Legislative Update & Proposition 123 & Food Waste
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Legislative Update & Proposition 123 & Food Waste


>>>Coming up next on “Arizona Horizon” — we’ll get the latest on the state budget in our weekly legislative update. Also state treasurer Jeff Dewit talks about education funding alternatives to proposition 123. And we’ll take you to a restaurant working to reduce food waste. Those stories next on “Arizona Horizon.”>>”Arizona Horizon” is made possible by contributions from the friends of Arizona PBS. Members of your PBS station. Thank you.>>>Good evening. Welcome to “Arizona Horizon.” I’m Ted Simons. Maricopa County attorney bill Montgomery said his office is working with the department of public safety on the freeway shooter case which appears to be open after a judge dismissed charges against original suspect Leslie Merritt, Jr. He had been accused of a series of shootings last summer but the court ruled the case be dismissed without prejudice, which means prosecutors could refile against Merritt in the future.>>>The Arizona House and Senate are getting ready to pull the trigger on a budget deal over a dozen bills were introduced last night in the Senate with the house looking at companion legislation today. It all makes for a harried atmosphere at the capitol, something minority leader Eric Meyer says doesn’t need to happen.>>It used to be different portions of the budget would go through committees, more of the members were involved. Essentially this budget was crafted by the leadership in the House and Senate and the governor with no other input. That’s a part of the problem in the house, they left a whole bunch of people out, didn’t take their recommend digs as, they have a minor revolt on their hands.>>Joining us with more on our update is Jim Small of the Arizona Capitol Times. Good to have you here. Is there a little bit of revolt happening there? The house is not moving as quickly on this as the Senate.>>I think, you know, there’s definitely some, you know, conflict in the house that is leading to the process not moving as quickly. The Senate as we speak they are hearing these budget bills in the appropriations committee. They introduced them last night. The house is set to have an appropriations committee tomorrow morning, set to introduce the bill sometime between now and then. Get them assigned to that committee. That hasn’t happened yet. A lot of that is because of this conflict. There’s a group of at least a dozen, from a dozen, maybe 15, 16 people, Republicans in the house majority caucus who have been dissatisfied by the amount of information given on the budget and were not pleased when the negotiated agreement — the agreement negotiated by the house speaker David Gowan, Senate president Biggs and governor Ducey it really didn’t reflect the priorities they told their leadership to take into the negotiations.>>Basically House and Senate, sounds like relatively swimmingly, the process, series of bills that make up the budget going through the Senate. They still have to work further but the house you got a bunch of folks saying you didn’t listen to us or understand what we wanted, we’re not happy. Are they going to be happy?>>Remains to be seen. I’m sure at the end of the day enough people will get happy enough to vote for the budget. It’s a matter of how quickly that can happen and what changes need to be made to the plan as proposed to make that happen. Fundamentally I think the big issue is K-12 education, making sure that the funding for K-12 is appropriate, that there aren’t — there’s some policy changes that result in basically funding cuts to K-12. Also just a little bit of extra money for a couple of particular programs. You know, fundamentally it’s a $9.6 billion budget. This may come down to 30 to $50 million in terms of increased spending in specific areas. Maybe a couple of policy changes.>>the policy changes you’re referring to current year attendance as opposed to previous year attendance. This does impact how much money schools get. Give us a basic lesson here as to what’s going on.>>The way school funding currently works is school districts are basically — the amount of money they get is based on the number of students the prior year. Couple reasons, one, when a governing board meets in ape April or may they know how much money they will be getting. It also gives school districts a chance to adapt and plan in advance for when their enrollment starts to drop. So if a school district goes from 1,000 to 950 the next year they have a year to figure out how to absorb the loss. What classes do we need to consolidate, what teachers don’t we need, support staff. The proposal adopted last year basically forces school districts to do a budget anticipating how many students they are going to have in their classrooms for the upcoming school year. Govern board would be meeting to plan for the August school year but they wouldn’t know how many students they are going to have. Best guess. Plan a budget for it. If the number of students comes out less they have to pay that back to the state that they anticipated having or they received in the state budget. So it’s something that kind of makes it more difficult for schools. It’s fundamentally school districts lose money students from year over year have that year transition where they don’t get that funding. So essentially it’s about a $31 million savings in the budget but that means 31 million that some school districts are going to have to eat.>>the smaller rural districts I imagine would really get hit.>>without a doubt. The fewer number of students in your district the bigger disproportionately the impact is.>>you have house wrangling, Republicans saying we need to fix this problem. If they fix the problem, say they do something about current year as opposed to previous year, it still has to go back to the Senate, does it not? Are they going to be happy with that?