Vote NO on Prop 123

April 27, 2016:

Over the last few months I’ve heard arguments on both sides of Prop123, which is a constitutional amendment that permits an increase in state land trust monies to schools over the next decade. Upside: desperate schools will get some money right away (maybe). Downside: we give the legislature new tools for cutting funding to public schools in the future. Oh, and then there’s that whole thing about putting the land trust in jeopardy.

Here’s the thing. What I see is that the positive spin being put on Prop 123 is based upon one critical falsehood:

FALSE

The AZ legislative majority made enormous cuts to the public school system because they were forced to by the Great Recession. The AZ legislative majority is actually very supportive of the public school system.

What is truly remarkable is that organizations who exist to protect our public schools actually appear to believe this falsehood. They therefore believe that they can negotiate in good faith with Republican state leaders on the future of AZ public schools.

We have to face the facts. The Republican state leaders want to privatize as much of the AZ public school system as possible. In fact, they want to privatize as many social services run by government as possible. They want to shrink government and have the state, and the entire country, run by private enterprise. This ideology lies at the base of the far right mindset. We might not want to accept it, but it’s true.

The Republican state leaders know, however, that their idea of privatization is not generally accepted by the public. So how to change that? Somehow get the schools to fail, and that can be done by grossly underfunding them. And so we find ourselves facing the monster that is Prop123.

We (the state) promise to give you (the public schools) some money this year if you’ll just let us change the law to give us more ways to cut your budgets in the future. Really, this is just the first step. We promise. You can trust us.

No, no, we can’t put increases in funding for public schools in the budget – we just don’t have the money. But we can do this deal on the side.

But, in fact, AZ has money.

As only one example of many, look at state income tax. The wealthiest Arizonans pay less than half the effective tax rate as middle-income families do. If the wealthy paid the middle-class rate of taxation, the budget would grow by close to one-third, or $3B, every year.

Wake up, Arizona. Most of you are being taken to the cleaners by the Republican legislative leaders, the very people you vote for. Yes, they’re the same folks that cut our public schools and then engineered Prop123.

Don’t be fooled by the same baloney again. Vote NO on Prop123. It’s just the first step, though. The second step happens with your vote in November.

Jo Holt
Chair,
Pima County Democratic Party


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