I posted yesterday about what the GOP budget reveals: The evidence is in: no reason to trust our Tea-Publican legislature and governor to support public education.
Howard Fischer reports the GOP budget reveals that Governor Ducey’s oft-repeated assertion that Prop. 123 is a “first step” to more education funding is a scam. His budget actually cut education funding, again. Ducey, lawmakers looking to restore education cuts:
A tentative agreement being negotiated late Thursday would reverse a year-old decision by lawmakers to change how the state calculates aid to schools. The result would be to restore money that schools would have lost in the agreement announced earlier this week.
The deal being worked on also would scrap a proposed change in law that would penalize districts which use their own taxpayer dollars to construct needed new schools.
“We’re very close,” the governor said in a Tweet.
But Ducey shares at least part of the blame for why the process has dragged on.
Gubernatorial press aide Daniel Scarpinato acknowledged [Ducey] agreed to the $9.58 billion spending package unveiled earlier this week. That plan already has gained approval of the Senate Appropriations Committee on a party-line vote.
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Pressure has been building amid increased scrutiny of the fact that the budget proposal — the one that is supposed to represent the consensus of Ducey and the GOP leaders — actually would cut the amount of money going to K-12 schools this coming year.
It also comes as Ducey is trying to convince voters to approve Proposition 123 to tap the state education trust fund to settle a lawsuit and provide more money for schools over the next decade.
More to the point, the governor, in a bid to line up votes for Prop 123, is promising that the infusion from the ballot measure is just a “first step” in improving education funding. The fact that the budget deal announced earlier this week would actually cut education funding makes that a harder sell.
Some would call this a Bait and Switch while others would simply call it fraud. It is a scam nonetheless.
On paper, that announced budget plan includes $132 million new funding for K-12 schools. That, however, simply reflects both the growth in the number of students as well as the voter-mandated requirement — one the state is finally obeying — to boost aid every year to account for inflation.
But that plan also would change how the state computes how much each school district gets, using each school’s current enrollment versus the number of students it had last year. That change harms more districts than it helps.
The bottom line is that K-12 funding next year under the deal Ducey agreed to would have been $21 million less than what the schools would otherwise get automatically just from enrollment and inflation.
The revelation of this scam was too much for The Republic‘s Laurie Roberts. More Cuts to K-12 schools? Really, Gov. Ducey? Really?
Wake up, Arizona.
So this, then is the promised second step after Proposition 123?
A $21 million cut to public schools?
This, while offering up another $26 million in mostly corporate tax cuts?
For months, we’ve been listening to Gov. Doug Ducey extol the benefits of Prop. 123, the proposal to push off some of the state’s obligation to fund K-12 schools onto the kids by siphoning more from the state land trust.
For months, Ducey has promised that it was only a “first step” toward improving the schools while refusing to say what that second step might be.
Well, now we know.
Under the proposed budget for next year, K-12 schools — schools that have endured some of the nation’s deepest cuts since the Great Recession — will actually get less money than they got this year, after inflation and student population growth are taken into account.
Let me say it again. OUR LEADERS ARE CUTTING FUNDS FROM SCHOOLS EVEN AS THEY ASK YOU FOR PERMISSION TO SIPHON MORE MONEY FROM OUR KIDS’ TRUST FUND TO PAY THE STATE’S OBLIGATIONS.
Meanwhile, the budget contains another $26 million in tax cuts. This to go along with the 2011 tax cuts that when fully implemented will cost the state $346 million a year – or roughly the amount the state should be paying (but have refused to pay) to cover inflation.
Outraged shouldn’t even begin to cover it.
The budget contains just $13 million in ongoing new money for the state’s three universities. Of that, $5 million is earmarked for three “economic freedom” think tanks at ASU and UA — all of which were started with seed money from the Charles Koch Foundation. The founding director of one of those think tanks, ASU’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty, has called to eliminating public schools.
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Do you see what’s going on here?
Surely, voters see what’s going on here and are ready to demand better than this.
Something to think about as you watch the avalanche of TV commercials full of smiling kids over the next few weeks, part of a multi-million-dollar campaign to convince you to vote yes on Prop. 123 so they can get their hands on the kids’ trust fund to pay what should be the state’s obligation to educate them.
Should be, but only if voters demand it.*
You know that old saying about how you get the government you deserve? In just 19 days, I suppose we’ll find out just how gullible we really are.
Their scam having been exposed, our lawless Tea-Publican legislators met in the dark of night Thursday night beginning at 9:00 p.m. to try to reverse this public relations nightmare brought about by their own hubris and contempt for the intelligence of the voters of this state. State budget plan amended to boost school funding:
The Arizona House kicked off its only public hearing on the Republican budget proposal in the dark of night Thursday, with leaders announcing they had reached a compromise in the fight over school funding.
At the beginning of the hearing, House Appropriations Chairman Justin Olson, R-Mesa, announced they would be introducing amendments to the original $9.58 billion budget proposal. A coalition of Republican House members had been pushing for weeks to boost the plan’s education funding.
The amendments introduced in Appropriations Committee on Thursday appear to be a win for the lawmakers fighting to protect school funding. They include:
- Giving schools another $15.5 million to fully cover the effect of the current-year funding shift.
- Giving charter schools an additional $5.3 million to offset the small-school cuts.
Increase the amount given to district-sponsored charter schools to fully hold them harmless.
- Add $23 million to the School Facilities board for construction in the Agua Fria and Chandler districts.
All of the money added to the budget will be one-time money.
The increase will be covered with cuts to several areas, including a $9.5 million decrease in the amount the state will get for roads, a $5.2 million cut in the amount counties and cities will get for roads, and a $21 million transfer from the Health Insurance Trust Fund.
What our lawless Tea-Publican legislators giveth, they taketh away from someone else, because the GOP First Commandment is “Thou shalt never raise taxes” (even though the Arizona Constitution commands that they do so).
* Several years ago Laurie Roberts ran a “De-Kook the Capitol” campaign. Her theory was to elect more moderate Republicans in the GOP primary (because Democrats were irrelevant to her). The result was a miserable failure. The handful of mythically moderate Republicans in the legislature were replaced with more radical extremist Republicans. Good job!
Laurie Roberts is apparently not quite ready yet to accept the only solution to Arizona’s decades-long GOP culture of corruption: “throw the bums out!” and elect a Democratic “wave” into a majority in the Arizona legislature that will begin to drain the swamp from a decades-long GOP culture of corruption in Arizona.
I know the patrician prevaricator for the Plutocracy, George Will’s mini-me, Robert Robb, tells you that it is not possible, that Republicans will always enjoy one-party rule in Arizona, that it is their divine right to lord over us all. Well he’s full of shit. Revolutions do happen when the people have been pushed to the brink and decide “enough is enough!” You can be part of the solution, or you are part of the problem. Join this fight.