Superintendent Hoffman and Invest in Arizona Coalition Respond to Arizona Supreme Court Decision to Invest in Ed Decision
There is, like EJ Montini titled in an editorial yesterday (August 19, 2021), Arizona’s Republican war on children. This is in addition to their separate wars against science, reality, economic reason and democracy.
Over the past several months, their agents in the Legislative Assembly, Governor’s Office, and the Arizona Supreme Court have:
- Chose not to spend $ 12 million to extend KidsCare to poor children. They decided to spend $ 5 million to fund the cash winnings of racehorse owners and jockeys.
- Laws passed banning the wearing of masks in schools to stem the spread of COVID 19, play coronavirus roulette with the health and lives of children, especially those under the age of 12. Cowardly politician Mr. Ducey even announced grant programs encouraging school districts and families to promote unsafe practices and spread the coronavirus.
- Passing of tax reduction laws to prevent the ultra-rich from paying the 3.5% surtax to partially fund the Invest in Ed-Proposition 208 coffers.
- As AZ Blue Meanie reported yesterday, the Arizona Supreme Court provided a way to drain the funding for Proposition 208 by stating, despite previous rulings to the contrary, that the grant language in the proposal because it is a tax for their friends, the ultra-rich, does not make it eligible for exemption from statutory spending limits.
Of course, following the Arizona Supreme Court ruling, Arizona’s top Republicans were dancing on social media.
Mr. Ducey posted:
There is a clear legal path for the Prop 208 to be completely overturned, it is only a matter of time. Today’s decision is very positive for the state and for taxpayers. 2 /
– Doug Ducey (@dougducey) August 19, 2021
President of the Senate Karen Cyber Ninja Simulation Audit Fann also posted:
Superintendent Hoffman and Invest in Arizona Coalition respond to Arizona Supreme Court ruling.
Meanwhile, in the part of Grand Canyon state that cares about kids …
Arizona Superintendent of Public Education Kathy Hoffman lambasted Republicans who were salivating after the Supreme Court ruling, posting:
Today’s decision does not change the fact that a majority of Arizonans support the taxation of the ultra-rich to fund public education. The joy that some have in not providing public school students with the necessary resources tells you everything you need to know about their values. https://t.co/1IAJVS4E0d
– Kathy Hoffman (@Supt_Hoffman) August 19, 2021
The Invest in Arizona Coalition, a group that includes the organizations Arizona Education Association, Stand for Children Arizona, Children’s Action Alliance, Arizona Center for Economic Progress, Arizona Interfaith Network, and is now joined by Save Our Schools and Friends of the Arizona School Boards Association, released its own response to the Arizona Supreme Court ruling.
It is reproduced in its entirety below.
“INVEST IN ARIZONA (FORMERLY INVEST IN ED) DESCRIBED POLITICALLY MOTIVATED, CYNIQUE THE SUPREME COURT OF ARIZONA DECISION AGAINST PROP 208; REQUESTS THE GOVERNOR TO CONVENE AN IMMEDIATE SPECIAL SESSION TO AVOID UNDERFUNDING OF ARIZONA SCHOOLS
In a destructive politically motivated decision tied to the state’s obsolete education funding cap, the Arizona State Supreme Court issued a ruling that, unless legislative action, essentially requires that ‘A lower court overturns Proposition 208, undermines Proposition 301, and guarantees Arizona schools will be permanently underfunded.
The cynical and contradictory decision of the court of Ducey undermines the will of 1.7 million voters, ignores judicial precedents and leaves the court of first instance no discretion to decide on the constitutionality of the proposition 208.
The Coalition Invest in Arizona demands that Governor Ducey immediately call a special session of the Legislature to remove the archaic cap on education spending at the heart of the flawed decision.
(PHOENIX) – Today, in a ruling that reeked of partisan politics and cronyism, the Arizona Supreme Court did all it could to strike down Proposition 208 – Invest in Ed, while forcing the lower court to do so his dirty job. The measure, which was passed by 1.7 million Arizona voters in November, would raise nearly $ 1 billion a year in K-12 education funding to help address the long-standing crisis of teacher shortage, reduce class sizes, hire aides and counselors, and expand career and technical education.
On April 20, the court heard oral arguments in the case brought by a small group of political opponents to Proposition 208 – Invest in Ed who represent the ultra-rich Arizonans as an end around the citizens’ initiative process simply because that they were opposed to the outcome of an election. Now the Supreme Court, which is made up almost entirely of people appointed by Governor Ducey, has agreed to promote the interests of the minority over the majority.
