Category Archives: Legislation

Call the Republicans what they are on fiscal responsibility: phonies

Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama, the only two Presidents in the last 40 years to preside over falling budget deficits while growing the American Economy. Clinton left this country with a budget surplus.

When Ronald Reagan raised the national debt from one trillion which took 200 years to accrue to over four in eight years, where was the Republican outrage on deficits?

When first-term popular vote loser George W. Bush took an inherited surplus and blew it on two unpaid tax cuts, an unpaid war in Iraq and a partially unpaid Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, where was the Republican outrage on deficits?

When the current popular vote loser President and his allies passed a major tax cut without paying for it, where was the Republican outrage on deficits?

Over the last 30 years, there have been two general reactions by Republicans when Presidents try to prudently manage the economy.

The first reaction on deficits is when they ridicule Presidents like George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barrack Obama when they pass tax increases on the rich to bring deficits down, saying it is the wrong strategy to combat the national debt because it will bring down the economy. Here is a quick history lesson. Economic expansion occurred after Bush, Clinton, and Obama tax increases (the Reagan ones too but Republicans seem to have a memory lapse when it comes to that inconvenient truth.)

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Health care is the top issue in this year’s election for everyone but lawless GOP saboteurs

Donald Trump has done everything in his power to sabotage the Affordable Care Act aka “Obamacare” out of pure spite and hatred for Barack Obama, without any regard for Americans who will be harmed by his actions.

Last month, the Trump administration announced that it would abruptly halt important Obamacare payments, leaving only two likely explanations: incompetence or sabotage. Trump’s latest move on Obamacare is incompetent — or sabotage:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stunned the health-care world on July 7, revealing that it would stop collecting and paying out money under the Affordable Care Act’s risk-adjustment program. The program helps level out costs among insurers participating in Obamacare marketplaces. Those with inordinately healthy — and inexpensive — customers pay to compensate those with unusually sick — and costly — customers. Without such a program, insurance companies would compete to attract only healthy customers by narrowing benefits and finding other ways to discriminate against people who need care. Insurers who were unsuccessful in deterring sick people from signing up would have to raise premiums, leading to the loss of healthier customers and a downward financial spiral. With the program in place, on the other hand, the insurers in a given market are part of a big, effective insurance pool whose risks are spread across all.

As you might imagine, Health Insurers Warn of Market Turmoil as Trump Suspends Billions in Payments:

Many insurers that enroll large numbers of unhealthy people depend on the “risk adjustment” payments, which are intended to reduce the incentives for insurers to seek out healthy consumers and shun those with chronic illnesses and other pre-existing conditions.

“Any action to stop disbursements under the risk adjustment program will significantly increase 2019 premiums for millions of individuals and small-business owners, and could result in far fewer health plan choices,” said Justine G. Handelman, a senior vice president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. “It will undermine Americans’ access to affordable care, particularly for those who need medical care the most.”

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Invest in Ed is not the end for funding our schools. It is only the beginning.

There is great enthusiasm among Democratic circles that the Invest in Ed ballot initiative will pass this November and restore about two-thirds of the 2008 education funding levels by taxing our wealthiest residents.

The question now is what comes after. What dedicated source will make up the remainder to fund education at 2008 levels? And more importantly, will this mechanism fund our schools at 2019 levels and get us out of the cellar of national ranking scales for education funding?

While writing for Blog for Arizona, I’ve interviewed candidates running for LD office and Superintendent of Public Instruction, as well as Noah Karvelis of Red for Ed, which spearheaded the Invest in Ed initiative along with the Arizona Center for Economic Progress. Their immediate focus is passing Invest in Ed in November. As to what comes after, many echo Gubernatorial Candidate Steve Farley’s proposal to rescind corporate tax giveaways. Other ideas center around general tax reform, taking away tax credits (including those for vouchers) that go to private schools, a constitutional amendment that mandates school funding with inflation adjustments, increasing state bonding capacity for school construction, and – if absolutely necessary with no other available options – raising the sales tax.

So here’s the important public policy consideration to remember: Invest in Ed is not the end for funding our schools. It is only the beginning. If Democrats perform as expected this November, they will consider many ideas to bring Arizona out of the nation’s basement of funding education.





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Democratic Candidate Profiles to consider when voting this month

Dear reader,

Below are the links to the profiles of Democratic Candidates interviewed up until July 30, 2018. Future profiles will be added for study. Please use this valuable resource to help make the best-informed choice when you vote in August either via a mail-in ballot or in person on August 28, 2018. Above all, please do not forget to vote. There are many exceptional Democratic candidates to consider so please take the time to vote for the ones that you feel will best move your local community and the state forward.

Federal elections

Statewide elections

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GOP candidates demonstrate contempt for their GOP primary voters: no debates!

There has been an interesting reveal from the The Arizona Republic fka The Arizona Republican this week.

Its editorial board is currently conducting interviews with candidates for the purpose of making primary endorsements.

It turns out the GOP candidates for governor and U.S. Senate are willing to meet with the editors of the The Arizona Republican, but they are not willing to debate one another in the GOP primary.

These GOP candidates demonstrate contempt for their GOP primary voters by refusing to debate. The Arizona Republican should withhold its endorsement of any candidate who refuses to debate his or her opponent and demonstrate such contempt for primary voters. (The Arizona Republican will, of course, endorse the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry approved establishment candidates Doug Ducey and Martha McSally, because rubber-stamping the chamber endorsed candidates is what they have always done).

This is why editorial endorsements carry so little weight these days.

In any case, Gov. Doug Ducey, challenger Ken Bennett meet for first time before Arizona GOP primary:

In what will likely be their only face-to-face discussion of policy issues before the Republican primary election, Gov. Doug Ducey and his challenger, former Secretary of State Ken Bennett, exchanged polite verbal jabs Friday during a meeting with The Arizona Republic editorial board.

Ducey has declined to debate Bennett at two forums next week: one co-hosted by The Republic and Arizona PBS, and another sponsored by the Clean Elections Commission.

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Julie Gunnigle pledges to fight corruption as a State Representative for LD 15

LD 15 Democratic State House Candidate Julie Gunnigle

In what has become the designated meeting place for Legislative District 15 Democratic Candidates, the Starbucks at Tatum and Paradise Parkway, Julie Gunnigle ardently relayed why she would be the best candidate to work for the district’s constituents as one of the two State House Representatives after the November elections.

Ms. Gunnigle is one of three Democrats running for two State House seats in LD 15. The others are Jennifer Samuels and Tonya MacBeth. In what is a likely result of the prevailing political winds (The Trump Administration, the reactionary state Republican Legislature, and Governor beholden to Dark Money-Koch Interests), this is the first time in recent memory more than one Democrat is running to secure at least one of the State House seats.

Who is Julie Gunnigle?

 A native of LD 15, Ms. Gunnigle graduated with a Law Degree from Notre Dame University and served as a Cook County Prosecutor in Illinois (where she participated in the indictment of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Cook County) before moving back with her family in 2011 to practice education (special needs including gifted), midwifery, veteran’s affairs, and reproductive rights law. Some of her work (veteran’s law for example) is performed on a pro bono basis. She also taught at Summit Law School and has been a member of the Arizona Association Advocating for the Gifted and Talented, advocating for special needs children and restoration of funding for them in front of the Arizona State Legislature for three years. She is also a wife and mother.

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