When is 20% not actually 20%? When it’s a ‘Ducey’ (lie)

Doubletalk Ducey came up with a GOPropaganda bumper sticker slogan, #20by2020, to sell his teacher pay plan, but his plan actually does not deliver a 20 percent pay increase to all teachers as he falsely claims.

Nonetheless, his GOPropaganda ads will persist in selling this “Ducey” (lie) to low information voters in Arizona. Ducey’s ’20 percent’ promise persists, but the plan can’t fund raises for all teachers:

As lawmakers debated and discussed the teacher pay raise plan proposed by Gov. Doug Ducey, one element seemed clear: The plan would not guarantee 20 percent raises to every single teacher.

However, once the plan was passed and sent to Ducey’s desk, he revived that promise while signing it.

In a video posted to Twitter on Thursday, Ducey said the bill, among the other budget bills, would “codify the 20 percent teacher pay raise by 2020.”

An ad that began airing Friday, paid for by the Republican Governors’ Association as part of Ducey’s re-election campaign, also says that “teachers are receiving a 20 percent raise.”

But the plan as passed would not provide the funding for every single teacher to receive a 20 percent raise. Nor would it mandate that all the dollars provided go to teacher salaries.

An Arizona Republic analysis, based on figures provided to the Arizona auditor general by school districts, shows that 59 districts would not receive enough funding to give all teachers a 20 percent pay raise.

* * *

Raymond Aguilera, superintendent of the Gadsden Elementary School District in San Luis, in the southwest corner of Arizona, said pay issues are intensely personal. “There’s going to be people that understand and others that don’t,” he said.

Ducey’s purposefully misleading ads are counting on low information voters who don’t understand.

The 20 percent figure touted by the governor remains a concern.

“It’s almost like false hope,” Aguilera said.

Linda Valdez of The Republic exposes the “Ducey” (lie). Debunk That 20 percent Teacher Raise:

Teacher Appreciation Week begins May 7 and you may be wondering: What do you give somebody who just got a 20 percent raise?

Start with a reality check.

Why a 20 percent raise is a myth

Debunk this crazy idea that teachers just got a 20 percent raise.

#RedForEd produced some positive change.

But there was no 20 percent raise, Gov. Doug Ducey’s bumper-sticker slogan about #20by2020, notwithstanding.

Here’s why:

  • There’s no guarantee any teacher will get any raise.
  • School districts will decide how to spend the additional cash that is ostensibly being provided for teacher raises.
  • There probably isn’t enough for all teachers at all pay grades. The calculation was made based on “average” salary.

A raise for teachers or fix the broken AC?

  • Schools have lots of expensive problems competing for that money: broken air conditioners, roach infestations, underpaid support staff, leaky roofs, decrepit buses, plumbing problems.
  • The “additional” funding Ducey and the lawmakers provided specifically to address these and other needs – like textbooks – won’t begin to cover the years of deferred maintenance.
  • Without a tax increase, state revenue cannot pay for the promises made in the budget bill.
  • The so-called 20 percent raise is incremental as well as unfunded: 10 percent increase next year, followed by 5 percent each of the next two years.

Bottom line: Teachers are unlikely to get raises anywhere near the magnitude Ducey is crowing about.

Even the resident GOP apologist at The Republic, Robert Robb, exposes the “Ducey” (lie). #RedforEd, 1. Gov. Doug Ducey, 0. Expect more of that in the future:

Gov. Doug Ducey is crowing that the Legislature passed his teacher pay proposal into law.

That’s not remotely accurate. And it is good for the state that it isn’t.

Ducey proposed an imprudent amount of new spending for K-12 education, based upon existing tax rates. And he proposed that it be distributed in a way that would have wrecked the education finance system.

The Legislature accepted the imprudent amount of new spending. But it distributed the money in a way that is much more sensible and leaves the education finance system unmolested.

3 reasons Ducey’s plan was just plain bad

Ducey’s plan would have given every current teacher a 20 percent raise, phased in over three years.

In the first place, that’s a numskull idea. Requiring that all new money be given to existing teachers would leave school districts and charter school operators with no additional money to improve the pay scale for new hires. And it wouldn’t have allowed schools to tailor their pay raises to their individual recruitment and retention needs, which might argue for differential raises.

Second, it violates every tenet of education reform Ducey used to profess. A big raise for everyone regardless of performance? A liberal never would have thought of that [but a “”Kochtopus” puppet governor did.]

Third, creating a component in the school finance formula directly for teacher pay would have rendered the rest of the formula politically irrelevant and made a mockery of local control of education. That component would have been the focus of every legislative session. Districts and charters would have become bystanders in the most important element of personnel management, compensation.

