Capitol Update

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We hear from legislative leaders about the latest bills and issues from the state capitol.

TED SIMONS: COMING UP NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON," WE'LL GET THE LATEST FROM THE STATE CAPITOL, INCLUDING ANY MOVEMENT ON BUDGET TALKS. ALSO TONIGHT: THE RESULTS OF A NEW POLL ON OPIOID ABUSE IN ARIZONA. AND THE MARICOPA ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENTS MARKS ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY. THAT'S NEXT, ON "ARIZONA HORIZON."
VIDEO: "ARIZONA HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.
TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO "ARIZONA HORIZON." I'M TED SIMONS.
TED SIMONS: EACH WEEK DURING THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION, WE GET AN UPDATE ON WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE STATE CAPITOL, ROTATING BETWEEN REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC LEADERS. TONIGHT, IT'S THE DEMOCRATS TURN. WE WELCOME ASSISTANT SENATE MINORITY LEADER STEVE FARLEY. AND ASSITANT HOUSE MINORITY LEADER RANDALL FRIESE. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE.
STEVE FARLEY: GOOD TO BE HERE.
TED SIMONS: LET'S START WITH THE BUDGET. WE HAD THE GOVERNOR ON LAST NIGH. READING BETWEEN THE LINES, I COULD TELL HE WANTS TO SEE SOMETHING HAPPENING HERE. HE'S TIRED OF WAITING AROUND. YOU ARE FEELING THE SAME WAY?
STEVE FARLEY: WE ARE ALL FEELING THE SAME. THE LONGER WE HANG AROUND THE MORE TROUBLE WE GET INTO AT THE CAPITAL. I HAD A MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT AND IT SOUNDS LIKE THE REPUBLICANS ARE FAR APART.
TED SIMONS: GIVE US AN EXAMPLE?
STEVE FARLEY: THE BONDING ISSUE. REPUBLICANS DON'T WANT TO BORROW MORE MONEY AND DEMOCRATS DON'T WANT TO TAKE STATE SHARED REVENUE.
RANDALL FRIESE: IT'S THE MECHANISM OF BONDING, THE SHIFT THAT PEOPLE ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH.
TED SIMONS: YOU ARE TAKING SALES TAX MONEY THAT WOULD GO TO CITIES AND TOWNS AND SENDING IT TO THE UNIVERSITIES. THE GOVERNOR SAID HE COULDN'T UNDERSTAND WHY DEMOCRATS WOULDN'T SEE THIS AS A POTENTIAL $1 BILLION WIND FALL FOR UNIVERSITIES. WHAT'S THE PROBLEM HERE?
RANDALL FRIESE: CERTAINLY OUR UNIVERSITIES NEED CAPITAL BONDING TO PAY FOR NEW BUILDING, REPAIRING STANDING BUILDINGS THAT NEED ATTENTION. THERE IS A RETURN ON INVESTMENT. ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE POSITIVE. WHAT IS THIS MONEY BEING USED FOR? CAN WE STABILIZE TUITION?
STEVE FARLEY: WE WANT THE UNIVERSITIES TO GET THEIR FUNDS. IT'S BEEN CUT SINCE 2008. YOU DON'T TAKE MONEY FROM THE CITIES ALSO STRUGGLING WITH CUTS. YOU FIND A NEW WAY OF FUNDING THE UNIVERSITIES. ALL OF US ARE IN SUPPORT OF THAT. THE GOVERNOR HAS A TRACK RECORD OF TAKING IT FROM OTHER PEOPLE INSTEAD OF COMING UP WITH NEW REVENUES.

