“Educators worked hard last summer during a pandemic to collect enough signatures to get INVESTinED on the ballot,” says AEA President Joe Thomas. “Voters have been clear in their support for investing in public education by passing Prop 208 last November. This budget is a slap in the face for educators and voters.”
The proposed state budget spends the surplus on a regressive flat income tax that will permanently drain billions from state revenue and tip the scales in favor of the wealthiest 1% in Arizona. In addition, the budget includes a tax cap that threatens the Invest in Education Act, which voters approved last November and educators worked to get on the ballot to provide $940 million in permanent sustainable funding for our schools.
In a survey among over 1,000 AEA members, 89% disagreed with the statement about creating $1.5 permanent tax cuts for millionaires over investing in our schools and communities as the best option for this Legislature.
“The governor and legislature have the opportunity to invest the billions of dollars in surplus and rainy funding into our public schools,” says Deer Valley Kindergarten teacher Kelley Fisher. “Funding that can be used to address the teacher shortage, provide full-day kindergarten, ensure every school has a counselor, nurse, and librarian.”
In addition, the budget includes policy items attacking teachers by slapping $5,000 fines on teachers who discuss controversial topics in the classroom. “This budget is anti-education and anti-teacher,” says Chandler science teacher Katie Nash. "Science classrooms around the state need lab equipment and resources to prepare them for 21st century jobs. Instead of focusing on funding, lawmakers are targeting educators by sneaking in an unpopular, previously defeated gag bill.”
“Arizona is facing a teacher shortage,” says AEA Treasurer Angela Philpot. “This budget will drive even more teachers out of the classroom driving up higher class sizes.”
“Educators are taking action and contacting their legislators to ask that they oppose this terrible budget and work on a bipartisan budget that invests in public education without permanent tax cuts,” says Thomas.