Senator Sylvia Allen: Win, Win for Schools and Taxpayers!

Senator Sylvia Allen

Senator Sylvia Allen

I am proud of our schools in Arizona.  A number of our high schools are consistently ranked near the top of U.S. studies.  We were one of the first states to create charter schools and our Empowerment Scholarship Accounts allow parents to find the best education option for their children. These two reforms are models being emulated throughout the country.  I personally have toured and seen the excellent achievement of our students and teachers throughout my district.

Friday, October 30, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed an increase of $3.5 billion over the next ten years to our schools.  This will bring new money into our K-12 school system, if voters approve the plan in a special election to be held May 17, 2016.

Part of the funding will come from a new percentage level, 6.9%, distributed to the State Schools Fund from the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Funds (PLETF).  The Arizona Constitution determines the portion of investment earnings the Treasurer must distribute annually to each beneficiary.  Right now annual distributions are set at 2.5% of the average monthly market valuation of the PLETF from the preceding five years.  The voters will be asking to approve the increase above 2.5% in the May election.

Governor Ducey was State Treasurer before being elected Governor, so he understands this trust fund and how it functions.  In 2012 he developed Proposition 118, to move to a fixed rate of 2.5%, instead of a fluctuating rate used at the time.   Voters approved that proposal.

Three years later, the Governor proposed to increase that amount to 6.9%, and the Legislature agreed.  We spent much time in debate and talking to lawyers and staff about the ramifications of the increased percentage.  I am convinced that we have been short changing our schools all these years.  The PLETF is now valued at $5 billion and the consensus of those who voted yes is that we can safely pay this out to our schools and protect the principle of the fund.

Triggers are placed within the law in case we have another major economic downturn. It would require the Directors of the Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) to jointly notify the Governor, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House that a reduction to the distribution is necessary to preserve the safety of the capital in the PLETF, if the value of the PLETF has decreased.  At that point we would return to the 2.5%.

This was a complicated issue that took hundreds of hours of work by all concerned, but I am confident that we have made a very good decision in increasing the payout from the State Schools Trust Fund.

The proposal also included increased money for schools from the General Fund.

  • Increases the per pupil amount by $173.26
  • Increases basic state aid by $248,829,400 in FY2016 by increasing the base level per pupil amount
  • Includes additional inflation of $74,394,000 in FY2016
  • Increases the Permanent State School Fund distribution line item by $172,081,000
  • Appropriates to the Superintendent of Public Instruction additional funding for school districts and charter schools of $50 million annually in FY2016 through FY2020
  • Allows flexibility for school districts to budget the additional funding to where they feel it is needed.

None of this will increase taxes for our citizens and is being done within the capacity of what we have now.  

We hear all the time how bad Arizona ranks in school spending, but those rankings can be very misleading. Other states have 95% of land privately owned and is part of the tax base. In Arizona, we are generating revenue from 13% private property. We will never raise revenues to the level of those other states.

Also, Arizona has a high population of those under 18 years of age and a large population of adults over 65 years of age.  In the 18-64 age bracket where the bulk of taxpayers reside, we have a proportionally small population, so again, we will never be able to reach the revenues of other states without significantly increasing taxes.

This ranking propaganda by our critics is designed to pressure taxpayers to fund more into our schools.  We are short changing our teachers and kids when we constantly focus on a ranking instead of results.   Funding is important but does not guarantee a good education that depends on parents, teachers, and, most of all, students.  

I wish to thank the Arizona taxpayer who is willing to give their hard-earned money to better the life of children through our education system in Arizona.

All Hands on Deck in Tempe! Rally To Stop The TUHSD Override!

By Peggy McClain

Are you tired of governments demanding more of your paycheck with negative results?

