Monday, February 15, 2016

Arizona Republic Editorial Gets Most of the Way There on Increasing Education Funding

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2016 at 10:30 AM

click to enlarge COURTESY OF PHOTOSPIN
  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin
I almost loved the Sunday editorial in the Arizona Republic. Even with some reservations, I liked it a whole lot. Shorter version: Ducey, we're not in a recession anymore. Stop budgeting like we are. Fund education and other state needs at reasonable levels.

Here are a few key passages.
Take off the recession-era glasses, Gov. Doug Ducey.

Look around. Those bleak days of deep deficits are over.

Arizona deserves a vision for the future.

That means restoring budgets for K-12, universities, infrastructure and other basic state needs.

It’s time to show the dynamic leadership to begin aggressively repairing the damage done during those days when slashing the budget was a matter of survival.

It’s also time to recognize that it wasn’t just the recession that put the financial squeeze on Arizona.

Repeated tax cuts since 1993 shrunk state revenue by tens of billions of dollars.

[snip]

Now it’s time to make the state competitive when it comes to funding K-12 and higher education. Now it’s time to make the state competitive when it comes to infrastructure for the 21st Century. Now it’s time to put money into quality of life amenities – like parks, which were stripped of funding during the recession.

There is no reason to create an artificial atmosphere of recession that keeps the state on a starvation diet. Arizona currently has a healthy budget surplus and rainy day fund.

[snip]

[E]ven if voters approve taking more money from the state land trust [by voting for Proposition 123], schools will not be fully reimbursed for voter-mandated inflation funding that the Legislature illegally withheld during the recession.

Passing the plan is important. It will help schools. But it doesn’t make up for recession-era losses. It doesn’t make schools whole.

Great stuff, especially coming from an MSM source like the Republic. I wish the state's elected Democrats would speak out this forcefully.

Toward the end of the editorial, however, the paper went too easy on Ducey by telling him to "go slowly" on tax cuts. The advice should have been no tax cuts, especially for corporations and the wealthy. Instead, move in the opposite direction and make them shoulder their fair share of the tax burden by reversing some of the cuts that began in 1993. We can't restore and improve Arizona's education funding without adding more to the budget than can be found in the surplus and the rainy day fund.

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