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Press Release

AEA Statement on Proposed State Budget

Today, the Arizona Legislative Republican Leadership and Governor Doug Ducey reached an agreement on a state budget proposal that prioritizes tax cuts for the rich over investing in our public schools.
Published: 05/18/2021

“Our state’s leaders have an opportunity to invest billions of dollars into our public schools over the next decade without additional taxes,” says AEA President Joe Thomas. “We could ensure every student has access to nurses, librarians, counselors, and still hire enough teachers to reduce class size. Instead, Republican leadership proposes eliminating those critical student supports by cutting up to $1.5 billion from future school budgets and giving those dollars to the wealthiest Arizonans through new tax cuts.” 

“The voters passed INVESTinED because they want to increase funding in our schools, specifically to address the state’s teacher shortage crisis,” says Thomas. “By undermining the funding INVESTinED was created to build upon, we erase all the gains we made for our students. This proposed budget is a slap in the face to educators and voters.”

Also today, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report ranking Arizona nearly dead last in per-pupil spending in the United States. While Arizona sits on billions of dollars in surplus and a rainy day fund, the poorest state in the country, Mississippi, spends $659 more per student than Arizona. 

This short-sighted budget deal includes a regressive flat income tax that will permanently drain billions from state revenue and tip the scales in favor of the 1%.

“Arizona’s lower income families will be hit hardest by this budget by placing the tax burden on them,” says Thomas. “Fewer state resources mean fewer educational opportunities for our students.”

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Keeping the Promise of Quality Public Education

With more than 20,000 members, the Arizona Education Association (AEA) is the largest professional association for public school employees in Arizona. AEA members are teachers, community college professors, counselors, speech pathologists, bus drivers, secretaries, retired educators and student teachers and they belong to more than 150 local affiliates across Arizona.