Say NO to Tempe Union High School Override (TUHSD)

All are invited to join us on Tuesday, 10-13-15 at 2 PM at the TUHSD office at 500 W. Guadalupe Tempe  85283 (NW corner of Guadalupe and Kyrene)

Let’s let the TUHSD Superintendent and Governing Board know they cannot fool us anymore.  Other districts will be taking notice as these override elections are occurring in many districts.

VOTE NO:  Why does TUHSD need 28,000 devices “for the students” if the student population is 13,600?

VOTE NO:  This is a permanent tax increase as overhead, staff, and increased bandwidth have not been budgeted for.

VOTE NO: There is NO PARENTAL CONTROL over who your student will interact with on-line nor what content your child will download.

VOTE NO: This tax increase WILL NOT lead to more money for teachers but will lead to a decrease in teachers.


Arizonans Call for Defunding of Planned Parenthood

This past Saturday, approximately 5,000 Arizonans joined in protests at six Planned Parenthood locations across the state. These protests were in response to the gruesome videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s harvesting and selling of baby body parts.

At 342 protests across the country, tens of thousands stood for life and against Planned Parenthood’s barbaric actions towards innocent life in the womb.

Here in Arizona, we organized these protests to highlight what is happening inside of Planned Parenthood clinics, to call attention to the federal taxpayer dollars that are allocated to Planned Parenthood, and to encourage the media to bring to light the atrocities that have been covered up for too long by the abortion lobby. Any taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood for any services helps to support their position as the state’s largest abortion provider.

These peaceful protests featured many pro-life community leaders, religious leaders and elected officials as speakers. Thousands of women, men, children, mothers and fathers, and grandparents came together to present an alternative to abortion, and to communicate the beautiful narrative of life’s preciousness.

Most of the protesters left their locations Saturday, vowing to continue the fight for the preborn. For many, Saturday’s protests marked the first time they have participated in the pro-life movement. The winds of change are swirling in this country, and Saturday’s protests highlighted that fact.

We’d like to thank all the members of law enforcement who protected our First Amendment rights to peaceably protest and for all those who rallied together for life.

Christine Accurso
Lisa Blevins
Linda Rizzo
Vanessa Tedesco
Anita Usher

Sal DiCiccio: Phoenix Light Rail Will Take Money Away From Education

Recently, I appeared in an interview by the Legal Broadcast Network in which I discuss the Phoenix light rail fiasco. I’d like to share a portion of that interview so Phoenicians can understand what’s at stake in the August election and the enormity of this boondoggle.

The cost to build one mile of freeway is about $56 Million. Compare that to the cost to build one mile of light rail. As staff revealed, Phoenix taxpayers would spend $161 MILLION per mile for this monstrosity. That is almost three times the cost to move far fewer people than what a freeway moves.

And if you look at the number of users who actually use light rail, it’s about one half of one percent of our population. Putting that in perspective, its equivalent to the amount of people who drive down the street in front of your home.

For this $31.5 BILLION proposal, the City of Phoenix could buy 2.2 Million Smart Cars! That is every man, woman and child who could use one of these eco-friendly cars.

Remember, the same people who brought us the downtown Sheraton Hotel at a total loss of $130 Million, now want us to pay for another massive taxpayer $31.5 BILLION boondoggle.

At a time when we need more money going into our education system this takes money away from that priority. Every dollar going into this $161 Million/mile train system is a dollar not going to our children’s education.

Taken for a Ride – No on Prop 104

Taken for a Ride - NO on 104
Committee to educate public on $31,500,000,000 Phoenix Transportation Plan
(Phoenix, AZ) — Today, the Taken for a Ride – No on Prop 104 committee publicly announced its formation to oppose the $31,500,000,000 sales tax (Transaction Privilege Tax) that will be put before voters on August 25, 2015.  The sales tax, which was approved to go before voters by Mayor Greg Stanton and several city council members, is calculated to give Phoenix, Arizona one of the highest sales tax rates in the United States.

