It’s Time for Arizona to Join Other States in Banning Critical Race Theory

It’s Time for Arizona to Join Other States in Banning Critical Race Theory

The indoctrination needs to stop. And thankfully, many parents are fed up.

For quite some time, activists have been trying to force Critical Race Theory or similar programs into government and especially our schools. This movement combines Marxist theories of class conflict within the lens of race. It teaches that some races have been “minoritized” and are considered oppressed while those who are “racially privileged” are called “exploiters.”

These sorts of programs made their way into our public schools because proponents of Critical Race Theory are good at disguising it. They use terms like “social justice,” “diversity,” “inclusion,” and “equity” which seem harmless enough. So, you can see how easy it could be for a busy parent with a mountain of responsibilities to overlook such a curriculum.

But parents around the state of Arizona are starting to catch on. And they’re speaking up.

In 2019, Chandler Unified School District adopted a program called “Deep Equity” (note that keyword). Parents spoke out then, and the program was phased out.

Just a few months ago, Litchfield Elementary School District published an “equity statement” along with a set of “equity goals.” These “goals” were presented at a school board meeting by a “district diversity committee” because someone on the school board must have been using their Critical Race Theory dictionary. But parents and other community members voiced their opposition, and the district agreed to revise these “goals.”

And last month, parents in Scottsdale demanded more transparency from the Scottsdale Unified School District after some parents heard indoctrination from teachers while their kids were in school online at home.

It’s great that parents are speaking up. And they should continue to do so. But multiple states around the country have started to ban Critical Race Theory. And parents should demand that Arizona lawmakers do the same.

Idaho was the first to pass such a law, banning teachers from indoctrinating students with Critical Race Theory. Oklahoma came next when Governor Kevin Stitt signed HB1775 into law. Iowa (HF802), Tennessee (SB0623), Arkansas (SB627), and Texas (HB3979) have also followed suit by banning Critical Race Theory to some degree. (Although Arkansas’s ban is limited to state entities and not public schools.)

And more than a dozen other states have some form of legislation regarding Critical Race Theory pending. Now, it’s time for Arizona to get on board.

The Arizona Senate had passed SB1074 at the end of May. The bill would have prohibited state government entities, including cities and counties, from forcing employees to engage in orientation, training, or therapy that is based on a theory of blame or judgment on the basis of race, ethnicity, or gender.

But Governor Ducey vetoed the bill due to the budget stalemate. And while our lawmakers have been working on reforms, they haven’t passed anything that bans Critical Race Theory in our public schools.

That needs to change. Our children are being taught that, by virtue of their race, they are inherently racist whether consciously or unconsciously. They are being taught that their moral character is determined by their race. And they are being taught that by virtue of their race, they bear responsibility for past acts committed by members of the same race.

These are among the many bigoted teachings of Critical Race Theory. It is undoubtedly racist. Other states are doing something about it. And parents are speaking up. Now, Arizona’s lawmakers need to listen and act.

Say NO to Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory has no place anywhere in our nation, which was founded on the principle of equal dignity of every person as an individual. It has no place in Arizona, and it certainly does not belong anywhere near our students.

If you want to see Critical Race Theory banned in Arizona, sign the petition now!

Are Republican Proposed Tax Cuts Too Much?

Are Republican Proposed Tax Cuts Too Much?

Republicans in the Arizona legislature are on the cusp of passing significant tax relief for hardworking families and small business. With historic levels of surplus cash sitting in the state coffers (over $4 billion for FY 2022 alone), returning this money to taxpayers makes sense. In fact, it would have already happened if not for two lone holdouts within the Republican caucus, claiming the $1.9B tax cut is just “too big.”

Are they right? Should the size of the tax package be reduced to avoid a funding cliff in the future?

For an answer to this criticism, it makes sense to examine current revenue projections being provided by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC). For years JLBC has been relied upon as an independent source for revenue and budget projections by the state legislature. JLBC has never been accused of partisanship or of “cooking the books” to produce rosy budget scenarios. If anything, they have historically been too conservative in their figures, often because they don’t use dynamic modeling for their growth projections.

With this in mind, JLBC is projecting that by FY2024, baseline revenue for the state will be over $14.5 billion, a figure that has been growing with each month. For perspective, legislators were budgeting just shy of $11.1 billion in ongoing revenue prior to the pandemic—meaning that Arizona is expected to see a 31% increase in state revenue in four years.