What is at issue in this case is the definition of a “grant” to school districts. Prop 208 – Invest in Ed used the exact language adopted by voters through Prop 301 in 2000, which established a sales tax and provided schools with roughly $ 300 million annually. Yet, in deciding on the law voted by the voters, the Court assumed that the legislator would not increase the ceiling on education spending, which it has already done on numerous occasions for measures adopted by the legislature – no later than 2020. In fact, lawmakers must raise it again by March 2022 for school districts to spend Prop 301 funds.
Further, although Proposition 208 – Invest in Ed made it clear that voters intended that any provision deemed unconstitutional could be “severed” from the full law in order to make it enforceable, the court overturned earlier rulings for justify that in this case the subsidy the problem was not separable. In her dissent on severability, Justice Timmer said, “Today’s decision marks a departure from our previous decisions. (ital. added)
“It’s a punch in the gut of 1.1 million students and their families, and 55,000 hardworking Arizona educators – and a slap in the face of the 1.7 million voters who voted to have this funding go to schools. They voted for it to be a grant and for it to be severable. Ducey’s filled court had the opportunity to honor voters and uphold the rule of law, but instead they delivered a legally contradictory, politically motivated and manipulated decision, ”said Rebecca Gau, director Executive of Stand for Children Arizona.
Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, added, “Today’s decision not only denies voters’ desire to raise Arizona’s education spending among the lowest in the country, but without legislative action. , it jeopardizes Arizona’s existing school revenue streams like Prop 301 and lead to permanently underfunded Arizona schools – and a weaker Arizona economy. ”
The coalition calls on Governor Ducey and the legislature to immediately raise or eliminate the spending limit. The limit will need to be raised by March 2022 for schools to spend the funds currently allocated, including Proposition 301.
“We were concerned that the Court would give in to political pressure from the executive and legislative branches, rather than act impartially and remain independent. This is exactly what happened. This decision is a political act, undermining the will of voters and auctioning off politicians. But they have not interrupted our commitment to financing education, tackling the teacher shortage, building stronger schools and a stronger economy, ”said David Lujan, partner of the coalition, CEO of Children’s Action Alliance.
“Our children, who have been through a tumultuous year with the pandemic and represent one of Arizona’s many vulnerable populations, need the support of our communities right now, including our elected officials. The time has come for our governor and our legislators to raise the spending limit, if not eliminate it altogether, and to protect our students. For today’s leaders to be good stewards of the Arizona of tomorrow, we must invest in the education of our children now, ”said Reverend Hunter Ruffin, president of the Epiphany Church at Tempe and leader of the Arizona Interfaith Network.
The Prop 208 – Invest in Education campaign, which won a historic election victory last November, is now Invest in Arizona. The new coalition includes the original members – Arizona Education Association, Stand for Children Arizona, Children’s Action Alliance, Arizona Center for Economic Progress, Arizona Interfaith Network, and is now joined by Save Our Schools and Friends of the Arizona School Boards Association. The coalition is committed to continuing the fight to ensure a bright future for Arizona students by collecting signatures now to reverse the massive tax cuts for the rich enacted this year. Visit www.investinaznow.com to learn more. “
Save Our Schools Arizona, a member of the Invest in Arizona Coalition, issued a separate statement:
The Invest in Arizona and Arizona Deserves Better coalitions continue to work to collect petition signatures for 2022 poll initiatives to repeal Republican voter suppression measures, ill-advised lump sum tax cuts for the rich and a exception for the ultra-rich to qualify as small businesses to avoid paying in Proposition 208.
When asked by this writer if the Invest in Arizona Coalition would consider creating a new education funding initiative if the lower courts found Invest in Ed unconstitutional, Rebecca Gau of Stand for Children Arizona said:
“We are looking at different options. Of course, the simplest solution is for the governor and the legislature to honor the will of the voters and say that they will increase the limit as they have done in the past. “
Unfortunately, this option may very well be necessary.
Arizona residents who care about what happens to children must stay engaged and wage the Republican war on children and democracy.
Invest in Ed-Proposition 208 was passed with the support of the majority of Arizonans.
Public schools need Proposition 208 funds to better serve Arizona children.
Sign the petitions that will get the Republican measures to cut taxes and remove voters from the ballot to be repealed.
Support applicants who prioritize programs like Invest in Ed and KidsCare that will benefit the most vulnerable, including children in Grand Canyon State.
The most important. Vote in 2022 and 2024.
Democracy and social justice survive when its champions, the people, come forward and vote to advance the state and the people.
Do your part as an active citizen and show the enemies of the People and Democracy that they will not win.