Before the Arizona legislature ended their session last night, Sen. Barbara McGuire voted to give hope to 16,000 Arizona children. Sen. McGuire helped pass SB 1363, which increases the number of children eligible for education savings accounts and the amount of money the Arizona Department of Education deposits in each account. Under the bill, incoming kindergarten students assigned to a failing school will not have to attend a D or F-rated school for one year before applying for a savings account. These children will have the chance at a great education immediately and not have to attend a failing school first.
In fact, the bill provides that all incoming kindergarten students who meet education savings accounts’ eligibility provisions can apply for an account without attending a public school first. Nearly 1 in 5 Arizona public school children are already eligible for an account, including children with special needs, children attending a failing school, children in military families, and children adopted from the state foster care system.
The Arizona Department of Education deposits 90 percent of an eligible child’s portion of the school funding formula in each education savings account. Parents can use the accounts to buy online classes, hire a personal tutor, pay for educational therapy, buy textbooks and homeschool materials, or send their child to a private school. Parents can rollover funds from year to year and even save for their child’s college tuition with an account.
The bill also increases the base amount of education savings account awards to approximately $6,000, which is an increase of $3,000 over previous savings account deposits (children with special needs who use the accounts are funded using a different formula and receive a higher funding amount).
Sen. McGuire’s courageous vote proves that giving all children the chance at a bright future is a bipartisan issue. Helping children succeed should be a priority for everyone—no matter your political party.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have announced that they will not recommend candidates to serve on the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the federal health care law’s panel of 15 bureaucrats tasked with reducing Medicare costs. In a letter to the president explaining their decision, Boehner and McConnell said they “believe Congress should repeal IPAB” and “hope establishing this board never becomes a reality.”
The Board has vast power over the entire health care market to set price controls, levy taxes, and even ration care. In fact, it can propose anything its members determine is “related to the Medicare program.” IPAB’s proposals automatically become law unless Congress and the president quickly enact a substitute plan with an equal reduction in spending, and the Board’s decisions aren’t subject to review by administrative judges or courts. To add insult to injury, the Board is virtually unrepealable.
The Goldwater Institute is suing over the constitutionality of the Board, arguing that it is a violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine. Lawmakers are right to call for its demise. But will refusing to recommend board members do the job?
No. While the president must seek recommendations from Congress, the ultimate decision of whom to appoint to the Board is his. And there’s no requirement that IPAB be bipartisan. So refusing to participate in the appointment process just gives President Obama more say in the Board’s makeup.
Worse yet, stalling member appointments and confirmations may mean no one gets chosen for IPAB. To opponents of the Board, that may sound desirable. But as the Congressional Research Service recently confirmed, if no one is selected to fill the board member slots, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will wield IPAB’s powers unilaterally.
While lawmakers should work to repeal IPAB, washing their hands of the appointment process is a step in the wrong direction. When it comes to making health care decisions, the only thing worse than 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats is one unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat.
Washington Examiner: Republicans refuse appointments to Obamacare rationing board
Goldwater Institute lawsuit: Coons v. Geithner
Being the parent of a four-year old, I’m often the target of my son’s lobbying efforts for a new toy. It usually goes something like this: “If you just get me this new toy, you’ll make me the happiest boy in the world and you’ll never have to buy me anything else again!”
As an adult, I realize this isn’t true. It’s mainly a plea to value the short-term gratification more than long-term financial prudence. As any parent can tell you, four-year-olds aren’t great at long-term thinking.
In this sense, economic development consultants act like children when they talk about attracting new businesses. Maybe a “deal closing” fund can help the state attract high-profile corporate relocations, they argue. Or maybe a special job training grant. Just do it this one time and it will make our state an economic powerhouse. Pretty please!
You might also expect that corporations are eager to lobby for these sorts of things, too. However, when you ask corporate CEOs what matters most to their decision to relocate, their answers diverge greatly from those of many state policymakers and consultants.
Area Development Magazine recently published their 27th annual survey of more than 200 CEOs. Those corporate heads were asked what factors were most important to them when they consider whether to move or open a facility in a new location. The “incentives” packages that states usually offer were pretty far down the list at 13th place. Costs of doing business day-to-day and the ability to hire good workers were a much more important concern. First place went to low labor costs; second place was “highway accessibility”; and third place was “availability of skilled labor.” A bit further down the list – but still higher than special favors and handouts to a company – were low corporate tax rates (7th place), weak union power (10th place), and whether the state was a right-to-work state (11th place).
This doesn’t mean a corporation wouldn’t gladly accept a handout. But it’s likely that the lobbying would be less intense if the handout weren’t offered in the first place.
Just as a father often has to decline his son’s request for a new toy – even if it’s one that dad wants to play with too! – taxpayers should expect elected officials to act like adults as well. Sometimes “no” is the right answer.
Area Development Magazine: 27th Annual Survey of Corporate Executives
Goldwater Institute: The path to jobs is not through the red ribbon
Goldwater Institute: Research shows states don’t stimulate job growth with taxpayer handouts
Goldwater Institute: Arizona Charter Schools: A Vision for the Next 20 Years
Arizona Daily Star: Charter Schools Offer Millions for Closed TUSD Buildings
TUSD: School Master Plan
Arizona Republic: Charter schools find bargains among high vacancy
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Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have announced that they will not recommend candidates to serve on the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the federal health care law’s panel of 15 bureaucrats tasked with reducing Medicare costs. In a letter to the president explaining their decision, Boehner and McConnell said they “believe Congress should repeal IPAB” and “hope establishing this board never becomes a reality.”Read More >>
Policymakers Need to be Adults when it Comes to Corporate Handouts
Economic development consultants act like children when they talk about attracting new businesses. Maybe a “deal closing” fund can help the state attract high-profile corporate relocations, they argue. Or maybe a special job training grant. Just do it this one time and it will make our state an economic powerhouse. Pretty please!Read More >>
Charter Schools Should have Better Access to Empty Public School Buildings
The wave of school building closures comes at a time when charter schools are disproportionally represented in the list of the top performing schools in the state. As TUSD shutters schools, shouldn’t the district find a way for successful charter schools to move in and give families better options?Read More >>