Sometimes a leader has to walk and chew gum at the same time. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey proved he can do both today, with the announcement of his plan to significantly increase K-12 education funding, while maintaining the balanced budget that led to a recent upgrade of Arizona’s bond rating and a competitive tax environment.
The Governor’s plan will refer to the ballot a measure to increase the amount of money public schools receive from the state’s Permanent Land Endowment Trust FundCurrently, schools receive 2.5 percent of the value of the Fund, or about $80 million. The Governor’s plan would increase this to 10 percent for the next five years, and then 5 percent in the following five years. This represents an infusion of $1.8 billion in new dollars into the K-12 system in the next five years.
Governor Ducey is no stranger to the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund, having led a successful ballot referral in 2012 to simplify the formula and guarantee more consistent returns to beneficiaries- a referral supported by the Arizona Chamber. Because of these reforms, it makes sense to increase the amount of money schools receive through this funding source.
Kudos to Governor Ducey for showing true leadership, and an ability to innovate and develop creative solutions to the complicated issues our state faces.