It seems nowadays, the only ones who want to raise taxes are the government and far-left elites. That shouldn’t come as a big surprise. They’ll do whatever it takes to further their radical agenda—especially when their bank accounts go unaffected. But in a country that’s supposed to be governed by representation, too many tax increases in America—including right here in Arizona—are coming down to a simple majority.
Of course, we just saw this at the federal level when the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” passed on a 51-50 vote in the Senate thanks, in large part, to Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema. Now, because of the slimmest majorities along party lines, taxpayers are left with a $700 billion repackaged version of President Biden’s Build Back Broke plan.
But this issue isn’t limited to the federal government, Congress, or even state legislatures. Just look at what happened with Prop 208 in 2020. This disastrous piece of legislation, which was pushed by out-of-state special interest groups, passed with only 51% of people voting for it. And it would’ve turned Arizona into a high tax state had it not been for the court system killing it once and for all.
Allowing 51% of the population (who probably don’t have to pay the tax increase) to vote to tax the other 49% to pay it, is wrong. And while today’s tax increase may not affect you, tomorrow’s most certainly will.
Parents want options for their children’s education. That is why so many went to the legislature and the governor and asked them to pass the Universal Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Program for all of Arizona’s students!
The ESA program has been around for 11 years, but it’s only been available for a limited number of students who have qualified under particular classifications. As a mother of a child who has qualified under the category of special needs, I have seen our son thrive with his education for the last 9 years on an ESA. The tax dollars that we have been able to draw down are completely accountable to the state. After submitting all the documentation for every purchase and having it all approved by the Department of Education, we can then have access to the next quarter’s funds.
There is no better advocate for a child than their parents. Public district and public charter schools are not for everyone. We need options for students and parents who don’t thrive in these settings. For our son, the public district school failed us, and the public charter schools disappointed us. That is why we left the “public system” of education. Every child is uniquely different and has different needs. ESAs simply ensure that each child’s needs can be met without significant financial sacrifices from their families.
The latest controversy now seems to be between the parents and the teachers’ unions. But it is not an EITHER/OR for public schools and ESAs. It really is a BOTH/AND. We need strong public schools, and we also need options for our children who don’t fit into that cookie-cutter style of learning. Children may be doing very well in a public school now and that is great, but their needs may change. Or the school may change and then, an ESA may be needed in the future.
If you read House Bill 2853, you will see that there is a significant amount of money that is allocated to the public school system. They also retain all federal and local tax dollars. A student on an ESA only receives 90% of the state per pupil funding. According to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, a public school child will receive approximately $14,326 in the coming school year, but an ESA recipient will receive $6,966. This is a win-win-win for the student, the public schools, and the taxpayers!
But right now, a group called Save Our Schools is out on the streets attempting to get the people of Arizona to sign a petition that could stop families from having the freedom of school choice. They’re trying to spread the false narrative that the new ESA law only benefits rich parents who want to send their kids to private school. If that were the case, you would expect to see a low demand for these ESAs. And yet, the new ESAs have been so popular with parents across all backgrounds and political spectrums that it has overwhelmed the Arizona Department of Education’s website!
It’s time for the people of Arizona to see through the lies. Save Our Schools wants to defund and deprive Arizona kids from receiving an amazing education. But thankfully, hundreds of parents have joined the Decline to Sign Movement. These engaged parents have been peacefully countering the Save Our Schools petition gatherers before a voter signs it to make sure that they understand what they are signing.
I encourage every voter in Arizona to Decline to Sign any petition from Save Our Schools. When our lawmakers put our children first, that is always a WIN! And that’s exactly what Governor Ducey did when he signed the new ESA law, making Arizona the gold standard for school choice laws in the country. Let’s leave this new law the way it is so that parents have full control over their children’s education. Our state and our kids will be better off if we fund students rather than systems.
Christine Accurso is a wife, mother, and ESA parent leading the charge for the Decline to Sign Movement. You can find out more about this effort here.
As we see a steady stream of experienced teachers leave the profession, we should be questioning why they are leaving. Maybe it is not always about money.
