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Arizona Supreme Court boots educational funding proposal off November ballot

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The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday to remove a proposal from the November ballot that, if passed, would have pumped $690 million into Arizona’s public education system by raising taxes on the state’s highest earners.

The court found the proposition’s description of the change in tax rate along with a lack of any discussion of changes in indexing for inflation collectively “creates a significant danger of confusion or unfairness,” justices wrote in the decision.

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The development is the latest in the fallout from teacher protests and walkouts in several U.S. states earlier this year that attempted to bring awareness to what they say is the need to spend more money on education.

“Our highest court has joined the entrenched politicians at the capitol in blatantly protecting the elite and the wealthy over the rights of voters and the needs of Arizona’s children,” said Joshua Buckley, Co-Chair of the “Invest in Education” proposal.

Supporter of the measure said new money was desperately needed to reverse years of cutbacks to public schools by Arizona elected officials.

Under the ballot measure, which is supported by the Arizona Education Association, voters would have been asked to approve a tax increase on high-wage earners to provide a dedicated revenue stream for education.

The measure proposed a 3.46 percent tax increase on income of individuals above $250,000 and households above $500,000. A 4.46 percent hike would be imposed on income of individuals over $500,000 and households over than $1 million, if voters approved the measure.

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Sixty percent of the new dollars would have gone to teacher salaries and the remainder to be allocated for operations, according to the proposal. Full-day kindergarten and pay raises for support staff also would be funded.

“Not only was the initiative poorly crafted, it was the wrong plan. It would have harmed all taxpayers, small businesses, and would not have delivered on its promises for teachers, while weakening education reforms,” said Jaime Molera, chairman of Arizonans for Great Schools and a Strong Economy, a group opposed to the measure.

Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Michael Perry

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‘People’s lives will be lost’: Psychiatrist warns ‘sociopath’ Trump is ‘getting worse’ — and failing in coronavirus response

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President Donald Trump's psychological problems are getting worse and could be consequential as America faces a potential COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Thursday interviewed Dr. Lance Dodes, a former assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

"As you pointed out, Lawrence, this man is about himself. He really is not about the country, he's not about public health," Dr. Dodes said of Trump.

"Although he has already severely damaged the country by being a psychopath or sociopath -- in many ways, he's damaged democracy -- I think people's lives will be lost now," he warned. "Individual lives will be lost because of the way he's mishandling the coronavirus issue."

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2020 Election

‘Something really rotten’: Here’s the evidence of extensive voter suppression in Georgia’s notorious 2018 election

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As the 2020 presidential campaign cycle grinds on, there’s renewed concern about the 21st century’s newest form of warfare: cyber-sabotage of government systems, including elections and online disinformation intended to incite unrest. But as Suppressed: The Fight to Vote, a documentary from Brave New Films, makes clear, partisan voter suppression tactics with 20th-century roots remain and can thwart multitudes of voters from changing their state’s political leaders.

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The real story behind Trump’s new lawsuit against the New York Times

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Wednesday was an ominous day for freedom of the press in this country, and I want to tell you why.

You may have heard or seen that President Trump filed a libel suit against the New York Times. Perhaps you weren’t surprised: the president is known to frequently disparage the Times even as he reads it obsessively. Borrowing a page from what I’ve referred to before as a Mount Rushmore of totalitarians, Robespierre, Hitler, Stalin and Mao, Trump loves to call the press the “enemy of the people.”

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