Category Archives: Arizona State Legislature

Initiatives may not be decided at the ballot box but by seven justices of the Arizona Supreme Court

Back in July, the Arizona Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a  legal challenge to void a statute requiring initiative petitions to be in “strict compliance” with each election law. State argues case on ballot-measure rule not ‘ripe’:

Assistant Attorney General Kara Karlson who signed the legal brief, told the justices that they don’t even have to consider whether the new requirements violate the constitutional rights of voters. She said only those who have suffered some harm from the new law — or are at least immediately threatened — have a legal right to challenge it.

Karlson said that’s not the case here.

She pointed out that none of the groups that filed suit have a pending initiative which is in danger of being disqualified from the ballot based on the new strict compliance mandate. And Karlson brushed aside their claims that the law interferes with efforts to plan future ballot measures, saying that amounts to little more than “a naked assertion that they may want to circulate initiatives at some unspecified point in the future.”

And that, she said, means the case is not legally “ripe” for the court to consider.

The justices gave no date to consider the issue.

Well the issue is now “ripe” as a result of two conflicting opinions issued yesterday on strict compliance versus substantial compliance in legal challenges to two initiatives. The Arizona Supreme Court will now have to rule on the issue. Judge rules tax on rich initiative can go to ballot:

A judge has slapped down efforts by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry to block people from voting whether to hike income taxes on the rich to generate $690 million a year for education.

In an extensive ruling Thursday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith acknowledged that, strictly speaking, hiking the top income tax rate from 4.54 percent to 8 percent for those earning more than $250,000 a year actually increases the tax rate on those earnings by 76 percent. Similarly, taking the tax rate for earnings above $500,000 for individuals to 9 percent is a 98 percent increase over the current rate.

But Smith said that did not make it inherently misleading for organizers of the Invest in Ed initiative to describe the tax hikes as 3.46 percent and 4.46 percent, the absolute difference between the current rate and the proposed new ones.

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As Governor, Steve Farley Will Fight for Education and Against Dark Money

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Steve Farley, the Arizona Senate Assistant Minority Leader

In his Phoenix campaign headquarters on 7th Street, state Senator Steve Farley detailed how he will serve the people as Arizona’s next Governor in the areas of promoting quality and safe education, fighting Dark Money corruption, expanding democracy, bolstering social justice programs, modernizing our state infrastructure while protecting our environment and water supply, and helping to secure our borders.

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Those who do not vote decide elections as much as those who do

Those who do not vote are as responsible for the outcome of an election as those who do (especially in a low voter participation state like Arizona). New data makes it clear: Nonvoters handed Trump the presidency:

[The] Pew Research Center released an unusually robust survey of the 2016 electorate. In addition to having asked people how they voted, Pew’s team verified that they did, giving us a picture not only of the electorate but also of those who didn’t vote. There are a number of interesting details that emerge from that research, including a breakdown of President Trump’s support that confirms much of his base has backed him enthusiastically since the Republican primaries.

The data also makes another point very clear: Those who didn’t vote are as responsible for the outcome of the election as those who did. As we noted shortly after the election, about 30 percent of Americans were eligible to vote but decided not to, a higher percentage than the portion of the country who voted for either Trump or his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Pew’s data shows that almost half of the nonvoters were nonwhite and two-thirds were under age 50. More than half of those who didn’t vote earned less than $30,000 a year; more than half of those who did vote were over age 50.

Pew Research

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No on Prop. 126, the false and purposefully misleading Protect Arizona Taxpayers Act

The so-called Citizens for Fair Tax Policy Committee (it is actually the Arizona Association of Realtors)  is already running television ads for Prop. 126, a constitutional amendment titled the Protect Arizona Taxpayers Act.

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You have to go to their website to see a copy of this false and purposefully misleading ad designed to dupe the public. https://protectaztaxpayers.com.

This is a special interest initiative, not a true citizens initiative. And it is yet another example of an anti-tax ballot measure of the type that has gotten Arizona into the revenue deficit problem we have today.

It is a preemptive measure which is a solution in search of a non-existent problem — services are not subject to sales tax in Arizona — and likely will never be because of Prop. 108 (1992) the “Two-Thirds for Taxes Amendment,” the GOP’s weapon of mass destruction which requires a two-thirds vote of each legislative chamber either to impose a new tax, or to eliminate or reduce a tax credit or tax exemption.

The legislature’s renewal of the school sales tax this past session to avoid sending it to the ballot for renewal was the first time since Prop. 108 passed in 1992 that the legislature has voted in favor of a new tax.

Annual attempts to clean up Arizona’s antiquated tax exemptions have been snuffed out by the special interests that benefit from them. There is no real threat of services being taxed.

A constitutional amendment to address a non-existent problem is the height of bad public policy.

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Propositions 305 and InvestInEd Divide Candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction

Republican Candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction (from right to left) Diane Douglas, Jonathan Gelbart, Tracy Livingston, Bob Branch, and Frank Riggs at the Arizona Republic sponsored debate; photo courtesy of Az Central

The Republican and Democratic positions on what good government towards education looks like were on full display when the Arizona Republic hosted (by reporter Richard Ruelas) candidate debates among the individuals from both parties vying to be the Superintendent of Public Instruction starting January 2019. While the Republican candidates revealed extreme right wing views on issues like Red for Ed, district consolidation, and the new science standards (feel free to access the link to the debates below) this piece focuses on the issues asked of the candidates of both parties: their views on Private School Voucher expansion (Proposition 305) and Invest in Ed.

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New Book by David Garcia, Arizona Candidate for Governor, is a Blueprint to Dismantle Public Education

An upcoming book by Governor candidate David R. Garcia entitled School Choice is a blueprint on how to dismantle public education in Arizona, complete with practical tips on how to implement school vouchers and ESAs (“empowerment scholarship accounts”).

The Blog for Arizona exclusively obtained a review copy of the 196-page book, which will be published one month after the primary elections on September 28, 2018, by The MIT Press.

The book is not an academic work. Garcia says it is for a “general audience” on page 97. It is a how-to playbook for the anti-public-school, pro-school-voucher agenda pushed by Gov. Doug Ducey and the Koch brothers, complete with strategies, arguments, legal precedents to cite, successful examples and historic points of reference.

Garcia is facing Democrats Steven Farley and Kelly Fryer in the primary. Gov. Doug Ducey is running for re-election.

As the 2018 midterms approach, Arizona is one of the biggest political battlegrounds nationwide and public education is a major issue. The Southwestern state features one of the top 9 most important state legislature races in the US in the midterm elections. Arizona is expected to decide the control of the U.S. Senate in this year’s congressional midterm elections.

Book has a strong bias against public schools
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