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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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“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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Trump picks Antonin Scalia’s son to replace disgraced former Labor Secretary: report

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On Thursday, NPR reported that President Donald Trump is naming Eugene Scalia, the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to take over as Secretary of Labor.

Scalia, who served on the court from 1986 to his death in 2016, was known as one of the staunchest conservatives on the bench. His seat was deliberately kept vacant by Republicans for over a year to deny President Barack Obama the ability to make an appointment to it.

The Department of Labor was until this month run by former federal prosecutor Alexander Acosta, who resigned in disgrace amid renewed questions about his role in brokering a potentially illegal sweetheart plea agreement with hedge fund manager and accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

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Trump border official melts down on MSNBC after refusing to admit Trump lied about ‘mass raids’

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," Ari Melber confronted acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan about President Donald Trump's empty threat of "mass raids" of communities nationwide by immigration officials — and Morgan was not pleased.

"The president said there would be these mass raids. Described as thousands of arrests," said Melber. "Were there mass raids, yes or no?"

"First of all, I don’t actually call this a raid," said Morgan. "I think words matter."

"Words matter, so I’m going to get to your response," said Melber. "Were there mass raids as promised?"

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DOJ policy blocking Trump from being indicted ‘factored into’ the end of the Stormy Daniels case: report

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Federal prosecutors decided to close the investigation into the 2016 criminal hush money payment to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal that benefitted the Trump campaign because, in part, of the policy that prevents the indictment of a sitting president, according to a new report from USA Today citing an anonymous source.

Michael Cohen has already pleaded guilty to the violation of campaign finance law. He said that he carried out the effort in coordination with and at the direction of then-candidate Donald Trump in order to increase his chances of victory in the 2016 presidential election.

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