TED SIMONS: GIVE AND TAKE, WHAT ABOUT A COMPROMISE?
STEVE FARLEY: $6.5 MILLION OUT OF GENERAL FUND MONEY TO FUND THAT PORTION OF THE PROGRAM INSTEAD OF FROM THE CITIES. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE WOULD BE GLAD TO TALK TO THE GOVERNOR ABOUT. HE'S ONLY TALKING TO REPUBLICANS AT THIS POINT.
RANDALL FRIESE: IT'S NOT JUST DEMOCRATS THAT WANT TO HOLD THE CITY HARMLESS. THERE ARE A CORE GROUP OF REPUBLICANS THAT FEEL THE SAME WAY.
TED SIMONS: DEMOCRATS USUALLY LIKE TO SEE THE HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING SEEING A POTENTIAL $1 BILLION HERE, I THINK HIS CONFUSION WAS, WHY ARE YOU NOT STEPPING ONBOARD WITH THIS?
RANDALL FRIESE: IT'S BEING COMFORTABLE WITH THE MECHANISM, WHERE THE FUNDING IS COMING FROM, HOLDING THE CITIES HARMLESS AND DOING IT IN A RESPONSIBLE FISCAL WAY.
STEVE FARLEY: THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO TAKE $90 MILLION FROM THE HERTZ FUND, THE GAS TAXES AND USE THEM TO BALANCE HIS BUDGET. WE HAVE DONE THIS OVER THE YEARS AND THERE IS A BI-PARTISAN MAJORITY THAT SAYS DON'T TAKE IT FROM OUR ROADS. WE NEED TO PAY FOR OUR INFRASTRUCTURE.
TED SIMONS: HOW MANY RURAL REPUBLICANS ARE JOINING DEMOCRATS?
STEVE FARLEY: I THINK ALL OF THEM. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO GET THEM ONBOARD UNLESS THEY DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE SHIFT.
TED SIMONS: THE SWEEP OF HIGHWAY FUND IN THE HOUSE, WHAT ARE YOU SEEING THERE?
RANDALL FRIESE: SIMILAR. RURAL MEMBERS ARE CONCERNED AND WANTING TO FUND IT THE SAME WAY AS TWO YEARS AGO.
TED SIMONS: OTHER STICKING POINTS?
STEVE FARLEY: TEACHER PAY IS A PROBLEM. THE GOVERNOR PROPOSED A $15 A MONTH RAISE. I HAVEN'T MET A TEACHER WHO ISN'T INSULTED BY THAT. REPUBLICANS WANT TO DO AT LEAST 1% AND DEMOCRATS WANT TO GIVE A 4% INCREASE TO TEACHERS. 44% OF OUR TEACHERS LEAVE AFTER TWO YEARS. WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO STEM THE CRISIS.
TED SIMONS: THE HOUSE CAME OUT WITH A BUDGET OUTLINE. 1% RAISE NEXT SCHOOL YEAR AT $34 MILLION. DEMOCRATS ONBOARD WITH SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

