Sunday, January 31, 2016

More on Prop 123: Two views on what happens if it passes

Readers should know by now that I am not a fan of Prop 123 which I characterize as Ducey's Choice. Prop 123 pits the immediate need for financial help to public schools against the longer term health of education funding. Further, I contend that Prop 123 is a cleverly designed mechanism of effecting a transfer payment from future education funding to tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy: #123TaxBreaksForMe. The result, come May 17, voters who support public education will split their votes because any vote is flawed. The voters will individually decide how to inflict more damage on public education in the state of Arizona. That's Ducey's Choice.

But decide for yourself. Here are two arguments about Prop 123, one pro and one con.

Linda Lyon, in a response to comments on one of her posts at Blog for Arizona (and restorereason.com), argues succinctly for passage of Prop 123.

... every time someone says they don’t to “give Ducey a win” by voting for Prop 123, it just feels like it is more about politics than about the kids. I say pass 123 and then fight twice as hard.

In response (at Blog for Arizona), Pat Baker, takes the opposite view.

Prop 123 is not about the kids. It is about politics. In 2000 Arizona voters passed Proposition 301 which called for annual inflation adjustments to the base education funding formula. Since 2010, the state withheld this funding.

This was a slap in the face to those who voted for Prop 301, because the State has withheld over a billion dollars, all of which was supposed to go to public education. In essence the state has ignored the voice of the public even though in 2013 the Arizona Court of Appeals said the state is to pay all the back money it owes to its public schools. The State’s response was literally the equivalent of telling the public to “jump in the lake.” The state refuses to pay this debt it owes its public schools.

Now the state is proposing another concept, which is being rolled out to the public for voting. It is Proposition 123. The State once again is asking voters to support Prop 123. The State claims Prop 123 will not increase taxes but will support public education to the tune of $3.5 billion. It really sounds like the State is bending backwards and being overly generous. BUT . . .

The State still owes an outstanding debt to its public schools, to the tune of approximately $1.7 billion dollars from all those years it withheld monies beginning in 2010. So if you factor out that figure of $1.7 billion from the $3.5 billion the State wants to spend, from the school children’s own piggy bank of the Land Trust Fund, well what are you left with . . . $1.8 billion. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Yet, a vote for Prop 123 means school districts give up their right to sue the state for the $1.7 billion the schools are already owed. Seems to me the State is once again bamboozling the public and denigrating the voice of the very people it asked to support the original Prop 301.

It is all about politics and those in power at the State level, who want you to believe that you really do have a vote in these matters. When in fact, the State has the power to ignore and toss out voter input when it is convenient to the State.

It is not about fighting harder once Prop 123 is passed. Once this Proposition is passed, and based on the State’s past rejection of voter input, how does one know the State won’t ignore the tenets of Prop 123 as well?

Once the State pays the back monies it already owes schools, then and only then can one consider anything like Prop 123. There are many websites one can go to understand why Prop 123, at this point in time, is a shallow political response to the funding of public schools in Arizona.

Let's call it like it is. It's not "the state" that is at fault. It is the dominance of Republicans in the state government. You bet it is about politics.

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