Archives for May 2016

Tom Chabin’s Dark Money Past

In the race for Arizona Corporation Commission, there are several candidates who aren’t who they say they are.

One candidate in particular, has made a major part of his campaign platform about running against “dark money.” You see it on his website, social media and in the media.

Tom Chabin Dark Money

Tom Chabin rails about dark money being spent by big power companies. We assume he’s referring to APS and their First Amendment participation in the election process.

What Tom Chabin doesn’t want you to know is that he was the direct beneficiary of  “dark money” during his failed state senate campaign in 2012.

According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s website, Chapin was the direct beneficiary of $204,531 from four independent expenditure groups.

Tom Chabin IE Money

America Votes is listed as a labor union organization based out of Washington, DC. On their website, they tout “building progressive power” and partnering with every radical leftist organization in America. During the 2012 election cycle, they spent $127,077 in Arizona to elect Democrat candidates. Chabin was one of those Democrats they attempted to elect. Fortunately, they failed.

Another organization that spent $145,774 to keep Tom Chabin in his $24,000/year legislative seat was the Arizona Accountability Project. On their campaign finance reports, they reported $475,000 funneled from an outside dark money group called Revive Arizona Now. They ended up spending $561,047 on Democrat candidates in 2012.

Chabin also was aided and abetted by two other independent expenditure committees. Citizens for Public Education spent $315 but Revitalize Arizona kicked in $44,318 in an effort to save his re-election. According to the Secretary of State’s website, Revitalize Arizona took in $744,328.47 from another group called Residents for Accountability which Tucson media reported, “that group’s finances are a bit of a Russian nesting doll.” Revitalize Arizona spent $44,318 to re-elect Tom Chabin in 2012.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Revitalize Arizona – “that group’s finances are a bit of a Russian nesting doll”[/pullquote]

Tom Chabin lost his bid for the Arizona State Senate in 2012.

Now Chabin is running for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission as part of a Democrat team with Bill Mundell.

Chabin and Mundell are running as “Clean Elections” candidates so they won’t be asking for private donations in their race. PAC’s and individuals will still donate and participate in the election under Arizona campaign finance limits. Independent expenditure committees will still attempt to affect the outcome of the race through express advocacy. And we expect non-profit organizations to air issue-ads to “educate” citizens about the issues.

Both Democrats have made it their mission to attack their opponents by alleging Republicans are part of a vast right-wing conspiracy with APS. (They’re not.)

Both Chabin and Mundell are pushing for Big Solar’s agenda. These solar companies, backed by big environmental leftists, want to retain and expand on their taxpayer subsidies. If elected, Chabin and Mundell will work to keep the taxpayer dollars flowing to these solar corporations.

Given the dismal history of bankruptcies and bailouts of big solar corporations like Solyndra, SunEdison and Abengoa, handing authority to Democrats like Tom Chabin and Bill Mundell would be a financial disaster to ratepayers and the energy market.

Tom Chabin

Expect Big Solar to strong-arm this race and spend big money to put their corporate cronies in place. Just don’t expect leftist-friendly media to shine any light on their dark spending or on Chabin’s dark money past.

 

Wendy Rogers Files Nomination Signatures For Arizona’s CD-1

 

Wendy Rogers

(Flagstaff, AZ) – Air Force Lt Col (ret) Wendy Rogers filed nomination petitions with the office of Arizona Secretary of State today surpassing the number required to qualify for the August ballot. She filed a total of 1,862 signatures, over 1.5 times the minimum amount required of 1,196.

Colonel Rogers personally collected nearly 90% of her signatures by riding her bicycle to thousands of Republican primary voter households throughout several counties of the district. In southern Arizona, Colonel Rogers lived among the voters for three continuous weeks just to knock on doors. For Colonel Rogers it has always been more about listening to voters. In fact, two different news reporters rode a bicycle with her to capture the experience. She summarized, “I’ve met many great people on their doorsteps who are tired of sending career politicians to Washington. They really prefer someone of their own . . . who will secure our border, get government out of the free market, and equip and honor fellow military service members.” She added, “Washington lacks a culture of service; I intend to restore a culture of service when I serve my district.”

Andy Biggs IS the Establishment

In case you missed it earlier today, Arizona Senator Andy Biggs tweeted that he would “take on DC establishment.”

[Audible: vinyl record scratching!]

Did we hear that correctly?

Anyone who has been around politics for any amount of time knows that Senator Andy Biggs has been in politics for 16 years. And, to further argue the point, Biggs has been the ultimate political insider in political backroom dealings.

