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Arizona’s Tax Collections Are Not Growing Fast Enough To Re-Invest in Public Education

November 30, 2017

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(Phoenix, AZ) – State revenue projections show that relying on economic growth without tax increases is not a realistic plan to reinvest the funding our schools need. Children’s Action Alliance highlights this gap in a new Return on Education policy brief.

The data show that $1.1 billion in state funding for public schools is still missing compared to fiscal year 2008, before the budget cuts during the Great Recession. Based on current revenue projections, even if all available revenues are invested in public schools, more than $800 million would still be missing. And that would mean not a single new penny spent on university operations, water issues, prison inmate health care, relief to the counties, or the opioid crisis.

“Arizona politicians, business leaders, and parents have higher expectations for student success and educational achievement,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, President and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance. “But until we have a real plan to restore state revenues, our children will continue to experience a severe shortage of permanent teachers in their classrooms, outdated textbooks and technology, and dysfunctional school facilities.”

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities compares public education investments across states and finds Arizona had the highest percentage drop in state funding per student between 2008 and 2015. Arizona specific figures reported by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee show that funding per student adjusted for inflation rose between 2017 and 2018, but state funding per student in 2018 is 19% below 2008.

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