RTS Alert HB2391 & HB2255: Transparency in Government. Yes! (video)

World View Enterprises
Let’s talk government transparency.
Lucky for me my committees, so far, have not been totally nuts with radical right wing bills like some of the other committees this year. Yes, we have heard some tax giveaways in both Commerce and Ways and Means but not the extreme ideological social engineering and voter suppression bills that are in other committees.
The Feb.3 Ways and Means Committee agenda included only one bill HB2391, sponsored by Rep. Steve Kaiser, one of the freshmen Republicans. This is a property tax and county government transparency bill from ATRA (Arizona Tax Research Association). Sean McCarthy from ATRA said that all of the counties report their property taxes in different ways. (Not surprising.) HB2391 says that the Department of Revenue (DOR) should design a “worksheet” for the counties to use worksheet and make the data available. I don’t think this goes far enough. I know many Tucsonans who are digging through PDFs and memos on governmental websites to try to determine how their taxes are being spent.
I agree with the push for governmental transparency and standardization in reporting, but I would take this a couple step further. I think these worksheets should be available on the county websites and on the DOR website in an easy-to-find location, and the data should be downloadable in Excel. This allows people — including data nerds, economists, grad students, and interested citizens — to look at the data and analyze it themselves. This is true transparency and accountability, in my opinion.
Many governmental websites are data rich and information poor. There are many numbers but very little context or explanation. For example, my bill HB 2255 is a transparency and accountability bill regarding the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA). I have done a lot of digging around in PDFs on the ACA website to determine the effectiveness of the business incentives that the ACA has been doling out.
When I had my communication and public relations business, writing and designing annual reports was my niche. In fact, most of the little plexiglass statues in my office at the capital are awards that I won for annual reports or other corporate communication documents or programs.
With this background, I am particularly critical of the ACA annual reports that are on their website. First of all, I had to search for “annual report” in order to even find the annual reports. There are lots of cute number graphics, but eventually I found a large PDF which was the actual annual report. Buried in the middle was the number of jobs that are created by the different incentive packages. There was a list of businesses that received big incentive packages (including Caterpillar and Worldview in Tucson) but no indication where these businesses are located. Are most of the business incentives spent in Maricopa County? Probably but it’s hard to tell. What is the long view of these incentives? How many of these businesses are still in business? Many of these businesses got their money years ago, but only one figure is given for job creation. Is that the current number of jobs? Is that the total number of jobs that were created over X number of years? Again you can’t tell from the annual report. Often in a corporate annual report there is historic data like a five-year review or a 10-year review to show growth or change over time. The 10 year review often includes analysis and a continued story from previous annual reports. I never found anything like that on the ACA website.

 

I want transparency in the corporate tax giveaways, how about you?

I am all for more governmental transparency. I think the Arizona Commerce Authority should be included in this push for more transparency and more accountability to the taxpayers of Arizona. If you are on RTS, please give both HB2391 and HB2255 a thumbs up.

[Photo: I took the above photo at a 2017 Chamber of Commerce event at the World View Enterprises headquarters. World View is one of the businesses that received money from the Arizona Commerce Authority and got a new building from Pima County. How much taxpayer money did World View get, and how many jobs did that incentive actually bring to Pima County? This is one of my many questions.]

 

 

July LD9 Town Hall Focuses on Opening Up K-12 Education & COVID19 Q&A (video)

LD9 town hall

LD9’s July virtual town hall was July 23, 2020. The format was a bit different for the this town hall because the LD9 team of Senator Victoria Steele and Reps. Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley shared the stage with educators Leila Counta (TUSD School Board member), Taylor Cleland, and Nathan Davis (Amphi School Board Candidate) for the first 30 minutes.

We had a rousing discussion on the safety of opening up Arizona schools during the pandemic, with presentations from the educators and comments and questions from the Legislators and participants. What is TUSD doing? What is Amphi doing? How are teachers preparing for the unknown? The education video is a bit long because it includes the three presentations, plus the Q&A session. (Pop some popcorn and watch it. It’s worth it.)

Continue reading July LD9 Town Hall Focuses on Opening Up K-12 Education & COVID19 Q&A (video)

Big Money Politics Targets the ‘Tucson Progressive’ in 2020 Election (video)

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

Corporate America, was it something I said?

Are you putting tens of thousands of dollars in big money donations behind my pro Trump, pro deregulation, pro tax giveaway, pro privatized insurance, pro Open Up Arizona (and masks are a personal choice) Republican opponent because I told the people of Arizona the truth about tax giveaways? That we were poised to giveaway $1 billion in taxes to corporations, special interest groups and wealthy Arizonans in 2020, after giving them $400 million in 2019?

Or was it because I said (repeatedly) that we should fund the People’s To-Do List — Education, Infrastructure, Healthcare and Safety and Security — instead of the Corporate Wish List?

