Thursday, April 21, 2016

More Prop 123 in the news: the grudging case for "yes"

Every time I wade into Prop 123 I walk away feeling slimed. Our good Guv has arranged Ducey's Choice so that no matter how each of us votes in the special election, we are doomed to wake up feeling a little, or a lot, slimed.

UPDATE: Steve Farley in his Farley Report yesterday has a lengthy rebuttal to the reasons to vote against, and well reasoned case for voting for Prop 123. Here is the link.

Continuing with my original post ...

We all know, or should know, as Blake Morlock writes in the Tucson Sentinel, that Prop 123 is all about tax cuts, not doing right by pubic education.

Prop. 123 opponents say — nay, demand — the right way to fix the school funding gap would be to raise taxes on the wealthy and tap the state's $600 million budget surplus. Tax cuts can wait. Prop. 123 is just an effort to protect tax cuts.

[Guffaws here.] What Legislative dreamland did they wake up in? Of course this is all about tax cuts.

Let me put it clearly and concisely: This is the deal you get when you lose over and over and over and over. If we are to wait to address school funding until public school advocates win, remember these are the same leaders who have lost over and over and over and over.

After a lot of rehash of the facts, here is how Morlock winds up.

Here's the offer on the table: Take the money and beat 'em later or reject the money and beat 'em later. Taking the money gets Arizona $300 million a year closer to closing its gap with higher ups among the cellar dwellers. If you can't beat 'em later, saying no doesn't make any sense. If you can beat 'em later, accepting the money gives Arizona a head start.

Either way, taking the money doesn't preclude liberals from beating Ducey later if his clarion call for more but insufficient school funding is a one-off.

Prop. 123 opponents argue Ducey is only trying to look like he's doing something about lifting schools out of poverty. The ballot drive exists only for the purposes of a 30-second spot in 2018 espousing his pro-kids bonafides.

So? Here's a competing approach: Failure.

If education advocates know damn well that the Ducey's plan will fail to address the school funding issue and somehow think that's a problem for the Left. If fighters for school funding know Ducey is going to fail, where's the downside in taking the money and letting him fail?

Sigh. I admit I feel a bit like I am talking the generals out of building the Maginot Line prior to 1940. The opposition won't bend or break but could lose for winning. Rejecting the money in the name of reordering Arizona into Vermont could score a victory today that dooms more kids to Arizona's impoverished schools.

The "No" crowd should fix its attention on "Yes" votes. How are they going to win the Legislature for the first time in 50 years? They are two and five in the last seven gubernatorial races and haven't beaten a sitting Republican governor since John Calhoun Phillips in 1930.

They are going to need constitutional amendments of their own and funding packages. A real solution — a tax hike after 25 years of cuts — would require either a voter-approved tax hike, a two-thirds vote in the Legislature paired with riding wooly mammoths down Central Avenue in Phoenix — or a ballot initiative to change the super-majority requirement for taxes relating to schools.

If Team Schools can't win those races, there is zero glory in beating Prop. 123. If they can win, then Prop. 123 is a head start that can be fixed later.

One thing I know about the opposition: None of them have math homework due tomorrow. So it's easy to make martyrs of kids today in the name of a better future that may never come.

Fred Duval has endorsed Prop 123

From his email letter:

To those who oppose Prop 123 I applaud your aspiration for more investment. But I ask you: Do we expect teachers who have gone 6, 7 or 8 years without a pay raise to hang in there while we wait for the Legislature to pass a better deal? Or to retire on their 2008 based pension? Do we gamble away more years on the prospect of electing a more pro-education legislature? Do we tell the students who haven't seen new investments in their schools for years that they should wait a few more years while the adults fight it out in court?

What scenario realistically gets you to a better deal in the next year, or two or three? Is there a viable ballot initiative? Will there be a historic-level change in legislative race outcomes? No.

From the announcement of his endorsement in the Daily Star:

Democrat Fred DuVal said Wednesday he believes he was the better choice for governor in 2014. “Doug’s priority is to lower taxes for the wealthiest among us,” DuVal said. “My priority is to assure that we adequately fund schools.”

But you know who the voters picked. Does anyone think Dems will take either chamber of the AZ legislature anytime soon? Or both? Is there a "repeal Prop 108" on the ballot?

The bottom line is that kids do not vote so they get screwed by AZ voters and lawmakers over and over and over.

Trust me on this: no matter how you vote, you will wake up the next morning feeling slimed.

In my book Fred Duval is one of the good guys but even good guys are not slime-proof.

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