If teachers are expected not only to educate our kids, but now to raise them as well, perhaps we should consider that teachers may not realistically be able do all the things they are being asked to do.
Teachers usually come to love their kids, care about them deeply, and want what is best for them. It is part of what being a teacher means. But is there a limit to how much intervention a teacher should have in a child’s life?
We are now seeing an aggressive effort by Progressive Liberals to reshape American society to match their own personal preferences. This has become most evident in school classrooms where there appears to be a deliberate intent to influence children to accept their particular worldview. So, are teachers now expected to step in front of parents to drive these controversial ideologies?
This is leaving parents concerned and dismayed by the social conditioning that is being exposed in the classrooms with regard to sexuality, race relations, and political ideologies. They are also becoming more agitated and outspoken as they perceive their own children being weaponized against them.
So are Progressive Liberals, in the form of “Woke” activists, engaging in a deliberate effort to pit teachers against parents in a rather ruthless bid to gain political power and control?
Are these activists now simply using teachers as tools to accomplish their political goals? This would be deeply disrespectful to the profession. If this realization sets in for teachers, it is quite doubtful that they will appreciate being used in this way. And hopefully, they will start to turn away from this scheme.
But teachers aren’t the only ones affected. Children can also feel caught in the middle between parents and teachers, which could leave them traumatized by this contrived conflict. It’s like children who watch their mother and father argue at the dinner table and, wanting to please both, don’t know which way to turn. This cannot be a healthy and positive situation for children. It is of little wonder that we seem to have more children displaying mental and emotional health issues than before. They are being unnecessarily over stressed.
We have also seen national teachers’ unions trying to bully, intimidate, and discredit parents who dare to question their efforts to control dialogue in the classrooms. They label these parents as “Domestic Terrorists” and threaten that dissenting parents be sanctioned by the Justice Department.
Because of these aggressive activities, there is a concern that the bond of trust between parents and teachers is being frayed almost to a breaking point. This is a great disappointment. Now, more parents want to pull their children out of public schools because of the dissatisfaction with this type of undesirable social conditioning. Many feel that their children are being taken away from them, so they are responding by removing these children from that perceived threat.
There is a responsibility for teaching professionals to develop and maintain healthy and positive relationships with parents, to explain to parents what they are teaching and why, to define the limits of their intervention in the raising of children, and to reassure parents that they are not trying to replace them. They must convince parents that public schools are the best place to send their kids—and that there are well understood boundaries of what will and will not be presented to their kids in the classrooms.
Kurt Rohrs is a candidate for the Chandler Unified School District Governing Board. You can find out more about his campaign here.
We have always known that the left is strongly opposed to election integrity. In their hearts, they want voting to resemble how they select the best performers on American Idol—no security, no ID, no paper ballots, and no concern if someone decides to vote a few extra times.
Usually though, the left is pretty good at not saying this out loud. They couch their desires as supporting “voter access” or “expanded voting rights.” Very rarely do they reveal their true intentions of supporting open fraud in the system—yet they have now. And in open court no less…
Manchin and Sinema had a chance to go down in history as heroes. They courageously withstood withering criticism to save the republic from trillions of dollars of inflation-fanning intergenerational theft.
But finally, they fell for the oldest trick in the book—the “dad can I have a pony” swindle, traditionally practiced by clever youngsters who were willing to settle for a puppy in the first place. Exhausted by the mental energy required to resist intraparty pressure and not wanting to be responsible for poor election outcomes, they caved.
Manchin and Sinema supported the Inflation Reduction Act for $740 billion after sinking (again, thank you) the original $3.6 trillion version.
But what they got was possibly the most deceitful bill in the history of bills. The “IRA will reduce the deficit by $300 billion,” claimed huckster-in-chief Joe Biden. “And we’ll do it without raising taxes a penny on those making less than $400,000 per year.”
Are you joking? Let’s start with the IRS, which received an $80 billion spending boost, an amount the Treasury Department reported would result in 87,000 new FTEs, mostly auditors and examiners.
That’s bad news for the middle class. Only 1.8% of American taxpayers earn more than $400,000 yearly. It’s inevitable that the other 98.2%, who make about 75% of the total income, will also receive increased scrutiny.
