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.

Poll: Majority of Arizona Voters Don’t Need a Wall with Mexico

Only two-thirds of Republicans support;  conversely two-thirds of Independents oppose

Phoenix, AZ (May 4, 2017) –  Arizona is the catalyst for then candidate-now-President Donald Trump where he planted the flag opposing illegal immigration and building a wall along the U.S./Mexico border. We commissioned a poll with multiple questions and the border wall question was one of them – the results were shocking.

Arizona voters surprisingly don’t find a border wall with Mexico necessary with only 37% in agreement and 62% who disagree. In a survey commissioned by KTAR News with nationally recognized polling firm, OH Predictive Insights, 401 active registered Democratic, Republican, Independent and Non-Declared voters across Arizona, based on current active voter registration numbers were sampled. Among the results:

“As Arizona’s News Station, we always want to understand how our community feels on issues key to them in the moment”, said VP/Programming Ryan Hatch.  “Polling Arizona voters on current issues like border security helps KTAR News report and talk about the news daily with an informed perspective.”

“The numbers were frankly shocking,” said Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based leading behavioral research polling company. “When you have one-third of Republicans, 70% of Independents and almost all Democrats thinking a wall is not necessary that should raise a red flag.”

Methodology: This live and automated caller survey was conducted by Phoenix based-OH Predictive Insights on May 1st, 2017, from an active Arizona registered voter sample.  The sample size was 401 completed surveys, with a MoE of +/-4.89%.  35% of surveys were conducted on cell phones and 65% via land lines. The party affiliation, geographic, gender and age demographics accurately reflect active registered voters in Arizona in this sample.

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About OH Predictive Insights: Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insights provides accurate polling, focus groups, data analytics and advanced targeted marketing to political and non-political clients alike. With leading professionals in the advertising, communication, polling and political arenas, OH Predictive Insights will service political and non-political clients looking to improve their footing on key stakeholders and consumers. For more information, please call 602-254-5159 www.OHpartners. com

NRCC Slams Kyrsten Sinema and Tom O’Halleran In Latest Political Ad

NRCC Releases New Web Video Targeting Arizona Democrats For Accepting Money From Alleged Child Sex Trafficking Scheme

The National Republican Congressional Committee released a web video titled “Caught Red Handed” which targets Arizona Democrats Kyrsten Sinema and Tom O’Halleran for accepting thousands in campaign donations from executives accused of facilitating child sex trafficking.

“Kyrsten Sinema and Tom O’Halleran should be ashamed of themselves,” said NRCC Spokesman Jack Pandol.

“They’ve let their desperation to win re-election cloud their moral judgment. Kyrsten and Tom’s decision to knowingly take this tainted money speaks volumes about their twisted priorities as Arizona’s least principled elected officials.”

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.

House Democrats Oppose Effort to Prohibit Public Money from Going to Political Parties

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The House of Representatives today failed to pass HB 2403, legislation sponsored by Representative Coleman which would prohibit Clean Elections candidates from contributing public funds to political parties.

Doug Coleman

Rep Doug Coleman

While a majority of House members supported HB 2403, it failed to achieve support from three-fourths of the body, which is required to amend statutes created through the initiative process.  Republicans overwhelmingly supported the measure, but Democrats opposed it.

“Clean Elections candidates are supposed to use public money to run for office, not to line the coffers of their political party,” said Representative Coleman.  “This is an abusive manipulation of the Clean Elections system and violates the trust of Arizona voters, yet Democrats would apparently rather protect the interests of their political party than taxpayers.”

Maricopa County GOP Chairman Chris Herring Appoints Lisa Gray As Executive Director

Maricopa GOP

Cites Gray’s personal integrity and extensive record of service as instrumental in decision

PHOENIX, AZ – Today, Maricopa County GOP Chairman Chris Herring named Lisa Gray as the new Executive Director of the Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC) under his direction. The position is crucial to the activation of the chairman’s objectives and the day to day operations of the largest Republican county committee in the nation. Gray, a former District Chairman and campaign manager for Jeff DeWit’s bid to be state Treasurer, has also developed a website dedicated to PC recruitment and been instrumental in PC training.

Herring, who was elected by a 2-1 margin at the Maricopa County Statutory Meeting on January 14, 2017 was confident in his pick, “Lisa has been tirelessly working to advance the principles of our party and doing so with integrity and outstanding results. The election of Treasurer Jeff DeWit is a perfect example of her vision and tenacity.” Chairman Herring continued, “From the grassroots to the grasstops, there is not one step of activism that Lisa is not personally experienced in, making her uniquely qualified for this position. She supports my expectation of a highly functioning committee, focused on building and growth with inclusivity and transparency.”

