by Jim Nintzel
The Arizona Republic recently reported that the education lobby is starting to get worried about what happens when the state's temporary one-cent sales tax goes away in 2013:
However, the tax expires after May 31, 2013, creating what budget officials call the funding "cliff." Two-thirds of the tax money is directed to education; the other third is split between health care and public safety.
Education advocates began meeting this summer to discuss how to sustain education funding when the tax expires.
"I think there's a great deal of concern about this funding cliff and what it will do to the schools," said Susan Carlson, executive director of the Arizona Business and Education Coalition.
Her group is moderating the talks, which include the Arizona Education Association, the state's largest teachers union; the Arizona Education Network, a parent-advocacy group that started in Tucson; the Teach for America program; charter schools; and Stand for Children, which pushes for K-12 achievement levels that would allow all children to enroll in college.
They may have an ally in conservative Arizona Republic editorial writer Robert Robb:
The question is what kind of a state government do we want from here?
The preliminary answer from Gov. Jan Brewer and Republican lawmakers is to stick with the current shrunken state government for the foreseeable future. That probably isn’t feasible. Moreover, it is highly doubtful that is the state government the people of Arizona want.