Republicans Pass Budget That Raises Teacher Pay by $1,000 Above Inflation

Republicans Pass Budget That Raises Teacher Pay by $1,000 Above Inflation and Invests Over $300 Million in New K-12 Spending

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Speaker J.D. Mesnard (R-17) and Senate President Steve Yarbrough (R-17) this morning applauded passage of a budget that increases teacher pay by an average of $1,000 and adds over $300 million for K-12 education.

“Republicans in the Legislature and Governor Ducey have worked hard to craft a budget that reflects Arizonans’ top priority: education,” said Speaker Mesnard.  “This budget includes a $1,000 raise beyond inflation for public school teachers, over $300 million in new K-12 spending, a massive investment in university research facilities and infrastructure, and dozens of other provisions that boost education funding.”

“Conservative budgeting over the past few years put extra money in our state coffers,” said President Yarbrough.  “With that, this year we boosted teacher paychecks, provided funding for school repairs and the construction of six new schools, targeted tens of millions of dollars to schools getting results, guaranteed yearly funding for university building projects and provided an additional $30 million to repair our roads.  We also delivered a broad-based tax cut and left the state with a structurally-balanced budget.  I’d say the people of Arizona are better off because of this state budget.”

Highlights of the budget:

·         In addition to inflation and growth increases, directs $68 million over two years for an average $1,000 raise for public school teachers.

·         Appropriates $62.9 million for new school construction projects.

·         Provides $37.6 million for Results-Based Funding for K-12 education.

·         Offsets the impact of Prop. 206 on the developmentally disabled community by directing $45 million to the Department of Economic Security and AHCCCS.

·         Demonstrates a commitment to rural transportation by appropriating $30 million to the Highway User Revenue Fund.

·         Appropriates $27 million to provide debt service to allow universities to construct new facilities through bonding that could exceed $1 billion in value in future years.

Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Legislation Restoring Integrity to Initiative Process

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Representative Vince Leach (R-11) today applauded the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing legislation (HB 2404) that he’s introduced to restore integrity to Arizona’s initiative process.

HB 2404 would prohibit the payment of petition circulators per signature and modify the number of days from five calendar days to ten business days within which a challenge to the registration of circulators can occur.

“By removing the incentive for fraud, HB 2404 keeps the initiative process intact as a legislative tool for Arizonans yet restores some badly needed integrity to the system,” said Representative Leach.  “I thank my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee for their support and look forward to consideration of the bill by the full Senate.”

Former Governor Janet Napolitano first advocated for the reform in 2009, using her State of the State address to ask the legislature to “crack down on signature fraud” by prohibiting the payment of petition circulators per signature.

Priorities: Governing vs. Campaigning

By East Valley Evan

It’s that weird time of the political season when conflicts arise revealing where politicians’ priorities really are.

Yesterday, leaders of the Arizona House and Senate reached a deal on how to divvy up sections of Governor Ducey’s budget proposal. That deal will be revealed today.

Setting aside the details of the deal, it’s worth pointing out where leaders of both chambers are spending their time as this process unfolds.

Every legislator acknowledges that the most important part of their job is to pass a budget that establishes the financial priorities for the State of Arizona. It’s what voters elect candidates to do and it’s the epitome of responsibility for legislators once elected.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]When it comes down to governing or campaigning, governing should always take priority.[/pullquote]

Citizens would think and expect leadership in the House and Senate to treat this constitutional obligation with the utmost attention. Apparently that obligation can take a back seat  if you’re a candidate for another office while holding down your leadership position in the legislature.

House Speaker David Gowan got it right (although he is avoiding interaction with members of the media these days) when he skipped a CD-1 candidate forum in Casa Grande Monday night. He stuck around the legislature to make sure the House wrapped up the budget deal.

It wasn’t the same on the Senate side. Senate President Andy Biggs was nowhere to be found in the State of Arizona. Instead, he is making the rounds in Washington, DC trying to raise money for his next government gig. According to the Arizona Republic:

Senate Majority Leader Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler — who was acting as Senate president while Andy Biggs was in Washington, D.C., Monday fundraising for a congressional campaign… 

Senate President Biggs who has become the professional career politician obviously feels the need to fly back to Washington, rub elbows with lobbyists and return home with a bundle of campaign cash.