Where is all this new revenue coming from? While a portion of this surplus is expected from economic growth, that is not the only source. Much of this new revenue is from a series of tax increases that continued to be ignored by opponents of the budget.

Remember the “monumental” new gaming compact Ducey signed in April—the one allowing for sports and fantasy sports betting? That is projected to rake in $300 million of new revenue annually by FY2024.

Another recent tax hike occurred when voters passed Proposition 207 last November, which is projected to bring in $46 million a year to the state (and millions to local governments).

While local governments have been sharing an analysis by Rounds Consulting Group to generate opposition to the tax cuts, that same memo from Rounds Consulting also highlights the projected economic growth and revenue benefits of the tax cuts. According to Rounds, by mitigating the impacts of Prop 208 through a tax rate ‘cap’ and corresponding tax cuts, new revenue for the state will be $500 million dollars.

And what about Wayfair, the 2019 legislation allowing for the taxation of online purchases? When passed, this was scored to bring in $85 million to the state. But now, OSPB is estimating that the General Fund will benefit to the tune of at least $465 million ongoing. That’s over 400% more over what legislators expected, and it must be included in the discussion of this tax “cut” mostly being an offset for prior tax increases.

Finally, though a new analysis by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee staff would need to be produced, another bill that could be added to the mix to reduce the cost of a tax cut package is SB 1783. JLBC previously projected the impact of Prop 208 on small business to be as much as $377 million each year. Protecting small business from paying the Prop 208 tax and not requiring the general fund to backfill under the “max tax” proposal would free up hundreds of millions in general fund costs.

So when factoring in the collection of the remote sales tax increase, gaming tax increase, Prop 207 tax increase, and economic growth caused by mitigating Prop 208, the total package does not “cost” $1.9 Billion. The actual figure is well under $1 Billion, or less than 1/3 of the projected revenue growth over the next three years.

Proposition 207 (in millions)$46
Proposition 208$377
Revenue Growth$500
Total$1.69 billion

The state would still be collecting $14.2 billion in FY 2024—a 28% increase in revenue compared to the aforementioned, pre-covid FY2020. This will not cut funding for any state programs or agencies, in fact the budget proposal continues to increase funding for priorities like education. It is clear, the tax package does not “cut too deep.”

But these holdout Republicans also say we should be paying down debt. That prioritizing debt payoff is actually the true conservative position—not cutting taxes.

First, this budget does pay off debt. A lot actually—nearly a billion dollars of it. And there is room for more one time debt payoff with one-time monies. That’s the key though—one time. You don’t use ongoing revenues for one-time spending. We have billions in one time money available, and it can and should be used to expire as much debt as possible. But that can be done while also ensuring historic, permanent tax cuts with the monumental ongoing surplus.

The truth is, Arizonans have shouldered too many tax increases in recent years that aren’t even included on this list. Where do taxpayers go to get their refund from the $32 “Highway Safety Fee” enacted in 2019 (resulting in approximately $500 million for the state) that never should have happened?

The fees, new taxes, and inadvertent tax increases over the years have added up, and they have added up to the tune of a $4 billion surplus this year. 

A tax cut of $1.9 billion is easily sustainable (and we could probably afford more). Any package that is less than $1.6 billion would not properly offset the recent slate of tax hikes or take into account dynamic revenue growth identified by Rounds.

The only question these Republicans legislators should be asking, is this tax cut package too small?

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

The Biden Administration Is Paying $352 Per Bed to House Migrants in Scottsdale Each Day

The Biden Administration Is Paying $352 Per Bed to House Migrants in Scottsdale Each Day

If you’ve tried to book a room at the Suites on Scottsdale (formerly known as Homewood Suites) since May 24, you’ve probably been left frustrated. All the rooms are currently listed as “Not Available” through the rest of the year.

A normal person would likely assume that this is because the hotel is going out of business. But that’s not the case. Instead, the hotel was secretly converted into a makeshift migrant shelter by the Biden administration almost overnight.

In this recent shady move, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) paid “Family Endeavors” $86.9 million in a no-bid contract through September 30 to house more than 1,200 migrants at a time in Arizona and Texas. (And in case you’re keeping track, the group also received a second no-bid contract from the Biden administration for $530 million in April.)

That comes out to $352 per bed per day of your hard-earned tax dollars.

