#AZLeg Should Focus on COVID, Not Tax Breaks

Republicans thanks for the poverty

This is an RTS Alert for HB2244, 2253, and 2252 and HCR2010 …

This is the third week of the Arizona Legislature. It is also the second full week of committees. I am the ranking member on the Commerce Committee and a member of Ways and Means. (I am not on the Health Committee this session.) My updates for the next two years are going to be pretty much about money, incentives, taxes, and tax giveaways.

So far, none of the bills heard in either of my committees help the people of Arizona or local small businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic. The Legislature needs to focus on the pandemic — instead of marching in lock step to pass 100s of bad (or at least unnecessary) bills from 2020 that COVID killed.

A recent poll revealed that Arizonans’ biggest concern is *surviving the pandemic*. Arizonans’ priority is to get through the pandemic alive … with their family members. They also don’t want to be broke and homeless at the end of this. The poll also revealed that their biggest fear was that government would do nothing, and they want to make sure corporations pay their fair share. Arizona had widespread poverty, housing insecurity, food insecurity, and access to care issues long before the pandemic. I suggest my bills to fix systemic problems in Arizona would also help people weather the pandemic storm.

For example, HB2244 would fully fund the housing trust fund which has not been adequately funded for ~10 years; HB2253 would increase Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) to the full five years allowed by the federal government; HB2252 would increase Arizona’s TANF from 36% of the 1992 poverty level to 40% of the 2020 poverty level; and HCR2010 would ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (giving women equal pay for equal work). I also have multiple bills to increase the healthcare workforce and increase access to care particularly in maternal and child health.

I have attended multiple financial forecasting and review meetings in the past year. Thanks to all of that online purchasing, Arizona is raking in the sales tax. Some people at the state level are giddy with the amount of sales tax revenue we have brought in during the pandemic. They are also very excited about the generosity from the federal government. Unfortunately, the governor and others in the Republican Party are using these unexpected funds as an excuse to cut taxes. Why don’t we use these funds to build financial stability, increase access to care and help the people of Arizona stay safe and healthy during the pandemic — instead of giving our tax dollars away to corporations and Arizona’s 1%?

Please be vigilant. There are many people up here who are determined to keep the inequities of our system.

Please give HB2253, HB2252, HB2244, and HCR2010 a thumbs up on RTS. Also, give tax breaks (HB2108 and HB2113) and additional, unnecessary governmental bureaucracy and fees (HB2161) a thumbs down.

Watch the LD9 Clean Elections Debate (video)

LD9 debate

Sept. 15 was the date for the Legislative District 9 candidate debate hosted by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) and moderated by Hank Stephensen, LD9 resident and editor of the Captiol Times Yellow Sheet.

Due to the pandemic, the 2020 CCEC debates are being held online and not in person, as is the tradition. While we were waiting in the “green room” for the event to start, CCEC Executive Director Tom Collins said that the online debates have had much larger viewership than the in-person events, which is great news.

All three House candidates participated: incumbent Democratic Reps. Randy Friese and Pam Powers Hannley and Republican challenger Brendan Lyons. Unfortunately, Lyons’ schedule dictated a “hard stop” at 7 p.m., so our debate was truncated to one hour. Many audience questions were left unasked.

Below are the video time stamps for different questions, if you are interested in specific topics. Stephensen allows for more candidate interaction; check out the robust debates on unemployment insurance and how to pay for education.

Continue reading Watch the LD9 Clean Elections Debate (video)

Together We Can Build a Stronger Arizona for Future Generations (video)

Rep. Pam Powers Hannley

Five years ago this month, I started my first campaign to run for the Arizona House to represent Legislative District 9.*

In 2016, I ran an unabashedly progressive Clean Elections campaign based upon economic reform, equity, and public health.

I promoted raising revenue by eliminating unnecessary lawsuits, tax loopholes, sweetheart deals, and corporate tax giveaways and by creating a public bank to spur the economic development, without draining governmental coffers.

I advocated raising the minimum wage, tackling income inequality, ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, and fighting discrimination against women and other minority groups.

Lastly, I was the only person back in 2015 talking about refocusing funds from the War of Drugs to tackle the opioid epidemic and  to end criminalization of marijuana. Far too many people — mostly men of color — are warehoused in Arizona prisons because of activist county prosecuters and over-policing of marijuana possession.

I promised to be the voice of the people in the Arizona Legislature, and as a Clean Elections candidate, I have been free to speak my mind because I am not dependent upon big money donations.

Now more than ever, with the COVID19 virus creating financial and public health insecurity, Arizona needs experienced leaders who will fight for the people and not kowtow to the corporations.

The Coronavirus has revealed deep-seated inequities and widespread race, sex, and gender discrimination in our systems. Underfunded public schools, mass incarceration, voter suppression, food and housing insecurity, environmental degradation in the name of profit, healthcare deserts, medical bankruptcy, and violence against innocents– whether it be domestic violence, gun violence, domestic terrorism, or police violence — these broken systems are baked into our laws.

It’s time for reform.

It’s time for historic change in the Arizona Legislature and in Washington, DC in Nov. 2020.

It’s time to end austerity for the people and welfare for the corporations.

Giving away billions of taxpayer dollars annually was already an unsustainable path. Continuing Arizona’s carte blanche corporate and special interest tax giveaways during the COVID19 era and beyond is fiscally irresponsible. We will need funds to rebuild our state; the tax breaks have got to stop. We can’t afford them.

Arizona should be investing in future generations. We should fund the People’s To-Do List: education, roads, healthcare,
and security — not the corporate wish of tax giveaways, deregulation, privatization, and sweetheart deals.

Continue reading Together We Can Build a Stronger Arizona for Future Generations (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)

Arizona House Resumes 54th Session on May 19. Now What?

Arizona House

The Arizona House of Representatives has been adjourned since March 23, 2020, due to the COVID19 pandemic. Some of us wanted to vote to sine die (end the session) on March 23 and come back later for special session(s) focused on COVID19 public health and economic issues. Others– mostly Republicans– wanted to stay in session and adjourn because they had hopes that their bills would still pass during this session. I say “mostly Republicans” because even though the Democrats make up 48 percent of the Arizona Legislature, the majority party refuses to move more than a handful of Dem bills each session.

Truth in Renting? No way. Expansion of maternal and child health?  No way. Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment? No way. Fully funding P-20 education? No way.

The majority party refuses to hear these types of bills that would help the people of Arizona because these bills are not backed by special interest groups, big money donations, individual corporations, the Chamber of Commerce, ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), the Goldwater Institute, Americans for Prosperity or the “Institute for Justice” (quote marks added to emphasize the irony of their name).

Continue reading Arizona House Resumes 54th Session on May 19. Now What?