Meanwhile, his colleagues in the House and Senate will work through the details on how best to spend Arizona taxpayer dollars.

It’s all about priorities.

~ He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much (Luke 16:10)

Dial “D” for Disappointing

Jeff Dial D

Dear Arizona Taxpayer:

You may not know Arizona state Senator Jeff Dial.  But his disappointing record on fiscal policy issues affects you and your family. CONTACT DIAL NOW to TAKE ACTION.  Or join AFP-Arizona’s field teams (info below) as we go door-to-door in Dial’s district, letting taxpayers in his district know about his record:

— Senator Dial voted against Governor Doug Ducey’s fiscally conservative balanced budget.  His failure to support the budget almost caused the state to spend millions of dollars we can’t afford.

— Senator Dial single-handedly blocked passage of the Truth in Spending budget transparency bill, by not even allowing the bill to be heard in his committee.

— Senator Dial scored 47 percent on AFP-Arizona’s 2016 Legislative Scorecard, earning him the designation of “Friend of Big Government.”

— Senator Dial’s cumulative score on the Legislative Scorecard is 51 percent, earning him the designation of “Needs Improvement.”

The 2016 legislative session that begins in January will give Senator Dial another chance to get it right and vote for fiscally conservative policies.   Tell Senator Dial to stop listening to the teacher unions and the Big Spenders and start listening to the hard-working taxpayers in his district.

Use THIS LINK to TAKE ACTION and contact Senator Dial.

To join our field teams for door canvassing action in Dial’s district (Ahwatukee/Tempe/West Chandler), contact Leslie White atlwhite@afphq.org

For Liberty & Prosperity,

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity
tjenney@afphq.org

Paid for by Americans for Prosperity, the nation’s largest free-market grassroots organization.  To get on our email list and help us encourage Senator Dial do the right thing, contact us at infoAZ@afphq.org or (602) 478-0146.

WHO’S YOUR PICK? Our First AZSen Primary Poll

As we enter the presidential primary season, we cannot overlook that we have a Senate Primary in just over 16 months.  This is the first of ArizonaInformer‘s monthly online polls to gauge the interest of Arizona’s grassroots activists as we get closer to election day.

Click HERE to vote

 

Toby Farmer: Vote No on Legislator Pay Raises

Toby Farmer

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. ”

Words of Martin Luther King, Jr., articulating his belief that the notion of true and great public service comes from a heart willing to make the sacrifice to do whatever it takes to make the world a better place for the underserved and future generations.

In Arizona, we have a citizen legislature – normal people leaving the private sector to serve our state for a limited amount of time. A true servant leader is one willing to make the commitments to advocate and to serve the people whom they represent. Being a legislator should not be the best job you’ve ever had, and the notion that pay raises will translate to better legislators is just as fatuous.

Earlier this year State Senator Don Shooter infamously told a reporter that freebies like Fiesta Bowl tickets helped supplement his income and that he wanted a pay raise from taxpayers if he was going to give up lobbyist gifts and perks.

He even remarked: “It costs a lot of money to do this job, there’s an opportunity cost.” So much for sacrifice and a citizen-based legislature.

This November, Prop 304 will ask voters to approve a 45% pay raise for our citizen legislature. Meanwhile our state is facing a $300-plus structural deficit. Add a court judgment requiring the state to pay back an additional $316M to our schools, and this should be a no brainer about where we should be allocating our limited state resources.

As a Republican candidate for LD13 State Senate, I don’t believe in special interest perks and gifts from lobbyists. I’m not running for office because I’m focused on my next stepping stone in life. Being a state legislator should not be the best job you’ve ever had. If you don’t have a mentality of service as a state legislator you don’t deserve to be elected.

Let’s put our priorities in order. Vote No on Prop 304. Vote No on legislator pay raises.

