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State Budget Behind Closed Doors: Not Enough to Protect Arizona Families

State budget negotiations have been behind the scenes like usual and an official budget proposal was released yesterday for hearings today. While the budget has some small signs of progress for children and families, the big picture will do nothing to improve children’s health education and security. The good news is the votes are not nailed down and there is still a chance to re-shape this budget!

If you have a “Request to Speak” RTS account on the legislative computer system, please click here and sign in against the main budget bills, HB 2537 and SB 1522. Please ask legislators to vote NO on any budget without a 4% teacher raise.

A summary budget chart is attached and some highlights/lowlights are listed below.

  • The budget includes funding for a 1% teacher raise next year and anticipates an additional 1% raise the following year. We are calling for at least a 4% teacher raise next year to take a meaningful step to address our teacher shortage crisis.
  • The budget includes $37 million in “results-based” funding for select district schools and charter schools that are already excelling. Most of the funds go to higher income schools so they will not help close the achievement gap and the funds are not guaranteed for future years so they can’t be used for teacher salaries or ongoing expenses.
  • Nothing in the budget helps children growing up poor to prepare for success in school. Child care rates remain the lowest in the country with thousands of qualified working parents turned away every year. The lifetime limit for TANF cash assistance remains 12 months – the lowest in the nation. Almost no welfare reform funds are spent on job training and helping people move successfully into the workforce.
  • Hidden below the surface of the printed budget are millions more of our tax dollars going to private schools through tax credits and ESA vouchers, corporate tax cuts still phasing in, and new business tax cuts that will grow over time — all leaving fewer resources for public schools.

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