Thursday, August 27, 2015

Arizona Legislature steals from preschoolers, future children, to fund education mandate

Now that the talks about court-ordered education funding have broken down, Guv Doozey and the Greedy Old Politicians in the state lege are whipping up a new recipe for pumping money into our public education. Basically the scheme is "rob Peter to pay Paul." The first dollop of sour milk was the proposal to rob the state land trust thus taking money from future educational needs to pay for current educational needs. (The new state treasurer objected and ran into the dark money mean machine.) The second dollop of rotten apples was the proposal to take money from early childhood education to pay the K-12 education bill. AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona has the story.

BTW: even our Republican LD2 rep, Chris Ackerley, sees the problem. Quoting a Capitol Times report:

Rep. Chris Ackerley, R-Sahuarita, said the new plan put forward from GOP leadership appears to "rob Peter to pay Paul."

and Republican lawmakers have taken any kind of tax increase for education funding off the table, and without increased revenues, Ackerley said it will be difficult to find the money courts have declared that the Legislature owes.

"It would be nice if we could build a budget from the ground up, and say here are the services we need to provide, here’s what it’s going to cost us, and here’s how we’re going to raise the money. In that order. But that’s not how we do things," he said.

The Republican proposals seem doomed to failure. The land use funds and the First Things First program are citizen initiatives and hence require a vote of the people. That didn't work the first time the Godawful Oligarchy of Patriarchs tried it. From the Capitol Times again:

The leaders said it will come from ... a partial shift of money from First Things First early childhood education program, and "a plan to use increased earnings from the state trust land" — both of which require voter approval.

In the past, the voter-approved program has resisted diverting any of its funds to pay for state operations. The last time legislators tried to sweep funds from the agency, they lost in court ... Voters also rejected lawmakers’ attempt to dismantle the program in 2010, when the public rejected a referral targeting the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board by a 70-30 margin ...

The last piece of the funding formula incorporates Ducey’s proposal to draw down funding from sales of state land trust, which the governor’s office estimates will generate roughly $2.2 billion over 10 years. However, Biggs said Ducey’s proposal would likely need to be adjusted to please enough legislators to send it to the ballot. [And it is opposed by the State Treasurer.]

BlueMeanie has said it before and says it again.

What our Tea-Publican legislators and governor are doing to Arizona’s children ought to be considered criminal. These Tea-Publicans should be doing time for their theft of education funds intended for our children. The deprivation of an education is a form of child abuse. They should have to pay more than mere restitution for their crime.

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