There are multiple reasons why Arizona has an affordable housing crisis. Chronically low wages; years of under-funding social safety net programs; high student loan, credit card or medical debt; and aggressive evictions have forced far too many Arizonans to live with housing insecurity.
Wages in Arizona are 85% of the national average. Only 6% of Arizonans who are eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) actually get it. In Pima County, the eviction rate is 30 per day– that’s roughly 1000 per month.
To use a medical analogy, HB2732 (affordable house tax credits) treats the symptoms of the affordable housing crisis– not the disease. The disease is poverty.
Continue reading #AZLeg: Look Beyond Tax Credits & Take Comprehensive Approach to Housing (video)
Arizona Republicans are on the attack in 2020. We have heard anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ, anti-voter, and anti-immigrant legislation so far, and now to round out the set– we have anti-union legislation. Today’s featured bad bill is HB2872 proposed by Majority Leader Warren Petersen. It is an anti-union model bill from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Unions are private organizations, and this bill puts unnecessary, burdensome regulation and reporting requirements on unions that are not required of any other businesses. In fact, when I read HB2872, I thought, “Gosh, I would love to have this level of cost-benefit analysis reporting from my private insurance company regarding their profits and losses, salaries, and how much they actually spend on my care, compared to how much I pay.￼” But they aren’t required to do that.
HB2872 is national, model legislation that is duplicative and unnecessary because the reporting is already required by the federal government, and it is published online– for everyone to see. So, why is this bill necessary?
Continue reading With #HB2872, #AZGOP Uses #ALEC Legislation to Attack Labor Unions (video)
All 12 tax giveaways or revenue reductions heard in the House Ways and Means Committee in the past three weeks passed– many on bipartisan votes. For the record, I was the only person who voted “no” on all of the tax giveaways.
To be clear, none of these tax reductions do anything to: increase education funding, increase access to healthcare, increase prenatal care, reduce adverse birth outcomes, reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences, reduce student debt, increase wages, foster workforce development, reduce poverty, or provide food and housing security for Arizonans. If you are not Microsoft, APS, TEP, SRP, SW Gas, qualified investors, resort owners, developers, contractors, or just rich people, you are not getting a tax break from the Republican Party.
In fact, to pay for education, the Republican Party wants to raise your sales tax while lowering taxes for corporations and elites.￼ Do you want to pay 10 or 11% of sales tax on every purchase? If you don’t, just say no to tax breaks for Microsoft, APS, SRP, TEP, SW Gas, and the richest Arizonans.
- Many of these tax breaks increase over time.
- Most of them have no sunset date.
- Most of them have no cost estimate.
- None of them have clear economic impact or job creation numbers– beyond the nebulous trickledown economics figures normally given by the Arizona Commerce Authority.
- None of them have clear performance measures.
- It takes 2/3 vote to get rid of them.
- No one has done the math on the total cost of all of them on an annual basis going forward.
We are creating a giant revenue hole in the future. This is fiscal irresponsibility.
Continue reading #AZLeg UPDATE: 12 Tax Giveaways Pass House W&M Committee in 3 Weeks (video)
How can a “pro-life” state be #50 for Adverse Childhood Experiences? Because the Arizona Legislature prioritizes corporate welfare over child welfare. It’s that simple.
The House Ways and Means Committee has passed six tax breaks in the past two weeks. Tomorrow’s agenda has 12 bills, including eight additional bills that are tax breaks or other means to reduce revenue. The Microsoft tax break (HB2771) that I warned you about a few weeks ago in on the agenda.
Ways and Means has passed six tax cuts so far in 2020. Has anyone done the math to determine the future annual hit if all of these tax breaks are passed. Probably not. We don’t have any JLBC costs estimates for some of them, and several are structured to automatically increase over time. The Tea Party– under Governor Jan Brewer, Senate President Russell Pearce, and several Legislators who are still in office– passed massive annual decreases in corporate income taxes, the results of which have been felt in the classrooms. When she left office, Brewer suggested that they may have gone overboard with the tax cuts. When Governor Dough Ducey took over, he said real men aren’t afraid to cuts taxes and has continued to cut, cut, cut. Let’s stop cutting and start investing. We have hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funds this year. Don’t let them give it away like they did last year.
Just to be clear– none of these 14 tax reductions would do anything to directly help public education, access to healthcare, reduction in poverty, workforce development or infrastructure. They are all about cutting taxes or giving tax credits to business.
Here are the bills that could reduce general fund revenue in the queue for Feb. 12. If you want the Legislature to invest in education, healthcare, and infrastructure– the People’s To Do List– instead of the corporate wish list, please voice your opinion on Request to Speak (RTS) or by phone or email to your Legislators (regardless of party).
Continue reading Tax Cuts R Us: Third Round of Massive Tax Cuts in House Ways & Means (video)
The Arizona Legislature’s Request to Speak (RTS) system should be on high alert for the House Health and Human Services Committee meeting on Thursday, Feb. 6.
We will be hearing Cathi Herrod’s funding bill for the fake pregnancy hotline bill (HB2388). This bill gives $1.5 million a year to the 211 information and referral line, but it has strings attached. The information provided will be tailored by the provider’s religious beliefs.
If this bill or the mirror bill (SB1328) passes, the free public 211 referral line would not be allowed to refer to anyone to any organization or clinic that provides abortions or to any provider that would offer other much-needed public health services like pap smears, pregnancy tests, birth control, HIV tests, and basic public health services… in addition to abortion.￼
These two bills are bad public health policy that force young women and their children into lives of poverty because of an unplanned pregnancy. They cost the state money because 52% of the lives births in Arizona are funded by AHCCCS, the state’s Medical program.
These two bills restrict your access to care based upon someone else’s deeply held religious beliefs. The government should not fund this.
Continue reading No on HB2388 & Yes on HB2068: Someone Else’s Religion Should Not Dictate Your Healthcare (Video)
The alternative headline for this blog post could be: Are eight tax cuts in two weeks too many? I think so.
Last week, I said that the State of Arizona should change its motto from Ditat Deus (God Enriches) to Tax Cuts R Us.
Looking at this Wednesday’s Ways and Means Committee agenda with￼ four more tax giveaways on it, I stand by my assertion. Eight tax cuts in two weeks? That is fiscally irresponsible.
Today’s video is about HB 2732 (tax credits; affordable housing), but HB2404 (prime contracting; exemptions; certificates), HB2409 (small business investment credit; extension), and HB2629 (TPT; exemption; pacemakers) are also on the agenda. (On the pacemakers, the Dems are wondering why those aren’t already sales tax exempt, since they are medical devices.)
For the last few years, the Legislature has considered (but not passed) tax credits for developers who agree to build affordable housing. I have voted against this every year because there are better ways to make sure that people can afford a place to live– like paying a living wages, fully funding the Housing Trust Fund, and eliminating tax giveaways for luxury apartments.
HB 2732 is a bit less generous with the developers than previous versions of this bill, but this bill still takes millions from the general fund over the next ~20 years. This tax credit is capped at $8 million a year for 10 years. If we pass this, the first year cost would be $8 million, $16 million the second year, $24 million the third year, and up from there to $80 million in year 10.￼￼ The question is, will we be able to afford $80 million out of the general fund in 2031?￼ (After all, the Republicans have proposed eight tax cuts in the past two weeks! Is there plan to break the bank on the general fund? Their proposals are fiscally irresponsible.)
Continue reading What’s on the #AZHouse Ways & Means Agenda? More Tax Cuts! (video)