School choice is the civil rights fight of the 21st century. No parent should be forced to send their child to a failing government school. It is unconscionable to take our citizens’ tax dollars and spend them on schools that have repeatedly failed to live up to our high education standards.
Arizona is already a leader in providing choice to parents of all economic backgrounds, and must continue to invest in charter schools. We can ensure that every Arizona parent is able to spend their education dollars at the school of their choice.
Higher standards must be enacted to hold public schools accountable. If they don’t measure up, their funding should be redirected to private charter schools that do. We cannot continue to make excuses for consistently underperforming schools – our childrens’ education is at stake.
Arizona parents and Arizona legislators know best how to educate our children. We must resist attempts by the federal government to intervene in what should be local decisions on education.
Education funding has increased $2.7 billion over the past eight years – including a 20% teacher pay increase. But Arizona’s school funding formula needs to be revised to ensure equity in funding. The teacher experience index should be removed, and a poverty weight should be added. These steps would go a long way to allocating an equitable amount of funding to poorer schools, which currently receive 12.5% less funding.
Base special needs funding on intensity of need, centralize capital funding, and reduce over-reliance on local revenues. This will ensure that poorer school districts, who often are unable to raise local revenues, still receive an equitable portion of school funding.
Propose a proposition that will repeal Prop 208, and replace it with a increase of the statewide sales tax that will be directed to the Basic State Aid program – no strings attached.
Arizonans passed Prop 301 in 2000 which instituted a 0.6% sales tax to fund education. This currently brings in $656.5 million in FY 2019, or 11.6% of state K-12 funding. That money is currently earmarked for grant funding, which as mentioned above, should be avoided.
A 0.9% sales tax increase would raise approximately $950 million, more than the $940 million that Prop 208 is projected to raise by its proponents.
To drive down healthcare costs we must increase choice, reduce cost, and increase transparency for Arizonans. To reduce cost, Arizona should join an interstate compact which will allow citizens to purchase health insurance across state lines. Laws and regulations should be relaxed to increase the availability of tele-health which will increase access for all Arizonans. Certificate of need laws must also be repealed to increase competition in healthcare.
To increase transparency, we must require that all pricing is available upfront so patients can see what is being charged for their test, scan, or procedure. Arizona should create a mandatory all-payer claims database, which collects health care price and quality information and make that information directly available to the public online.
In addition, malpractice reform is desperately needed to reduce the frequency of “defensive medicine” that results in unnecessary tests and treatments. The current system of paying millions of dollars to malpractice attorneys does not help prevent actual malpractice.
Arizona has already joined an interstate medical licensure compact, and an interstate telemedicine licensure compact. This will allow medical professionals from other states to practice in Arizona without needing to reapply for their licenses. This will encourage more medical professionals to relocate to our state and increase the supply of healthcare services. We must continue to pursue similar measures to increase supply, thereby lowering prices for all Arizonans.
Arizona must have the same high standards for state run medical programs like Medicaid that we do for education. Funding should be focused on direct care, not administration. Performance based standards must be implemented. In addition, Arizona must continue to invest in mental healthcare for our citizens who need it most.
The opioid epidemic is still a problem for Arizona and continued investments will be needed. Continuing to improve access to substance abuse treatment, and cracking down on forged prescriptions and pill mills can help solve this persistent issue.
No one outside of Arizona understands the consequences of lax border security the way that Arizonans do. An unsecure border allows dangerous cartel members to flow freely into our state bringing crime and suffering with them. Arizona must use every law enforcement resource available to assist the federal government in securing our border.
We must work at every level, including local police, county sheriffs, and even the Arizona National Guard, to fight the drug cartels bringing in methamphetamines, heroin, and fentanyl. These dangerous drugs are the root of the opioid epidemic that is ravaging our communities. Arizona must cut off this problem at the source.
In addition to drug trafficking, cartels operate massive human trafficking operations that victimize tens of thousands of innocents every year. Securing our border and preventing these individuals from accessing the interior of our country will put an end to this horrible practice.
Arizona is home to some of the most beautiful natural wonders that our country has to offer. All Arizonans have the right to enjoy our deserts, forests, rivers, and lakes. We will continue to invest in state parks so that future generations have the same opportunities to enjoy nature that we have today.
Protecting the environment includes proper forest management. To avoid the mistakes other states have made, Arizona must take an active role in thinning forests, performing controlled burns, and providing fire fighting resources.
