At last week’s announcement of his plan for additional funding for K-12 education, Governor Doug Ducey had this to say, Ducey Land Department plan expected to bring $2.2 billion for schools:
[This would be the money judgment that is the subject of Cave Creek School District v. State of Arizona that the Governor and our lawless Tea-Publican legislature have not settled and remains on appeal.]
“Our public schools say they need more money to do their jobs. Under this plan, they will get those resources. Again, these are new dollars. No smoke and mirrors. No bait and switch,” he said.
Got that? Raiding the state land trust for education for operational expenditures, rather than capital expenditures for which the trust is intended, is new funding, separate and apart from the money judgment for inflation adjusted funding under Prop. 301 that is the subject of Cave Creek School District v. State of Arizona lawsuit.
This does not include the other lawsuit that no one is currently talking about, the lawsuit that the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest plans to file on behalf of several school districts and taxpayers alleging that the state has unconstitutionally underfunded building maintenance and soft capital for school districts, which could force the state restore hundreds of millions of dollars of budget cuts made in recent years. Lawsuit will seek funding for school maintenance. Our lawless Tea-Publican Arizona legislature is also violating the consent decree entered in Roosevelt Elem. School Dist. No. 66 v. Bishop (1994), in addition to Prop. 301 inflation adjusted funding.
Which brings me to the patrician prevaricator for the plutocracy, George Will’s mini-me at the Arizona Republic, Robert Robb. Robb ran his own public affairs and public relations agency for 13 years. Robb served on the executive committees and boards of directors for the the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and the “Kochtopus” Death Star, the Goldwater Institute for Public Policy Research. His column is frequently used to float trial balloons from these organizations. The ideas expressed are frequently not his own (think of his column as coded messages).
Over the weekend, Robb praised Governor Ducey’s plan to raid the state land trust for education for operational expenditures, and to not raise taxes. But buried in Robb’s column was this passage which gives up the lie that Governor Ducey told last week, and signals what the “Kochtopus” and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce for whom Robb shills really intend for this plan to avoid paying more taxes. Ducey ed funding plan: sound policy, brilliant politics:
There is an important loose end. While the amount of additional money Ducey proposes is enough to cover what schools are asking for in their education inflation funding lawsuit, the new money doesn’t automatically resolve the lawsuit. Schools are funded from a variety of pots of money. And additional trust fund money goes into a different pot than the pot schools claim they are owed more money from.
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If, somehow, the Ducey proposal could be accepted as settlement of the inflation funding lawsuit, and the state’s intermediate overall nut for education finance was fixed rather than uncertain, the Legislature might be willing to spend some of the available cash as a temporary boost until the larger trust distributions kicked in.
Did you catch that? Robert Robb’s column proposes to do exactly what Governor Ducey said last week that he was not doing: using a pot of money from the state land trust for education as a substitute for a settlement of the money judgment that the state owes Arizona’s school districts — not new money in addition to any settlement. The skullduggery has already begun in this coded message from Robb to his right-wing cohorts.
One last point. Robert Robb throughout his column refers to Arizona’s school districts, who are judgment creditors of the state of Arizona possessing a lawful court judgment, as the “spending lobby.” His attempt to disparage Arizona’s school districts because they seek constitutionally required additional education funding from the “Kochtopus” and Arizona Chamber of Commerce for whom he shills only serves to demonstrate his intellectual dishonesty and right-wing extremism.
You will likely never see Robert Robb admit the truth:
Our lawless Tea-Publican Arizona legislature has routinely violated two provisions of the Arizona Constitution out of ideological opposition to government, public education, and taxes:
Article XI, Section 6: The university and all other state educational institutions shall be open to students of both sexes, and the instruction furnished shall be as nearly free as possible. The legislature shall provide for a system of common schools by which a free school shall be established and maintained in every school district for at least six months in each year, which school shall be open to all pupils between the ages of six and twenty-one years.
Article IX, Section 3: The legislature shall provide by law for an annual tax sufficient, with other sources of revenue, to defray the necessary ordinary expenses of the state for each fiscal year. And for the purpose of paying the state debt, if there be any, the legislature shall provide for levying an annual tax sufficient to pay the annual interest and the principal of such debt within twenty-five years from the final passage of the law creating the debt.
Our lawless Tea-Publican Arizona legislature has for years been in violation of the Arizona Constitution because: (1) it is failing to provide for the cost of public education, and (2) it refuses to raise taxes sufficient “to defray the necessary ordinary expenses of the state for each fiscal year.”
It’s time to get over it, start complying with the Arizona Constitution, and to do what is constitutionally required by raising taxes!