World Arizona school tax backers cry foul after Andy Biggs links their funding to PPP loans

17:34  15 october  2020
17:34  15 october  2020 Source:   foxnews.com

The President’s Case for Tax Reform

  The President’s Case for Tax Reform Trump’s $750 bill shows the need for a wealth tax and a stronger IRS.A bombshell New York Times investigation of nearly two decades of his tax returns showed that he paid zero federal income taxes in 10 of the years from 2000 to 2015, and just $750 in both 2016, the year of his first presidential campaign, and 2017, the first year he spent in the White House. Millions of Americans counted among the working poor, including some with earnings putting them just above the poverty line, paid more in annual federal income taxes.

Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs is calling on the federal government to investigate whether a nonprofit used money from Paycheck Protection Program loans to back a referendum on Arizona school taxes, a claim the organization calls a "desperate lie."

In an Oct. 6 letter provided exclusively to Fox News, Biggs told Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration chief Jovita Carranza he was "alarmed" to learn from constituents that an Oregon-based non-profit, Stand for Children, was "a major recipient of between $1-2 million" in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding from last spring's CARES Act.

Budget 2020: What we know will be included for SMEs and startups

  Budget 2020: What we know will be included for SMEs and startups As Treasurer Josh Frydenberg prepares to deliver the 2020 federal budget, here's what SMEs and startups can expect to see.The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we do business in this country, and as business owners consider how to keep going during a recession, they’ll be looking closely at what the federal government intends to do to help them.

The organization contributed well over $3 million in the second quarter of 2020 to advocate for an Arizona ballot initiative, Proposition 208, that would raise state income taxes to fund public education, Biggs wrote, asking the agency heads to review the reports.


"I am disturbed that a nonprofit seemingly took advantage of a program designed to help employers meet basic payroll needs in order to extravagantly fund a highly charged advocacy effort," he continued.

Stand for Children has vehemently denied that any money from PPP loans has been used for its support of Prop 208, noting that its community programs and lobbying efforts are handled by separate organizations with similar names.

Budget tax cuts tipped to boost household saving rather than lift us out of COVID recession

  Budget tax cuts tipped to boost household saving rather than lift us out of COVID recession Leading economists argue people are more likely to save rather than spend tax cuts during a recession, reducing any boost they may have on the economy.Before the pandemic, Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi was one of many working mothers who would have benefitted from the Government's latest income tax cuts for middle-income earners.

Stand for Children Leadership Center Inc. is a 501(c)(3) public charity that devotes its resources to educational activities. Such organizations, to which donations are tax-deductible, are strictly prohibited from engaging in any political activity for or against candidates for public office.

Alternatively, Stand for Children Inc. is a 501(c)(4) organization, to which contributions aren't tax-deductible, that engages in political activities including lobbying.

Stand for Children Inc. explained in an Oct. 1 statement that it had not applied for a PPP loan, though the charity had received one.

Stand for Children Inc. Arizona Executive Director Rebecca Gau told Fox News that while the organizations share some staff members, they have separate boards with firewalls between them. Contributions aren't shared between groups, she said.

Stand for Children Inc. joined the fight for education funding during the 2018 "Red for Ed" movement, but its work supporting the act was upended when a state Supreme Court ruling kicked Prop 208 off the ballot at that time.

Arizona Has Become More Like Nevada, Paving the Way for Biden to Surprise

  Arizona Has Become More Like Nevada, Paving the Way for Biden to Surprise The Biden campaign sees a state that swept Democrats like Senator Kyrsten Sinema into statewide office amid the 2018 blue wave, and a muscular grassroots operation primed to help Biden flip it for the first time since Bill Clinton walloped Bob Dole in 1996. "I've seen how far Arizona has come in general," Neri told Newsweek. "Cycle after cycle, they got closer, candidates lost then they won, they lost then they won." While Hillary Clinton lost to Trump by 3.5 percent in2016, the Real Clear Politics average has Biden ahead by 2.7 percent.

This year, the organization worked with stakeholders to devise something "everybody could support" and launched signature-gathering in February.

Gau said that Biggs was coming after the non-profit "because lobbyists told him to."

"This is their tactic right now," she said. "Instead of discussing the actual issues honestly, they're making these ridiculous, absolutely false claims and trying to gin up interest in a story that is not a story."


Prior to her role at Stand for Children, Gau served as director of the Governor’s Office of Education Innovation where she launched and led state efforts to implement former Republican Governor Jan Brewer’s Education Reform Plan. Her two children were educated in Arizona public schools.