2016 will be the year of outsiders, not career politicians.

If anyone can speak credibly about taking on the DC establishment, it won’t be someone from the establishment. And it won’t be Andy Biggs who has been the establishment for the last 16 years.

 

Christine Jones – The Best Choice To Upgrade Congress

Congress needs more individuals who understand and know how to apply technology effectively and safely.

Within just the last 25 years, we have seen the number of computers on the internet explode from under 500,000 to now about two billion. It’s phenomenal and its only going to increase and advance at a faster pace.

In many ways the laws we live under are still trailing the science and technology – in some cases by decades. That has to change. Our lawmakers and especially our Congress needs an upgrade.

Case in point: the use of aerial drones for a variety of reasons including entertainment, commerce or public safety. Just within the last year, local, state and the federal government have been rushing to accommodate their use while balancing privacy, commerce and public safety. We need individuals who can look forward and catch our laws up with science and technology.

Christine Jones is that person and its one reason why she’s the best qualified candidate to send to Congress from Arizona.

Christine understands the vastness and capabilities of technology but she also grasps the rate of change it is having on the culture and our laws.

Christine Jones

Christine Jones testifying before Congress.

As the General Counsel for one of the fastest tech companies, Go Daddy, she was on the cutting edge of integrating technology and the law. She has testified numerous times before Congress advising and educating those writing our laws on how best to do so. She has played a key leadership role in making the Internet safer for children and industries.

Christine Jones is also the founder of the Internet Registrar Summit which brought international Internet business leaders together on an annual basis to establish an industry best practices that advocated for laws and guidelines for conduct and usage. Through her leadership, she has played a key role in establishing the Internet as a safe, secure and stable place for all users and especially children.

Voters in Congressional District 5 should look ahead to the future. Sending someone to Congress who knows how to marry the law with an ever-changing world of technology would raise the level of expertise in updating our laws. Christine Jones is the right person to serve in that leadership role and it’s why we need to elect her to Congress in November.

 

Robb: Prop. 123 – what’s best for Arizona schools?

Robert Robb, The Republic | azcentral.com
http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/robertrobb/2016/05/11/prop-123-vote-yes/84191600/

Should getting more money to Arizona schools be this hard?

If Proposition 123 passes next Tuesday, schools will get a lot of additional dough. And quickly.

Schools would get an additional $224 million the very next month, June. And an additional $230 million over the next fiscal year (July 2016 through June 2017). So, a total of $454 million over the next 13 months.

Education organizations representing teachers, administrators, school boards and parents are supporting Prop. 123. The business community has rallied strongly behind it and provided the pro campaign with a ton of cash.

Still, what opponents lack in organization and money they are making up in hot air. And, oddly, their narrative has dominated the public debate and discussion.

The opposition narrative, however, is based mostly on material misrepresentations and wishful thinking about alternatives. So, it’s worth revisiting some Prop. 123 basics.

Why are we voting on this, anyway?

Prop. 123 settles a lawsuit brought by some schools over the failure of the state to increase the base level, the starting point of the basic state aid formula, to reflect inflation for four years following the recession.

According to opponents, the courts have ordered the Legislature to increase the base level by $337 million and the Legislature has ignored the order. That’s a fundamentally dishonest description of the status of the litigation.

At issue is the maintenance of effort requirement in Proposition 301, referred by the Legislature in 2000 and approved by voters. Prop. 301 increased the sales tax by six-tenths of a percent and earmarked the proceeds for education. It also required the state to increase the base level for basic state aid to reflect inflation, up to 2 percent.

The schools filed the lawsuit in 2010. The first Superior Court judge to hear the case found that the Legislature owed nothing. That the people, acting in their legislative capacity, couldn’t bind a future Legislature acting in its legislative capacity.

$337 million or $75 million? That’s the fight

The schools appealed. Ultimately, the Arizona Supreme Court found that the Legislature had to abide by the maintenance of effort requirement. But the Supreme Court didn’t order that the state pay any specific amount. Instead, it remanded the case to Superior Court.

There is now a legal dispute over how to calculate the inflation adjustment. For three years during the 2000s, the base level was increased by more than inflation.

The Legislature says that these supplemental increases shouldn’t count in calculating what is owed today. Since the Supreme Court decision, it has appropriated what it maintains is owed, roughly an additional $75 million a year.

The schools maintain that if the Legislature increases the base level by more than inflation in any particular year, that just ratchets up the base for future inflation adjustments. That yields the $337 million number.

