October 10, 2017

Howdy, Friends O’Farley…

Over the past month, we’ve seen a number of disturbing developments that underline why we need change in Arizona.

We narrowly avoided another attempt by President Trump and Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act that would have irreparably harmed our economy, our healthcare system, and our citizens’ well being. New numbers show that our teacher crisis has deepened even further. Events in Las Vegas have shaken us to the core.

The response from Governor Ducey to these events? A full-throated endorsement of the devastating Graham-Cassidy healthcare repeal, and another endorsement of the proposed Trump tax package that would give the President a $1 billion cut in his own taxes while increasing taxes on a large chunk of the middle class. The day Gov. Ducey announced his support for the tax-cuts-for-the-rich plan, his friend Vice President Pence flew out on the taxpayers’ dime to help him with a $100,000 per couple fundraiser. 

More after the Pledge Break…

—> I am doing everything I can to be your next governor. This election offers the best opportunity in years to create real change in Arizona. Imagine our state as a light unto the nation, not a joke on late-night television. A place where public education is fully funded and everyone has quality, affordable healthcare and the opportunity to work at a livable wage. This future is within our reach, but I need your help in two ways:

1) Please contribute what you can. We are up against the Koch Brothers’ favorite son, and we will need thousands of small donations to defeat Ducey’s few huge ones.

2) Please sign my nominating petition to help me qualify for the ballot in November 2018. Please tell your friends and ask them to sign my petition. The first step to bringing change to Arizona is to put me on the ballot! The only way we win this is together, and I am honored to have your support. You can find my petition here.

—> Why on earth would Governor Ducey endorse a federal plan to steal $11 billion over the next ten years from Arizona’s economy, while kicking hundreds of thousands of Arizonans off their healthcare and endangering our hospitals?

Let’s review the timeline on the latest Trump-Congress effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Senator John McCain’s good friend Senator Lindsey Graham introduced his repeal bill on Wednesday, September 13. No one yet knew the full effects of the bill.

On Saturday, September 16, President Trump called Gov. Ducey and asked him to endorse the bill. Still, no one knew the full effects of the bill, but the early reports didn’t look good for Arizona. Among other things, it would reinstate insurers’ ability to effectively throw people off of healthcare for having pre-existing conditions. A Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) analysis showed a loss to Arizona of $1.6 billion, with thousands losing healthcare.

On Monday, September 18, with still no full analysis of the bill’s effects, Gov. Ducey tweeted a statement declaring, “Graham-Cassidy is the best path forward to repeal and replace Obamacare. Congress has 12 days to say ‘yes’ to Graham-Cassidy. It’s time for them to get the job done.”

When confronted with the CBPP’s figures of $1.6 billion loss to the state, the Governor’s spokesperson accused the CBPP of being “a very left-wing group,” and the Governor himself told reporters that they were “a left-wing or left-leaning organization that has a real stake in maintaining the status quo.”

On Tuesday, September 19, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee — the nonpartisan economists who advise the Arizona Legislature (not known to be a “very left-wing group”) posted their analysis that the bill’s enactment would mean $10.392 billion lost to Arizona over the next ten years, with up to 600,000 Arizonans losing their healthcare.

On Wednesday, September 20, Gov. Ducey’s spokesperson stated that the JLBC’s devastating analysis did nothing to change Ducey’s mind on the bill.

Why did he endorse a bill that would hurt our state and our people so badly before he knew what was in it, and doubled down after he found out the full extent of its damage?

I found an interesting article from the UK’s Guardian newspaper from June 26 that seems to offer an explanation. From the article:

“At a weekend donor retreat attended by at least 18 elected officials, the Koch brothers warned that time is running out to push their agenda, most notably healthcare and tax reform, through Congress.

“One Texas-based donor warned Republican lawmakers that his ‘Dallas piggy bank’ was now closed until he saw legislative progress. ‘Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,’ said Doug Deason. ‘Get it done and we’ll open it back up.’

“Nonetheless, Koch officials said that the network’s midterm budget for policy and politics is between $300m and $400m.”

While Governor Ducey was following President Trump’s lead, Senator John McCain was demonstrating true leadership by announcing on September 22 his opposition to his good friend’s bill: “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.

It’s time for better leadership in the Governor’s Office.

—> You may recall my discussion in last month’s Farley Report about the new evidence showing that corporate tax cuts do nothing to help create jobs, but instead lead to increasing inequality benefiting the very top at the expense of everyone else. Today’s New York Times has an interesting article by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur underlining that finding. From the article, “Why Corporate Tax Cuts Won’t Create Jobs”:

“As an entrepreneur myself and a friend to many others, I know that lower tax rates will not motivate more people to start companies.

“The job-creation reasoning is equally specious when applied to the behavior of existing companies.