Gau highlighted her organization's roots in the Arizona community, with 11 years of engagement in the Phoenix area and support from respected local foundations.

"Stand [for Children] is focused on ensuring all students receive a high quality, relevant education, especially those whose boundless potential is overlooked and under-tapped because of their skin color, ZIP code, first language, or disability," she wrote.

Trump taxes: A 'fundamentally unfair' system?

  Trump taxes: A 'fundamentally unfair' system? What do Donald Trump's tiny tax bills say about the taxes of the wealthy?"Like every other private person, unless they're stupid, they go through the laws, and that's what it is," he said during last month's presidential debate, when confronted over the New York Times report that he had paid just $750 in income taxes to the federal government in 2016 and 2017, and for 10 years, paid nothing at all.

The group became involved with Prop 208 "after years of frustration over the funding cuts to education in our state," she said.

If approved by voters, the measure -- generating an extra $940 million a year -- would levy an additional 3.5% income tax surcharge on Arizona taxpayers with taxable income over $250,000, or over $500,000 for taxpayers who are filing joint returns.


Tax hikes would be placed on the top 1% of earners in the state, and a "yes" vote would mean raising the maximum income tax rate for high earners to 8%.

Proponents of the ballot measure, or the Invest in Education Political Action Committee's "Invest in Ed" Act, want the additional revenue to go toward increased pay for teachers as well as classroom and student support and the addition of career and technical education programs.

"I’m very disappointed that Congressman Biggs has blindly picked up the opposition campaign’s desperate lies about Stand for Children," Gau said.

According to the Arizona Secretary of State's election fund's portal, the Invest in Education PAC has received over $4.67 million in contributions.

Prop 208 is co-sponsored by "Invest in Ed" chairperson and high school teacher Amber Gould, most of the state’s Democratic state legislators, and State School Superintendent Kathy Hoffman, who is also a Democrat, according to 12 News.

Thousands gather for anti-government protest in Pakistan

  Thousands gather for anti-government protest in Pakistan Demonstrators protest rising inflation across Pakistan, particularly for food staples such as flour and vegetables.The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of 11 opposition parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League’s Nawaz faction (PML-N), the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and the Jamiat Ulema Islam’s Fazl faction (JUI-F) held its first major public demonstration on Friday after being formed last month.

Critics like Molera Alvarez LLC and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, on the other hand, argue Prop. 208 would harm Arizonans, not improve education.

Opposition groups claim that Prop 208 does not guarantee funding would go toward raising teacher salaries because an expanded definition of who is deemed a teacher would provide loopholes for administrators to pocket the money.

The "Yes on 208" camp retorts that the state's existing definition of a teacher is too narrow, pointing out that schools will be subject to the same accountability measures they are now.

A key part of the dissent against Prop. 208 is that the measure will hurt small business owners by placing an onerous tax on them. The committee against the act estimates that 50% of those affected by the tax are small business owners.

"Invest in Ed" supporters unequivocally deny that the measure would hurt small businesses and are quick to point out that a surcharge doesn't kick in until after deductions are factored in.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the median income for self-employed individuals is about $50,000.

The independent Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimates the average tax increase for those making between $250,000 to $499,999 would be $120, the average increase for those making between $500,000 and $999,999 would be $5,549 and the increase for those reporting income between $1 and $4 million would be $40,287, according to an analysis by The Arizona Republic.

Gau told Fox News she had conducted her own analysis in accordance with the study and found that 99.95% of Prop 208 dollars "will go exactly where intended" to support teachers, support staff and mentorship programs for teachers.


The amount of money that's flowed into education in Arizona since 2018's "Red for Ed" demonstrations is significant. In its 2020 budget, the state spent $6.5 billion on education, compared with $5.3 billion two years ago.

However, not every teacher received a 20% raise promised by Ducey's phased "20x2020" plan because allocating the money was left up to school districts and charter schools.

Astronaut on mission to win second Arizona Senate seat for Democrats .
From the International Space Station to Congress? Astronaut Mark Kelly is leading an unlikely political "mission" to win a second Senate seat for the Democrats in the traditionally conservative state of Arizona. Until recently, few would have thought it possible for the Democratic Party to make major inroads in this southwestern state with a long Republican tradition. But thanks to changing demographics and growing discontent with President Donald Trump among the state's moderate conservatives, Kelly believes he can win the upper-house seat while helping deliver Arizona's electoral college votes for Joe Biden.

usr: 0
This is interesting!