Toby Farmer is a Republican candidate for the Arizona State Senate in legislative district 13. For more information about Toby Farmer, visit his website at FarmerAZ.com

NFIB Endorses 42 Legislative Candidates

Nine Newcomers Join 33 Incumbents as Small Business’ Choice

The political action committee of Arizona’s leading small-business association today announced its endorsements of 42 candidates for the Arizona Senate and Arizona House of Representatives.

NFIB/Arizona Leadership Council Chair Mark Giebelhaus and NFIB/Arizona State Director Farrell Quinlan flank LD18 House hopeful Jill Norgaard at the small business group’s Small Business Forum this week.

NFIB/Arizona Leadership Council Chair Mark Giebelhaus and NFIB/Arizona State Director Farrell Quinlan flank LD18 House hopeful Jill Norgaard at the small business group’s Small Business Forum this week.

“The legislative candidates endorsed by NFIB today are proven friends of free enterprise whom Arizona small-business owners can trust to place their responsibility to taxpayers first over the interests of bigger government and its enablers,” said Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

NFIB/Arizona Leadership Council member Jeff Fleetham and LD28 House hopeful Shawnna Shawnna Bolick at the small business group’s Small Business Forum this week.

NFIB/Arizona Leadership Council member Jeff Fleetham and LD28 House hopeful Shawnna Shawnna Bolick at the small business group’s Small Business Forum this week.

The principal standard used to evaluate incumbents was their voting records on 12 bills supported or opposed by the National Federation of Independent Business during the 2013-2014 legislative sessions. Endorsements for non-incumbent candidates were largely based on the quality of their answers on a questionnaire. These endorsements are formally issued by the NFIB/Arizona Save America’s Free Enterprise (SAFE) Trust, the organization’s political action committee, and represent the culmination of the pre-primary phase of the candidate evaluation process. There may be further endorsements in select legislative and statewide races after the August 26th primary elections.

NFIB/Arizona Endorsements in 2014 Legislative Primary Contests

For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.

Republican Businessman Toby Farmer Gaining Momentum in LD13 Senate Announces First Wave of Community Supporters

Toby Farmer

(Buckeye, AZ) Today, LD13 Arizona State Senate Republican candidate Toby Farmer announced a first wave of endorsements and statements from community supporters. Farmer is the founder and principal of 1776 Capital, a private investment and holdings firm based in Buckeye. Farmer is challenging current State Senator Don Shooter in the August Republican primary.

“After speaking with hundreds of Republican voters in my district it became clear conservatives were looking for a candidate they could be proud of and support in the Senate Republican primary,” said Farmer. “The amount of support is incredible and I’m humbled by the wave of encouragement I’m receiving from voters and community leaders.”

What Others Are Saying About Toby

“Toby has the energy, intelligence and morals to get the job done right. Toby has the serious intent, positive attitude and ethical makeup that is much needed in state government.” – Litchfield Park Councilman Tim Blake

“I’m encouraged and excited when I see young, conservative, small business owners like Toby Farmer choosing to serve their community. Toby embodies the qualities and ethics needed to carry the core principles of our Party forward to the next generation of Republicans and tomorrows leaders.” – Former Arizona Speaker of the House Kirk Adams

“When I think of the caliber of individuals who need to serve in public office, spirited leaders like Toby Farmer immediately come to mind. I am confident in knowing that Toby offers the type of fresh ideas, principled dedication and leadership that state government cries out for in the current political climate. His commitment to his faith, family and community will likewise carry over into the quality and temperament of leadership we so desperately need in the Arizona Legislature. He has my unwavering support in his call to serve in the civic arena.” – Conservative Activist Shane Wikfors

More About Toby

Farmer’s roots run deep in district 13, which spans from Buckeye to Yuma. Both his grandfather and great-grandfather worked for the Wigwam Resort in the 1940s, and his great uncle, John Roach, is in the Arizona Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame. As the son of public school teachers, Farmer understands the importance of a quality education and of giving back to the community. As a legislator, Farmer plans to pursue a commonsense, conservative agenda in the state legislature.

For more information about Toby Farmer, visit www.FarmerAz.com.