As the Chairman of the nation’s largest Republican county, Herring has already met with several legislative districts, other shareholder groups, and is actively organizing the MCRC to move forward in preparations for the 2018 elections.  Filling additional appointed positions, Herring has tapped Kathy Petsas, District Chairman of LD28 to serve as the county Parliamentarian; Wes Harris, Member-at-Large from LD20 as Assistant Parliamentarian; and John Eaton, First-Vice Chairman of LD27 as Sergeant-At-Arms.

About the Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC): The MCRC is comprised of all elected precinct committeemen (PC’s) from the 20 legislative districts within Maricopa County. By statute, PC’s are elected during the party primary and represent 1 PC for every 125 registered voters in the precinct. The Chairman is elected every two years by the elected PC’s at the Statutory Meeting as defined ARS Title 16.

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Jonathan Lines Elected AZGOP Chairman

Longtime Republican Activist Chosen to Lead Party to Victory in 2018
PHOENIX – At this Saturday’s meeting of the 1,235 State Committeemen of the Arizona Republican Party, Jonathan Lines was elected Chairman. Gabriela Mercer was elected Secretary and Robert Lettieri as Treasurer. Each serves a two-year term.
The Committeemen also elected three members at-large from each of Arizona’s nine congressional districts to serve on the state party’s executive committee, who also serve a two-year term.
 
CD1
Bill Brandau
Sylvia Allen
Nancy Hawkins
CD2
Gail Griffin
Sergio Arellano
Cindy Coleman
CD3
Sina Kerr
Kim Owens
Shuron Harvey
CD4
Rose Sperry
Michael Ward
Paul Brierley
CD5
Nancy Cottle
Mickie Niland
Jeffrey Smith
CD6
Liz Alcorn
Jose Borrajero
Ren Ramsey
CD7
Gayla Franks
Timothy Schwartz
John Wilson
CD8
Lisa Gray
Rae Chornenky
Marcus Huey
CD9
Lorraine Pellegrino
Jeff Fleetham
Raphael Ahmed

Representative-elect David Stringer endorses Chris Herring for MCRC Chairman

Chris Herring

SURPRISE, ARIZ (December 29) – Today, Representative-elect David Stringer (LD 1) endorsed Chris Herring for Maricopa County Republican Committee Chairman. LD 1 covers parts of northern Maricopa County.

“Chris Herring fights to expand liberty and to reduce government – not just in Maricopa County, but across the state,” Stringer said. “He believes in local control, less government, and the importance of adherence to the Constitution as it was written. Bold, young conservatives are the future of our party, and Chris has my support to be the next chairman of Maricopa County.”

“Representative-elect Stringer has already proven to be a strong friend to grassroots Republicans in his district,” Herring said. “I look forward to supporting his work in the Arizona House of Representatives and to working with him to elect and empower conservative Republicans in Maricopa County.”

Representative-elect David Stringer joins U.S. Congressman Trent Franks, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Senator Debbie Lesko, Senator Judy Burges, Senator-elect Steve Montenegro, Representative Jill Norgaard, Representative Anthony Kern, Representative David Livingston, Representative Phil Lovas, Representative Justin Olson, and Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring in endorsing Chris Herring for MCRC Chairman.

SRP: We’re Lowering Our Prices

This just in from SRP. Their customers are receiving this email Monday morning:

We’re pleased to announce that SRP is temporarily lowering prices for the second time in less than a year. The 10-month reduction will be in effect for the January through October 2017 billing cycles.

The decrease will save the typical residential customer just under a dollar per month during the winter billing months and approximately $2.50 to $3.50 per month during the summer billing months. Prices will return to the original winter season prices with the November 2017 billing cycle.

We are able to lower prices for these reasons:

  • The continued low price of natural gas, which is a primary fuel in many power plants
  • Careful management, which is enabling us to meet our environmental program goals at lower-than-expected costs
  • Greater-than-anticipated energy sales

Sincerely,
SRP

Customers can then click on a link in the SRP email that takes them to the SRP newsroom where they can read details about the rate reduction:

SRP Board OKs $40 Million Price Decrease
Temporary Measure will Reduce Prices by an Average 1.6 % for next 10 Months

For the second time in less than a year, SRP’s Board of Directors has approved a decrease in electricity prices for its more than 1 million customers. The 10–month temporary decrease, effective with the January 2017 billing cycle, averages an overall 1.6 percent.

The decrease will save the typical residential customer just under a dollar per month during the winter billing months and around $2.50 to $3.50 per month when the summer billing season begins in May. Prices will return to original winter season prices approved in 2015 with the November 2017 billing cycle.

“Utility customers are generally more used to seeing price increases than decreases, so we are very happy to be able to lower our prices,” said SRP General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Mark Bonsall. “At SRP, our team works hard to identify market opportunities and cut costs where possible to keep our prices low, and this temporary decrease is reflective of our success in these areas.”

