Tag Archives: budget

Education funding…the devil is in the details

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

One of the issues leading to the walkout during the #RedforEd movement, was Governor Ducey’s promise of a 20% raise by 2020 ONLY for teachers. The movement wanted the definition of “teacher” expanded and pay raises for all school personnel. That’s because teachers understand their’s is a broad profession, and although quality teachers are the number one in-school factor contributing to student success, every employee in a school district, whether a “defined” teacher or not, contributes to the ability of students to learn.

There is currently though, no consistent definition of “teacher” in Arizona. The 2018–2019 K–12 budget reconciliation bill, HB 2663, K–12 education; does not define “teacher”. The previous year’s budget bill defined “teacher” as: “any person eligible to be included as a teacher on a disrict’s FTE count submitted with its annual financial report, whose salary was paid under function code 1000 (instruction). Clear as mud, right?

The definition in Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S) 15–901(B)(5), says a “Certified teacher” means a person “who is certified as a teacher pursuant to the rules adopted by the state board of education who renders direct and personal services to school children in the form of instruction related to the school district’s educational course of study and who is paid from the maintenance and operation section of the budget.” Okay, so that is a little clearer, but how is teacher compensation impacted by legislation passed last year to allow non-certified teachers to teach in Arizona public schools? Guess that means fewer raises for teachers as those more qualified continue to exercise their “school choice” to either retire or move to another state so they can earn a living wage. Just in case you didn’t see it, here’s a story about Texas buying up billboards in Arizona to lure our teachers away. Continue reading

Arizona is being groomed for the eradication of income tax

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

Steven Slivinski
Steven Slivinski, from handout

Doug Ducey ran on the promise of eliminating Arizona’s income tax in 2014. It wasn’t taken seriously by most political observers and the candidate himself walked his proposal back and characterized it as an aspiration when pressed on how it was possible to implement it.

“No one’s talking about eliminating the income tax,” he said. “I’ve talked about an ever-improving tax situation, where year after year, we have an improving climate and if we can get it as close to zero as we possible, that’s a positive. Because the nine states that don’t have an income tax have double the job growth of the highest-tax states.”

He later said his talk of driving the income tax rate to zero is a “direction.”

His campaign literature says otherwise. In his “My Pledge to the People of Arizona,” which is online and distributed to voters, Ducey’s No. 1 promise if he’s elected is to “Submit legislation to reduce taxes every year, with the goal of eliminating personal and corporate income taxes in Arizona.”

On April 30, he told The Arizona Republic eliminating the taxes is a “long-term goal, it is one I embrace.”

The Republic asked Ducey on Tuesday evening to clarify the remarks he made during the debate in light of his campaign literature and prior comments. Ducey said, “Elimination is a severe word. Reduction and improvement (in the tax code), people will get that. We will do that over a couple of legislative sessions.”

Now that Ducey has been elected, elimination (that severe word) of the income tax appears to be fully on the table. Keep your eye on a guy named Steven Slivinski. He’s a former “senior economist” for the Goldwater Institute (huge red flag) and he has nabbed himself a spot as a “senior research fellow” at ASU’s (wait for it) Center for the Study of Economic Liberty (freedom!). If you guessed from the name of that endeavor that it was funded by the Koch Brothers without looking it up, you win the door prize.

Slivinski explained in an op-ed to the AZ Republic how this income tax-free nirvana can come to be: Continue reading

Boehner Defiantly Rationalizes GOP Madness, as Stephanopoulos Presses for Shutdown End Game Strategy (video)

by Pamela Powers Hannley

A week ago, Republican grandstanding in the House of Representatives shutdown the US government. Saying they want to "save the American people from the threat of Obamacare" Tea Party anarchists are risking the health and welfare of millions of Americans, our standing as a world leader, and our financial health as a nation, as they stall budget negotiations. This is beyond unconscionable. It is traitorous.