While hotel rooms in Scottsdale can certainly be expensive, those rates tend to drop significantly in the summer months. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to do a search that produces a long list of rooms (not just beds) available at hotels in Scottsdale for $75-$150 a night. That’s because people don’t usually flock to Scottsdale when the forecast says it will be 117 degrees on June 15.

But the outrageous no-bid contracts and extravagant bed rates aren’t the only problem.

ICE and DHS didn’t inform the city of Scottsdale about any of this until the day before. And while it’s still unclear if this arrangement is aligned with the franchise agreement and Scottsdale zoning codes, the location itself is a complete nightmare. This immigrant detention center is located next to an apartment complex and senior living facility, across the street from a residential neighborhood, less than a block from a high school, less than a mile from a preschool, and less than two miles from a middle school.

That’s right. The Biden administration didn’t see any issue with putting a low security prison on Scottsdale Road with easy access to children and the elderly!

But what do you expect? After all, this administration refuses to take any sort of responsibility for failing to control the growing crisis on the southwest border. And even though Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas admits that, “We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years,” Vice President Kamala Harris still hasn’t visited the border.

Thankfully, some Arizona residents have had enough. Hundreds began protesting last week to share their concerns with the federal government. And they should continue to do so. It is vital to put pressure on the Biden administration to reverse this move.

But along with that, it’s also time to put direct pressure on our congressional delegation. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly need to stand up to the Biden administration and tell them to stop housing illegal immigrants in the middle of our communities with children, families, and seniors!

After all, flooding a suburban area with migrants not only poses serious public health and safety risks, but it signals to the rest of the world that our southern border is wide open.

Act Now

Tell Senators Sinema and Kelly to stand up to the Biden administration and stop housing illegal immigrants in the middle of our communities.

Arizona’s COVID Response Puts It Ahead of Most Other States in the Country

Arizona’s COVID Response Puts It Ahead of Most Other States in the Country

“15 days to slow the spread.” Do you remember that? It was all the rage in the media in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. You’d hear it on news broadcasts. You’d see it in commercials. And you’d read it as you scrolled through the various social media platforms.

But it didn’t take long before those calls to “slow the spread,” became calls to “cancel everything.” And too many government leaders across the country bought into it by instituting huge lockdowns and other draconian measures.

Certainly, COVID was an issue that warranted some action, but it never should have included crushing small businesses or trampling on the rights of the people.

And yet, here we are more than a year later. The states with the most severe COVID restrictions are experiencing much slower economic recovery than those that fully reopened.

Blue states are struggling

California still has not reopened, despite being the first state to lockdown back in March 2020. Finally, after months of inconsistencies, confusing decisions, and hypocrisy from leaders like Governor Newsom, the state appears to be poised to fully reopen by mid-June.

But the outlook isn’t bright. Even with such extreme lockdowns and other measures, California still experienced a deadly surge from COVID. And along with that, its economy is in turmoil with one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates at 8.3%.

Not surprisingly, there’s been a mass exodus from the state, causing it to lose a seat in the House of Representatives. And those that have remained are so fed up that they are trying to recall their governor.

But California is not alone. In a recent report, Michigan has been named as the state with the slowest recovery. Even Governor Whitmer couldn’t help but acknowledge that her radical measures, which at one point included prohibiting citizens from visiting family and friends, couldn’t stop COVID.

And then there’s New York, where Governor Cuomo’s COVID failures have been well documented. Just like California, the state also lost a seat in the House of Representatives due to a significant decline in its population. New York City alone lost approximately 900,000 jobs with a current unemployment rate of 11.4%.

But how do these blue states compare to our own?

Arizona is ahead of pace

Our own state certainly wasn’t immune to COVID restrictions. Governor Ducey issued a stay-at-home order for the people of Arizona in March 2020. But he stopped short of a full lockdown and other more extreme measures that destroyed the economy in states like the ones mentioned above. Instead, Governor Ducey opted for a more balanced approach, which currently places Arizona at #15 among states with the fewest COVID restrictions

And although Arizona’s unemployment rate (currently at 6.7%) may be higher now than it was before COVID, experts remain optimistic that our state’s economic recovery will be quick. After all, this higher unemployment rate is largely due to the higher number of people seeking a job.

So, while there is still a long way to go to make a full recovery, the post-pandemic future in Arizona looks strong. And thankfully, it didn’t require any sort of recall to get there.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.