April 25, 2018

Howdy, Friends O’Farley…

It’s hard to know where this session or this state are headed this week. We are on the verge of the largest educator walkout in US history, but our governor seems to have no interest in sustainable solutions.

Last week it looked like end of session and the budget that precedes it were thrown far off into the indefinite future by events surrounding the impending teacher strike.

Yesterday morning that strike deadline appeared to be producing its desired effect of focusing Republican minds on figuring out a way to get out of here quickly before their political careers get irreparably damaged.

Yesterday afternoon the Governor halted this momentum by refusing to meet with Democratic legislative leaders or the leaders of the Red for Ed movement.

I’m still working for a good outcome. We can use this moment to enact truly long-term dedicated funding sources for restoring the ten-year-long cuts to our public schools and getting educators a 20% raise. That’s where we should be headed. But we’re going to have to drag the governor kicking and screaming if we can pull it off.

I’ll fill you in on some of the drama in this Farley Report.

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But first, the Pledge Break.

—> According to our polling, we are now in a statistical tie to beat Doug Ducey in November. This is the election we 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. Including our first-quarter results we have now raised nearly $1,000,000, more than any other statewide candidate of either party for any office, except Ducey, but we will need much more to spread our positive message to voters.

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.

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—> Let’s be clear. There is room for a deal here that works for all of us. I had some encouraging conversations with moderate Republican legislators charting out possible paths whereby educators and schools and students get what they need. And it can happen quickly and sustainably using a broad range of funding options.

Our educators don’t want to have to walk out. 

But after years of neglect and abuse, our public school system is in full-fledged crisis. Educators have seen thousands of their colleagues leave the state or leave the field entirely. They put up with 12-year-old computers and 25-year textbooks. Roofs collapse and HVAC systems are held together with duct tape. Salaries average lowest in the country. 52.8% of teaching positions are either vacant or held by someone without proper qualifications.

As you read in last week’s Farley Report, Governor Ducey has been the cause of much of this public pain, starting when he campaigned successfully to cut a billion dollars a year from public school funding.

So two weeks ago when he did a shocking about-face on goals and seemed to embrace the idea of a 20% raise for teachers by 2020, he had a trust problem, based on past behavior.

I’m an optimistic person, so I held out hope that this may have been a sincere conversion. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps we could put partisan politics aside and actually work together to solve this crisis.

Then the details of his plan emerged, and it is utterly unsustainable. No new revenue sources, just cuts from other places (universities, services for the developmentally disabled, the arts, etc.) and Pollyanna-ish projections of revenues, enrollment, and caseload growth that were smacked down by a report from the nonpartisan economists of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee projecting the Governor’s plan will create a $265 million deficit starting next year and a $302 million deficit the year after that.

The upshot? Any increased funding for education would be subject to cuts next year, after the election, once the revenues vanish. 

Educators and students and parents have seen right through this, and support for this “plan” has been lagging enough that the Republican Governors’ Association has been running TV ads all over the state since last Friday promoting Ducey and his “plan” to try to generate positive spin wherever they can.

The same day those ads went on the air, the teen leaders of the March for our Lives movement had a die-in protest at the Executive Tower on the anniversary of the Columbine mass shootings. Their demand? Simply a meeting with Governor Ducey to talk about what they wanted in a true school safety plan.

Ducey once again refused to meet with these determined activists, as he has since the movement began after the Parkland shootings. He sent his education staffer to talk to them.

According to the students, she then said she might arrange a meeting with Ducey if they agreed to endorse his school funding plan. 

Wow. 

On Monday, Governor Ducey went on the air on KFYI in Phoenix and said that he was bewildered by the walkout. “I don’t know why the leaders are going to strike when we are delivering for the teachers on what we believe they deserve.”

“What we believe they deserve…”

Yesterday, we in Democratic leadership in the House and Senate were invited to meet with the Governor about his plan. We hoped we might be able to have a frank conversation about how we can come together to develop solutions to satisfy educator demands and pass a budget that would successfully end the walkout, even before it begins. 

Governor Ducey didn’t even duck in to say “hi”. His chief of staff, Kirk Adams, presided and lectured us about the perfection of the Governor’s plan, how they did not see any flaws, and that the critics — including the nonpartisan economists at the Joint Legislative Budget Committee — were all wrong.

He said there would be plenty of money into the indefinite future coming from unending economic growth which would be sustainable and not require any new sources of revenue. For the record, he was not sitting on the back of a unicorn at the time, although that may have been more believable.

He said the Governor would not only oppose a revenue increase of any kind, he would continue to support new tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.

And he refused to meet with the leaders of the Red for Ed movement. 

Governor Ducey, to answer the question you posed on KFYI, here’s what we all deserve:

> Leadership.

> Courage.

> Hard work.

> Humility.

> A sustainably fully funded education system that works for all of us. 

It’s time for change in Arizona.

—> The Farley campaign keeps adding more Arizonans to our campaign for change each and every week.

We continue to speak to gatherings of fired-up Arizonans wherever we find them. This week I was able to help host International Jazz Day in Phoenix, speak with groups all over Tucson, share our hope for the future in Green Valley, and engage a huge group of enthusiastic folks from all over Maricopa County at the incomparable and historic Cattle Track Arts Compound in Scottsdale.

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

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

April 25, 2018