Over beverages in the outdoor common area of the Phoenix café Lolas last week, Democrat Mark Manoil explained he would promote the creation of state community banks as the first Democratic Arizona State Treasurer since 1967. A July 25 Poll from Data Orbital shows the race between Manoil and his likely opponent Kimberly Yee a virtual dead heat with many undecideds Manoil has time to convince on the merit of his positions.
A Clean Elections Candidate, Mr. Manoil believes that “we need a Treasurer that is dedicated to preserving state assets including human capital.” He comes from a long line of public servants with his great-grandfather and granduncle serving as territorial treasurers before Arizona became a state. A graduate of Stanford and Arizona State University (where he received a Masters in Business Administration), he earned his law degree and has been practicing primarily property tax law for the last 30 years, which has partly equipped him with the knowledge necessary to function as the State Treasurer.
Mr. Manoil’s views on the State Financial Situation
Mr. Manoil feels that Republican leadership, reinforced by the passage of Proposition 108 in 1992, has led this state to poor financial stewardship with tax cuts needing only a simple majority to pass but tax increases needing a supermajority to correct any fiscal imbalances or errors. This has led to a plutocrats dream where social justice programs like university tuition rates have soared since the early 1990’s while Dark Money interests reap the rewards with trickle-down tax cut after tax cut while the people have to pay regressive state taxes to try to maintain a semblance of state services.
Mr. Manoil wants to be the voice that offers reason and prudent financial judgment in the Treasurer’s office based on the current economic situation, not the urban myth dogma of Republican leaders.
Mr. Manoil’s views on his immediate Republican Predecessors and potential 2018 Opponent
He feels that Governor Ducey, while Treasurer and later Governor, is a full subscriber to trickle down economics without thinking about the long-term economic impact to the state, willing to invade the principal of the public land endowment trust for education funding instead of necessary and sensible revenue increases.
He feels that Jeff Dewitt, in a conflict of interest that took him away from his responsibilities as Treasurer, was an obedient Trump lackey who served as the Trump campaign’s Director of Operations simultaneous to his time serving as Arizona’s Treasurer. Dewitt was rewarded for his devotion by being appointed the Chief Financial Officer of N.A.S.A.
He believes current interim Treasurer Eileen Klein is taking advantage of the state taxpayers by accepting a generous golden parachute the state gave her by making nearly $350,000 from her salary as the Treasurer combined with a severance package from the Board of Regents.
He feels his likely Republican opponent Kimberly Yee will represent Dark Money Koch Plutocratic Trickle Down Economic interests in this years campaign.
What Mr. Manoil would do as Arizona State Treasurer?
As Treasurer, Mr. Manoil would provide a needed independent financial voice that “will confirm or refute the economic assertions of the governors (either Democrat or Republican) program.” As the Treasurer, he would “have the ability to slow down the tax-related spending or measures. Fiscal responsibility means looking at revenue as well as spending sources. There are multiple pools of money including the state endowment trust. We need a critical voice that will protect the trust.” He wants to put the state back on a sound financial path.
He would accomplish the goal of putting the state on a sound financial path by promoting two options: the repeal or substantial amendment of Proposition 108 and the creation of a state community bank, modeled in part on what exists in North Dakota and what current Governor Murphy of New Jersey advocates.
Repealing Proposition 108
Stating defunded education has looted opportunity,” Manoil points to the abandonment of the legislature’s basic job.
Twenty years ago, Mr. Manoil (and other students like myself) could graduate with degrees from Arizona State University that cost $500 a semester when graduate school was the same as an undergraduate degree. According to him, it “reflects an attitude that education is a private, not public good. But having a better-educated population is improves the community for all of us. Human Capital should be recognized as another state asset not to be wasted.”
With that example, he perfectly illustrates the folly of Proposition 108 where supermajorities have stymied the growth of human capital, infrastructure, and progress because the average citizen in Arizona has had to put up more of the money, through high sales taxes, to fund state programs.
Creating a State Community Bank
Community Banking would be replacing “Wall Street Plutocratic Management” with state management of revenues where loans would be made to local community banks so they, with greater funding capacity and flexibility, can fund local entrepreneurs and infrastructure projects. The state, instead of Wall Street, would keep the management of the fund’s fee. Current Democratic State Representative Pamela Powers Hanley wants to organize a study group to examine the North Dakota Model. The Republican majority in the legislature is blocking it. Mr. Manoil states that he will pursue this option if elected in November.
Mr. Manoil realizes that if elected, his biggest job will be persuading the community to support making it easier to raise revenues for the state. Developing community banks is a powerful accompanying idea, which should make the job of selling repeal of 108 easier. He also believes that his message may resonate in this time period with Democratic enthusiasm in the wake of the Trump surprise and the Ducey/Republican program coupled with the plight of Millennials who may face a worse future than their parents and grandparents. He plans on crisscrossing the state, bringing a positive message building on the progressive traditions of the state’s beginnings to explain how he would shepherd the state’s finances forwards with a new system of community banking and the repeal of Proposition 108.
Noted economists and public affairs analysts have warned Arizona conservative leaders not to repeat the mistakes Kansas made under the governorship of Sam Brownback that put that state in economic quicksand. Unfortunately, Republicans, weaned on Koch and other trickle-down advocacy groups dogma are letting it happen. Mark Manoil has a way to turn the economic tide and Arizona voters should listen to what he has to say and research what he proposes. For more information on Mr. Manoil (including a video of him explaining his views on the PBS show Horizon), please view below.