Bankrolled by the Koch Brothers and a handful of capitalists bent on denying affordable health care to millions of Americans, Republicans in the House of Representatives continue to use double speak lie to cloud the issues and deflect blame for this dangerous brinksmanship away from themselves.

From Esquire

We have elected a national legislature in which the true power resides in a cabal of vandals, a nihilistic brigade that believes that its opposition to a bill directing millions of new customers to the nation's insurance companies is the equivalent of standing up to the Nazis in 1938, to the bravery of the passengers on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, and to Mel Gibson's account of the Scottish Wars of Independence in the 13th Century. We have elected a national legislature that looks into the mirror and sees itself already cast in marble.

We did this. We looked at our great legacy of self-government and we handed ourselves over to the reign of morons. 

[Video after the jump.]

This is what they came to Washington to do — to break the government of the United States. It doesn't matter any more whether they're doing it out of pure crackpot ideology, or at the behest of the various sugar daddies that back their campaigns, or at the instigation of their party's mouthbreathing base.

Their rhetoric is so far from the truth that it is shocking. While they are trying to "save" the US from health insurance, millions of Americans are signing up for Obamacare (AKA the Affordable Care Act). In the first three days, 8.6 million unique users logged on to Healthcare.gov to shop the health insurance exchanges in the first three days.

Is the Tea Party the New Confederacy? Are they truly anarchists, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested?

Or are they just so incompetent that they dazzle themselves with their own brilliance, as Paul Krugman suggested in today’s New York Times? Quoting the Mann-Ornstein book “It’s Even Worse than It Looks,” he writes:

G.O.P. has become “an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

But there’s one more important piece of the story. Conservative leaders are indeed ideologically extreme, but they’re also deeply incompetent. So much so, in fact, that the Dunning-Kruger effect — the truly incompetent can’t even recognize their own incompetence — reigns supreme…

It has been obvious for years that the modern Republican Party is no longer capable of thinking seriously about policy. Whether the issue is climate change or inflation, party members believe what they want to believe, and any contrary evidence is dismissed as ahoax, the product of vast liberal conspiracies.

Watch House Speaker John Boehner’s arrogant ignorance at work in this video interview with George Stephanopoulos. He repeatedly asks  Boehner where this will all end and why he refuses to allow a vote on a “clean” continuing resolution on the budget. A defiant Boehner repeatedly says he can’t bring a “clean CR” up for a vote because it won’t pass. (Prove it.) He couldn’t care less about the hardship that Republican Party is inflicting on our country and potentially the world. Where are Senator John McCain and other more moderate Republican silverbacks? Someone needs to take Boehner aside and tell him “game over.”


Paul Ryan: Why Propose Stale Budget Policies We Voted Against in November?

Class war375-sm72by Pamela Powers Hannley

Does Congressman Paul Ryan not realize that the Romney-Ryan ticket lost in November? 

And that President Barack Obama (who sounded like a progressive in the last days of the campaign) won by a larger margin than any other president in recent history— including John Kennedy, Ronald Raegan, and Bill Clinton? 

The November election was a much a referendum FOR Obama as it was AGAINST Republican austerity and their ideas to balance the budget on the backs of Americans– rather than forcing the 1% to pay their fair share.

Or does Ryan– and the other Wall Street shills in Congress– just think that if they propose the same stale, trickle down economics and middle class austerity ideas over and over again that eventually we will acquiesce and say, "Oh, yeah, go ahead and screw the 99%. Obviously, the robber barons… er… your corporate masters… er… the 1% really need additional tax breaks more than we need Social Security or Medicare."

From the New York Times: Ryan Budget Plan Aims to Roll Back Obama Agenda 

From The Nation: Paul Ryan's Bumper-Sticker-Slogan Budget 

From the Huffington Post: Paul Ryan Budget: House GOP Unveils Blueprint To Slash Medicaid, Medicare And Repeal Obamacare

Paul Krugman: Paul Ryan's Budget Plan 'Has Gotten Even Crueler'