One of the prevailing messages from the grassroots in 2018 was: no more tax giveaways until the schools are fully funded. Republicans didn’t get that message. They also didn’t get the Invest In Ed message that we — the people– think the rich could pay more in taxes to help fund education.
The Republican budget cuts income taxes, TPT and fees by $386 million and leaves education and other needs underfunded (or unfunded).
We started the year with a $1 billion surplus to invest in the People’s To-Do List: education, infrastructure, healthcare and safety and security. The Republicans have added bits of money to these areas — just enough to make it look like they’re doing something— but the need is much greater.
Republicans are ignoring multiple crises that are brewing in our state including unnecessary maternal and child death; rock bottom education funding; crumbling roads, bridges and school buildings; lack affordable and low-income housing; the shortage of teachers, doctors and nurses; too many people living in poverty; lack of access to affordable healthcare… need I go on?
Many constituents have asked me where the budget is and what’s going on– after all, it is May. On the budget, the status quo of the past month still exists. All of the budget action continues to be behind closed doors, among a closed group of Republicans.
In addition to the Democrats, there are a significant number of House Republicans who are not part of the budget process, and they’re grumbling about it. This is a state budget– not the budget for a small town church. The deacons and the pastor don’t get to decide the budget on their own in the back room. The budget should be negotiated with all parties at the table– not just a handful of those close to power. Democrats make up 48 percent of the Arizona House. When more than 50 percent of the Legislature is kept in the dark and has to rely on rumors, that is not a fair process, and it ultimately hurts the people of Arizona.
Except for the Governor’s budget, which has been public for months, and some leaked details about the Senate Republican budget, little is known about the budget, beyond a few trial balloons. What we do know is that the Senate Republican budget is far more conservative and not even close to Governor Doug Ducey’s budget.
This chasm in the GOP has left an opening for Democrats. The House Democrats will unveil our balanced budget ideas on Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. We have been saying since January that we agreed with parts of the governor’s budget– like full tax conformity and more money for P-20 education. [Stay tuned for details.]
On the right, Senator J.D. Mesnard and other tax cut fans still want to zero-out the money the state could bring in from tax conformity (~$150 million) and Wayfair (~$85 million). There are multiple trial balloons about making the income tax rates flatter. One proposal is to have only two personal income tax brackets. This is a horrible idea– unless, of course, your goal is to return to austerity and Draconian budget cuts, while making your rich donors happy. Under the Republican proposals to eliminate or lower tax brackets, rich people would pay less, and the rest of us could pay more. (Think of the Republican tax bracket plan as Arizona’s mini-Me to the Trump Tax Cut and Jobs Act. Both significantly lower taxes for the wealthy by reducing the top tax rate.)
The Arizona House has begun debating HB2657, a high-tech workforce development bill which would funnel money through the Arizona Commerce Authority to community colleges to train workers in “high-demand” fields. The CEO of the Commerce Authority would manage the fund created by this bill, and they would determine what to fund.
As it is currently written the bill would “support career and technical education programs and courses that prepare a capable workforce for manufacturing in information technology and related industries.”
Why are we focusing only on manufacturing, financial services and technology? Previously, we saw this with CTED (formerly JTED) classes. In the last session, proposed legislation would have funneled 9th grade students into select industries like machine tooling, aerospace, and automotive services, while they left healthcare, coding and other careers by the wayside.
To meet the needs of our state, workforce development could and should go beyond tech. Why is healthcare not included in HB2657? We have a need for expanded access to care particularly in rural Arizona, and we do not have enough medical and health professionals to fill the gaps. We could train rural Arizonans to be community health workers, certified nursing assistants and home health aides. When I taught health education at the University of Arizona, I had many students from rural Arizona, particularly tribal lands, who were studying in Tucson and planned to take their new skills back to rural Arizona to help their people. How can we foster this?
Arizona has five rural counties — Cochise, Gila, Graham, Santa Cruz and LaPaz– that are considered maternal and child health deserts because of lack of medical personnel and health services in those areas. The face of premature birth in Arizona is young, brown and rural. Every preemie birth that is funded by AHCCCS costs the state between $500,000 – $1 million.
We could improve access to care, foster workforce development, save money and tackle urban/rural health disparities if we put as much effort into the healthcare workforce as we do into tech.
