interesting votes on funding issues. On several spending votes, fiscally conservatives (who don’t like to spend money) and fiscally conservative Progressives (who don’t want to spend money on non-essentials until the schools are made whole) are voting together for different reasons. (This phenomenon is being reported at the Congressional level also— with both far-right Republicans and Progressive Democrats voicing extreme dislike for TrumpCare.)

As the Arizona House moves from hearing bills in committee and voting on the floor to debating and voting on the budget, it will be interesting to watch the Conservative/Progressive budget hawks.  A hint of things to come can be found in a recent article from the Capitol Times: Ducey determined to pass university bond plan lawmakers dislike.

As outlined in his address to the Arizona Legislature on Inauguration Day, Governor Doug Ducey wants to increase funding for building construction and repairs at the three universities by giving them back the tax they paid on the purchases they made. (The proposal is to refund their Transaction Privilege Tax or TPT– essentially sales tax.)

The universities would split the roughly $30 million per year proportionally and use those funds to pay interest on roughly $1 billion in bonds.

There are multiple reasons I don’t like this idea…

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Laughing Liberally & Political Candidates at Hotel Congress: July 31 (video)

Jason Jones and Pamela Powers Hannley

One of the high points of the DNC2012 for me was being interviewed by Jason Jones of Comedy Central. (I wasn’t nutty enough to get on TV.)

Laughing is good for your health.

Laughing Liberally is good for your health, good for your mind, and good for democracy.

Laughing Liberally political comics regularly perform around town. Tonight– July 31— the comics will perform at Hotel Congress at 8 p.m. The twist for tonight’s event will be the addition of tabling politicians like myself. Come on down! Have a laugh, meet the candidates, and enjoy an evening of politics and laughs.

In honor of tonight’s event, check out my one and only Laughing Liberally performance from 2012. I had the honor of blogging the 2012 DNC for the Huffington Post.  Hear about my experiences below, and come to Hotel Congress tonight to catch some laughs and meet fellow progressives.

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Powers for the People: Pamela Powers Hannley Seeks LD9 House Seat

Pamela Powers Hannley

Pamela Powers Hannley, MPH

Yes, indeed, as has been hinted on this blog, I am running for the Arizona House to serve Legislative District 9.

No, I don’t need a psychiatric evaluation.

I’m running because I’m tired of government against the people. I am running for the Arizona Legislature because I want to bring back government of the people, by the people and for the people. Republican Party policies have starved the Arizona economy and thrown many citizens into financial ruin.

GOP leaders bow to dark money donors and ignore the needs of Arizona workers. They have repeatedly cut taxes for the 1% and for corporations, while allowing the people of Arizona to toil away for chronically low wages, that are well below national standards. Their policies have hindered Arizona’s competitiveness by allowing our roads and bridges to crumble and by whittling away k-12 education, vocational education, community colleges, and universities.

Arizona has been stuck in a ditch since the Tea Party took over in 2010. It’s time to take back our government, end austerity policies that are hurting Arizona families, and get back on the road to prosperity.

My slogan is “Powers for the People” because I will work for you… real people… not for corporate people. I am proud to run as a Clean Elections candidate because I believe voters– not money– should decide who runs our country.

I am running on a platform that focuses on ending wasteful spending, raising revenue, and saving money to fund jobs, infrastructure, and education. Learn more after the jump.

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Liberals to Dems: Just Say ‘No’ to Cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

300px-Keith_ellison-cropby Pamela Powers Hannley

In his recent talk in Tucson, John Nichols of The Nation warned against budget solutions proposed by the Fix the Debt Coalition, a group of 127 billionaires, "lesser millionaires," and corporate CEOs.

According to Nichols, this exclusive club of 1%ers is rolling out a $60 million advertising campaign to promote the new Simpson-Bowles Plan for debt reduction, according to Nichols. The original Simpson-Bowles Commission– dubbed the Cat Food Commission because of its cuts to senior citizen benefits– was infamously unpopular when it was proposed originally. The Simpson-Bowles redux may be even worse.  

How would the billionaires' club "fix the debt"? By reducing Social Security payments to the elderly and disabled, by raising the eligibility age for Medicare, by dramatically cutting Medicaid support for the poor, by eliminating the Affordable Care Act and changing Medicare to a voucher program for future recipients, by imposing austerity on 99%, and by [wait for it] lowering taxes on billionaires and corporations. 

This article (after the jump) from the Washington Post outlines exactly what Nichols warned Tucsonans about.

Liberals to Dems: Don't even think about touching Social Security benefits.

Multiple reports out today suggest that Dem leaders in the House and Senate are edging towards supporting Chained CPI for Social Security as part of the “grand bargain” Obama wants to replace the sequester with — and that’s already sparking sharp pushback from Congressional liberals.

“Why are we doing this?” Dem Rep. Keith Ellison [in the photo above the fold], a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said to me in an interview today. Asked which is worse, continued sequestration or a grand bargain that cuts entitlement benefits, Ellison said: “It’s like saying, `Which of your kids do you want to sacrifice to the monster?’ Neither one.”

Ellison is backed up by over 100 other House Dems who have pledged to fight any cuts to retirement benefits, including Chained CPI, a way of indexing Social Security benefits to inflation that amounts to a real benefits cut.