Other states have not balanced housing development and protecting the environment well, which has resulted in severe housing stock shortages and skyrocketing rents. To avoid this situation, Arizona must continue to allow responsible development so our state’s population can continue to grow.
As a result of our successful economy, Arizona’s population is growing at an incredible rate. The state must continue to invest in the water infrastructure we need to supply our growing population with a clean, reliable supply.
Arizona can become a leader in renewable energy, and reduce its carbon footprint, by increasing our investment in nuclear energy – which already provides 27% of our state’s electricity. Nuclear energy is the cleanest, cheapest, most reliable form of energy available today and produces the least amount of waste.
Arizona already leads the nation in defending the right to life. Our state requires parental consent for abortion, informed consent, an opportunity to view an ultrasound. Partial-birth abortions are banned, abortions may not be performed on a viable fetus, and physicians have a duty to promote the life of a baby delivered alive. We must ensure these laws remain on the books.
Arizona can do more to ensure that no taxpayer dollars are going to any organization that performs abortions. Even if those dollars are not directly earmarked for abortion, they are subsidizing an organization that performs them. Arizona must stand for life, and respect the wishes of our taxpayers.
There are thousands of children in Arizona without a permanent home who are relying on an already overwhelmed foster care system. Increasing funding for foster care and adoption services will help ensure that every child has the chance at a family.
The United States Constitution protects an individual right to own firearms. This right has been understood from our founding, and been upheld by the Supreme Court. Our constitution also protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizure and mandates due process. Red flag laws violate each one of these civil rights and therefore must be opposed outright.
Additional federal gun control that infringes on the rights of Arizonans must be opposed. Arizona must follow the lead of Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, and Wyoming and pass Second Amendment Sanctuary legislation that forbids local law enforcement from enforcing unconstitutional gun control.
Arizona also leads the nation in stiff criminal penalties for anyone who uses a firearm to commit crime. As a result, gun crime in our state is lower than the national average. We must continue to ensure that crimes committed with firearms are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
More than half of all gun deaths in our country are a result of suicide. We can do more to prevent suicide by investing in mental healthcare for our most vulnerable – including our veterans.
Now that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is behind us, we must learn from the mistakes of the past. The World Health Organization has concluded that strict lockdowns cause more harm than good by increasing suicide, domestic violence, and poverty. If another pandemic strikes, we should pursue alternatives that protect our most vulnerable while at the same time allowing Arizonans to make their own decisions about how to best run their lives. Information, not regulation, is the key to successful policy.
The time to prepare for the next pandemic is now. Arizona should continue to invest in emergency preparedness to ensure that the state will be able to stand on its own without needing to rely on the federal government for support. This includes stockpiling necessary medical supplies independent of any federal government program.
Combating the growing homelessness problem in our major cities will also require additional investment. Our state psychiatric programs and mental health hospitals need additional funding to ensure they can effectively treat patients, and prevent them from living on the streets. Arizona needs to address this problem head on before it spirals out of control as it has in neighboring states.
The government imposed lockdowns shuttered a third of our economy but Arizona has bounced back. We have succeeded where other states have failed because of our pro-business policies that welcome both companies and their workers. We must continue to simplify our tax code to encourage companies from other states to relocate here.
With successful policies, we can encourage the growth of what is now being called the Silicon Desert. The increase in remote work is also an opportunity for Arizona to attract workers from high-tech companies. Our state can provide a lower cost of living for these workers who have been priced out of housing in other states.
Arizona has led the way in reducing unnecessary regulations that hurt our small businesses and kill jobs. Continuing to deregulate will help our entrepreneurs succeed. We must enact legislation that will mandate eliminating three existing regulations for every new one passed by the legislature.
To reduce the cost of electricity, Arizona must expand our existing nuclear energy plant and create new, next generation technology that will provide clean, reliable, 24/7 energy at a fraction of the cost of other options.
Arizona spends more than $1 billion per year on prisons, and does not receive an adequate return on investment. Violent crime remains a problem because far too many resources are being diverted to nonviolent crime.
The number of nonviolent offenders sent to prison can be reduced by defelonizing drug possession, as Alaska, California, Connecticut, Oklahoma and Utah have over the past several years.
In addition, first time offenders can be redirected to deferred prosecution programs and adult drug courts, which will reduce their rate of recidivism.
These reforms will allow the state to redirect hundreds of millions of dollars to law enforcement agencies that can use it to prevent, investigate, and prosecute violent crime.