Explaining why he is chairing the “No” committee, United States Army Veteran Matthew Kenney said, “When I returned from the battlefields in the Middle East, my hometown of Phoenix led the country in kidnapping and poverty.”  Kenney said he was staggered to learn, “At a time when my commute times are below the national average, Phoenix’s murder, robbery, assault and overall crime rates were on the rise (latest 2012 statistics).  Phoenix leaders have lost their focus – it’s about badges not buses — they are getting it wrong.”

Once touted as one of the “best-run” cities in the country, Phoenix, Arizona has seen a troubling decline since the new Mayor was sworn in, in 2011.   In discussing Phoenix’s rapid decline, Taken for a Ride Consultant, Mike Noble said,  “Phoenix was most recently a city in the black and now finds itself trying to tax itself out of the red. No society in the history of the world has taxed itself into prosperity regardless of the types of jobs you intend to create.”

In what many are calling a generational tax, Proposition 104’s language is very unclear according to election observers and legal scholars who are considering challenges.  Mike Noble said, “Hiding $31 Billion from taxpayers reminds me of underhanded politics– Politician’s generally rue the day that they try to slip one by the taxpayers.”

Matthew Kenny added, “Phoenicians and small business owners will have to shoulder a 31.5 billion dollar tax burden and the mayor cut a deal with big business excluding purchases above $10,000 from the proposed new tax, where is my deal Mr. Mayor?”
Chairman, Matthew Kenney concluded, “31 billion dollars will buy every man, woman and child living in Phoenix Arizona today, a smart car…. Out of the goodness of Phoenix taxpayer’s hearts, we could also purchase a smart car for every man woman and child who lives in Tucson Arizona.  This is just bad policy, we should vote no on Prop 104.”

Matthew Kenney served 6 years as an infantry officer in the United States Army and fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.  Matthew resides in Phoenix, is married to his lovely wife, Brittany, father to his daughter Eden and they expecting one more addition to the family in several months.

Costs and Tax Increase are a Train Wreck for Phoenix Transportation Plan


Sticker Shock Drives Phoenicians Opinions Over Proposed Light Rail Expansion – Voters Favor Other Public Priorities

(Phoenix, AZ) — MBQF, a public opinion survey consulting firm, announced today the results of a recent public opinion survey conducted on March 5, 2015.  Although the results from the automated telephonic survey show likely Phoenix City voters give initial grudging support toward a light rail and transportation expansion plan – Phoenix voters quickly reverse course once educated about the potential costs and a tax increase.  Voters appear to remain skeptical over light rail for other priorities.

In the most recent automated telephonic survey of 580 likely Phoenix City voters, the survey calculates a 4.04% theoretical margin of error, plus or minus in percentage points, 95% of the time.  54.4% of respondents were women while 45.6% were men.

Almost two-thirds of respondents believe their tax-money should be prioritized elsewhere when asked,  “NOW, do you feel the city of Phoenix should prioritize transportation and spend $33 Billion dollars over the next 35 years that includes a proposed light rail expansion or do you believe the $33 billion dollars could be best spent in other areas such as education, public safety, police and fire, and health and disability services.”

Press 1 if you believe that the light rail and transportation is the best investment    34.83%

Press 2 if you believe that the money would be best used for other public needs      65.17%

Michael Noble concluded, “When 2/3 of voters agree on a spending issue, policy makers ought to take heed.  They are the type of numbers that are usually followed by a voter initiative.”
For more information about this survey, or a summary of topline data and wording, please contact MBQF Consulting. The margin of error for this survey is +/-4.04%.


Hello, we are doing a brief survey on current issues within the City of Phoenix.  Some elected officials are considering spending tax dollars on transportation and we would like to ask your thoughts on these important issues.  Your name was selected at random and your responses are completely confidential.

1. Are you aware that the City of Phoenix has proposed spending $33 billion dollars over the next 35 years to triple the ridership of the current light rail and expand the transportation system?

