Watch it live now: Lawmakers are working on the budget with flat tax advocates who say it hurts schools and cities

Updated June 21, 2021: The Arizona Legislature will see you today continue to work on the budget, with a Senate sitting started to 1:00 p.m. and adjourned before 1:20 p.m. until tomorrow at 10 a.m.

A House floor session started to 1:15 p.m. Watch it live here.

Education advocates remain opposed to the 2.5% flat-rate tax proposed by Governor Doug Ducey and the Republican legislative leaders and say that he severely reduced funding for public schools, cities and towns.

Advocates and several lawmakers have said they are concerned that flat taxes and tax cuts are based on an overview of the economy and not long term forecast.

Leigh jensen

“Our main concern is the the whole budget structure, which we believe is structured on the basis unique situation having lots of federal dollars for COVID relief and it’s artificially inflate the Arizona economy strengthyou right now, ”said Leigh jensen, government relations officer for Arizona School Boards Association.

“We would prefer to see a budget proposal who uses our current surplus at pay the kindergarten to grade 12 reversal and invest in the renovation of the building for our aging school facilities, ” Jensen mentionned.

“The flat tax proposal is a risky move who bets on returned of sports betting and recreational marijuana being sufficient for shift the significant losses, but these two income stream are brand new in Arizona ”, Jensen mentionned.

“He has the potentialI at cancel progress we have done over the past few years to restore education funding to pre-recession levels, while leaving us flat-footed if and when another recession is coming, ”Jensen said.

Arizona Capitol Television Video: House Upstairs Session 1:15 p.m. 6/21/21

the Grand Canyon Institute published an analysis of the budget proposal Two weeks ago, this showed that Arizonans who live in rural and remote areas and Tucson will bear the brunt of the flat tax proposal, while Arizonans in large population centers like Maricopa County and communities rich will benefit.

Watch it live now: Lawmakers are working on budget with flat tax advocates who say it hurts schools and cities 300-15-or-less-from-GOP-tax-proposal1
Map courtesy of the Grand Canyon Institute

“This tax cut, which largely benefits high income earners, will cost $ 1.5 billion per year when fully implemented. It eliminates the higher marginal tax rates and replaces them with a rate that is about the same as what low-income earners are currently paying ”, The Grand Canyon Institute mentionned in their analysis.

“It’s estimated that 350,000 Arizona households with incomes over $ 150,000 will be the biggest beneficiaries. While 1.5 million households (four times as many) would see small or modest changes in their state income tax ”, according to Grand Canyon Institute analysis.

Arizona Education Association will hold a press conference at noon today at Rose garden at Arizona Capitol urging lawmakers to protect Invest in education Act in state budget negotiations and highlight the devastating consequences that the proposed state budget going through the legislature would have on public schools. Watch the press conference live via Facebook Live on the AEA Facebook page.

“Educators worked hard last summer during a pandemic to collect enough signatures to be INVESTED on the ballot,” said Joe thomas, president of Arizona Education Association. “Voters have clearly expressed their support for investing in public education by passing Accessory 208 last november. This budget is a slap in the face for educators and voters.

Under Prop. 208, taxable income greater than $ 250,000 for single tax filers would be subject to a 3.5% surtax, making income above this amount taxed at a total state rate of 8%, Jensen mentionned.

The budget includes a tax cap that threatens the investment in education law, which voters approved last November and educators worked to secure a ballot to provide $ 940 million in sustainable funding and permanent at our schools, said Thomas.

“This (budgetary) proposal creates a flat-rate tax of 2.5%, but since the legislature cannot change this voter approved 3.5% surtax, instead they propose a maximum marginal tax rate of 4.5%, “ Jensen mentionned. “So in essence there would be two tax rates 2.5% and 4.5%. “

In a survey of over 1,000 AEA members, 89% disagreed with the statement that creating a permanent $ 1.5 tax cut for millionaires instead. than investing in our schools and communities as the best option for this legislature.

“The governor and the legislature have the opportunity to invest the billions of dollars of surplus and rainy funds in our public schools,” said Kelley fisher, a kindergarten teacher in Deer Valley. “Funding that can be used to address the teacher shortage, provide full-time kindergarten, ensure every school has a counselor, nurse and librarian. “

Teachers also expressed concern that budget policy that would fine teachers $ 5,000 for discussing controversial topics in class would limit discussions of important topics with students.

“As a science teacher, our program deals with evolution and reproduction and we teach these topics in a way that students can step away and continue a conversation about them,” said Katie nash, science teacher at a school in Chandler.

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There is education spending in the budget that calls for support.

“We like investments in special education, including $ 50 million in group B weight increase for some diagnoses, $ 5 million in the Extraordinary Fund for Special Educational Needs, and $ 1 million ongoing funding for National Education, “ Jensen mentionned.

“We also like the $ 17 million proposed for distribution to political subdivisions, including school districts that owe property tax refunds as a result of a change in Evaluation of Transwestern pipeline, which is kind of a niche problem, but really important to some of our rural members, ” Jensen mentionned.

Arizona lawmakers have been discussing budget bills for some time, but have yet to come to a consensus. the Arizona House of Representatives past a budget bill on June 7, but rejected two more in the same session.

Last week, Arizona lawmakers approved a $ 100 Million Forest Fire Mitigation Plan in Bill 2001 during special session called by Governor Ducey.

Monday sitting in the Senate

Senator Lupe Contreras thanked and honored Caesar who has served as the Senate Chief Page and trains other Pages over the past four years for all the work he has done and wished him a late happy birthday.

Then Senator Sine Kerr read a proclamation honoring the Kayleigh kozak, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, who is the founder of the president of The Because you always matter, a non-profit organization.

Kozak worked closely with Senator Sine Kerr on SB 1412, which would automatically provide ongoing protection to victims and survivors of sexual abuse if and when their abusers’ probation is lifted.

After that the Senate voted the adjournment until Tuesday at 10 a.m.

House Monday Floor Session

The House met in Committee of the Whole to discuss Senate Bill 1083 elections and recount margin.

Representative John Kavanagh said the bill eliminates recounts for school boards and other municipal elections.

Representative Mitzi Epstein asked “Why do we need the underlying invoice?” “

“The underlying bill resolves the problem that for some elections it is extremely difficult to recount for close elections,” Kavanagh said.

There has to be a difference of more than 10 votes to get a recount for a municipal election, Rep. Kavanagh said.

“This bill is going to be costly and painful,” said Representative Epstein. “I’m not a fan of Bill.”

Representative Kelli Butler said they heard from county registrars that there were concerns about how to conduct multiple recounts in a single election.

Rep. Kavanagh said they would treat secondary recounts the same as the first recount.

“We don’t know what impact this will have on recounts and if it will delay results,” Representative Butler said. “This bill is totally unnecessary. This is an unfunded mandate. It will cause chaos in the election and I hope people take it into account. “

The bill was amended and the bill was put to a vote.

“This is a bad bill, it supports the big lie and I oppose it,” Rep. Epstein said.

The bill was adopted by voice vote.

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