STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs (D-24) and House Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios (D-27) released the following statements on Governor Ducey's budget proposal:
Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs (LD24):
“At the beginning of this legislative session nobody thought we'd be talking about giving educators a 20 percent raise. The credit for making that happen rests entirely with Arizona's dedicated and passionate educators who made their voices heard.
“After years of neglect and empty promises, our educators deserve an iron-clad commitment that their raises will be delivered and be permanent, but Governor Ducey's plan to pay for them raises serious sustainability concerns and forces other state services to suffer.
“Right now we have the opportunity to sit down with legislators, the governor and, most importantly, educators to find a way to fund a 20 percent raise as quickly as possible and not subject to the whims of legislative appropriation or economic fluctuations. This increase should also cover other instructional and classroom support personnel.
“We've been advocating for meaningful increases to K-12 funding and educator pay for the decade since Republicans started slashing education funding. Now that Republicans finally agree with the goal of increasing educator pay, we must work together to ensure the execution of that goal is done sustainably and responsibly.”
House Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios (LD27):
“Make no mistake, Democrats strongly support 20 percent pay increase for our public-school educators, and doing it without shifting funds from other education priorities. We have been pushing for a real, meaningful, sustainable pay increase for our educators for years. We stand with all educators -- teachers, counselors and all support staff – who have led the incredible Red for Ed movement.
“Thanks to them, the Governor has made an abrupt about face on this issue in the right direction. However, as details of his proposal emerge, it's clear he is not having an honest conversation with Arizonans. We must raise educator salaries in a sustainable way without taking much-needed money away from universities (that are training our workforce), environmental protections (that keep our air and water clean), healthcare and other services for Arizona's most vulnerable populations.
“We need to bring educators to the table with all stakeholders to find a reliable, dedicated and sustainable funding source for education. We need all revenue options on the table to do this right, not simply robbing Peter to pay Paul. We are ready to make the tough decisions to do this correctly.
“As it stands, Governor Ducey is cutting vital services and making a risky bet on perpetual revenue growth in a state with a historically cyclical and sometimes volatile economy. If Arizona experiences an even slight downturn, the demand for AHCCCS and other vital services will go up, pitting those services against education and throwing this budget out of balance. There are better options.”