Schools get more in this deal than lawmakers

Another Superior Court judge found in favor of the schools. The Legislature has appealed. Rather than continue to litigate, a settlement midwifed by Gov. Doug Ducey’s office was reached.

Under the settlement, schools will receive nearly $300 million more in annual funding, or much closer to the position of the schools than the Legislature. There’s a reason the schools regard the settlement as a win.

Part of the settlement funding comes from an increase in distributions from the state land trust. The distribution is set forth in the Arizona Constitution. Changing it requires a constitutional amendment. The Arizona Constitution can only be changed with a vote of the people. Hence Prop. 123.

If Prop. 123 fails, the $454 million goes away

If Prop. 123 passes, schools will receive an additional $3.5 billion over 10 years. Of that amount, $2.2 billion would come from the additional distribution from the trust. The state general fund would be responsible for $1.3 billion.

And if Prop. 123 fails?

Here’s what we know for certain. The additional state land distribution will not occur.

As a litigation strategy, the Legislature would probably continue appropriating the $75 million that is owed as it calculates inflation.

The settlement obligates it to appropriate an additional $50 million a year for five years and $75 million a year for the five years after that. That obligation would go away.

The schools would not receive an additional $454 million over the next 13 months.

Other than that, everything is uncertain.

The litigation would presumably resume. How long it would take and what the outcome would be is speculation.

Surplus is gone and tax cuts aren’t enough

The breezy claim that there are easy alternatives to getting schools the same or more money is obfuscation.

The surplus? It’s gone. The Legislature spent it in the last budget, partly on education and partly on other stuff, such as the Department of Child Safety.

Delay tax cuts? According to legislative budgeteers, there is just $124 million in new and phased-in tax cuts scheduled for the next fiscal year. So, that’s $330 million short of what Prop. 123 will produce in the same period of time.

Taxes can be increased. I’m all for it. I’ve been advocating a general fund tax increase since it was clear that the temporary 1 percent sales tax wasn’t going to be an adequate bridge from the recession’s decimation of state revenues.

But the schools are owed a measure of political realism. Should increased funding for them be based on a bet that defeat of Prop. 123 will change Ducey’s mind about taxes or that a Legislature willing to increase taxes will be elected this November? That’s a very bad bet.

Prop. 123 doesn’t stop larger funding talk

And here’s the most perplexing thing about the opposition to Prop. 123: Its passage doesn’t preclude any of the alternatives opponents claim to prefer. Nothing about passage of Prop. 123 prevents the election of what opponents would regard as a better Legislature and governor. Passage of Prop. 123 doesn’t preclude a broader education funding initiative in 2018.

In fact, a broader discussion of education funding is inevitable. The expiration of Prop. 301’s sales tax in 2021 makes it unavoidable.

In the meantime, if Prop. 123 passes, the schools would be getting more money at a time they really need it.

And at a time they have been shortchanged not only by the general fund, but also by the state land trust. Since 2000, the trust has retained rather than distributed $1.7 billion in earnings. Prop. 123 mostly requires the trust to disgorge earnings that the schools should have been receiving all along.

Money goes to public – not private – schools

The schools are both the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and the beneficiaries of the trust. If they think the settlement is fair and increased distribution from the trust is appropriate, shouldn’t some deference be paid to that? Opponents who say continue the litigation or get the money from some other source are claiming they know what’s best for schools better than those who run them or teach in them. A bit of hubris there.

There is a lot of politics in the opposition. Opponents fear that passage of Prop. 123 will enable the agenda of Ducey and GOP legislators to cut taxes and increase assistance to charter and private schools. But they have the analysis backwards.

The settlement appropriates an additional $625 million over the next 10 years from the general fund to public schools based upon enrollment. If Prop. 123 is defeated, that money is up for grabs.

Voting down Prop. 123 won’t punish lawmakers

And then there is the emotional gravamen. For many opponents, Prop. 123 isn’t really a school finance measure. It’s a referendum on Ducey and the GOP Legislature.

In this view, a yes vote means that Ducey and the Legislature are doing a good job on education. A no vote means that they aren’t.

But that’s also massively unfair to schools. Prop. 123 is a school finance measure. If it is defeated, nothing bad happens to Ducey and the Legislature. But the schools lose $454 million over the next 13 months.

Passage of Prop. 123 gets the schools more money and settles a lawsuit. Its defeat guarantees nothing and provides a pathway to nowhere.

Reach Robb at robert.robb@arizonarepublic.com.

