There is great enthusiasm among Democratic circles that the Invest in Ed ballot initiative will pass this November and restore about two-thirds of the 2008 education funding levels by taxing our wealthiest residents.
The question now is what comes after. What dedicated source will make up the remainder to fund education at 2008 levels? And more importantly, will this mechanism fund our schools at 2019 levels and get us out of the cellar of national ranking scales for education funding?
While writing for Blog for Arizona, I’ve interviewed candidates running for LD office and Superintendent of Public Instruction, as well as Noah Karvelis of Red for Ed, which spearheaded the Invest in Ed initiative along with the Arizona Center for Economic Progress. Their immediate focus is passing Invest in Ed in November. As to what comes after, many echo Gubernatorial Candidate Steve Farley’s proposal to rescind corporate tax giveaways. Other ideas center around general tax reform, taking away tax credits (including those for vouchers) that go to private schools, a constitutional amendment that mandates school funding with inflation adjustments, increasing state bonding capacity for school construction, and – if absolutely necessary with no other available options – raising the sales tax.
So here’s the important public policy consideration to remember: Invest in Ed is not the end for funding our schools. It is only the beginning. If Democrats perform as expected this November, they will consider many ideas to bring Arizona out of the nation’s basement of funding education.