At a presser today, Nancy Pelosi signaled openness to Chained CPI, saying: “If we can demonstrate that it doesn’t hurt the poor and the very elderly, then let’s take a look at it. Because compared to what? Compared to Republicans saying Medicare should wither on the vine?” Meanwhile, the Post quoted administration officials claiming both Pelosi and Harry Reid are on board with the grand bargain and are ready to rally rank and file Dems to support politically difficult cuts to retirement programs in exchange for real tax increases.

“Leader Pelosi has always encouraged members to offer their own sincerely held views,” Ellison told me. “My sincerely held view is that Chained CPI is a benefit cut for people who have very little. An overwhelming number of people who are on Social Security have fixed incomes. We have a lot of people across America who agree. Most of our caucus is opposed to this.”

When it comes down to it, isn’t the choice just between extended sequestration and some kind of deal to replace it, and if so, which is worse? Is this the choice liberals face? I put the question to Ellison, and he rejected the framing, arguing that being drawn into it is to already cede ground to Republicans.

“Once we do that we’re already in the territory of bargaining away Chained CPI,” Ellison said. “We’re already saying we’re open to negotiating on Chained CPI. And we’re not.” Senator Bernie Sanders has similarly insisted that liberals must not allow the choice to be framed this way, and has instead called on the White House and Dem leaders to try to leverage public opinion to force Republicans to accept a long term deal that includes increased revenues and cuts spending judiciously without targeting entitlement benefits.

Ellison pointed out that Republicans aren’t as quick as Dems to signal a willingness to trade away core priorities at the outset. “Republicans don’t do that,” he said.

The sharp language from Ellison, Sanders and other liberals shows that Obama and Dem leaders will face a stiff headwind from the left if they stray too far on to “grand bargain” territory. The endgame here, however, remains murky. If Obama and Dem leaders do reach some kind of deal with Republicans in the Senate, some liberals might support it in the end if the President asks them to, just as liberals have previously proven willing to give away core priorities to advance his agenda. Or a deal might simply pass without liberals. Wherever this is headed, for progressives who want to make their opposition to any “grand bargain” benefits cuts known, the time is now.

PDA: Envisioning a more progressive Arizona Democratic Party

Taxby Pamela Powers Hannley

Are you one of those Democrats who grumbles about the
Arizona Democratic Party’s (ADP) slide into Republican-lite territory?

 Are you tired of Blue Dog Democratic candidates?

 Are you tired of the party’s weak stances on hot-button

Did you ever wonder why the ADP’s Progressive Caucus has so
little power—despite being the state party’s largest caucus? (Maybe you didn’t
even know that the ADP had a progressive caucus?)

Are you ready for change?

If you said, “Hell, yeah!” to any of the above questions, then
it’s time to stop muttering and start acting. On Wednesday, Nov. 14, the Tucson
Chapters of Drinking Liberally/Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) are
holding a special meeting  at The Shanty—beginning
at 6 p.m. with FREE pizza. The focus of the meeting will be on envisioning and
brainstorming a more progressive Democratic Party in Arizona. Former Arizona Legislator and PDA
Tucson coordinator Phil Lopes will lead the discussion.

Why should you attend? Read the details after the jump.

County has 339 elected
precinct committee persons (PCs). PCs are the grassroots foot soldiers of the
Democratic Party—the people who walk door to door with campaign literature, the
people who make phone calls and remind you it’s election day, the people who
donate, the people who go to meetings and volunteer for committees, the people
with more than one candidate sign in their yards and more than one bumper sticker
on their cars, the people the Democratic Party depends on—the people who built
the party

In Pima County, 80 of the 339 elected PCs (24%) are on PDA
Tucson’s membership mailing list, and PDA Tucson is only one of six PDA
chapters in Arizona.
This is an opportunity for change.

PDA and Drinking Liberally are extending a special
invitation to all local PCs—and anyone else who wants to work for progressive
change in Arizona—to attend the Nov. 14 meeting to hear about how
we—together—can encourage the Arizona Democratic Party to step back from the
Republican-lite cliff and become more progressive. (Did I mention FREE pizza?)

Every two years—following the November election—the Democratic
and Republican Parties reorganize. Between now and the end of 2012, each
Legislative District (LD) will reorganize. This means that new LD leaders will
be chosen—district chair, vice chair(s), secretary, treasurer, county executive
committee representatives, statewide committee representatives.

Following the districts’ reorganization, the county parties
will reorganize, and lastly the statewide party will reorganize in early 2013. The
ADP’s Statewide Committee and officers—plus the counties’ executive committee—make
policy and set the tone and direction of the party.

So, if you’re one of those grumblers, now is the time to
stop complaining and start acting. The first step is the Nov. 14 meeting. Bring
your ideas and come on down. (Check out Drinking Liberally's event on Facebook, or PDA Tucson's Facebook page.)

The next step is to attend your LD’s reorganizational
meeting and volunteer for change. According to the Pima County Democratic Party
, the LD3 reorganization meeting will be Nov. 26; LD9, Nov. 27; LD10, Nov. 28; LD 2,
Dec. 1. Watch their calendar for future scheduled meetings.