Press 1 if you are aware     71.9%
Press 2 if you have never heard of it      22.24%
Press 3 if you are unsure    5.86%

2. Supporters of this potential light rail expansion argue that the plan would also expand bus services and improve or fix the city’s aging street system. Do you agree or disagree with these priorities?

Press 1 if you agree        53.79%
Press 2 if you disagree    46.21%

3. Are you aware that if the proposed light rail transportation expansion is approved it would increase Phoenix sales taxes by 15% and cost $161 Million per mile to build and operate? Would this information make you more likely or less likely to support the transportation expansion?

Press 1 for More Likely                  26.72%
Press 2 for Less Likely                   63.45%
Press 3 if it makes no difference     9.83%

4. NOW, do you feel the city of Phoenix should prioritize transportation and spend $33 Billion dollars over the next 35 years that includes a proposed light rail expansion or do you believe the $33 billion dollars could be best spent in other areas such as education, public safety, police and fire, and health and disability services.

Press 1 if you believe that the light rail and transportation is the best investment    34.83%
Press 2 if you believe that the money would be best used for other public needs    65.17%

5. If you were running the City of Phoenix, please tell me what you personally believe is the most important public priority as a taxpayer.   Would you invest tax dollars in Public Safety, Education, Disability services, expansion of the light rail or improvement of freeways/roads?

Press 1 for Public Safety   18.97%
Press 2 for Education        33.97%
Press 3 for Disability services   4.14%
Press 4 for expansion of the light rail    13.28%
Press 5 for repairing and improving current freeways and roads    19.48%
Press 6 if you are unsure   10.17%

6.  Leading the charge for the light rail transportation expansion is current Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, while the primary opponent of the light rail transportation expansion is Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio. Based on this, whose leadership do you most trust with your tax money?

Press 1 for Greg Stanton      35.17%
Press 2 for Sal DiCiccio        37.59%
Press 3 if you have no opinion at this time      27.24%

7.  Press 1 if you are Male          45.6%
Press 2 if you are Female      54.4%

Thank you for your time.

That wailing and moaning you’re about to hear



Dear Arizona Taxpayer:

The wailing and moaning you’re about to hear on your television and see in your newspaper is the sound of Arizona’s spending lobbies after they read the executive budget released today by Arizona’s new Governor, Doug Ducey.


Supporters of Big Government will HATE this budget:

●  The school district bureaucrats who steal money from the students and teachers in our classrooms will loathe the fact that Gov. Ducey’s budget reduces administrative bureaucracy by $113 million (with no cuts to actual classroom spending).

●  The corporate crony capitalists will wail about the $100 million slush fund Gov. Ducey wants to take away from the Arizona Commerce Authority.

●  The educrats who waste taxpayer money and student tuition dollars at our community colleges and universities will scream about the $84 million in reductions to their budgets.

They and their hundreds of lobbyists are going to fight hard to try to stop these cuts.  We need Arizona’s taxpayers, producers and consumers to STAND UP NOW and support Gov. Ducey’s budget reforms.

Ducey’s budget has more than $660 million in spending reductions for the fiscal year starting July 1 ($360 million is permanent and $304 million is temporary).  The permanent reductions will increase to nearly $450 million in the following fiscal year, when – for the first time since the go-go days of the real estate boom – the state budget will actually be structurally balanced.  WITH NO TAX INCREASES.

For real.

We’re not kidding.

We have always had a core of real fiscal conservatives at the Arizona Legislature who believed in balanced budgets and wanted to protect Arizona’s taxpayers, producers and consumers.  But for the first time in recent memory, an Arizona governor is actually taking the leadership role of holding the line against the growth of Big Government.

The executive budgets of Governors Napolitano and Brewer had absurdly high revenue predictions and dangerously high spending proposals that had to be cut down by the real leaders in the Legislature.  But it’s a new day in Arizona!  (For you budget wonks out there, Gov. Ducey’s $9.1 billion budget is well under the prudent budget limit of population-plus-inflation.)

