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  • Writer's pictureArizona House Democrats

'Alt-Fuels Fiasco to Alt-Schools Debacle' - Democrats Say Budget Needs Work

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 9, 2023 PHOENIX-- Senate Democratic LeaderMitzi Epstein and House Democratic LeaderAndrés Cano released the following statement on current version of state budget bills being heard in Legislative Appropriations Committees today. “Arizona Senate and House Democrats have consistently stood by our commitment to a budget for all Arizonans that creates lasting change on issues most important to our state:Increased investment in K- 12 education, housing and solutions to address homelessness, and our water crisis. But decades of reckless tax cuts and a hollowing out of state government by Republican leaders have created deep- seeded problemsand a state sorely short on revenue. Further limiting our ability to fund these priorities is the exponential growth of the Republican’s out-of-control universal private-school voucher expansion otherwise known as the ESA expansion program, which was sold as a $33 million program but is now projected to cost the state $600 million through June 2024. Our caucus is committed to three things: (1) Delivering a budget negotiated in good faith that invests in our state’s long-termsuccess in a realistic timeline; (2) Creating a funding structure that protects the ongoing needs of our most dedicated public servants; and (3) Avoiding bankrupting the state with responsible limits on the Republican voucher expansion. Wecontinue to work to ensure these priorities cross the finish line and have made tremendous progress over the past severalweeks that is reflected in the current bills. But we have also proposed solutions to create a management trigger or at least get a handle on the dangerous exponential growth of ESA vouchers. Those negotiations should continue, not a rushed process and unfinished plan. Our budget priorities are and have always been about putting Arizona on a better path. We believe your tax dollars should work for you and the future of our state.We are prioritizing investments in our young people, keeping people in secure and affordable housing, and addressing our ongoing natural resource crisis: • An increase in K-12 education funding to keep up with inflation. • Increased funding for the HousingTrust Fund to deal with the housing affordability crisis.

• Immediate funding to address the homelessness crisis and invest in intervention services.

• Basic funding for our state agencies.

• Ongoing funding to raise healthcare providers to competitive salaries.

• Funding for our rural fire districts so they have the equipment and personnel they need.

• Ongoing funding to our state universities to help offset the high cost of tuition.

• Eyeglasses for low-income Arizonans on AHCCCS.

• Salary increases for providers servingArizonans with developmental disabilities.

The current budget only partly addresses – or ignores – these issues. The reality is due to irresponsible tax cuts, our state revenue is not keeping up with our growth and economy. No responsible lawmaker from either party should be willing to bankrupt our state, neglect the homeless, let our rural areas run out of water and fail to raise teacher salaries or even keep public school funding on pace with inflation in order to give wealthy families in the richest zip codes a government subsidy to reduce their children's private school tuition. Republicans 23 years ago acted quickly to address the Alt-Fuels fiasco, another misguided subsidy for the purchase of SUVs and luxury vehicles.That program quickly grew out of control and was halted when the projected cost to the state grew to nearly $700 million. A Republican Governor and Legislature wisely approved a moratorium and imposed new eligibility requirements to reduce the state's expense. Alt-Fuels, like the Republican’s Alt-Schools ESA voucher program was supposed to cost a tiny fraction of what it actually cost.

Governor Hobbs has long been a strong advocate for our state and is working to make positive change under a broken Republican framework. That starts with creating a budget that puts everyday Arizonans first.”


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1 commentaire

John Jacob
John Jacob
10 mai 2023

Alt Schools are NOT part of ESA. Alternative High Schools are an integral part of the PUBLIC education system. ESA is for private schools and homeschool. This is a damaging headline.

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