Reporting on this Daily Star article is Howard Fischer from Capitol Media Services.
PHOENIX — Saying the state’s current education funding crisis was “manufactured” by the governor and Legislature, the League of Women Voters is urging Arizonans to reject Proposition 123.
In what could be the biggest threat to the plan, the organization said schools would be better off long term if the $3.5 billion measure is defeated in the May 17 special election.
Shirley Sandelands, the organization’s Arizona chair, said her group believes schools deserve, and can get, more.
That conclusion was disputed by Christian Palmer, spokesman for the coalition that is pushing for voter approval.
Sandelands, however, said voters should make the decision that educators so far will not.
“We realize educators in Arizona have been placed in the unenviable position of being willing to accept almost anything at this point,” she said.
“The numbers being touted by supporters of Prop. 123 sound good,” Sandelands continued. “But it’s not a long-term solution.”
Among the longer-term problems that foes have pointed out is what can happen after the extra funds expire at the end of the 10 years.
Of note is that Proposition 123 would amend that 2000 voter-approved measure which mandates annual inflation funding increases. It would allow lawmakers to refuse to provide inflation increases any time K-12 funding exceeds 49 percent of the state budget; at 50 percent the Legislature actually could reduce state aid.
Schools currently make up about 42 percent of state spending.
Sandelands said the better alternative is to keep the 2000 inflation mandate in place forever, as it is now — and require lawmakers to obey the law.
“Voters in 2000 provided that long-term solution and our political leaders decided to ignore them,” she said, creating the crisis that Proposition 123 now seeks to fix.
She also criticized tax cuts provided during the past few years to business interests. Sandelands said lawmakers have caved in to “large corporate backers to their campaign war chests.”
On the issue of tax cuts, [AEA President Andrew] Morrill found himself in agreement with Sandelands, saying legislators should back away from making even more cuts to state revenues this year.
Ducey did not respond to requests to comment on the League of Women Voters position.
The group’s position is against what has been a well-funded pro-123 campaign. Supporters have so far raised more than $4 million; the financial disclosure report filed by the only organized opposition group listed just $617 in donations.
Sort of like David vs. GOPliath.
You can get more details on 123 from the Star's story here and by attending the forum tomorrow. See the post on that in today's blog.