Glenn Hamer: AZ Budget and a Dollar Will Buy Schools a Half Cup of Coffee

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ILLUSTRATION FROM A PHOTOSPIN IMAGE
  • Illustration from a PhotoSpin image
Glenn Hamer, President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, had to talk about how wonderful Arizona's just-passed, reprehensible budget is. After all, it probably has his fingerprints all over it. He wrote a column titled, Education a big winner in state budget.

Um, what?

To appreciate how devious and deceptive Hamer is willing to be, before you read his opening, you have to know that if Prop 123 passes and does what it says it will, it'll mean $300 million more for schools next year. Ready? Here goes.
The Arizona state Legislature has passed a $9.6 billion budget for fiscal year 2017. The spending package is an excellent one for education. This budget and passage of Proposition 123 will result in $300 million more for K-12 than we expected to have at this time last year.
Right. Also, this excellent post of mine and two dollars will buy you a cup of coffee.

You can read the rest on your own if you wish, about how generous the legislature was in putting back the money it tried to steal from our schools, and about how the tax cuts for business encourage job creation. As Hamer wrote, "This is a budget that job creators will like."

The ending is another gem, a bookend worthy of the deceptive opening. In yesterday's post, I commented on the first step-second step circle dance being performed by some Republican legislators. Ducey likes to say that Prop 123 is a "first step" in improving education, implying that a state budget increase for schools is the next step. But some legislators pushed the idea that the budget they just passed is the first step and Prop 123 is the second step. Hamer went in the same direction.
A job well done to the Legislature and Gov. Ducey on this budget. Now let’s take the next step and pass Proposition 123.
So if Prop 123 passes and someone asks, "What's the next step you promised?" the answer may be, "You've got it backwards. Prop 123 is the next step. The first step was passing the budget."

A Doug-Ducey-Comes-to-Tucson BONUS. The governor was in Tucson Wednesday talking at the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce luncheon. It looks like he agrees with Hamer.
Gov. Doug Ducey said Wednesday the $9.58 billion state budget passed earlier in the day demonstrates his commitment to education funding at all levels.
Why were the Republicans able to make such a strong commitment to education, which meant not cutting K-12 schools and putting back some of the $99 million they took away from universities last year?
[Ducey] said it was easier this year than last to put money in the budget for education and other needs.

“It’s a much different budget when you actually have some money to spend versus some of the difficult decisions we had to make over a year ago," he said.
It's true, the state has money to spend this year: a $600 million surplus on top of $430 million in the Rainy Day fund. And it's still sitting there, unspent.

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