Andy Biggs’ Special Fire District Still Burned In My Memory

By East Valley Evan

They say an elephant never forgets. This Republican certainly doesn’t but sometimes it takes an incident to help recall.

The massive fire in Gilbert recently stoked my memory about one of our local politicians who tried to take advantage of a serious public safety threat.

Andy BiggsBack in 2005, Rural Metro notified the Town of Gilbert that they were ceasing operations in Gilbert because it was becoming too expensive to service the town due to the numerous county islands. That provoked a political fight between Gilbert and the county islanders.

In early 2006, county islander and State Representative Andy Biggs jumped feet first into the fight by sponsoring legislation allowing his fellow islanders to form a special fire district that would also pay back the Town of Gilbert for use of their municipal fire service. There was only one problem. The town of Gilbert was not going to recover the full cost of providing that service – an additional $5 million! Gilbert taxpayers like me would have had to pay the difference and subsidize all the folks in the county islands who were receiving Town of Gilbert services.

To add insult to injury, we would have had to pay the start up costs for a year and a half for Biggs’ special district before we even saw any reimbursement for our up front costs.

The Town of Gilbert decided to sue based on the grounds that Biggs’ law was specially catered for his county islanders.

After Gilbert filed the suit, Andy Biggs snuck in another special amendment that would force Gilbert residents to pay the legal fees in lawsuits against the formation of his special fire district. It was written specifically to apply to the Town of Gilbert.

In the first round of legal battles, a judge saw through the special legislation and shot down Biggs’ special law. Unfortunately that the same judge made us pay for the legal costs in stopping Biggs’ unconstitutional law. It ended up costing us over $292 thousand.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, under Don Stapley’s lead, filed an appeal against the lower court’s decision but that case also ended up losing in court. In it’s decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals stated that Andy Biggs’ law failed to be written in a constitutional manner.

This battle over Biggs’ expensive unconstitutional fire district became so heated that it spilled over as an issue in the 2006 elections. Biggs was challenged by a Gilbert resident but ended up winning reelection because most voters thought the issue was settled and other issues dominated. But not this voter.

Fast forward to 2016 and Andy Biggs is now running for Congress in my district. Ten years may have passed and the memories of some voters may have faded but I won’t be voting for Andy Biggs. He’s proven himself time and time again to be the ultimate career politician who’s only interested in one thing – what’s best for Andy Biggs.

It might seem like an eternity in politics but this Gilbert Republican won’t easily forget what’s been seared into memory of how another politician divided a community to serve his own personal interests.

Former Sen Jon Kyl: Let’s Debunk The Myth That Prop. 123 Will Hurt Us

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Former senator: I’m baffled by claims that Proposition 123 will do irreparable harm to Arizona’s permanent fund.[/pullquote]

I strongly support Prop. 123 and am baffled by opposition to it, most of which seems to claim it will do irreparable harm to the state’s permanent fund.

Jon KylThis simply isn’t true.

To help Arizona transition from a frontier territory to the 48th state, the federal government turned over to the new state about 11 million acres of land, to be held in trust for the support of public needs, the first and foremost of which was K-12 education.

The state accomplishes that role by selling and leasing state trust lands to produce revenue. The revenue from the sale of state trust lands are deposited into Arizona’s permanent fund. The money in the permanent fund is then invested by the state in stocks, bonds and other investments and produce additional returns.

We’re dipping into interest, not the fund

Arizona’s permanent fund is currently worth about $5 billion, and the trust earns money each year, with an average rate of return over 6.9 percent for the past 10 years.

Right now, 2.5 percent of the value of the permanent trust fund is distributed on an annual basis to beneficiaries like K-12 public schools. Voting “yes” on Prop. 123 would increase the distribution amount to 6.9 percent (roughly $342 million per year) from 2.5 percent (roughly $125 million per year) for a period of 10 years.

Given that the permanent fund has averaged a rate of return in excess of this proposed 6.9 percent distribution for the past 10 years, which includes the depths of this past recession, we should view Prop. 123 as an agreement to distribute the anticipated interest from the permanent fund to the trust beneficiaries – and not as an agreement to dip into the $5.1 billion corpus of the permanent fund.

Trust also includes $70 billion in land

We also shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the trust is composed not only of the $5.1 billion in the permanent fund, but also of the value of the remaining state trust lands, which have a current estimated value of some $70 billion.

As urban growth has reached formerly outlying areas of state trust land, it stands to reason that this value will very likely increase in future years as expanding infrastructure and growth drive values to those lands.