The Arizona Senate & Medicaid Expansion: A Lesson in Making a Bad Bill Worse

By Christina Corieri

Last week, the Arizona Senate passed Medicaid expansion. Sadly, the proponents were not satisfied with merely passing a program expansion we can’t afford; they actively worked together to kill a series of common sense amendments that would have prevented extra expense and abuse.

One amendment would have activated the circuit breaker if the federal government ever dropped its share of the cost below the promised 90 percent, but every senate Democrat and five Republicans voted the amendment down, signaling that the Feds should feel free to increase Arizona’s costs.

Another amendment would have required an independent audit to ensure hospitals don’t pass the provider tax on to patients. Expansion proponents voted the amendment down, making it easier for hospitals to illegally pass the cost along without fear of being caught.

An amendment was offered to require an annual report on the quality of care provided by AHCCCS, Arizona’s Medicaid program. Although taxpayers have a right to know whether their money is being put to good use, these same senators voted the amendment down. Without this transparency, proponents can continue to assert how well the program works without risking evidence to the contrary.

This coalition also voted down amendments designed to curtail non-emergency use of emergency rooms and ambulances, which result in high, unnecessary costs to the state. Likewise, they voted down amendments to require health professionals and pharmacists to check the prescription monitoring database before authorizing or filling a member’s prescription for a controlled substance such as Oxycodone, Percocet, or Vicodin. These amendments would have saved taxpayers from paying for and enabling addictions to these medications.

While the Medicaid expansion is a costly and misguided policy, these amendments were not poison pills but sensible ways to mitigate some of the costs and prevent abuse. The proponents, however, made a bad bill much worse by rejecting these amendments. Thankfully, the Senate does not have the last word. While we hope the House declines the Medicaid expansion, at a minimum, we hope it supports some common sense amendments that will help protect taxpayers.

Christina Corieri is a health care policy analyst with the Goldwater Institute.

 

John Fillmore on Sign Thefts: Dirty Shameful Campaign Tactics

EAST VALLEY – Current State Rep and candidate for the State Senate in LD 16, John Fillmore, announced the filing of criminal charges against two unknown ladies caught red-handed and red-faced taking down his sign and replacing it with one of his opponents.

“I received a call around 11:00 AM, Wednesday from some supporters who stated they had came across the two people taking down the sign on the Apache Trail in East Mesa. They watched and filmed with their cell phones for about 5 minutes before confronting the ladies who at first claimed they owned the poles, then stammered that they were fixing it, and then finally tried to put the Fillmore sign back up and fled.”

They were supposedly putting up signs belonging to State Senator Rich Crandall. “Rich Crandall had tried to garnish pity and claimed his reason for fleeing his old district and carpet-bagging into LD16 was that he wanted to get himself and his family away from dirty politics, after he had undermined Senator Russell Pearce then found himself having to fairly compete against him because of the new district lines being drawn he has stated in previous newspaper stories. I guess the dirt was always his to begin with, and the fact that the ladies resemble and may actually be his family makes a mockery of truth and hypocrisy as there seems to be a very close resemblance to my opponents grown daughters as posted in pictures on his web site and the culprits in the picture,” Fillmore stated.

“It is unfortunate that if it is them, this is what my opponent must be teaching his children as he always speaks of himself as a moral and education focused kind of guy. I do not want to even begin to think of all of the hours I as a frail 62 year old have spent in this burning heat pounding those signs into the ground just to have someone with no scruples steal the signs, destroy them and use my poles. The culprits driving a red pick-up filled with his opponents signs are shown in many pictures taking Fillmore’s signs down, trampling it on the ground and putting up his opponents.

“While I do not know the identities of these people as of yet I am sure it will be easy for the police to locate them because of the many clear pictures of not only the thieves but the vehicle and license plates as well. Stealing or defacing of political signs is a class2 misdemeanor under Arizona law. The taking or defacing of signs is seen by many as a dirty shameful way of trying to undermine an opponent’s message. Rep Fillmore stated that he will just have to get more signs as many have been stolen along with the stakes.

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Photos of alleged perpetrators