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When It Comes To Education Spending, Does Arizona Have The Right Idea?


Arizona Capitol Building
"Arizona Capitol Museum 2014" by Gage Skidmore - Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Arizona is taking a different approach to budget and education spending than Nevada, so which state is right?

The Washington Post last week put it this way“cactuses and Republicans are native to both Nevada and Arizona, but this year, that’s pretty much where the comparison ends.”

The point of the story was that while Nevada just increased taxes to the tune of $1.1 billion, Arizona is slashing them.

Arizona has cut so much that its governor, Republican Doug Ducey, announced Thursday he wants to dip into the state’s trust fund to boost K-12 education, while Nevada's tax increase is specifically to help fund its schools.

Hank Stephenson is a reporter for Arizona Capitol Times he told KNPR’s State of Nevada Gov. Ducey ran on a platform of no new tax increases, however, people are not happy about the state of the state’s schools.

“Lawmakers and the governor are really hearing that message from constituents. The K-12 programs have been underfunded for years,” he said.

Stephenson said Arizona is at the bottom of per-pupil spending and it has resulted in bigger class sizes, lack of resources and school closings, which is something that Stephenson believes will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Support comes from

One of the state’s biggest problems is its deficits. To cope, Ducey has instituted some serious cuts to programs from Medicare payments to higher education funding, the Washington Post reported.

There is also the idea that cutting taxes will help businesses grow, which is something Stephenson doubts has fully come to fruition.

 “We’re seeing some benefits of this but not as projected,” he said.

A small tax burden for more growth has long been a part of Nevada’s philosophy, but Gov. Brian Sandoval told people that while the state has a tax friendly reputation for businesses, companies aren’t coming here because of the poor education system.

At this point, no one really knows which state has the right formula.

“I really can’t say what the better way is. Arguably, it is better if you’re going to put some money into education to do it as quickly as possible,” Stephenson said.

As always, time will tell. 


Hank Stephenson, reporter, Arizona Capitol Times

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