We’re seeing millions of dollars flow into Arizona campaigns from California in an effort to change our Legislature and state policies to mirror California’s. Given California’s status as a national punchline and the steady flow of people leaving California to come to Arizona, that would seem a hard sell.
After all, we’re creating jobs, increasing school funding, attracting new employers and enjoying a higher quality of life at a lower cost.
But that kind of money, flowing into negative attack ads that distort the truth, can be effective. In my race alone we’ve seen nearly $1 million spent on these attacks, so let’s set the record straight.
As a state representative for the past four years, I’ve increased education funding every year, increased teacher pay by 20%, built a $1 billion rainy day fund to help Arizona weather future economic downturns, reduced burdensome regulations, required insurance companies to cover those with preexisting conditions, help strengthen our health care system so that quality care could be more affordable and more accessible to every Arizonan, and we did all of this while cutting taxes and keeping our budget balanced.
As a result Arizona has one of the top economies in America, our unemployment rate is already down to near pre-pandemic levels, we are again one of the fastest-growing states in America, our student test scores have shown steady improvement, and we are closing the achievement gap with our minority students as well.
In short, what we’re doing is working. So why let California turn us into a poor imitation of their state?
I’m proud to run with Beverly Pingerelli, who proved herself through years of service on our local school board.
Our opponent is Kathy Knecht — the recipient of this California cash from donors and groups who support the same radical agenda of higher taxes, defunding our police, stripping private insurance from Arizonans, and adding expensive new layers of taxation and regulation.
While on the school board, Knecht voted against raising teacher pay and against increasing classroom funding. That’s the opposite of how she campaigns, and that hurts our schools, teachers and students. Knecht wants a $1 billion increase in sales taxes starting in 2021 that will crush small businesses and cost us jobs. And Knecht wants to single out Sun City for additional taxation. With a radical left-wing record like that, no wonder California is all in on helping her.
California is broken. In spite of all of its natural wonder and its glorious climate, it is a failed state mired deeply in debt, unable to take care of his own citizens. It is losing tens of thousands of jobs each year as companies give up, shut down or move elsewhere. No rational person would want to turn a successful state into California.
So, I ask every voter to remember why they live in Arizona, I ask for their vote so we can keep Arizona special and successful, and I hope that together, we don’t let them California our Arizona.
Kevin Payne is a candidate for the Arizona House representing Legislative District 21.