Sunday, April 3, 2016

Prop 123 update: Anger among progressives and information from the League of Women Voters

Abe Kwok, on the editorial board of The Arizona Republic (azcentral.com), appraises the chance of Prop 123 passing.

Conventional thinking still has Prop. 123 winning approval, especially as the well-funded "for" campaign steps up the mailed pamphlets, the robocalls and the rally events.

That leaves me asking: if prop 123 is so good, why is so much money (mainly from millionaire and billionaire buddies of Il Duce) being spent on convincing us?

Perhaps it is to counteract information such as that produced by the League of Women Voters. The League has published an informational brochure about Prop 123: "The Premise, The Problems, The Choice". Here is the lead.

This is a critically important election addressing the funding of public education both today and in the future. As a part of the elements, it includes a provision involving a change in the Arizona Constitution regarding the State Lands Trust.

We urge you to become informed and exercise your voice by voting.

The Choice

If Prop 123 is approved by voters and the Enabling Act change is approved by the U.S. Government, the unrestricted inflationary back payment monies will immediately flow to public schools and "would increase total K-12 spending by approximately $278 per student. .....leaving AZ spending almost 30 percent less than the national average on K-12 education. "

If Prop 123 is rejected by voters, the court settlement standoff resumes and AZ public education funding for the benefit of all students remains grossly underfunded.

Perhaps the millions spent on the "yes on Prop 123" campaign is in anticipation of the anger over the crappy funding of public education inflicted on Arizona children by the lawless legislature. Kwok continues.

Underlying the opposition [to prop 123] is a disdain and distrust of the status quo, specifically Ducey and the state GOP leadership.

They see the proposition as robbing from future generations for a short-term solution. Jason Trautschold, a 31-year-old IT professional in Chandler, typified that sentiment. He told me he frets that money generated from the proposition would be swept up for other purposes down the road, including private schools via vouchers.

That fear is not without basis: The push for expanding the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts program stalled only after mounting criticism. Trautschold and other skeptics believe that once Prop. 123 passes, lawmakers would circle back to ESAs -- and, with it, Trautschold said, the "dismantling of public schools."

There are also those who see this as part of a longer-term play by Ducey and his administration. Ben Andrews, a retired financial auditor, told me he believes tapping the State Trust Land fund "is a temporary gambit to get to the stream of income tax cuts Ducey has promised that will virtually eliminate the only progressive (graduated) tax we have."

Their end-game is to force the Legislature to pay for education honestly out of the state general fund and/or by raising taxes.

I would like to hear someone argue against this last point - not merely to apologize for poor funding of public education but to make a sound logical argument why the state can get away with levels of funding that violate the state's own constitution.

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