Originally Published: January 14, 2018 6:05 a.m.
It is becoming clear that election season has begun in Arizona. One needs to look only at the actions of those with the most to gain or lose.
Two moves this past week stand as perfect examples. First is the response by a Democratic challenger for Arizona Governor to the potential effects of the tax reform that Congress approved and President Trump signed into law late last month.
To keep it as simple as possible, the federal changes to the tax code — such as eliminating some deductions — affects the deductions that Arizonans are allowed to take on state income tax forms. The Arizona Department of Revenue figures that situation will cost individual and business taxpayers a total of about $250 million each year.
Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, who wants Gov. Doug Ducey’s job, said last week state lawmakers should see whether there’s a way to take advantage of the changes in federal law. In other words, he wants the state to keep the extra money we may have to pay.
“We should be accessing that money to help mitigate the damage that’s being done by the federal tax bill,’’ Farley told Capitol Media Services, pointing to teacher vacancies and raises as where the money could go.
He also takes it one step further: since the federal tax law changes would affect individuals most, Farley wants to shield “working families or poor families” and shift the burden to those in upper income brackets.
Sounds like something from the Democratic National Committee playbook.
Joining Farley on our list is Arizona’s Republican governor himself.
In the past week Ducey has admirably stuck to his promises of not raising taxes, instead through his proposed 2018 budget is calling for even more funding for schools by cutting other departments’ line items and praying for more revenue from consumer spending and lottery ticket sales.
Sounds great, eliminate the fat and hope consumer confidence stays high.
Still, noting that cuts to education started before Ducey was governor, the most recent bleeding for public schools in Arizona came from his own pen — a $117 million reduction the first year he took office.
Thus, as we cheer the Governor for adding more to the schools fund this year — looking like a champion for the kids — we cannot forget from whence we came.
Again, both men want to be the governor of Arizona or be re-elected as such, and both are playing the education card because it tugs at our heart-strings.
Here’s hoping Legislative leaders will keep the federal tax cuts from being a negative for taxpayers here, and that education funding is not only a hot-button issue to be pushed as part of the election.
And, here’s us saying to the “candidates” that we are watching.
You cannot say that “I’m from the government and I am here to help” without someone looking at who pays, who benefits, and what your motives are.