Arizona Education Association

Summer 2021

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SUMMER 2021 | ADVOCATE 5 AT THE CAPITOL Budget Cuts $3 Billion in State Revenue Invest in Arizona O n June 30, 2021, Governor Ducey signed a state budget that prioritizes tax cuts for the wealthy over investing in our children's education. "Governor Ducey and legislators had a tremendous opportunity to invest in public education funding using the billions of dollars in surplus," says AEA President Joe ˜ omas. "Instead, they chose to line the pockets of their wealthy donors by creating a multi-year billion-dollar tax cut and a tax loophole for the wealthy to avoid paying taxes to invest in education." Last year, educators worked to get the Invest in Education Act on the ballot and voters approved the measure to provide $940 million in permanent sustainable funding for our schools by implementing a 3.5% tax for those with incomes over $500K. ˜ is budget undermines the will of voters and spends the state surplus on a regressive ° at income tax that will permanently drain billions from state revenue and tips the scales in favor of the wealthiest 1% in Arizona. "˜ is budget fails to fund full-day Kindergarten. It fails to provide schools with enough resources to repair their buildings and build new schools when needed. It fails to address Arizona's shortage of teachers," says ˜ omas. "˜ is budget will have devastating consequences for our students and educators for decades with the expansion of the private school voucher program and permanent loss of $3 billion in state revenue over the next few years." A private school voucher expansion was amended to the K-12 Education Budget bill, further diverting tax dollars away from public schools into private schools without any accountability. Arizona's private school program is rife with fraud, waste, and abuse and several reports show it has no positive academic impact for our students. AEA has rallied members, educators, and education supporters to contact legislators and sit in the gallery to lobby elected o˛ cials to work on a bipartisan budget that invests in education without permanent tax cuts. "Our students are at the center of everything we do," says ˜ omas. "We will not stand down when it comes to our students. We will advocate every day for the policies and resources necessary for the respect our educators deserve and the educational opportunities our students need." Read more about this legislative session and a budget summary at S ince its passage in the 2020 election, Governor Ducey and the Republican legislative leadership have attacked the Invest in Education Act, which would have brought $940 million in permanent sustainable funding for public schools by taxing incomes over a half million dollars, through lawsuits and legislation. ˜ e recently passed state budget provides massive tax cuts and a loophole for the wealthiest in Arizona to avoid the INVESTinED tax. In response, the Invest in Education coalition, of which AEA is a member, has renamed itself the Invest in Arizona coalition and ÿ led three referenda to stop these horrible attacks on public education funding: • SB1828 referendum to overturn the regressive 2.5% ° at tax that tips the scales for the 1% • SB1827 referendum to overturn the tax cap that impacts the INVESTinED tax • SB1783 referendum to overturn loophole created to avoid the INVESTinED tax In order to refer these bills to the 2022 ballot, 118,823 valid petition signatures will need to be turned in by September 28, 2021. ˜ e coalition has already printed petitions and launched signature gathering e˙ orts. Once enough valid signatures have been veriÿ ed by the Secretary of State, an injunction will be placed on the legislation until the election. ˜ e coalition will then need to campaign to get voters to vote NO on these referenda in order to permanently stop this legislation from taking e˙ ect. "It's time to let the voters decide if we should reject Governor Ducey's handout to millionaires and instead Invest in Arizona," says AEA President Joe ˜ omas. "Our students and beautiful state are worth it." Keep an eye out on AEA's social media accounts and your email for more details about the Invest in Arizona campaign.

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