The Legislature made it less bad

Rather than enact this folly, the Legislature appropriated the same amount of money but in a way that leaves districts and charters in charge of compensation. The “base level” in the school finance formula would be increased to produce the same amount of additional money.

The base level is a per-pupil allotment that is the beginning point of the state aid formula. It is adjusted based upon the characteristics of students and schools.

What schools get at the end of the formula are discretionary dollars, to be spent however they think best.

The budget states that the intention is that the additional state aid be used for teacher compensation. But, even within that constraint, districts and charters will be free to tailor the distribution of the money to meet their individual recruitment and retention needs, including differential raises and pay scale improvements for new hires.

The budget is still not sustainable

The general fund budget adopted for next year spends nearly $140 million more than ongoing taxes and fees will produce. That sustainability deficit is made up with carryforward from this year, fund transfers, and [rosy] assumptions that additional tax collectors will produce more revenue.

That sustainability deficit persists at that level through 2021, the three-year budget outlook that is used in these exercises. But that assumes that state programs, other than K-12 education and Medicaid, are frozen at existing levels for the entire period.

If other state programs grew at roughly the rate of population growth and inflation, as they should, the sustainability deficit would increase to about half a billion dollars.

That doesn’t mean that the additional money promised to K-12 education won’t be delivered or that the state has a budget crisis looming. But it does mean that the state budget will go back to being cobbled together annually with temporizing fixes.

The era of sustainable state finances lasted about two years. I miss it already.

#RedforEd made the difference

I would like to say that the teachers movement and #RedforEd shouldn’t be credited with this significant increase in state funding for education.

But I can’t.#RedforEd and the impending teacher strike put Team Ducey into a political panic. And so the governor rushed out his irresponsible plan.

The Legislature made it less irresponsible. Given the support for the governor among GOP lawmakers, chances are that they would have ponied up the money he set as a marker in any event. But the teacher strike and protests made it less likely that enough Republican legislators would revolt over sustainability concerns to derail the additional dough.

Ducey was Gov. Milquetoast during the strike, seeking to co-opt and appease, not to confront and thwart.

The first significant act of public employee militancy in these parts in recent memory produced results.

Expect more of it.

About that last bit of bile: Robert Robb spent years as the media flak for the “Kochtopus” Death Star, the Goldwater Institute, and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry before joining The Republic. He simply cannot contain his hatred for unions and labor, you know, the working people of Arizona. He only answers to his corporate overlords.

This is a point emphasized by The Republic’s E.J. Montini, #RedForEd won … by losing:

Ducey and the Republicans who control the Legislature are deep in the pockets of the billionaire Koch brothers. (Among others.) Their goal is not just to starve public education of taxpayer dollars but to decimate and destroy any and all teacher unions.

They hate them.


Because individually most of us can’t do much against the super rich or the politicians they have in their pockets. But collectively, operating together for a common cause, there is power. At least there can be.

In this instance, Ducey got the Legislature to pass his plan for a 20 percent teacher raise by 2020.

Delivering for political overlords

In a statement Ducey said in part, “Arizona teachers have earned a raise, and this plan delivers.”

It certain delivers for the overlords of Ducey and the lawmakers. For the kids? For teachers? For the future of public education in Arizona?

Not so much.

UPDATE: E.J. Montini adds, 20 percent pay raise for Arizona teachers was 100 percent bull:

The Legislature passed Gov. Doug Ducey’s plan to give teachers a 20 percent pay raise by 2020, which Ducey said would “codify” the salary increase.

Not really.

Television ads being run on Ducey’s behalf say the same thing.


The number crunchers disagree. The state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee didn’t buy it.

And an analysis by The Arizona Republic – based on the state auditor general’s numbers – indicates that 59 school districts wouldn’t get enough money under the law to give all of their teachers the promised raise.

In other words, that 20 percent pay hike for all teachers was 100 percent bull.

So when you see those GOPropaganda TV ads from the Republican Governors’ Association touting our Koch-bot Governor Ducey and his #20by2020, you should know it’s a “Ducey” (lie).

19 thoughts on “When is 20% not actually 20%? When it’s a ‘Ducey’ (lie)”

  1. One issue that neither #RedForEd leaders nor the legislative Democrats dealt with involved how to divide the 20% pay raise among teachers because it would have caused disagreement within #RedForED and involved the Dems in that controversy.

    The issue was whether to give each teacher his or her 20% raise or use a formula that divided the total amount of money needed to accomplish that between districts based upon their student count and allow individual school boards to dispense it as they deemed best. In either scenario, the state would pay out the same amount but it would be distributed differently.