Thank you for TAKING ACTION TODAY to fight Big Government in Arizona!

Also, if you want to send a personal thank-you note to Governor Ducey, you can find his contact page HERE.

For Liberty & Prosperity, Tom

Tom Jenney
Arizona State Director
Americans for Prosperity

Don’t Embrace Big Federal Government, Support the Compact for a Balanced Budget

By Nick Dranias

Yes, it’s true. The handful of folks who still oppose states organizing behind the Compact for a Balanced Budget to advance and ratify a powerful federal Balanced Budget Amendment embrace big federal government. Of course, they may not mean to do so. But the truth is that by hugging and holding the political status quo, the Balanced Budget Amendment fear-mongers are in a death embrace with the things they claim they oppose.

Why is that? Simply put, we no longer enjoy the form of federal government the Founders originally created. This is because the Constitution as it currently exists has three fatal flaws, which will inexorably lead to tyranny unless they are fixed with a constitutional amendment.

The first is the federal government’s unlimited borrowing capacity. This enables politicians to promise at no immediate cost anything it takes to get elected. That’s like handing liquor and car keys to a teenager. It guarantees a system crash propelled by mindless spending.

The second is unlimited direct taxation authority courtesy of the 16th Amendment. This empowers politicians to make 49% of the nation pay for anything the 51% want; and also to impose complete economic destruction on political enemies and disfavored policy ideas. If this flaw persists, what the IRS did to conservative groups two years ago is just a small taste of what the future holds.

The third is the unlimited concentration of power over national policy making in Washington, DC courtesy of the 17th Amendment. This amendment removed the states from a position of control over the U.S. Senate. It has enabled the federal government to ratify treaties and laws, as well as populate the federal judiciary and federal agencies, without any respect for state sovereignty. And it allows a growing distant political class in Washington, DC to easily leverage overwhelming national power to crush dissent and policy diversity in the heartland.

These three flaws will cause the federal government to gradually accumulate and centralize all political power over time. Over time, these three flaws will make it impossible for limited government and freedom-oriented elected officials to outcompete elected officials who favor big federal government for votes. Consequently, hugging and holding this fatally flawed system is doomed to produce the opposite of freedom. To mix metaphors, voting people in or out of the federal government under these conditions is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Only a constitutional amendment can fix the three fatal flaws of the Constitution as it currently exists. Nothing else will.

But it is irrational to expect two-thirds of each house of Congress to propose the necessary reform. The numbers did not add up in the 1980s, 1990s, or 2000s, and they just do not add up today. Instead, especially after the last election, there is a much more plausible pathway; that pathway involves organizing three-fourths of the states and simple majorities of Congress behind the necessary reform amendment in a targeted fashion. It means supporting the Compact for a Balanced Budget.

Simply put, the Balanced Budget Amendment advanced by the Compact for a Balanced Budget gives us the best shot of addressing each of the Constitution’s three fatal flaws with fundamental reforms.

To fix the flaw of unlimited federal borrowing capacity, the Amendment imposes an initially-fixed constitutional limit on available borrowing capacity. This limit gives the federal government an additional 5% in borrowing capacity above the outstanding federal debt upon ratification. This 5% cushion allows for a 1 to 2 year transitional period to responsible budgeting and fiscal planning. And there is no doubt the amendment will focus the mind during that transitional period. This is because the debt limit is coupled to a mandatory spending impoundment requirement that kicks-in when 98% of the debt limit is reached. Spending will be limited to available tax and fee cash flow if the debt limit is hit. There is no exception except for the referendum process described below. This one reform guarantees that Washington politicians will immediately lose the ability to promise anything at no immediate cost to get elected.