[In the photo, I am posing with the doctor of the day from Banner Univerity Medical Center.]
Nov. 6, 2018 is a day that millions of Democrats have been waiting for and working toward for the past two years. Since President Trump’s election, people have been organizing and working hard toward nationwide Democratic victories in 2018. Every Presidential Tweet and every backward policy announcement made us cringe but also made us stronger in our resolve to take back our government and our country.
With door-to-door canvassing, postcards, and e-newsletters, my team has reached out to more than 80,000 LD9 voters. With social media, the reach is well over 100,000.
On Nov. 6, it is your turn. I hope you will consider voting to re-elect me– Pamela Powers Hannley– to the Arizona House of Representatives.
When I ran for office in 2016, I said I wanted be your voice—the voice of the people—in the Arizona Legislature. And that is exactly what I did.
I used my voice, my votes, my amendments, and my bills to fight for the rights and wellbeing of workers, patients, teachers, students, women and the underserved.
It’s time for the Arizona Legislature to fund the People’s To-Do list instead of the corporate wish list. It’s time that we funded education, healthcare, infrastructure and safety and security. That would economic development. Continue reading…
To learn more… about my plans and ideas, check out these blog posts links and related videos:
As a progressive Democrat and a Clean Elections candidate, I accept no big money donations or dirty money. As a result, I am beholden only to you, the voters– and not to wealthy national donors or special interest groups.
I want to continue to be your voice– the voice of the people– in the Arizona House. Our work is not done. Please vote for my on Nov. 6, 2018. Thank you so much for your support.
University High students Rose Long and Grace Proebsting have been interviewing political candidates and others for their podcast on economics entitled Gosh Darn Podcast (GDP). My interview is linked below, but if you go to their Sound Cloud page, you will see interviews with other locals.)
During my interview with them we delved deep into public education, vouchers, charter schools, teacher pay, Red for Ed, tax giveaways and strategies for funding public education. Check out the interview link below.
Besides canvassing and campaign events, the summer before an election is filled with endorsement meetings and paperwork.
I am proud to be endorsed by several groups already.
Arizona Building and Construction Trades
Arizona Education Association
Arizona Medical Association
Arizona Nurses Association
Arizona State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police
In addition, I have received high ratings from some important groups.
Arizona Advocacy Network: A rating.
Children’s Action Alliance: 100%.
Sierra Club: A rating.
Also, showing up to work is part of any job. You would be surprised how many Legislators don’t come to the House floor for debates, don’t attend the Democratic Caucus Meetings, and don’t vote. In the two years I have been in office, I missed one day and zero votes. (Why did I do on the day I missed? I attended the American Journal of Medicine Board Meeting in New York City. I am the former managing editor and current social media editor for AJM, my other day job.)
If you live in LD9, please vote for me in the primary election on or before August 28 and again in the general election on or before November 6, 2018. Thank you for your support. Our work is not done.
March was packed with events– most notably multiple Red For Ed protests at the Capitol and the March for Our Lives. There are more scheduled for April.
In the News
We have had many lively debates on the Floor of the House this year. In March and April, we debated water, tax cuts, the deregulation sandbox, marijuana, and much more. Archived video of all Floor, Caucus, and Committee meetings are online here. March was a big news month. To keep everyone up-to-date with the issues, I have been recording daily videos from my office in the Capitol and posting them on social media. There is a collection on my Facebook page here.
I added several news stories to my In the News tab on this website recently. The Capitol Times did a cover story highlighting the feisty freshman women in the Legislature: Dem House Freshmen Break Tradition, Turn Up the Volume. Many of you have heard me talk about how the women changed the game in the Arizona House.; that story finally made the news. Paulina Pineda did a great job of capturing our spirit and our resolve.
April Canvassing & Events
While the Legislature is still in session, we will be canvassing on Saturday mornings. I have scheduled canvasses for April 14 and April 21 from 9:30 – 12:30, meeting on the Beyond Bread patio. Details are on the events tab of my Facebook page. Between now and the August primary, expect weekly group canvassing opportunities. Please volunteer. I am still collecting signatures and seed money. You can sign my petition here online and donate seed money here.