>>I think one much the holdups has been — the original idea was Monday they would show up, introduce the bills, vote Tuesday and today would have been the final vote and send them to the governor. Obviously not the case now. I think a lot of that has to deal with the Republican reaction in the house and an attempt to try to broker some kind of compromise or deal that would satisfy Republicans in the house and get them on board. From what we have been hearing the Senate is not interested in that, especially on this particular issue. They see it as a way to save money in the budget. the biggest challenge in trying to adapt to what these house Republicans are looking for, if it’s anything long term, any permanent change it’s going to be tough. The budget plan is structurally balanced by $2 million which means ongoing permanent revenues the state collects are greater than the permanent expenditures the state anticipates. That’s the first time in a generation that’s happened. That’s been a huge selling point for governor Doug Ducey, for Andy Biggs in the Senate. Any solution I think is probably going to have to work around that. Trying to figure out how do we work around that 2 million.>>Sounds like it’s causing problems in the house, changes could possibly cause future problems in the Senate. What about the governor’s office? What are they saying?>>They are pretty quiet. Behind the scenes we have gotten indications that they seem to be amenable to a lot of the things the house people are proposing but it takes two to tango and three to negotiate a budget. That’s the situation now.>>higher education looks like 30 some odd million but there’s a catch. 5 million will go to the so-called freedom ask schools at ASU and — what are freedom schools? Since when is higher education money earmarked for particular schools on campus?>>Higher education money is infrequently earmarked. I have a hard time remembering it in my decade plus covering the budget. These are basically economic freedom market, you know, pro free market research institutes. They are not schools where someone would go get a bachelor’s or graduate degree. They are schools but they are not — they don’t grant degrees. They do programs, research, things like that. It’s, you know, certainly peculiar. So far no one has owned up to it.>>Who is asking for it?>>No one knows. The bigamies try. These things appeared in the budget. ASU and U of A the board of regents will say we don’t know where this is coming from. Legislative leaders say, it just happened. It’s not me. It was an organic thing that came up and a groundswell of requests for this so here we are.>>Free enterprise schools, this is basically Koch brother backed philosophy, correct?>>Yes. Certainly there’s an existing school at ASU, and I think one a the U of A, started with donations basically — ASU accepted grants and donations from the Koch foundation or one of the Koch brothers to open up this school. My understanding is that this money would go to create a new school at least certain at ASU, a new one, work in tandem, maybe be a competitor.>>Is this likely something the governor wants or Senate president Biggs wants and they are just putting it in there saying, just vote on it? Doesn’t matter who is pushing it?>>I think clearly they don’t have a problem with it otherwise it wouldn’t have been in the final –>>isn’t anyone waving the flag, saying it’s me?>>Great question. We reported on this two weeks ago and we got a bunch of people scratching their heads saying I don’t know.>>that $5 million is likely to make the final cut?>>I would expect so.>>It’s changing by the hour. Good to have the update. Thanks for joining us.>>Introducing classical Arizona PBS, your classical music connection. On TV listen on digital channel 8.4. On the go download the free Arizona PBS app. Find out about classical — download the free app then follow on Facebook and twitter for news, photos and events near you. Classical Arizona PBS, your classical music connection.>>>last week we looked at proposition 123 from the perspective of a supporter. Tonight we have state treasurer Jeff Dewit who says there are alternatives to settle an education funding lawsuit. Here’s Arizona treasurer Jeff Dewit. Great to see you.>>good to be here.>>alternatives for prop 123, which takes money from the state land trust and uses that money to help reconcile a lawsuit against the legislature for not fully funding inflation adjusted education funds. What alternative is there?>>Well, first, make sure you recognize the flaws in 123, that it’s not more money, the two talking points is more money for teachers and won’t raise taxes yet it’s not more money for teachers and it raises taxes. So I think we can do a lot better.>>How is it not more money for teach centers I’m hearing teachers are already being penciled in for raises.>>in some districts they are putting this out there. In other cases they won’t get what they are being promised. I have been saying this all over the state. Five weeks it was fact checked in the Arizona Republic. More money for teachers. Zero as far as. False. Not one requirement anywhere in prop 123 that a single dollar goes to a single teacher yet they are selling this. We all know we have a problem with our teacher pay. We’re 50th in the country. We have to get it up. The deal is this was negotiated behind closed doors in the governor’s office with the school boards association. The association wanted no accountability. They promote this to other school board members saying the great thing is there’s no accountability in how we spend this money. They don’t want to give it to teachers.>>But eventually the money will be there. They may not be promised, may not be written in stone but teach letters get more money for the most part, will they not?>>It remains to be seen. In many cases they will not. So the entire budgets of our schools is about $10 billion, local, state and federal money. This is an extra $300 million. They are taking the schools’ money, giving it to them early so in ten years we fall off a cliff. I heard some being promised a $10,000 raise, 30% bump in pay. You’re getting a 3% bump in your budget. Somebody is going to be disappointed.