The only purpose of hiring an army of new auditors would be to increase collections. Anyone familiar with IRS audits knows that even taxpayers who have done no wrong often capitulate to aggressive harassment. The bottom line is that the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that 70% to 90% of the money raised from unreported income would likely come from those making less than $200,000 per year.
The bill writers, sensing the problem, added this gem: “Nothing in this section is intended to increase taxes on any taxpayer or small business with a taxable income under $400,000.”
Get it? Nothing here provides actual protection to any lower income taxpayers. Instead, the party of good intentions is attempting to avoid accountability while claiming any unfortunate outcomes won’t be their fault.
The Inflation Reduction Act, it is now well established, will not reduce inflation and won’t reduce the deficit either, according to the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. Instead, all of us will pay for this boondoggle 1) by forking over more money to the IRS (see above) 2) through the effects of the new 15% corporate minimum tax passed on to workers and consumers and 3) through another government spending spree which will (again) be inflationary. Even Bernie Sanders gets it this time.
But the damage doesn’t stop there. As Steve Moore recently noted in the Wall Street Journal, the IRA will transfer $250 billion from Big Pharma to Big Climate.
Bad idea. Pharmaceutical companies spend $100 billion yearly on R&D, bringing us lifesaving and misery-reducing drugs which have, among other benefits, reduced death rates from cancer and heart disease by half in the last 50 years.
The IRA price controls will inhibit innovation with a resulting cost in lost years of life estimated to be 30 times that from COVID, in addition to the increased human suffering and economic losses.
The climate change funds will go mainly to subsidies of wind and solar, which after decades of “startup” funding, produce 7% of America’s total energy. They’re not only unreliable but expensive too. A University of Texas study showed subsidies per megawatt hour of electricity range from 50 cents for coal up to $43 to $320 for solar. Yet we’re going to spend $380 billion more to chase the chimera of avoiding mostly inevitable climate change by vastly reducing our quality of life.
Americans deserve better governments than this. Passing trillion-dollar spending bills for no essential reason has become the new normal.
It’s tempting to feel helpless, but what we can do is vote smarter. For starters, Arizonans should remember this in November: Mark Kelly was a tie-breaking vote on the Inflation Reduction Act. With just 51 votes, it couldn’t have passed without him.
He campaigns as a bipartisan centrist but votes like a socialist. It’s time for us to wise up.
Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.
Just what exactly are the priorities of the Chandler Unified School District (CUSD)?
Every parent and taxpayer would love to know. But unfortunately, these priorities do not seem to be clearly presented in any readily available public communication. This makes it difficult to understand what the district is doing, why they are doing it, or hold them accountable for their performance. It’s time for the district to be much more transparent with the public.
That’s why I would like to suggest these five priorities for CUSD, which should be communicated clearly and made readily available to the taxpaying public that supports them.
Catch up on learning loss from recent school closures. Some information indicates that our students are up to two years behind on their academic achievement. Many are falling behind, and CUSD must take this seriously.
Ensure that Reading and Math proficiency is greater than 50% at every school. CUSD should direct massive amounts of resources to any school that falls far below this standard.
Increase student retention. The district must compete effectively to increase their headcount by better satisfying the demands of parents who will ultimately make the decisions on which schools their children attend.
Increase staff retention. It is critical to reduce the turnover rate for Certified (Teaching) Staff and Classified (non-Teaching) Staff. But CUSD must remember that issues with staffing aren’t always about money. While that is certainly something that needs to be examined, staff working conditions should be carefully considered as well. And the district should ultimately work to determine the primary reasons that staff leave their positions and take appropriate corrective actions.
Improve career and technical education. CUSD should refocus attention back to developing practical knowledge instead of social conditioning. The primary mission should be to develop functional adults capable of supporting themselves and contributing economically to the community.
If CUSD is serious about the future of its students, it must refocus its priorities. And it should take a much more pragmatic approach to its communication. This will not only make the district more relevant, but it will improve engagement with the community, especially the parents who have the ultimate say in how their children are educated.
Kurt Rohrs is a candidate for the Chandler Unified School District Governing Board.You can find out more about his campaign here.