“In other words, if we are serious about growth, competitiveness and job creation, we should look elsewhere besides the tax code for answers. We can remain open to immigrants in search of better economic opportunities. We can invest in our public schools and universities. We can upgrade vital business infrastructures such as airports, land transportation systems, the internet backbone, and our power grid. We can heighten our vigilance about anti-competitive behavior and regulatory capture by very large corporations that make it difficult to start new businesses.

“I believe tax cuts that deepen our already severe inequality in income and wealth are not in the long-term interests of any citizens, not even the very wealthy. Extreme inequality is corroding our civil society, poisoning our politics, and undermining our effectiveness as a nation. This is an extremely hard problem to solve, but when you’re in a deep ditch, the first thing to do is stop digging.”

Please help me take away Governor Ducey’s fiscal shovel.

—> I’ve been talking about our teacher crisis for years now, and things are now getting much worse.

According to a recently released report from the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association, 526 Arizona teachers have already quite in the first month of the school year. There are now 1,328 full-time teaching vacancies across the state.

That means classrooms are now doubling-up and less-qualified full-time substitutes are handling classrooms in huge numbers.

Even Gov. Ducey has seen this coming — last January he proposed teacher raises to help solve the problem of 44% of teachers leaving within two years. The problem was, he only proposed 4/10 of one percent raises. $15 a month on average, before deductions. When your average salaries are last in the nation, and it would take 7% raises to get to 49th, that isn’t going to cut it.

It’s time to change direction before it’s too late. Kids can’t postpone their education until their schools are adequately funded. 

We can’t afford another corporate tax cut or loophole that does nothing but bleed our economy of resources. It’s time to invest in ourselves. We must act now, then vote for those who support our public schools next November.

—> I’ve continued to criss-cross the state to make as many connections with voters as possible in as many places as possible on this non-stop road trip over the next 13 months. If the people I meet tell all their friends and family that our campaign represents hope for Arizona, then when the Koch Brothers spend their millions to lie about me on ugly TV ads, no one will believe them.

Here’s a typical week on the trail — the week of September 17:

Sunday I was honored to keynote the annual Democrats of Greater Tucson fundraising banquet with nearly 500 pumped-up activists in the room.

Monday I headed up to Flagstaff for meetings with community leaders and an event at a supporter’s home in the evening.

Tuesday and Wednesday were meetings, events, speeches, and calls in Phoenix and the metro area, and a 6-hour-long JLBC meeting.

Thursday featured meetings and an event in Yuma talking with tribal leaders from across the state.

Friday was spent in meetings and an event at a supporter’s home in Sierra Vista.

Saturday in Prescott included more meetings, speaking at the State Democratic Party gathering, and good times at the Yavapai County Democrats Truman-Clinton fundraising dinner at night.

On Sunday, after a couple of meetings in Sedona, I headed back to Tucson.

As intense as it can be, I actually love campaigning, and the amazing, dedicated people I meet. And no, I do not have a helicopter.

—> Finally tonight, I wanted to share with you my thoughts about the horror we witnessed in Las Vegas:

We don’t yet know the motives behind the heinous act of violence in Las Vegas. We may never know. But it is clear that American deaths from firearms are increasing at an alarming rate. For the victims, their families, and first responders, my heart is broken. Their grief weighs heavily on me.

Those of us in Tucson who were and remain intimately involved with the events of January 8, 2011, understand the horror and tragedy of mass shootings. As we grieve for all those affected, the shock rivets our attention and gets us talking about how to stop something so senseless.

But the toll of mass shootings is dwarfed by the more than 11,200 Americans killed one or two at a time by gun homicides or the 21,200 killed by gun suicides in 2013, the most recent year for which we have data.

The tragedy of gun deaths surrounds us each day, whether we are aware of this or not. We Americans — 4.43% of the world’s population — own 42% of the world’s privately held guns. Does this make us safer? We have a gun homicide rate four times higher than the next highest developed country.

At the same time, as Americans, our Second Amendment rights protect our ability to own guns to hunt and to defend ourselves and our families.

As much as I want to just grieve for today’s victims right now, for the sake of tomorrow’s victims what we really need is to talk, and to act on our conversations. All of us, together.

We need to ask each other: What do we do about this?

I know that NRA members don’t want Americans to die like this any more than do members of Mothers Against Gun Violence. But too often, instead of talking with one another about solutions, we make assumptions, project our fears, and retreat to conversations with those who already share our values.

I know there are likely many policies that could help reduce the carnage such as mental health first aid training for first responders, closing loopholes that allow felons to avoid background checks, restrictions on assault weapons, and a ban on gun possession for those subject to domestic violence protection orders.

I know that we will not make our society safer until we trust each other enough to start to solve this problem together, across partisan and ideological divides.

Gun owners or not, we are all Americans, we are all humans, we all have loved ones, and we all live in the same communities. We all want to live long lives in peace and happiness. We also live in a democracy where we all have a voice. Let’s talk.

Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your senator as I continue my campaign to be your next governor.

Steve

P.S. Your support means the world to me. Help me continue to keep this campaign strong by donating today.

 

October 10, 2017