Both the Nucleus Club and the Tanque Verde Democrats will be having meet-the-candidate events in April. The Nucleus Club will be having an all-candidate forum for Southern Arizona House candidates on Thursday, April 12 at the Viscount It’s on my calendar, and I hope the incumbents can attend. We may be sitting in our chairs on the floor of the House at 5:30 p.m., but let’s hope not. The Legislature is still in session, and we have many big decisions yet to make– like the gun violence prevention legislation and the budget (which obviously includes the teacher pay discussion). Facebook event here.
The Tanque Verde Dems are hosting a wine tasting fundraiser and meet-the-candidates event on Saturday, April 14 at the Wine Collective. (You can canvass with me in the morning and relax later at the wine tasting.) The wine tasting replaces the TV Dems’ regular Saturday breakfast meeting. Facebook event here.
As usual, this Legislative Session has been a whirlwind of meetings, events, protests, bad bills, and hectic schedules. (Photos below the fold.)
On the Saturday before the session started, more than 1000 people rallied and marched in support of public education. In the above photo, LD11 Candidate Hollace Lyon, my husband Jim Hannley and I talk as we march to Save Our Schools. Check out a short video on my Facebook page.
I dropped the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) again this year, and we are still working on this in the background. (It ain’t over ’til it’s over, as our old high school football coach used to say). Arizona House Dems Drop 2018 #ERA Bill
I am extremely grateful to the Ground Game and to the LD9 precinct committee members for hosting three successful house parties this year. In March, I will be appearing at several public events. I hope to see you there.
An Evening with John Nichols, March 10
Author and historian John Nichols of The Nation will be in Tucson for the Festival of Books this weekend. As is his tradition, Nichols will be speaking at the IBEW Hall on Saturday night, March 10. Doors open at 6 p.m. I am proud to be Nichols’ warm-up act again this year. This free, public event is hosted by PDA Tucson and PALF. You can find more information here. To RSVP on Facebook go here.
Our Time Is NOW, March 17
The Arizona Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) will be holding its state convention in Tucson on March 17 at the IBEW Hall from 10 a.m – 3 p.m. I will be participating in a panel of women elected officials at the conference. For more background go to the NOW Facebook page here.
Three Events on March 18!
Walk a Mile in a Refugee’s Shoes
The Jewish Community Center is sponsoring Walk a Mile in a Refugee’s Shoes from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 18. More information can be found here. My plan is to stop by at the beginning, since this will be such a busy day!
LD9/LD10 St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon
This ticketed fundraiser for LD9 and LD10 is an annual tradition at the Cunningham Home in midtown. It is a chance for LD9 and LD10 Democrats to hob-nob, eat corned beef (or not), and talk with electeds and candidates.
LD9 Town Hall
My seat mate, Dr. Randall Friese and I will be hosting an LD9 town hall on March 18 at the Martha Cooper Library in midtown from 3:30 – 5. As usual, we will each do a quick update and open the floor to questions from the audience. This is free and open to the public. Check out the event on Facebook here.
I hope to see you in the near future at one of these events.
Event Photos and More
Below the fold are a few photos from events and office visits. Thanks to all of you who made the trip up from Tucson during session. Representatives particularly appreciate it when regular folks come to the Capitol to testify in committee. The voice of the people is important– and all too often unheard up here.
Funding for education at all levels — but particularly for k-12 public education — has been a HOT button issue in Arizona since Governor Jan Brewer and her henchman, ousted Senate President Russell “SB1070” Pierce, started mercilessly slashing education in 2010, at the dawn of the Tea Party Revolution in Arizona.
After six years of Tea Party cuts to public ed and six years of legislative gifts to private schools, charter schools, and big corporations, in general, Arizona’s education system is on the ropes– demoralized and penniless.
Frustrated parents are angry. Demoralized teachers are leaving Arizona in droves. Aging school buildings are crumbling and dangerous. Contentious schools boards are arguing over how to spend the scraps.
Although some come to school hungry, our children soldier on everyday. Are they learning in this financially and emotionally stressed environment?
No one can pretend that this scenario is anywhere near optimum. Why has this situation been allowed to develop? Our current education system was created by budget cuts based upon right-wing, anti-government ideology and not on what is best for the families and children of Arizona– or what is best for our state as a whole.
At the Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC) candidate forum on October 2, I asked the audience, “What is our goal for public education?” and rattled off a short list of facts that show we are short-changing students and families. Here is an expanded version of what I said…