Why AZ State Sen. Steve Farley should be our governor

According to the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required), AZ State Senator Steve Farley is thinking about running for governor.

State Sen. Steve Farley is considering a run for governor in 2018, the first Democrat to publicly express interest in challenging Gov. Doug Ducey in his reelection bid.

The Tucson lawmaker, who’s spent 10 years in the Legislature, said he hasn’t made a final decision yet, but is seriously considering a run against Ducey. He said he won’t make any decisions until after the 2017 legislative session is over.

Farley said Ducey’s education and tax policies are among the driving factors leading him to consider challenging the governor.

“I’ve seen up close his priorities over the last couple of years, what he’s done or not done. I think that it’s been proven pretty clear to most people no matter which side of the aisle they’re on that simply more corporate tax giveaways aren’t the recipe for success for our economy or for our people. It’s got to be investment in our education system,” Farley said. “And while he may think funding 70 percent of inflation for our public schools is solving the whole problem, that’s not the case.”

Here is why Scriber thinks Farley would be an excellent governor. Following are excerpts from Steve’s “Farley Report” – an email that you too can subscribe to. I’ve selected two topics.

On education and our work force

It’s been more than a year since the special session that placed Proposition 123 on the ballot, the measure that finally forced the majority and the Governor to pay 70% of inflation funding for our public schools, something we thought we forced them to do 16 years ago. Not 100% of inflation, 70%. That was just enough to raise us from last in the country in state support for K–12 to somewhere around 48th or 49th.

But it is most emphatically not enough to make a real difference for our kids and our economy. Even Governor Ducey spent a lot of time before the 123 election admitting that it was “just a start”. He promised to get right to work on enacting a Step Two for education funding.

Since we passed 123, we haven’t heard a peep from Governor Ducey about that step two. In fact, he just released a self-aggrandizing “Year In Review” which all but declares the education funding crisis solved. In it, he even brags about a “a $28 million investment in Joint Technical Education Districts [JTED] to help students learn what they’re passionate about and prepare them to succeed in post-secondary education.”

Governor Ducey fails to say that the previous year he signed the budget that cut $30 million from JTED, a move that set them on a path to destruction, and earlier this year he resisted all attempts to restore the funds until he was forced to relent by a strong bipartisan majority.

It’s time to stop messing around with this. We must prioritize teacher recruitment, training, and retention, as well as immediate upgrades in classroom resources like technology, curriculum, tutoring and teacher aides, and we must start now with what little money we have left in our budget, given that $4 billion a year in corporate tax cuts have been drained from our general fund by the majority since 1996.

Our state tax system needs REAL reform

Then we need to have the guts to finally tackle the monster that is our sales tax code. As Farley Report readers know well, we bleed more than $12 billion each year from loopholes that have been placed in law over the past decades, never to be examined ever again. Some are defensible, and some are even good for us as a society. But many, many more are nothing but special-interest giveaways engineered by corporate lobbyists in order to save their clients millions of dollars, and they do nothing to help our economy in general.

Here’s a place to start: If we charge sales tax on securities brokerage, financial portfolio management, and investment advice — which tend to be used by only by those like our Governor who can easily afford to pay it without even noticing — we can gain another $185 million per year that can be invested in educating the entrepreneurs and the workforce of the future so that we ALL can thrive in the upcoming decades — including those at both ends of the pyramid.

To subscribe to the Farley Report, contact Steve at sfarley@igc.org.

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3 thoughts on “Why AZ State Sen. Steve Farley should be our governor

  1. Farely would be an excellent candidate. He is willing and able to work across party lines in the interests of all of the people of the state.

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