Friday, July 11, 2014

Quezada statement on Superior Court ruling requiring state to pay $317 million to schools for inflation

Quezada statement on Superior Court ruling requiring state
to pay $317 million to schools for inflation

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Martín Quezada, D-Phoenix (District 29), today applauded Arizona Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper’s decision to require the state to pay $317 million in inflation funding that should have been allocated to schools in the 2013-2014 school year.

“The immediate restoration of $317 million, and possibly an additional $1.3 billion, in funding to our schools is huge for our children. They have suffered from poor and ultimately illegal policy decisions by the Republican-controlled legislature for too long,” Quezada said.

“Not only does this decision provide funding that our schools have desperately needed over the past several years, it ultimately requires that the will of the voters be respected. The voters said they want our schools to have the funding needed when they passed Prop 301 back in 2000,” Quezada said.

“Even when budgets are tight, we have to prioritize education. Not only is it good for our economic recovery and long-term economic stability, it has been mandated by the voters. The Republicans ignored that mandate and, instead, passed huge tax cuts that primarily benefitted large corporations. I am glad that they are now being held accountable by the judicial process. When I hear my Republican colleagues at the Legislature say they can’t afford to pay the bill that is due, I will remind them about the funding they squandered with that tax cut legislation,” Quezada said.

House Bill 2001 passed in 2011 during the Second Special Session. The fiscal impact of the tax cuts increases over time and when fully implemented in 2018, it will cost the state $538 million in lost revenue each year.

The school funding was mandated by the voters’ approval of Prop 301 in the year 2000 but the inflation funding has not been budgeted by the Republican-controlled Arizona State Legislature in recent years. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the State Legislature must provide the inflation funding each year but asked the Superior Court to determine whether back payments for prior years is required. Judge Cooper’s decision addressed the question of back payments for the 2013-2014 but still unclear is whether the schools are due $1.3 billion in funds from previous years that the Legislature did not allocate inflation dollars.

More details can be found at the attached link:

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