RANDALL FRIESE: AS THE SENATOR SAID, THIS IS A 1% RAISE. ONCE YOU GET TO THE FIFTH YEAR, THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN IS BETTER THAN THAT. I STAND WITH THE TEACHERS ASKING FOR A 4% RAISE. WE PUT TOGETHER AS A HOUSE MINORITY WITH OUR SENATE COLLEAGUES A PLAN TO GET US THERE NEXT YEAR $136 MILLION.
TED SIMONS: ARE YOU GETTING SUPPORT FROM ANY REPUBLICANS SUPPORTING THAT PLAN?
RANDALL FRIESE: NO.
TED SIMONS: WHAT ABOUT REPUBLICANS THINKING THIS IS POSSIBLE?
STEVE FARLEY: THEY DON'T INCLUDE DEMOCRATS AT THIS POINT. THAT MAY BE WHY WE WANT TO CHANGE GOVERNANCE AFTER 2018.
TED SIMONS: THE IDEA OF AN EDUCATION VOUCHER EXPANSION, THE GOVERNOR THOUGHT IT WAS A GREAT IDEA, GOOD OPPORTUNITY FOR PARENTS. DEMOCRATS VERY MUCH AGAINST THIS. WHY? THE VERB AGE RUNS FOREVER, BUT PUTTING MONEY INTO A FAM'S COFFER TO USE AS THEY SEE FIT. WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?
STEVE FARLEY: 94% OF PARENTS CHOOSE PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR THEIR PROGRAM. THIS WOULD TAKE MONEY FROM PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND GIVE IT TO PEOPLE WHO DON'T NEED IT TO PAY FOR. IF YOU GET IT TO PUT TOWARD A PRIVATE SCHOOL YOU HAVE TO COME UP WITH THE $15,000 TUITION IT COSTS. FEW PEOPLE IN THE STATE CAN AFFORD THE MONEY. YOU HAVE A DIVIDE BETWEEN THE HAVES AND HAVE NOTS WHERE THE HAVE NOTS ARE PAYING FOR THE HAVES.
TED SIMONS: YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO GET INTO A BETTER SCHOOL THAN THE FAILING SCHOOL YOUR KID NOW ATTENDS. DO THEY HAVE A POINT?
RANDALL FRIESE: CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. I DON'T BELIEVE THEY HAVE A POINT. IF WE APPROPRIATELY FUND THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS, WE CAN HELP THE SCHOOLS THAT ARE FAILING. WHEN WE SIPHON MONEY OUT OF THE GENERAL FUND INTENDED IF OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS, WE ARE ENHANCING THE PROBLEM. WE MAINTAIN PUBLIC EDUCATION THAT IS UNIFORM. WE ARE NOT DOING THAT WITH PROGRAMS LIKE THIS. WE HAVE TO STOP THE FLOOD OF MONEY OUT OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND RESTORE PUBLIC EDUCATION.
TED SIMONS: ANYMORE PALATABLE THAT THERE IS A CAP. THE ORIGINAL IDEA, NO CAP, TAKE OFF AND GO.
STEVE FARLEY: I WARNED REPUBLICANS ON THE FLOOR, THE CAP MEANS NOTHING. IT COULD DISAPPEAR WITH ONE LINE AND BE GONE. THE MINUTE THE GOVERNOR SIGNED THIS BILL, THE GOLD WATER INSTITUTE CROWED IN A FUNDRAISING E-MAIL THAT THEY'LL ELIMINATE THE CAP. IT WAS AN EXAMPLE OF TRUTH. ON THEIR PART THEY ARE GOING TO GET RID OF THE CAP AND THEY WANT 1.1 MILLION KIDS TO TAKE THIS.
TED SIMONS: WITH THAT IN MIND, DO YOU THINK THIS WAS NEGOTIATED IN GOOD FAITH?
STEVE FARLEY: I DON'T BELIEVE THEY INTENDED TO KEEP FAITH THERE. IT WAS BETWEEN REPUBLICANS AND OTHER REPUBLICANS.
RANDALL FRIESE: I THINK THE AMENDMENT IS FLAWED. IT CREATES A SYSTEM SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL. IF YOU HAVE A CHILD IN THE STANDARD DISTRICT SCHOOL TRANSITIONING TO AN ESA THEY GET LESS THAN TRANSFER FRG A CHARTER SCHOOL. SENATOR LEFKOW'S BILL SHOWS IT COSTS MONEY. WHEN YOU DO DISTRICT ESA CREATING A SYSTEM SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL PARENTS FUNNEL THEIR CHILD FROM THE PUBLIC SCHOOL TO A CHARTER SCHOOL. THAT COSTS THE GENERAL FUND.
STEVE FARLEY: WE CUT 21% SINCE 2008. YOU CAN'T CUT, CUT, CUT, GUT OUR SCHOOLS, PUT THIS IN PLACE AND SAY YOU HAVE FAIR CHOICE. WE HAVE WORKED HARD TO PUSH FOR MORE FUNDING. TEACHERS OF THE YEAR SAID WE NEED MORE FUNDING. THIS IS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO TEACHER, KIDS AND PARENTS.
RANDALL FRIESE: THIS BILL IS PURE POLITICS, NOT GOOD POLICY. IT CAME OUT QUICKLY. THE AMENDMENT QUICKLY. THE SECOND FISCAL NOTE THE NIGHT BEFORE. THE SENATOR IS ON THE FLOOR WITH AN HOUR TO LOOK AT THE AMENDMENT AND WE WERE ON THE FLOOR THAT AFTERNOON. THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF NOTHING BUT POLITICS.
TED SIMONS: BEFORE WE GO THE GOVERNOR SAID WE HAVE UNTIL 2021. GRADUAL INCREASE UNTIL THEN. HE SAID WE'LL LOOK AT IT, SEE IF IT WORKS, SEE HOW IT WORKS AND GO FROM THERE. DOES HE HAVE A POINT?
STEVE FARLEY: HE WANTS TO TAKE SIX YEARS OUT OF A CHILD 'RE LIFE AND EXPERIMENT? DON'T EXPERIMENT ON OUR CHILDREN, GOVERNOR.
TED SIMONS: YOUR THOUGHTS?
RANDALL FRIESE: WHY NOT TAKE MORE TIME AND VET THE BILL, GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE TO LOOK AT THE FISCAL NOTE, 27 PAGE AMENDMENT. GIVE US TIME TO DIGEST AN UNDERSTAND BEFORE WE HAVE TO GO ON THE FLOOR TO VOTE ON THE ISSUE. SENATORS HAD FEWER HOURS. I DON'T FEEL WE ARE PROPERLY VETTING THE BILLS. IT'S NOT ABOUT GOOD POLICY AT ALL.
TED SIMONS: GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. THIS IS ARIZONA HORIZON. STAY WITH US AS WE LOOK AT POLL RESULTS ON CONCERNS OVER OPIOID ABUSE IN THE STATE.

Senate assistant minority leader Steve Farley
House assistant minority leader Randall Friese

Opioid Abuse Poll

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