By Alia Beard Rau for The Arizona Republic
An initial budget proposal from Republicans in the Arizona House focuses available new funds on teacher raises and school capital costs, rejecting Gov. Doug Ducey‘s proposal to parse it out over more than a dozen education-funding programs.
House Republicans propose $219M in new ongoing and one-time funding for next year, primarily for teacher raises, school construction projects, tax cuts and highway repairs. It includes a handful of Gov. Doug Ducey’s budget ideas, but excludes more than two dozen of his proposals that total $227M.
Budget negotiations are still in the early stages, and the Senate has not started detailed discussions with its Republican caucus. The numbers will change, but the House proposal gives a strong indication of Republican lawmakers’ priorities and challenges areas Ducey has called his top priorities.
Here’s a comparison of some of the numbers:
School construction: Ducey proposed $17M in one-time money for the School Facilities Board to fund school construction and building maintenance. Ducey and the Legislature last year approved $15M of that, meaning the governor’s proposal would add $2M. The House plan proposes an additional $63M in one-time money for next year. Since 2009, the state has cut $2B from capital funding and a lawsuit to restore some of that is looming.
University funding: Ducey proposed redirecting $37M in sales taxes paid by the state’s universities to help the schools tap $1B in bonds for research facilities and deferred maintenance. That sales tax change would cut local collections from cities and local school districts, but would likely spur construction activity in those areas.
House and Senate Republican leaders have said while they support funding universities, they oppose Ducey’s tax mechanism. The House instead proposes $15M in one-time general fund money next year.
Highway projects: Ducey’s budget proposal sweeps $96M from the Highway User Revenue Fund to help cover Department of Public Safety costs. The House proposes to put $30M of that back in the highway fund. The money comes from a variety of gas taxes and fees intended to cover counties’ and cities’ highway-maintenance and construction costs.
Read more at The Arizona Republic.