March 14, 2018

Howdy, Friends O’Farley…

As teachers and their allies rightfully continue to push for decent raises so they can afford to live and teach in Arizona, Governor Ducey, the Legislature, and their dark-money allies continue to downplay the cuts that have devastated our public education system and led to the lowest teacher salaries in the nation and a consequent teacher retention crisis.

And they keep supporting new tax cuts that will make the problem even worse. 

All this and more to follow.


But first, the Pledge Break…

—> The Republican Governors Association has already bought TV ad time in Arizona to help Doug Ducey — the only incumbent governor to receive such help from his friends in DC. That means they know he is in trouble. There are polls showing his job approval rating under water by 17 points. We can win.

1) But we can’t win without your help. Please contribute what you can. Don’t let Doug Ducey and his dark-money backers buy Arizona.

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!

3) Tell ten friends there is hope for Arizona — there’s a leader named Steve Farley who can govern from Day One and knows how to win. And ask them to tell ten friends. This is our best chance in years to create positive change in Arizona, but we all need to pitch in.


—> As teachers wore #RedForEd last Wednesday I appeared on AZPBS’s news show Horizon, hosted by the truly classy Ted Simons, along with House Minority Leader Rebecca Rios. As the son of two public schoolteachers and the father of two daughters educated in Arizona public schools, and wearing a red tie in solidarity, I laid my position out clearly:

“We do have the money here in Arizona,” Farley says. “We do have the money. We have chosen to give it away to large scale corporate interests, many of whom are out of state, instead of paying our teachers. The kids are paying the price right now. Why push it to a teacher strike? Go ahead and give teachers a real raise, a 20 percent raise, right now.

You can view the entire segment by clicking on this screenshot:

—> At the same time, the Doug Ducey-supporting anonymous forces of dark-money were plowing more than a million dollars into TV ads across the state using fuzzy math to mislead the Arizona public about cuts to public education and to portray the current Governor as a great friend of public education, contrary to the truth.

If you are curious about how the dark-money spin machine is concocting these fake numbers, you can read the Farley Report from January 17 of this year for details. 12News in Phoenix also broke it down yesterday on the air.

Bottom line? It’s not new money. It’s an attempt to distract our attention from the fact that we are spending $924 less per student than we were a decade ago. And the public isn’t buying the spin.

Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts has it exactly right when she says these ads tell us that “Doug Ducey supporters are panicking over public education.

And they should. By this time next year, Arizona will have a governor who will be properly funding our classrooms for the first time since 2009. It won’t be Doug Ducey.

—> Meanwhile, the Arizona Association of Realtors (AAR) revealed last Friday afternoon at 4:55pm that it plans to work against the interests of Arizona Realtors by plunking down a starting investment of $1.1 million to push a new initiative to gut public investment in strong Arizona neighborhoods that create strong property values and great communities.

Remember when business groups used to support investment in great public schools, good roads, police and fire protection as the foundations of a strong society and economy? Apparently, AAR has forgotten.

As more and more of our economy is shifting from retail to services, and the sales tax revenues that fund our schools, police, fire, and roads start to decline, the AAR initiative seeks to ban all future taxes collected by cities, counties, taxing districts, or the state on services or anything derived from a service.

As we transition from buying cars to subscribing to cars as a service, as most industry insiders project, the loss of revenues to invest in ourselves and our communities would be immense. By banning taxes on anything derived from a service, you are banning taxes on anything. What is not derived at least in part from a service of some kind?

The language is so strict, it would even ban the extension of Proposition 301, the 6/10-cent sales tax dedicated to education that expires in 2020 unless it is renewed. Its non-renewal would cause a $600 million annual loss to our public schools, which are already at the bottom in per-pupil spending.

Rural fire districts, city police departments, and county road departments would be devastated. It is unfathomable to me why an organization that purports to represent Realtors, who depend on great neighborhoods with top-quality services to sell real estate at sustainably rising values, would support such a devastating initiative that would undercut strong neighborhoods. Real estate transfer taxes are already banned by the Arizona Constitution.

Howie Fischer wrote an excellent article about the efforts. Even Republican House Speaker JD Mesnard was caught by surprise and opposes the initiative. “I certainly don’t like having our hands tied,” he said.

Here’s an excerpt from Howie’s interview with me in the article:

“Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, who has urged colleagues for years to review sales tax exemptions, said no one, including him, has ever urged taxes on things like child care and veterinary services. And he said if anyone wants a carve-out for specific items like this they should be considered and debated at the Capitol one at a time.

“ ‘Then the public gets to weigh in and lawmakers get to weigh in and we make a decision the way we do in a representative democracy in our Legislature,’ Farley said.

“But he also lashed out at the Realtors for seeking to forever take a potential source of revenues off the table.

“ ‘Do they not need good roads, good fire and police protection, good schools to sell their houses?’ he asked.

“ ‘They’re cutting off any ability of people to fund that stuff in the future as the economy changes,’ Farley continued. ‘Realtors used to support efforts to try to improve our communities instead of just try to take away any tools we have.’ ”

Until we enact adequate funding to our public school system to allow us to thrive as a society and economy, we cannot support any more cuts or special interest loopholes that would divert revenues from the task at hand. It’s time we invest in ourselves, not simply give it all away.


—> Our campaign continues to reach out to folks all over Arizona gathering support for positive change wherever we go.

I shared our message of hope with enthusiastic residents of Pebble Creek in Goodyear, held a wonderful event on the westside of Tucson, engaged in a great conversation with members of the Desert Highlands Democratic Club in North Scottsdale, had a terrific time with Maricopa County LGBTQ+ union members and allies at Pride@Work, and visited with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine at an event in central Tucson.

Wherever you live, you, too, can join our campaign so we can finally get the leadership we deserve right here in the state we love.

Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Senator.


Steve Farley

Senator, District 9, Tucson

If you like my representation and want to keep me in office, CONTRIBUTE TODAY!

Paid for by Farley for Governor

March 14, 2018