>>you say you don’t have to go this route here. It’s easier to do what?>>Well since the time that prop 123 was announced we have had a lot of extra money come into the state. Since the first time they tried to raid the trust we had an extra $300 million come in which the budget committee said 250 million is sustainable. Since then a lot more has come in. We’re back to peak employment. The reason for the crisis was in the downturn the state was short cash so they took money from schools. We’re back. We have over $3 billion in cash in the state’s operating account. We have the highest balance post tax time any time in the state history. Just the month of April the amount of money under management in my office for the state went up by over $1 billion. 1.1 billion. We’re over 14 billion for the first time. We have so much cash all we have need is 300 million to solve this and lower taxes. Why would we want to do prop 123, which raises taxes?>>are you talking one time money?>>Continued funds.>>over ten years the money is there for over the ten years.>>the money is there to do this.>>Downturn in the economy, even if that happens.>>if there’s a downturn in the economy prop 123 would cut the funding faster because it has all these triggers. If we see the slightest dip in the economy the legislature doesn’t have to give the schools any money out of prop 123. That’s one. biggest complaints the teachers and schools have. All the triggers. This money absolutely would last a lot longer, it would take a severe downturn in the economy similar to ’09, ’10, prior to that since the great depression.>>it would take a similar downturn in the economy to render those triggers.>>No, much smaller. I encourage everyone to read the triggers. It just takes a downturn in the unemployment rate by a certain amount to trigger the triggers.>>49% of the general fund as well. By the time you got up to that level would there not be already measures taken? The environment will be so different.>>I don’t know how you think it would. We have the money to do it right now and they are not giving the money to schools. What reassurance does anyone have when there’s further money they won’t take the chance to hit those triggers? These are written in a very deceiving way and I encourage everyone to read the wording and you’ll be very scared. Everyone has reads the wording gets very nervous.>>We have discussed the triggers a lot on this program. We found those who say the money is there, you don’t need to use the land trust or go this route, don’t understand — the governor’s budget director says you’re unrealistic about this. Other folks, chicken little, flat earth society — the fact is there is a political component. It would be wonderful if everyone did certain things. Politicians, elected public officials sent there by us are saying they don’t want revenue enhancements. They don’t want these sorts of things. What you’re offering doesn’t make political sense in this environment. Do they have a point?>>And yet they don’t want revenue enhancements, yet prop 123 raises property taxes.>>For some.>>For many. There are districts, 45 districts around the state that won’t see a dollar out of the trust. All this additional money they won’t get a dollar. The only extra revenue are from the property taxes. In careful creek, big districts, they won’t get this. I actually spoke to some people in those districts. I have gone on debates and they will say you know this raises taxes. We know that, but all our bond measures get voted down. The only way we’ll get a.>>Education officials say education isn’t a priority in this state. If this gets voted down how do you convince anyone that education is a priority when this money is there, it’s a deal, it’s not perfect, it’s a deal, but it’s 70 cents on the dollar, the best they could wrangle up yet if voters say no as you want them to do, what message does that send?>>the schools have more money in their hands right now from the judgment of the lawsuit. Quite frankly from the schools’ perspective it’s one of the worst negotiations I have ever seen in my life how little they are getting on the dollar from the lawsuit they already had. I want to go back to the judge with the new information we have, we have a lot more money in the covers and let’s negotiate a better deal. We’re supposed to fund the schools out of the general fund. The trust money is there as a supplement. It’s going to grow over time but we’re never supposed touch principal. When we do it triggers a whole lot of bad things on top of us from Congress. The restrictions we’re under through the enabling if statutes of the state.>>some are arguing that’s artificially low to begin with. I think we had you on you were talking 4.something as opposed to 6.9. 6.9, you think that’s high.>>Very high.>>some folks say it’s way too low. If you don’t get the 6.9 you got to go back to the 2.5.>>I said many times we can go to 3.75. 2012 is when they ran the measure from the old formula. The old one jumped around a lot. They had a range saying they then treasurer Ducey fought to get on the low end of that range, 2.5. We can go higher. I will fully support going to and with a couple small changes we can go to 5% if we put lease revenues in, tweak how we invest the money we can get to 5% sustainably over time that will always grow. Doing 6.9 where you’re hitting the principal that’s where we violate the terms of the enabling act. It says it could go to the United States Attorney General. We could lose control to Washington.>>will you be sur suing legal action if this thing is approved May 17?