    In the end, the legislature (Rs) decided to divide the amount of money needed to give every teacher a 20% pay raise by the number of students in the state and then distribute it to each district based upon their student count. This seemed the fairest way to do so and neither #RedForEd nor the legislative Ds objected or should I say weighed in.

    To have given every teacher an individual 20% raise would have been true to the “20 in 20” offer but would have shorted poor districts, new teachers and teachers in low paying districts. For example, with an average pay of about $67,000, Phoenix Union probably has teachers making north of $75,000 per year – giving those high pay teachers pay raises in excess of $15,000 each. On the other hand, new teachers at districts with average salaries of about $35,000 probably start at about $28,000 – giving them raises of only $5,600.

    By using the formula the legislature arrived at, the money was more evenly spread among districts and potentially more equitably among teachers. While some districts are not getting enough to give each of their teachers 20%, others are getting much more than 20% enabling them to give their lower paid teachers meaningful raises.

    To have used the formula that AzBM seems to favor, 20% for all, we would have given more money to affluent districts, shorted the rest and widened the pay disparity between teachers. Go tell?

    By giving districts flexibility, they can give each of their teachers the same percentage raise, give each a flat equal amount or even give more to lower paid teachers. Each district board knows their circumstances and needs best and it seemed better to let them craft plans best suited for their respective situations. That’s called local control, which many on this blog criticize the legislature for often not honoring. Go tell?

    And by the way, because the raise money goes into “the base “and is dispensed in three draws over 24 months, it is more that 20% due to compounding, inflation and the need for districts to increase pension payments. “20 in 20” is more like 24% in 2020. Go tell?

    • Nonsense John. The 20 by 2020 might turn out to be less or nothing depending on the fantasy revenue collections estimated to achieve it, or the likely to be heard “we just dont have the money” refrain, as you guys continue to give revenue away like drunken slaves of Goldwater and the Kochs, with of course, no evidence it improves the economy. And with ASRS withholding likely increasing along with skyrocketing health care costs we may never see the 20%. But it might achieve its real objective, re-electing Ducey. Hopefully not. But I do applaud giving local districts the ability to design a way that helps the local issues the most. Considering the preemption fetish the legislature has at least this time it was positive.

      • It is very rare to have dedicated funding for any programs. I am not sure how we could run government that way. After all, we have a $10 billion budget and only a small portion is dedicated and then only when enacted by voters as part of a referendum or initiative.

        Any tax enacted and directed to a specific source by the legislature can be cancelled or redirected by the next or future legislatures, which we call democracy. There could be no reform if legislatures could forever lock their expenditures or policies in stone, thus preventing later legislatures to reverse things. Surely you do not support that?

        This dedicated funding argument is based upon either misinformation about how things work or political posturing. We used a lower revenue estimate than the governor’s original estimate to fund the pay raises and the bipartisan JLBC said that our lower revenue estimate was reasonable.

        But my post had to do with how we divided up the money. Could you weigh in on that? I am interested in how Dems feel about that issue because amazingly none have weighed in on it and it is a major issue. What formula should we have used, Frances?

        • We have an incredible problem on the western side of the State with losing teachers to California and Nevada for much higher pay. As I said I actually applaud for once giving local school boards the ability to use the money as needed, for retention or recruiting considering local needs. We have incredible diversity in school districts in Arizona. But too often the legislature thinks everyone is Mesa, Gilbert or Phoenix Union, or god forbid, BASIS. You ignore the revenue side question.

          • I appreciate your actually addressing the point I made. You are a role model for others on this site. The fact that many of the districts on the western side of the state have lower pay overall will give them more money and enable larger pay hikes. Hopefully that will help, although I doubt we could ever compete pay-wise with California.

    • You misrepesent “To have used the formula that AzBM seems to favor, 20% for all, we would have given more money to affluent districts, shorted the rest and widened the pay disparity between teachers.” I advocated no such thing. I merely pointed out that it was Governor Ducey who promised a 20% raise to all teachers, and he continues to make this misrepresentation in the TV ads that are currently running. Shouldn’t you be asking Governor Ducey to stop making this misprepresentation to the public?

      • I did not mean to misrepresent you but you seemed to be criticizing the distribution formula we used and its outcome when you titled your post,”When is 20% not actually 20%? When it’s a ‘Ducey’ (lie).” But here is your chance to clear up my misunderstanding.

        Do you agree with the formula we used and that Governor Ducey agreed to accept? If not, what formula would you have used? Finally, don’t you think it odd that neither #RedForEd nor the legislative Dems suggested a formula, even while criticizing the legislature and the governor.

