The Veridus Weekly 10-5-18

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Important General Election dates:
 
Voter registration deadline - October 9,2018
Early ballots to be mailed - October 10, 2018
General Election - November 6, 2018

In Focus

This week, the Arizona Republic released a new statewide poll offering insight into a number of key races on the November ballot. Conducted in partnership with Suffolk University, the poll surveyed 500 likely Arizona voters -- gauging voter opinions on everything from contentious candidate races to controversial ballot measures to hot-button issues like education, immigration, the economy and healthcare.
 
Perhaps most notable is the polling in the gubernatorial race. In what was initially expected to be a tight race, Republican Governor Doug Ducey has opened up a double-digit lead over Democratic challenger David Garcia. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate race is shaping up to be among the tightest in the country. Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema edges Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally by just 3 points, well within the margin of error.
 
With just over a month until Election Day, here’s where things stand:
 
U.S. Senate:
  • Vote/Lean McSally 41%
  • Vote/Lean Sinema 44%
  • Vote/Lean Green 2%
  • Undecided 10%
  • Other or Refused 1%
Note: The results of this poll are within the margin of error.
 
Governor:
  • Vote/Lean Ducey 49%
  • Vote/Lean Garcia 38%
  • Vote/Lean Torres 2%
  • Undecided 9%
  • Other or Refused 0.6%
Proposition 125, Public Retirement Systems
  • Yes 28%
  • No 40%
  • Undecided 31% 
Proposition 126, Prohibition on the Taxation of Services:
  • Yes 48.0%
  • No 31.4%
  • Undecided 20.6%
Proposition 127, Renewable Energy Production:
  • Yes 33%
  • No 46%
  • Undecided 19%
Proposition 305, Expansion of Education Empowerment Scholarship Accounts:
  • Yes 41%
  • No 31%
  • Undecided 27%
Proposition 306, Restriction on Use of Campaign Funds by Clean Elections Candidates:
  • Yes 29%
  • No 32%
  • Undecided 28%


Phoenix City Council kills medical marijuana tax
Arizona Republic

The Phoenix City Council voted unanimously to kill a tax proposal that could have cost medical marijuana dispensaries millions of dollars each year.

After backlash from the medical marijuana industry and transparency concerns voiced by council members, Mayor Thelda Williams was forced to back down on the idea.

The tax plan would have raised $40 million to $50 million per year for the city's police and fire departments by taxing medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation sites by the size of the facilities.

Some marijuana businesses would have been on the hook for more than $1 million under the tax model.

[...] Read more HERE.

Fife Symington considers 2020 Senate run
Arizona Capitol Times

Former Gov. Fife Symington is contemplating running in the 2020 special election to fill the seat long held by Sen. John McCain.

Should Symington, a Republican, run, he could be pitted against former Attorney General Grant Woods, with whom he locked horns when the two were both in elected office.

Symington, who resigned during his second term, called the idea of running for U.S. Senate intriguing.

“I think it would be very interesting,” he said. “It’s something I would look hard at.”

Friends have encouraged Symington to run, he said. While he’s interested in the prospect he’s also torn because he has grown comfortable being out of the political spotlight, Symington told the Arizona Capitol Times.

But Symington is encouraged by the idea that he might get a chance to run against Woods.

“That really would be a great encounter,” he said. “I can’t think of a better candidate to campaign against. We would have a lot of fun dishing it out.

“First of all, we have to find out what party he belongs to.”

A Republican, Woods said he is considering running for the seat as Democrat or an independent. Woods a close confidante of McCain’s, decided after his friend’s death that the Republican Party has abandoned its moral compass.

Congressman Ruben Gallego, a Democrat, has also expressed interest in the seat.

Symington and Woods go way back. Woods was elected attorney general at the same time Symington was first elected governor.

The two often clashed while they were serving in elected office.

The attorney general’s office under Woods looked into some curious campaign contributions Symington received from his wife and late mother. Symington later tried to strip the attorney general’s office of its entire civil division when allegations of a bid-rigging system surfaced.

Symington was first elected governor in 1991, but stepped down during his second term because he was indicted on 23 charges, including wire fraud, bankruptcy, attempted extortion and attempted fraud. In 1998, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison for bank and wire fraud, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later overturned the conviction. President Clinton pardoned Symington in 2000 as he left the Oval Office.

After McCain’s death, Gov. Doug Ducey appointed former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl to the vacant seat on September 4. But Kyl said he won’t run in 2020, and he may not serve past the end of the year. If Kyl steps down early, Ducey will have to appoint someone else to the seat.

Read HERE. (Subscription required)

Despite so-so tax climate, Arizona lures business relocations and expansions
Arizona Republic

Arizona has attracted a steady stream of company relocations and expansions this year despite a tax climate ranked as only 27th-best in the nation.

