Did you all see the photos from the Open Up Arizona rally on Friday, May 1 at the Capital? Wow! On two recent Fridays, there have been large public rallies at the Arizona Capital to promote ending the executive order that closed businesses and told people to shelter in place due to the COVID19 outbreak.
The social media promotion for this past weekend encouraged people to rally at Wesley Bolin Plaza on Friday, have a party in the park with friends on Saturday, and “rev it up” by going to church on Sunday.
Many anti-vaccine folks￼ are participating in these rallies because they don’t want the government to require Coronavirus vaccines (which don’t exist). Think about this. What could go wrong? A bunch of people who don’t believe in being vaccinated decide to go to participate in three days of large public events… during a pandemic! You can’t make this stuff up.￼
Continue reading Ducey’s May 4 ‘Open Up #AZ’ Decree Is Risky Business (video)
President Trump and Congress have been bailing out businesses with multiple Coronavirus relief packages. One business they haven’t helped is the US Postal Service. In fact, Trump has suggested shutting down the post office and privatizing the services.
I think that is a terrible idea for the American public. The US Postal Service (USPS) is the general public’s most cost-effective and convenient way to send letters and packages to other people in this country. The Postal Service was created by the Founding Fathers because they realized how important it was for us to stay in communication with each other and with the government.￼ President Thomas Jefferson even wanted the newspaper to be delivered free to every person in the US to keep us informed.
Privatization of government services never benefits the people. I can’t think of any instance in which a service was privatized, and the people actually got better service and/or more cost-effective service. With privatization, the service always gets worse, more expensive, and less widespread and universal.￼ It’s costs 55 cents for one first class postage stamp; that is the cost to mail a letter to anyone in the US. To send a Fed Ex letter, it costs $8.50– or $11 if the letter’s destination is more than 601 miles away. Plus, you have to take the letter to Fed Ex to mail it. Privatization is about making money. It’s not about providing quality, low-cost services in a non-discriminatory way, across the entire country equally for everybody.￼ That’s what the Postal Service gives us. If Trump succeeds in privatizing the postal service, thousands of union workers will lose their jobs, costs will skyrocket, convenience will be lost, and people in remote areas will lose mail service or pay ridiculous prices in order to guarantee a profit.
Continue reading Dump Trump. Save & Expand Postal Services (video)
The Legislative District 9 Team– Senator Victoria Steele, Rep. Randy Friese, and myself– held our first virtual town hall on Thursday, April 30, 2020. Except for getting hacked at the end [more on that below], it was a great meeting. Many LD9 precinct committee people were on the call. Over the course of the hour, 125 people jumped on the virtual meeting, and for most of the meeting there were close to 90 participants. If you have been to one of our town halls, we’re lucky to get 25 people, so the attendance was amazing, as far as we are concerned. If you were unable to attend online, I broke the town hall into three videos. You can view them below the fold.
Continue reading LD9 #COVID19 Town Hall on Testing, Unemployment & the #AZ Budget (video)
Since it’s Wednesday, I am wearing red, and today’s video about public education funding.
Yesterday, I was filling out an endorsement questionnaire, and one of the questions was: do you support raising sales taxes to pay for public education?￼
This question is so January 2020. When we were in session, there was much discussion about extending Prop 301 (Governor Jan Brewer’s “temporary sales tax to save public education”) and raising it to one cent.
This is April 29, 2020. The novel Coronavirus is running rampant throughout the United States and throughout the state of Arizona. We are seeing firsthand what a bad idea it is to balance the state budget on the backs of consumers. Arizona has high sales taxes and low corporate taxes compared to other states. With the shelter in place order and high unemployment, sales and sales taxes are down across the board. Consequently, state and local revenues are down across the board.￼
Arizona has one of the most volatile state budgets in the country because if it’s over reliance on sales tax– coupled with low corporate income taxes, billions of dollars in corporate tax giveaways, and lack of a state property tax.￼ When regular folks don’t have cash to spend, the whole state suffers because the government is relying on YOU to buy stuff and pay tax on those sales. Corporate Arizona… not so much… besides low corporate income taxes, they regularly ask for and get TPT (sales tax) breaks from the Arizona Legislature. Remember this story from the beginning of session: Microsoft Wants a Sales Tax Break Because ‘Electricity Is Too Expensive in Arizona’ (video).
Continue reading #COVID19 Shows #AZ that Over Reliance on Sales Tax Is Bad Policy (video)
When I look at the above photo, I think to myself, “Those were the days.” I miss seeing you all, but I do enjoy hearing you on the phone and seeing you on video conferencing.
Although the LD9 team can’t meet with you at house parties and libraries, we can still meet virtually. My seatmates– Senator Victoria Steele and Rep. Randy Friese– and I have participated in many online meetings with constituent groups and other Legislators during the adjournment.
Now we are taking the leap and hosting our own online LD9 Town Hall on Thursday, April 30 at 4-5 p.m. Each of us will give a topical update related to COVID19 and then take questions. Senator Steele will address unemployment insurance, Dr. Friese will discuss the COVID19’s impact on the Arizona budget, and I will talk about the public health aspects of the pandemic (testing, contact tracing, etc.) Dr. Friese is also available to answer questions as a healthcare provider who is working in the hospital through the crisis.
Continue reading Join the LD9 Team for a COVID19 Virtual Town Hall on April 30
For the politicians and businesses who are in a hurry to open up Arizona’s economy… SOON… the data, the computer models, and the small-government Arizona Way are not on your side.
Arizonans are suffering through a perfect storm of economic, ideological and medical circumstances that are working against us as our state government limply responds to the Coronavirus outbreak. First and most glaring, Arizona’s small-government Republican governors and legislators have been cutting taxes for corporations and the rich and balancing the budget on the backs of the people for decades. This has resulted in:
- One of the most volatile state budgets in the country
- An over-reliance on high sales taxes at state and local levels
- Extremely low corporate taxes
- Annual budgets riddled with corporate carveouts and tax giveaways
- Economic vulnerability when there are interruptions in retail sales
- Wages that are 85% of the national average
- Far too many residents holding multiple gig economy jobs
- Stingy social safety net programs (TANF, childcare subsidies, pre- and post- natal care, housing assistance)
- High poverty
- Underfunded public health, public education, and higher education systems
- Statewide healthcare provider shortages
- Counties declared as healthcare deserts
- The worst rate of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in the US
- The least transparent state Legislature.
So… even before the novel Coronavirus hit the planet, many Arizonans were living on the edge economically, thanks to the Republican Party’s fixation with small, stingy government, privatization, deregulation, and tax giveaways. Add the state’s slow response to the COVID19 pandemic to the ideological economic mess we were already in, thanks to years of austerity, and it’s obvious why Arizona’s COVID19 cases are still increasing and getting “back to business” isn’t happening soon.
Continue reading Computer Models Predict Dire #COVID19 Conditions for #AZ Residents & Prisoners (video)