CONTACT: Carlos Alfaro
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2020
WEALTHY LOBBYISTS USE COVID-19 PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM FUNDS TO SUPRESS EDUCATION FUNDING AND TAKE RESOURCES AWAY FROM CHILDREN
Firm Representing Opponents to Prop 208 - Invest In ED Received a $150,000 - $350,000 loan from a CARES Act program Intended to Support Struggling Small Businesses in the Midst of the Pandemic
(PHOENIX)—United States Small Business Administration records show that Molera Alvarez LLC, the firm representing the opposition group to Proposition 208 - Invest in Education, received a forgivable loan for up to $350,000 from funds that were designated to help small businesses on the brink of shutting down because of the COVID-19 health pandemic. The high-priced lobbying firm has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from wealthy clients including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Aetna, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Molera Alvarez, LLC also lobbied for private prisons (Corrections Corporation of America,) and payday lenders (Community Loans of America.)
“It’s disgusting that a highly profitable lobbying firm that pads its profits by misleading voters at the behest of wealthy clients took scarce funding away from small businesses and non-profits that needed it,” said David Lujan, Executive Director of the Arizona Center for Economic Progress.
“Even worse are the No on 208 campaign’s lies about Stand for Children, a highly reputable non-profit organization with thousands of Arizona parent volunteers and more than a decade of impact for Arizona students.”
The group promoting voting no on Prop 208 falsely accused Stand for Children, Inc., a member of the Yes on 208 Coalition, of using PPP funds to support the ballot measure. Records clearly indicate that Stand for Children Leadership Center, Inc., a 501c3 organization that has not contributed any funds to Prop 208, received the PPP loan. Stand for Children, Inc. a separate 501c4 organization which did not apply for a PPP loan, is the entity that has provided funding for the Prop 208 campaign.
Stand for Children Arizona has deep roots in the community, with over 11 years of family engagement and advocacy in the Phoenix area and longstanding support from highly respected local foundations.
“The small group trying to defeat Prop 208 will stop at nothing to keep funds from reaching Arizona classrooms,” said Rebecca Gau, Executive Director of Stand for Children Arizona. “I’m a mom of two boys, born and raised in Arizona, who both attended Arizona public schools. I have dedicated my career to creating opportunities for Arizonans. It’s very unfortunate but also telling that the No on 208 campaign is spreading lies and trying to discredit an organization working for children and parents.”
“Prop 208 gives voters the opportunity to restore the deep cuts that politicians have made in the past decade that have shattered Arizona’s education systems,” said the Rev. Martha Seaman of the Arizona Interfaith Network. “Our children are falling behind due to overcrowded classes resulting from an acute teacher shortage crisis. While opponents continue to make false claims in an attempt to fool voters, multiple economic impact studies support this effort to reinstate ten years’ worth of education cuts and better position the state’s children to succeed. Rich politicians and lobbyists have failed for over a decade to provide a meaningful solution to the funding crisis, but they look after their own interests exceedingly well.”
Prop 208 - Invest in Ed levies an additional 3.5% income tax surcharge for Arizona taxpayers with taxable income over $250,000 (or over $500,000 for taxpayers who are filing joint returns). The $940 million raised from Prop 208 will provide for much-needed investments in Arizona’s K-12 education system directly impacting students and teachers. 99.95% of funding from Prop 208 would support:
- Hiring and increased pay for teachers
- Classroom support personnel (e.g. nurses, counselors)
- Student support services personnel (classroom aides, school safety, student transportation)
- Teacher mentoring and retention
- Career technical education for students
- Funding for the Arizona Teachers Academy