The temporary decrease is possible because SRP has been able to reduce expenses in two components of its electric prices.

One of the price components – the Environmental Programs Cost Adjustment Factor, or EPCAF – tracks costs and revenues related to SRP’s renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs adopted to comply with SRP’s sustainable portfolio standard. The temporary reduction reflects SRP’s ability to meet its sustainable goals at a lower cost to customers.

SRP’s Board has set a goal to meet 20 percent of SRP’s retail electricity requirements through sustainable resources by the year 2020. Currently, SRP is ahead of schedule –providing more than 14 percent of retail energy needs with sustainable resources, which include solar, wind and geothermal energy, hydro power and energy-efficiency programs. SRP currently has 746 megawatts of renewable energy owned or under contract in its system.

The second component – the Fuel and Purchased Power Adjustment Mechanism, or FPPAM – recovers fuel costs incurred to generate electricity as well as power purchases to serve customer needs. Savings in this area are primarily because of lower-than-anticipated natural gas costs.

The costs of these two components to SRP are directly passed through to customers without any markup. SRP previously instituted a temporary reduction of 3.7 percent in the EPCAF and FPPAM for the 2016 July and August billing cycles.

The latest temporary reduction will decrease EPCAF and FPPAM revenue collection by about $40 million.

SRP is a community–based, not–for–profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre–feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.

Arizona Free Enterprise Club: The Harmful Effects of Prop 206 Begin to Sink In

Arizona Free Enterprise Club

It has only been a month and the recently approved minimum wage initiative, Proposition 206, is already inflicting permanent damage on Arizona’s Economy, hardworking taxpayers and our most vulnerable and needy residents.

Similar to previous proposals, Prop 206 was sold on the idea that Arizona could raise its minimum wage to $12 an hour (adjusted for inflation every year thereafter) and require employers offer mandated paid sick leave to employees without any negative repercussions.  Reading the fine print of Prop 206 exposed this fraudulent claim; as the funders of the initiative (California Unions) exempted collective bargaining agreements from critical components of the initiative.  If this was so good, why exempt themselves from it?

Now the debilitating impacts of Prop 206 are being felt, and they are far more widespread and catastrophic than even the opponents of the initiative realized.  While it wasn’t a secret that Arizona businesses would face hard choices in order to comply with the wage hike, some of the worst hit organizations will be those that serve the neediest and most vulnerable populations in our state.  Currently in-home care services, many of which aid fragile and feeble seniors, range from $20-$24 an hour.   These services will go up;pricing out many of these seniors on fixed-incomes from receiving the care they desperately need or force more individuals onto state welfare rolls.

The developmentally disabled in our community will also be devastated by Proposition 206.  According to the President and CEO of the Centers for Habilitation and member of the Arizona Association of Providers for People with Disabilities, some providers will be forced to close operations as soon as January 1, 2017.

Some of these providers have contracts with the State of Arizona that set the reimbursement rates.  This means the state will be forced to allocate more taxpayer money to cover the higher costs.  If the state doesn’t cough up more tax dollars to address these needs, thousands of developmentally disabled in Arizona will be left without vital care.

It only gets worse from here.

Many subdivisions of the state such as school districts will also be deeply impacted by the voter mandate.  Positions such as cross walk guards cafeteria workers and bus drivers, many of which are part time positions, represent a significant aggregate cost to schools; costs which were neither anticipated nor planned for by districts or the state.

For Chandler Unified School District, Prop 206’s passage represents a $1.1 million hit to their budget.  Agua Fria Union High School District in the West Valley, $123,500.  Peoria Unified District – $1.1 million by 2020.  And Sahuarita District in southern Arizona $907,576.   These are tremendous costs which will necessitate the diversion of other resources from teachers and students or require more monies from taxpayers.

And although the law does not apply to state or federal agencies, many government departments will still be on the hook.  The State of Arizona has expenditure obligations for school districts as well as private contracts through AHCCCS (Arizona Healthcare Cost Containment Center System).  But the legislature has already passed a budget for 2017.  These additional costs were not included in the state’s budget.

Many voters that supported Prop 206 were not aware of the harmful effects this initiative would cause. Yet unlike bills proposed and passed at the legislature, there was no independent review, hearings, or public comment process of the initiative language to inform voters of these inevitable issues.

Now, even if voters wanted these issues fixed, Prop 206 can’t be modified because Arizona initiatives are bound by the strictest voter protection law in the country.  Once a measure is passed at the ballot, it can’t be changed unless it is sent back to the voters, and that can’t happen for two years.

As the saying goes, “elections have consequences.”  We suspect that the consequences of Prop 206, however, are not what Arizona voters signed up for.