Or maybe you didn’t like my video on raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for public education, instead of continuing to raise sales taxes on the poor to fund the state government?

Or maybe you didn’t like it when I exposed the GPLET tax shell game or the $13 billion in state tax giveaways?

Or was it my speeches against voter suppression and against attacks on Clean Elections, the Citizen’s Initiative, Independent Redistricting and Medical Marijuana?

Or was it because I opposed the sub-minimum wage of $7.25/hour, fake pregnancy clinics, dangerous deregulation, and Reefer Madness anti-marijuana legalization efforts?

Or was it when I said that Arizona chose a short-term economic boost over common sense, opened up the economy too soon, and gave our state the worst COVID19 record in the world ?

Continue reading Big Money Politics Targets the ‘Tucson Progressive’ in 2020 Election (video)

Join the Resistance: The Politics of T-Shirt Design (video)

Rep. Pam Powers Hannley

With COVID19 raging just outside our doors and with temperatures well over 100 degrees, sheltering in place is the best place for us — particularly for those of us who are over 60, like my husband and me. Staying home, working from home, and attending meetings online make the need for comfortable lounge wear more important than ever.

But shopping choices are limited.

And, I’m not sure that I’m ready to jump back into being an obedient little consumer … just yet.

The premature reopening of Arizona’s economy in advance of a visit by President Donald Trump in May has had deadly consequences.  Opening too soon and too broadly when the state didn’t even meet Trump’s criteria for a safe open has led to Arizona being worst in the world — not just worst in the US — for a few weeks.  As of July 2, Arizona’s infection rate stands at 25%. Hundreds of nurses are coming to Arizona to help in crowded hospitals. We had a healthcare provider shortage before COVID19, and now the system is at capacity. We are living in the midst of a disaster created by Trump and Governor Doug Ducey, at the urging of the business community.  So, I’m not feeling like shopping for anything but food and essentials.

I already had a lounge wear shortage before COVID19. Back in December 2019, I bought some over-priced 100% cotton lounge wear online. I waited four weeks for my order (since it was Christmas time). Although I used the size charts, the drawstring pants were 8″ too long, and the sleeves of the super soft 100% cotton shirt were baggy and also long. I sent it all back and waited another four weeks for the return of my $80 + tax!

Everything Old Is New Again

Fast forward to July 2020, rather that order online or venture to a store to buy lounge wear, I have turned to my collection of 100% cotton political, cause, and alma mater t-shirts. I hate men’s cut t-shirts. The collars are tight, the sleeves are long and baggy, and the length is often that of a mini-dress on someone my height. If you identify as a woman — and particularly if you have a curvy shape — standardized, tubular cotton bags with generically sized holes for the arms, head, and torso don’t fit you.

Continue reading Join the Resistance: The Politics of T-Shirt Design (video)

Capitol Times & Clean Elections Hold Online Legislative Forums (video)

candidate forum

Each election year the Capitol Times hosts a Meet the Candidates event in July for all Legislative candidates and incumbents at a fancy downtown Phoenix hotel.

This year, the Cap Times event — sponsored by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission — is virtual and spread out over five evenings, from 6-8 p.m. each night. The schedule is below. All of the forums are broadcast live on YouTube and posted on YouTube immediate afterward.

Pima County LDs 2 and 3 were on July 13, and Pima County LDs 9,10, and 11 were on July 14. The videos for those two events are posted below.

There are a ton of contested primaries in the Legislature on both sides of the aisle. Our forum on Tuesday was very interesting; our Republican challenger was one of the men who were no-shows. The format is that each Legislative District is up, one at a time. Each candidate for each district gets a minute or two to introduce themselves, but the majority of the time is fielding questions from the audience.

Continue reading Capitol Times & Clean Elections Hold Online Legislative Forums (video)

When a Crisis Hits, #PublicBanks Respond Quickly (video)

Public Banking Institute video

It took Arizona three months to reach 20,000 cases of COVID19. After Governor Dour Ducey opened up the economy in early May, it took only three weeks to add another 20,000 cases. Arizona now has the WORST outbreak of COVID19 in the nation.

In addition to our state’s disregard for solid public health policies, such as a longer shelter in place directive or wearing masks in public, the state government has been shamefully slow and stingy in distribution of aid. Only 6 percent of the 16,000 Arizonans who applied for eviction relief have received it, and renters face an eviction cliff in mid-July if the Governor doesn’t act. Distribution of unemployment, pandemic unemployment, and federal aid that passes through the Governor’s office has been equally slow and minimalist. What is the point of forcing more strife onto people? Why the slow distribution of funds?

Continue reading When a Crisis Hits, #PublicBanks Respond Quickly (video)