PNS Daily Newscast - May 24, 2019 

President Trump's reported to be ready to sign disaster relief bill without money for border security. Also on the Friday rundown: House bills would give millions a path to citizenship; and remembering California’s second-deadliest disaster.

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Study: Economic Growth Not Enough to Reinvest in AZ Education

Despite the recovery, Arizona school budgets are still 19 percent below pre-Recession levels. (Melpomenem/iStockphoto)
Despite the recovery, Arizona school budgets are still 19 percent below pre-Recession levels. (Melpomenem/iStockphoto)
December 1, 2017

PHOENIX – The Arizona education budget is $1.1 billion lower than before the Recession - and new policy brief says Gov. Doug Ducey's plan to raise revenues by growing the economy simply won't suffice. Arizona has cut taxes year after year - and then slashed school budgets to the bone during the downturn.

Dana Wolfe Naimark, president and CEO of Arizona's Children's Action Alliance, says her group's report makes the case that higher taxes are necessary because those cuts have devastated Arizona schools.

"Here we are with our children experiencing a huge shortage of permanent teachers in their classrooms, outdated textbooks and technology, overcrowded classrooms with not enough books and not enough desks, dysfunctional school facilities," she laments.

The governor has asked other agencies to look for savings and has said he wants to continue to cut taxes. He is set to present his budget to the Arizona Legislature in January.

Citizens passed Proposition 123 last year to fund education. However, even with that $350 million a year restored, the annual deficit of more than a billion dollars remains. Wolfe Naimark says a tax increase is warranted.

"We can't turn this around until we restore revenues and reinvest in public schools," she states. "And simply sitting around waiting to watch the economy grow cannot catch up to the needs of our public schools."

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Arizona had the highest percentage drop in per-pupil state spending in the country between 2008 and 2015. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee says while funding is up over last year, it is still 19 percent below what it was in 2008.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