For years, Arizona￼ has been one of the worst states in the country for affordable housing.
A recent research survey, published in March 2021, ranked Tucson #1 in the world for worst change in property affordability, with Phoenix coming in #7. The survey by Online Mortgage Advisors reported on housing affordability in 200 US cities over the past five years. It shows that “house prices have quickly become unaffordable for workers making average wages for their specific city,” according to a report by KOLD TV.
In the five years that I have been in the Legislature, affordable housing has been a hot topic which generated a lot of talk and a fair number of Democratic bills but not much Legislation that made it to the finish line. (Heaven forbid that any meaningful Democratic legislation would be signed into law — regardless of how much it would help the people of Arizona.) Unfortunately, little has been done to raise stingy benefits for the poor and the unemployed OR to tackle homelessness, housing affordability, or evictions. One positive step by the Legislature was restoration of partial funding to the Housing Trust Fund. (Also worth noting: thank goodness the voters raised the minimum wage in 2016, or Arizona residents’ income to housing ratio cost would be even worse.)
In the five years the Legislature has been talking about housing, affordability has gotten significantly worse in the state’s two major cities.￼ The video below discusses two bad bills from the past that have contributed to Phoenix and Tucson becoming less affordable. These bills should be repealed.￼ It also includes four current housing-related bills in the Legislature.
Continue reading Arizona Needs a Comprehensive Approach to Affordable Housing (video)
It feels like deja vu all over again. This week a vanilla bill (HB2321) was used as a striker and was turned into a huge tax credit for big corporations. Corporations who have $2 billion or more to invest in building “qualified facilities” and hiring workers at a certain level are eligible for a total of $125 million in refundable tax credits per year.
What is wrong with that?
Continue reading Striker #HB2321 Is Massive Corporate Welfare Bill (video)
This is the last week for House committees to hear House bills and for Senate committees to hear Senate bills. Consequently, the agendas are very long on almost all committees. There is a lot of opportunity on Request to Speak (RTS). The groups like Civic Engagement Beyond Voting, Sierra Club and others do an *amazing* job of telling you what’s going on, and we sincerely appreciate all of your comments and votes on RTS and their hard work.
Unfortunately, because of the sheer volume of BS bills proposed in the Legislature, volunteer groups can’t keep up with everything.￼ ￼
I have many constituents in Midtown Tucson who are upset with the preemption Bill regarding four and 5G towers that was passed by the legislature in 2017. There are two more telecom industry preemption/tax break bills in the House now.￼ These bills are not on any of the popular distribution lists.
Continue reading More 5G Preemption & Tax Break Bills in #AZHouse (video)
In January 2021, when the Arizona Legislature goes back into session, we will be faced with major decisions in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic.
If Democrats take control of one or both chambers in the Legislature, it will be a New Day in Arizona, after 50 years of Republican control.
My goals for the future are to improve the public health and financial state of Arizona, as we rebuild from COVID19 or learn to live with it.
The post-COVID19 world will be different from “the before times” and hopefully better. In my opinion, the past will never return exactly as it was, and we have to plan for that. Travel, tourism, consumerism, healthcare, entertainment, K-12 schools, higher education, work life, prisons … many changes will come in these areas and others, whether we want substantive change or not.
Our job is to create the world we want. Here are some of my priorities for 2021 and beyond.
Continue reading Priorities for a New Day in Arizona (video)
Tens of thousands of Arizona voters– regardless of party affiliation– have signed up for the state’s vote-by-mail system by adding their names to the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL).
Vote-by-mail is safe and convenient. The current anti-mail-in ballot rhetoric from the Republican Party is meant to suppress the vote by stonewalling against mandates for national or statewide all-mail-in elections, given the COVID19 pandemic.
In-person voting during the COVID19 is risky for voters and poll workers. Wisconsin allowed people to vote at the polls in April, and one month later there were 71 COVID19 infections tracked to voters or poll workers.
Democratic Party Legislators have been pushing for all-mail-in ballots for the 2020 primary and general elections, but the Republicans are dead set against expanding vote-by-mail.
Sign Up for Vote-By-Mail
You can voluntarily add yourself to the PEVL list by going to ServiceArizona.com.
Continue reading #COVID19: ‘Vote-by-Mail’ Is Safe Way to Vote during a Pandemic
Things are moving fast at the Arizona Capital regarding the FY21 budget and a recess or sine die for the Legislature.
You may remember that last week the legislature passed a continuation of the Arizona￼ Department of Health Services, and it included $55 million to fight the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Three options are swirling around the capital this week. There is talk about passing a “skinny budget” which would have only a few minor changes from the current fiscal year budget. There are three options: pass a skinny budget, recess for a while, and come back to everything this is on the table; pass the skinny budget and sine die (end the session); or pass the skinny budget with language about how to spend the $55 million in Coronavirus funds and sine die.
The House Democrats brainstormed about ideas and legislation to fight the spread of the Corona virus and to help people and businesses impacted by the shutdown. Our full Coronavirus Crisis Response Plan is below. This plan was crafted into budget amendments by our staff.
We could pass the skinny budget and end the session as early as tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18. Stay tuned. Headed for the capital now. We have some Floor votes this afternoon.￼ [Posted on Facebook on March 17, 2020.]
Continue reading Democrats Push for #Coronavirus Crisis Response Plan in Budget (video)