The Tax Foundation, in a Sept. 26 report, placed Arizona slightly below average in its latest assessment of five key categories. Arizona enjoys favorable rankings in corporate and individual income taxes, in property taxes and in unemployment-insurance taxes.

But it was pulled down by sales taxes, with generally high rates and a complex system.

Arizona is among a group of states that impose high sales-tax rates and tax a range of goods and services including utilities, certain services, manufacturing and leases, the report said.

Sales taxes in Arizona vary by city and county but average about 8.3 percent. Combined rates in larger cities here include 8.6 percent in Phoenix, 8.7 percent in Tucson, 8.05 percent in Mesa and 7.95 percent in Scottsdale, according to an Arizona Republic study.

Arizona dropped from 25th place in last year's Tax Foundation study but has been ranked near the middle of the pack for several years.

[...] Read more HERE.

A Record 800,000 People Registered to Vote on National Voter Registration Day
Time

A record number of people registered to vote in the midterm elections on National Voter Registration Day last week, surpassing the previous record set during the 2016 presidential campaign.

More than 800,000 people registered to vote this year as part of National Voter Registration Day, which fell on Sept. 25. The corresponding campaign had aimed to register 300,000 people.

[...] By comparison, the holiday drew in 771,321 voter registrations in 2016. In 2014 — the only other midterm election for which the holiday has existed — 154,500 people registered to vote. The holiday was first observed in 2012.

[...] Read more HERE.


Veridus clients in the news
Letter: Medicaid expansion paying off for Arizona patients, hospitals
Arizona Daily Star

It’s been five years since a bipartisan group our Arizona elected wisely expanded our indispensable Medicaid program, known as AHCCCS. More than 1 in 4 Arizonans depend on this safety-net program, including over 817,000 children. That’s 1.7 million people statewide.

Enrollees in AHCCCS come from every community. People with disabilities. Veterans. Seniors. Low-income families. Members of the working poor. What they have in common is the need for basic, life-saving healthcare.

AHCCCS is their lifeline. The good news is, since our state expanded AHCCCS in 2013, the number of Arizonans with access to critical healthcare is up. And the amount Tucson Medical Center and other hospitals are paying to treat people without insurance is down, reducing the burden on Arizona families by helping to keep health insurance premiums down.

AHCCCS is saving lives and money – that’s the real legacy of Medicaid expansion.

Will Humble
Executive director, Arizona Public Health Association

Read more HERE.

Arizona Federation of Teachers opposes Prop. 127 mandate
Chamber Business News

Arizona Federation of Teachers (AFT) has joined more than 80 local organizations in opposition to Proposition 127, the renewable energy mandate led by California billionaire Tom Steyer. Due to concerns about increased costs on schools and families, AFT made its opposition public this week as early voting soon approaches.

“Prop 127 is a threat to Arizona teachers, who will face significantly higher utility bills if this initiative becomes law,” the AFT statement read. “Whatever recent gains Arizona teachers have made in terms of improved pay will be largely wiped out by Prop 127. It will add an estimated $1,000 per year to the electricity costs paid by teachers and Arizona families.”

The coalition against Prop 127 warns that added utility expenses may especially hurt those least able to pay, including seniors, low-income families and small-business owners. This is due to the expenses associated with meeting the 50 percent renewables mandate.

AFT also emphasized the direct cost to K-12 schools, “Prop 127 both reduces property tax revenues – a critical funding stream for public education – while significantly increasing school costs for heating and cooling. Prop 127 is expected to cost Arizona K-12 schools more than $300 million in added expenses for overhead between now and 2030. We believe this money would be better spent in the classroom to improve teacher pay, reduce class sizes and give our teachers the tools they need to help students succeed.”

The estimates from the local utilities between now and 2030 reveal nearly $700 million in additional expenses for public K-12 schools, community colleges and public universities combined.

The Arizona Federation of Teachers is a state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.

The American Federation of Teachers has more than 1.3 million members nationwide and is an affiliated international union of the AFL-CIO.

Read more HERE.

Governor Doug Ducey congratulates  AACM on our 15th Anniversary


(click image to view video)

View a copy of the Governor's Proclamation HERE.
 
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In case you missed it . . .
 
Arizona news:

Phoenix mayoral candidates talk public safety, government spending

Phoenix votes to delay, and possibly kill, northeast light-rail extension

More health insurers to enter Arizona ACA marketplace in 2019

Arizona Republic poll: Sinema has edge over McSally in close Senate race

They could be Arizona's governor — and their last names aren't Ducey or Garcia

Arizona Republic poll: Sen. Jeff Flake unpopular with Arizona voters

Arizona Republic poll: Half of Arizonans support putting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court

State to seek appeal of ruling on Israel boycott law

Arizona treasurer candidates Mark Manoil and Kimberly Yee spar in azcentral debate

Here are Arizona's top 50 high schools ranked by 2016 SAT score

Facing shortage as November approaches, Maricopa County scrambles to find poll workers
 
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