>>I don’t think I’ll have to. I have heard from two lawyers already who say they are going to. I think there will be a race for lawyers to do this. I keep telling the schools if it goes through this is going to further delay funding for our schools by three to five years. They have the judgment and we can solve it right now. Prop 123 goes down we can solve it right away but if it goes through it will start a whole new lawsuit.>>schools get Mon money then. Is that a good thing?>>No, no, no. If you say no on 123, the spigot doesn’t turn off.>>right but I’m talking about the additional fund.>>If they say yes then the spigot could get shut off because the state is obviously planning on the extra money coming in but lawsuits will delay that.>>You think that’s good for Arizona?>>Nothing that’s happening down there right now is good for Arizona but I think we can do it better. These back room closed door deals which are cigar filled rooms that the politicians are doing are not working for us. We need to do this in an open, transparent fashion and we can craft a better deal. We have to do as a matter of fact. They are lying to Arizona. They shouldn’t tell people won’t raise taxes, more money for teachers. Both are proven false. We can do it the right way. It.>>Good to see you again.>>Thanks, Ted.>>>Tonight’s edition of Arizona sustainability looks at attempts to cut down on wasted food. Producer Elenee Dao and photographer Langston Fields take us to pizza people pub in Phoenix to see how this particular restaurant is tackling the issue of food waste.>>Food waste has become a big issue in the past few years.>>There’s about 63 million tons of food waste in the U.S. About 40% of the food waste comes in consumers’ homes, the other 60% is spread across three sectors, the growers, the preparers and the distributors.>>Grocery stores and restaurants are among those distributors and one restaurant owner found a way to help starting at a young age in the restaurant industry co-owner Mary Beth thought she could make a difference with pizza people pub.>>I have been in the restaurant industry since I was 14 years old. I have always been bothered by the amount of food that goes into the trash.>>After opening up the restaurant in 2013 she found ways she could help with the ongoing issue of food waste.>>all of our food goes into the compost. We have absolutely no food waste that goes to the landfill. Everything that you see on the table after a meal, everything, our paper liners, napkins, any left over food including chicken bones, pizza crust, anything that’s not liquid will go into the compost bin.>>The restaurant — compost their food which is picked up every week.>>composting is a daily activity. It comes out to about 200 gallons a week that we donate.>>it’s not an easy task to compost all of those leftovers.>>we have to actually pay to compost our food so it’s an extra restaurant expense. In restaurants the profit margin is quite small, so a lot of people don’t want to take on another expense.>>While there are a few restaurants trying to help the growing problem there are ways to help at home.>>We can be more careful about how we buy, prepare and eat food. Some ideas are prepare smaller portions so that you’re less likely to have leftover food. Make sure that you know what the expiration date of food in your refrigerator is. Make sure you use it before expiration. Buy on a more incremental basis.>>However, buying on an incremental basis and preparing smaller portion sizes may be tough for the restaurant industry.>>I attribute a lot of the restaurant food waste to portion sizes. You have to be competitive. If you want to serve a sensible portion on a plate.>>Even with big portions at her restaurant she is finally okay with what is left behind.>>now I feel fine about it. I know it’s going back into compost. Before it hurt me a lot. I didn’t like seeing that, knowing that people are hungry. So wasteful.>>A little extra effort a day can really go a long way.>>it’s worth it. It’s really worth it to pay the little bit of extra money and to do something better for our environment. I could show you a scale of like what we saved from the landfill. It would blow your mind. Think about how many restaurants are in this town. What a difference we could make. What a huge impact we could make if we all did it.>>The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have set a goal of reducing food waste by 50% in the next 15 years. To learn more about how to reduce food waste at home visit EPA.goff.>>>That is it for now. I’m Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.>>>the Julianne Wrigley global institute of sustainability is the heart of sustainability at ASU, advancing education and business practices for an urbanizing world.>>>When you want to be more informed, 8 delivers news and analysis with multiple perspectives thanks to financial support from you and –>>Albertson’s and safeway are proud to support the Arizona veterans advancement project and Arizona PBS. Learn more at AZPBS.org/veterans.>>>Ironwood CRC, a member of the association of community cancer centers, and the American society of clinical oncology. Patients have access to clinical trials and conventional therapies. Administered in a patient centered environment.>>>Friendship village Tempe a retirement community for over 30 years offers independent living, lifelong learning classes appeared continuing care. Information at friendsshipvillageAZ.com.>>>They have superpower vision. And can see in the dark. They have incredible hearing and unique flight skills.>>Very slow, very controlled.>>how do owls do it? Give us chance to learn about these mysterious birds and their superpowers. on Arizona PBS.>>>If you are 60 or over consider a charitable gift annuity. It will provide you a steady stream of income during your lifetime and also help ensure that Arizona PBS is available for future generations.>>>Explore new ideas and new worlds here on Arizona PBS, a community service of Arizona State University.>>Coming soon to Arizona PBS. you say that it’s over baby >>Out of the psychedelic ’60s, Janis Joplin. 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