        • I get that you’re fishing for some cover after the AZGOP screwed things up so bad for so long that people took to the street and exposed you.

          But the answer to all your questions is this:

          Democrats believe that an educated American citizenry is the key to economic prosperity and a healthy democracy.

          Democrats would never have allowed this situation in the first place.

          BTW, I see Ducey is running commercials claiming to be a champion of schools.

          Sleazy. Very, very sleazy.

          • You did not answer any of my questions. Are you evading them or do you lack the information to address them? If it is the latter, read my post and then respond. Let’s have a discussion.

          • I did answer your question, you just don’t like the answer.

            Your party screwed up education for years, you don’t want to admit it, so you want to find something to fight about with Dems so you can divert attention away from decades of stealing education money from children.

            Just admit the AZGOP and the GOP in general has failed America’s children on education and stop trying to divert from the issue.

            You’re not fooling anyone anymore than Ducey’s lying TV commercials are, you’re desperate and it shows.

          • You seemed to have missed my questions. Let me restate them for you. Do you agree with the formula we used and that Governor Ducey agreed to accept? If not, what formula would you have used? Finally, don’t you think it odd that neither #RedForEd nor the legislative Dems suggested a formula, even while criticizing the legislature and the governor. Note that Dems never addressed this point in their amendments.

        • Gov. Ducey may have signed your budget, but on Monday he was still misrepresenting what it actually does. http://azdailysun.com/news/local/ducey-denies-being-dismissive-to-teachers/article_e568c42d-4b76-5747-95cd-be30f2a73de8.html#tracking-source=home-latest-2

          “Ducey also said Monday that teachers were not lied to when he promised last month each would get a 20 percent raise.

          In unveiling his proposal, the governor said it would provide an “across the board” increase to teachers of 9 percent this coming school year, with an additional 5 percent the following year and an identical amount the year after that.

          “We are going to put 20 percent additional money in for teacher pay, up through 2020,” he reaffirmed on Monday.”

          When are you going to publicly correct the governor for his purposefully misleading statements? You are the Senate Appropriations Chair after all, you have explained your formula here, defend it against Gov. Ducey’s willfull misrepresentations.

          Neither #RedforEd nor legislative Democrats were invited to the table for budget discussions which was limited to the governor and GOP leaders, and the special interests from whom you all take your marching orders. So how can you say they did not have any ideas if you never even asked and were not interested in anything they had to say? This is disingenuous. This was always a one-sided negotiation. Democrats did offer a series of amendments (their only recourse) which Republicans voted down.

          • You seemed to have missed my questions just like Tom. Let me restate them for you.

            Do you agree with the formula we used and that Governor Ducey agreed to accept? If not, what formula would you have used? Finally, don’t you think it odd that neither #RedForEd nor the legislative Dems suggested a formula, even while criticizing the legislature and the governor. Note that Dems never addressed this point in their amendments.

            Take a lesson from Frances Perkins and answer them. That is called productive discourse, as opposed to hollow political propaganda.

          • And by the way, regarding the governor’s Monday statement, “We are going to put 20 percent additional money in for teacher pay, up through 2020,” he reaffirmed on Monday.” That is what we did. That statement does not say for each teacher.

          • I will reply to you, John. And I would go so far as to invite you and Jay to a public conversation since we will be running in an election with each other. Yes, you are correct to put the money on the base formula. BUT, the definition you use for a teacher needs to be expanded to all certified staff. As a teacher, I understand what it takes to have a functioning school that gives our children a chance at a successful education. That involves counselors, nurses, librarians, reading specialists, etc.
            But, please don’t go and act like this is going to be a 20% increase of anything (even just the 1000 code) as you cannot mandate future legislative bodies to those next two years. One, you assume that the people will be the same and two, you assume that the same people who remain will vote the same way in a non election year.
            One further point is that the AZ majority should no longer use the phrase “local control” anymore. Now it is just banging a quare beg into a round hole for you guys. With Tempe voting by a whopping 91%? C’mon.
            When the clean elections debate comes, what do you say you show up and defend your voting record?

          • I did not miss your questions, I was mocking your incompetence for putting yourself, the taxpayers, and the teachers into this position.

            The AZGOP has trashed this state to a point where tens of thousands of people are marching in the streets.

            Your party has failed, people are starting to notice, and you are desperate.

  2. The next CBS “Survivor” show will be filmed in Arizona this Fall and feature the Republican Legislators not “Voted Off The Island”, but “Voted Out Of Office”

    • From your lips to god’s ears. Let it be so! People need to pay attention and engage. Democracy is participatory.

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