Friday, January 16, 2015

Ducey’s budget shortchanges schools, jobs and the people of AZ

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate and House Democratic leaders released statements on Governor Ducey’s proposed budget. Also included is a comparison of what the governor said in his Monday State of the State address versus what he did in the budget proposal.

What Ducey Said
(State of the State address, Jan. 12, 2015)
What Ducey Did
(Budget Proposal, released Jan. 16, 2015)
“In Arizona, educational excellence is a priority…That’s why I propose to spend not less in the classroom than last year, but more.”
Ø Cut $13.5 million overall from K-12 schools*
Ø Cut $75 million from universities
Ø Cut 50 percent from the state’s largest community college districts
*See explanation below
“The business at hand…is to expand Arizona’s economy.”
Ø Slashed Arizona Commerce Authority’s budget by $100 million
Ø Eliminated general fund support for Arizona Office of Tourism marketing
“I suggest we demand more fiscal responsibility from our government.”
Ø Will spend $100.7 million on private prisons over three years, although private prisons cost the state more per prisoner

Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs:
“Actions speak louder than words, and today we've see that the words Governor Ducey spoke at the State of the State were hollow. The budget he revealed today cuts funding for neighborhood schools, universities and economic development efforts, all of which we know give taxpayers a return on their investment,” said Sen. Hobbs. “And while his budget takes from our schools and universities, forcing tuition raises on Arizona's middle class, it gives away more than $100 million to private prisons. Is this what Governor Ducey meant when he closed his State of the State address by saying, "Let's give our best for Arizona"?

“Don't let Governor Ducey's disingenuous marketing campaign fool you. This budget does not put #ClassroomsFirst and it doesn't prepare us to succeed in the #AZFuture. It puts special interests and private prisons first and it takes our state backward.”

House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer:
“Governor Ducey’s budget proposal continues the Republican legacy of undermining Arizona’s economic recovery. In his State of the State address, he said he would spend more in classrooms but in this budget plan he’s again cutting education, and he fails to follow through on his promise to settle the public school inflation funding lawsuit. Since he is taking more resources from schools and universities, our kids will not get the kind of education they need to be prepared for the global economy, and Arizona will continue to fall behind,” said Rep. Meyer.

“His commitment to expanding the economy is all political rhetoric too. He’s cutting the Arizona Commerce Authority’s budget by $100 million. The ACA is tasked with bringing businesses and jobs to our state. Arizonans need a better return on their investment than this budget, which just repackages failed policies.”

The Math:
Overall, Governor Ducey's proposed budget cuts K-12 operating funding by $13.5 million.

Here's why:
  • It increases school funding by $134.1 million ($85.2 million in inflation funding and $74.4 million due to court case)
  • But then requires a 5% cut to traditional schools’ “non-classroom spending” and a 3.5% cut to charter schools totaling $123.7 million
  • It uses $2.9 million in unspent Department of Education funds plus,
  • Takes $21 million that last year was available to all K-12 schools as “Success Funding” and uses it to pay for charter school capital costs that only a few charter schools will benefit from IF they are legally able to use the money
So the math is:
 $134.1M  in new spending
$-123.7M  in reductions
= $10.4M  net increase
  $-23.9M  transferred from Student Success Funding/Dept. of Ed to Schools Facilities Board
=$-13.5M  total net loss to K-12 operating funds

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