Using $3.5 billion of that combined $75 billion of value over the next 10 years to help educate our K-12 kids is hardly a wasteful dissipation of the trust assets. Indeed, the combined values of the state trust lands and permanent trust fund should very well be even greater in 10 years based on current and expected trends. In any event, the myth of destruction of the trust needs to be exposed.

Why not put this cash to better use?

Prop. 123 does not mandate the sale of any part of the land being held in trust for K-12. That asset will continue to be managed in the best manner possible to provide for this generation of students as well as future generations.

Prop. 123 does put appropriate pressure on the state to ensure it performs its role in producing a quality revenue stream to support the intended beneficiaries of the trust, including our K-12 system.

Here is my question. From what do we get greater value: sitting on the assets in the trust (earning a bit), or investing $3.5 billion to better educate millions of Arizona kids today?

An educated citizenry is the best guarantee of economic growth and societal health. In other words, this human capital will be much more valuable for the state than keeping the assets in the trust, which is supposed to exist to help educate our youth.

In addition, this funding will also satisfy a legal obligation resulting from court decisions holding that the state government had not devoted sufficient appropriations to K-12 education in the past. Without Prop. 123, it is likely a tax increase would be necessary to meet this legal obligation.

Let us keep in mind that the trust was intended from the beginning to provide support for our K-12 system. Rather than allowing the trust to continue to underfund our current students, we should support Prop. 123 and put those funds to work in our classrooms now.

Former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl is senior counsel at Covington and Burling in Washington, D.C. 

Prop 123 Proponents Make Their Case on Arizona PBS’ Horizon

Advocates for Proposition 123 appeared on KAET’s Horizon on Monday evening to make the case for passage of Prop 123. Here is the video of that show featuring Chris Thomas, General Counsel for the Arizona School Boards Association:

Political Insiders begin attacks on conservative Christine Jones in CD-5

It hasn’t even been a week and already the dark money is flowing in attacks on conservative Christine Jones. Career politicians and political insiders must be very nervous about Jones’ entry into the GOP primary in Arizona’s 5th congressional district.

Evidence, a mysterious dark money operation sprung up on Twitter and YouTube on Thursday. The group using the name “Real Christine Jones,” put up a video taking aim at the conservative business leader, spinning, speculating and spewing lyrics in a sing along video. (Anytime you see a group spring up on social media using the word “Real” in its title, you can bet it’s anything but real or truthful.)

DarkMoneyAttackAd

Aside from the lies and nonsense of the video, this is another example of political insiders funneling money to paid political hacks to quickly attack anyone who threatens their political power.

The most important question is who paid for the production of the video and why did they not disclose that information to the public?

Hiding behind a sneaky moniker is nothing but petty and pernicious and results in a reinforcement of why the public does not trust career politicians.

We deserve better than these personal attacks. It’s time to replace career politicians with honorable citizen representatives who will actually serve instead of subterfuge.

Jones for Congress Announces Endorsements by East Valley Elected Leaders

Christine Jones

(Gilbert, AZ) – Today, conservative business leader Christine Jones announced a round of endorsements from several East Valley municipal leaders. Council members from Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek all issued endorsements for Jones who is seeking the congressional seat in their communities. The list includes:

  • Chandler City Councilman Kevin Hartke, 2011 – present
  • Gilbert Town Councilwoman Brigette Peterson, 2014 – present
  • Gilbert Town Councilman Jorday Ray, 2011 – present
  • Queen Creek Town Councilman Jeff Brown, 2008 – present

In the announcement, Councilman Ray stated, “The East Valley needs someone like Christine Jones who knows how to create jobs and grow the economy.” Ray added, “I am also honored to play an important role as her campaign manager.”

Queen Creek Councilman Jeff Brown said, “Christine is a proven conservative leader who we can trust to do what she says. She has my full support because I know she knows how to get things done.”

Councilman Kevin Hartke of Chandler commented, “Christine Jones has deep ties to our community and she understands our needs and frustrations. I know she will represent the district, the East Valley and Arizona well.” He added, “I’m endorsing Christine because she brings a set of fresh eyes to problems that are not being solved or resolved.”

Finally, Gilbert Councilwoman Brigette Peterson noted, “Christine knows what’s important when it comes to our families and education. I put my full faith and trust in her to serve our communities well.”

On receiving each endorsement, Jones remarked, “I am truly humbled to have such heartfelt support from leadership across the district.” She concluded, “The East Valley has been an important part of my life.”