Arizona Republic: It’s painfully clear that David Garcia has no plan to fund Arizona education
The Arizona Republic
September 26, 2018
“Would you let me finish?”
David Garcia lost his temper several times during Monday’s debate, this time when Gov. Doug Ducey asked if he had a plan to fund education. He kept his cool better in the second debate Tuesday but continued to be frustrated by questions from Ducey and reporters about his phantom funding plan.
Much of the debates focused on schools. Considering the #RedforEd protests this spring, that made sense. What didn’t make sense is Garcia’s silence when asked where any of his promised money would come from.
He wants more money but opposed raises
The Democrat claims that he wants more money for schools – a lot more. But he characterized Ducey’s historic pay raise for teachers – a whopping 20 percent over three years – as a “half-measure” and a “broken promise.”
Teachers who saw their paychecks jump might disagree. And taxpayers definitely do.
Garcia opposed the raises, slapping away every GOP hand reaching far across the aisle. Why help teachers in May when it might hurt his chances in November?
In politics, sometimes you need to accept that big loaf of bread, even if it’s missing a slice or two. But compromise isn’t an option when the lure of doubling taxes is on the horizon.
Garcia was an early backer of the Invest in Ed initiative and hoped it would squeak through to the ballot. The progressive scheme would have punished taxpayers mercilessly to ensure overstaffed school district offices got in on the revenue our overworked teachers now enjoy.
Unfortunately for Garcia, organizers worded the initiative so deceptively that the state Supreme Court tossed it out.
Why doesn’t Garcia have a Plan B?
Propositions get knocked off the ballot all the time. A serious candidate would have had a Plan B. But Garcia isn’t a serious candidate.
Like many progressives, he is quick with promises of funding education and everything else you can think of. Free college for everyone! Medicare for all! But the whole paying-for-it thing is never considered.
Perhaps Garcia believes there’s a magical money spigot hidden somewhere on the ninth floor of the executive tower. If elected, he can crank it open and fund not only our schools but any pleasant-sounding government program his far-left allies cook up.
But serious candidates know there is no secret cache of dollars. Every dime comes from the wallets of Arizonans – including our teachers.
During the first debate, Garcia repeated the canard that Arizona is last in the nation for teacher funding. Depending on how you measure it, the pay raise moved the state from about 40th in the nation to 16th in teacher pay. Ducey repeated this fact several times, but Garcia continued to mislead on the point.
If Garcia seriously believes his numbers, his strident opposition to the 20 percent raise is even more confusing. He wisely abandoned the false claim in the second debate.
Are schools really in constant crisis?
Even Democrats must agree that K-12 education is in a much stronger state than it was when Gov. Ducey took office. Funding has been increased by $2.7 billion, with the majority making it to the classroom – and teachers’ bank accounts. Just this month, Education Week showed that Arizona had the greatest K-12 ranking jump in the nation.
For Garcia to win, however, he must portray public education in perpetual crisis. That’s why he opposed the teacher pay increase and why he refuses to mention the exceptional investments and achievements made over the past four years.
Garcia is running as a protest, not a serious candidate. He is a man without a plan, hoping instead to win a race because he has a D after his name instead of an R. Hope is nice, but a serious candidate would offer much, much more.