Ducey's teacher pay plan means less funding for other programs

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The governor’s proposal shifts millions of dollars away from programs that were expecting funding increases to pay for the teacher raises. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The governor’s proposal shifts millions of dollars away from programs that were expecting funding increases to pay for the teacher raises. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
“There is no way around this. We have to raise revenue in this state. We can't take from one pot to give to another pot,” said Democratic state Rep. Reginald Bolding. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) “There is no way around this. We have to raise revenue in this state. We can't take from one pot to give to another pot,” said Democratic state Rep. Reginald Bolding. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Republican state Rep. Kevin Payne called the governor’s proposal a “really good plan” but indicated the revenue projections may be overly optimistic. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Republican state Rep. Kevin Payne called the governor’s proposal a “really good plan” but indicated the revenue projections may be overly optimistic. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Democrats say they’d like fund teacher pay raises with new revenue sources, like eliminating corporate tax breaks. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Democrats say they’d like fund teacher pay raises with new revenue sources, like eliminating corporate tax breaks. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Gov. Doug Ducey’s plan to boost K-12 teacher pay by 20 percent over the next three years means less money for universities, the arts, skilled nursing care and programs for the developmentally disabled.

The governor’s proposal shifts millions of dollars away from programs that were expecting funding increases to pay for the teacher raises, which are projected to cost $580 million a year by fiscal year 2021, according to an outline presented to lawmakers and obtained by Arizona’s Family on Tuesday.

[READ MORE: Gov. Doug Ducey proposes teacher pay increase of 9% this year, 20% by 2020]

The redirected funds include $500,000 per year that had been tabbed for an Attorney General Border Crimes Unit and $1 million per year that was slated for private prison healthcare.

The governor’s proposal also repurposes a number of one-time spending items, including $8 million that was planned for universities, $2 million planned for the arts and reduces new spending on programs for developmentally disabled individuals from $6 million to $4 million.

[RELATED: AZ teachers vote on whether to go on strike]

Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for the governor’s office, said those funding changes were not “cuts” to the affected agencies but rather planned spending increases that were “reprioritized” for teacher pay.

[RELATED: Arizona teachers call strike vote, despite raise plan]

Two programs will see cuts to their balance sheets under the proposal, Ptak said. That includes a $37 million cut from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and $22 million from a prescription drug fund.

Ptak said those funding transfers are from agencies with a budget surplus and will not affect programs or salaries. He said the agencies identified the excess money as being available for teacher salaries.

[RELATED: Teachers wary of Arizona governor's pay boost plan]

“There is no way around this. We have to raise revenue in this state. We can't take from one pot to give to another pot,” said Democratic state Rep. Reginald Bolding. “Universities, they need funds. Developmentally disabled, they need funds. Hospitals need funds. People on Medicaid need funds. We have to raise revenue.”

[RELATED: Possibility of Arizona teacher strike creates some confusion]

A large portion of the governor’s funding proposal comes from projected growth in tax revenue. The governor projects $156 million in ongoing revenue from taxes, more than $100 million higher than state budget analysts are predicting.

Republican state Rep. Kevin Payne called the governor’s proposal a “really good plan” but indicated the revenue projections may be overly optimistic.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona schools in Crisis]

“I think his numbers are real rosy for the economy coming up,” he said. “I don't know if we're going to get there, so we may have to do more trimming and more cutting to make it happen.”

Rep. Mark Cardenas, a Democrat, also questioned the governor’s funding projections.

“What happens if we have decreased sales tax revenue? Are they going to go back and tell the teachers, ‘Sorry, we can't have your raise any more?’” Cardenas said.

Cardenas said another aspect of the proposal, $35 million in new fees on hospitals, could put as many as 10 small, rural hospitals in danger.

“We have rural hospitals that are already not breaking even because of the tax they have to pay, so any increased tax on them would make them go under,” he said.

[RELATED: Teachers plan walk-ins at districts that approved pay raises]

Cardenas and Bolding said they’d like fund teacher pay raises with new revenue sources, like eliminating corporate tax breaks. But Republicans like Rep. Payne said they would oppose tax increases.

The governor is proposing one notable new source of revenue: $8 million a year in new lottery funds from Keno gaming.

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Derek StaahlDerek Staahl is an Emmy Award-winning reporter and fill-in anchor who loves covering stories that matter most to Arizona families.

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Derek Staahl

This once-uncompromising "California guy" got his first taste of Arizona in 2015 while covering spring training baseball for his former station. The trip spanned just three days, but Derek quickly decided Phoenix should be his next address. He joined CBS 5 and 3TV four months later, in August 2015. Before packing his bags for the Valley of the Sun, Derek spent nearly four years at XETV in San Diego, where he was promoted to Weekend Anchor and Investigative Reporter. Derek chaired the Saturday and Sunday 10 p.m. newscasts, which regularly earned the station's highest ratings for a news program each week. Derek’s investigative reporting efforts into the Mayor Bob Filner scandal in 2013 sparked a "governance crisis" for the city of San Diego and was profiled by the region’s top newspaper. Derek broke into the news business at WKOW-TV in Madison, WI. He wrote, shot, edited, and presented stories during the week, and produced newscasts on the weekends. By the end of his stint, he was promoted to part-time anchor on WKOW’s sister station, WMSN. Derek was born in Los Angeles and was named the “Undergraduate Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year” in his graduating class at USC. He also played quads in the school’s famous drumline. When not reporting the news, Derek enjoys playing drumset, sand volleyball, and baseball.

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