To fix the flaw of the unlimited centralization of national policy making in Washington, the Amendment empowers a majority of state legislatures to veto any increase in the federal government’s constitutionally-fixed borrowing capacity. To get any additional borrowing capacity above the initial constitutional baseline, simple majorities of Congress will have to refer-out a measure proposing the increase. The proposal will be deemed denied unless it is approved by at least twenty-six state legislatures within 60 days of the referral. With the federal government borrowing nearly half of discretionary spending, this referendum process divides power over national policy making between the states and the federal government in a big way.

Finally, to fix the flaw of unlimited federal taxation authority, the Amendment imposes a tax limit requiring two-thirds of each house of Congress to approve any new or increased income or sales tax. The current constitutional rule allowing for tax increases with simple majorities will be restricted to measures that would completely replace the income tax with a consumption sales tax, eliminate tax loopholes, or impose new or increased tariffs and fees. The reform will divert the pressure for new revenue to the places where special interest pushback will be the strongest, further ensuring that deficits are closed by spending reductions first.

National polling shows that each one of these policy fixes are supported by supermajorities of the American people. With Alaska and Georgia already on board, and at least ten states looking to join the Compact this session, the Compact for a Balanced Budget is an eminently plausible route to the reforms we need to save and restore the Republic.

Indeed, with demographic change threatening the supermajorities needed to get the job done, the Compact for a Balanced Budget may be our last best shot at preventing the federal tyranny that will otherwise inevitably result from the Constitution’s three fatal flaws of unlimited debt, unlimited taxation, and unlimited centralization of power in Washington.

Nick Dranias is President and Executive Director of the Compact for America Educational Foundation. Please visit their website at

Don’t Give Your Money to Another Government-Run Hospital – Vote NO on 480!

Friends and supporters,

We are pleased to announce the launch of the first NO on Proposition 480 TV ad today.

Proposition 480 would impose a $1.6 billion tax increase on Maricopa County property owners for a new government run, county hospital. Many believe that the price tag for what amounts to a blank check is too high for a special district with a relatively narrow mission.

Supporters of Prop 480 don’t want to talk about the price tag. Neither do they want to explain how they are spending $600,000 of taxpayer money to run a feel good branding campaign in conjunction with the referendum campaign.

If you agree that Prop 480 is a bad idea at a bad time, please forward this ad to your friends via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets. Please help us get out the word that the price of Prop 480 is just too high.

Click below to view the ad, coming to a TV near you. Also please go to our website, for additional information.

Andy Tobin: The Kirkpatrick Plan: Gut Our Schools

Andy Tobin

While Andy Tobin Was Joining With Democrats and Republicans to Protect Our Schools, Kirkpatrick Was Playing Partisan Politics

Andy Tobin today criticized Ann Kirkpatrick for failing to support a bipartisan solution he helped pass to protect our schools in Arizona and balance the budget, pointing out that under her plan, cuts to our schools would have skyrocketed.

Tobin was chief sponsor of Proposition 100, a bipartisan measure passed with 65 percent of the vote in 2010. The proposal, which Tobin sent to the ballot, was supported by a broad, bipartisan coalition including the education and business communities to protect funding for schools, public safety and health and human services.

However, Ann Kirkpatrick took a partisan approach and opposed the measure, offering no solutions to protect school funding during Arizona’s recession and budget crisis. In fact, even the Democrat who replaced Kirkpatrick in the state Legislature after she resigned to run for Congress, State Rep. Tom Chabin, voted with Tobin for this bipartisan, common-sense approach.

“I welcome a discussion about education and schools in this campaign,” Tobin said. “This race provides a clear contrast. As a father of five children who attended public schools, I’m proud to have helped lead bipartisan efforts to protect school funding, keep Arizona tuition low, provide additional dollars to our universities and community colleges, all while balancing our budget. I know Ann Kirkpatrick and her friends in Washington can print money, but in our state we have to act responsibly. When Arizona needed her, Kirkpatrick opposed our bipartisan plan to protect education funding and balance our budget.”