PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Red for Ed leaders said the state budget proposal laid out Tuesday is now going against what they fought for last year.
They’re talking about millions of dollars in tax cuts.
But teachers specifically called for no tax cuts until education funding could get back to where it was before the recession in 2008.
Republicans said it's not fair to call them "cuts" but more an offset to state tax increases.
“I am 100% disappointed,” said Arizona Education Assoc. vice president Marisol Garcia.
Garcia has been a staple in the Red for Ed movement and is also mom to a seventh-grade son.
She said this new budget proposal is only going to make students suffer from underfunded classrooms more than they already do.
“What tends to happen is our legislators and governor continue to give tax cuts to places that aren’t needed, and so then when it comes time to fund schools, there is no money left over,” said Garcia.
The $11.9 billion plan laid out in budget legislation Tuesday includes $386 million in cuts to fees and taxes, which is the exact opposite of what teachers asked for when thousands of them protested last year.
Garcia said she was told voting starts Wednesday morning at one of the worst times for teachers to be able to get to the Capitol.
“We’re putting as much pressure as we can. We’ve put an all call out to get educators down here. Unfortunately, it’s the worst time of the year because teachers are at graduations and promotions,” she said.
But Republican lawmakers said the cuts offset the state tax increases triggered by the 2017 federal tax cut law.
Rep. T.J. Shope defends the cuts because he said there will be more money for schools.
“We are also in the process of hiking up our district additional assistance dollars. I’ve spoken to several superintendents in my district over the last 24 hours. They’re very excited about that. The money is going to be going not even at the 20 by 2020 clip, but at a faster clip than 20 by 2020, so we are pretty excited about that. And I think most of the folks at home are pretty excited as well,” said Shope.
Yet Garcia said that windfall money that taxpayers already paid could have been used for education funding.
If this budget proposal passes, she said students and teachers lose.
In a statement Tuesday night, the Governor's Office told Arizona’s Family in part the plan makes the tax codes simpler and fairer, while "protecting the substantial investments we've made in priorities like raising teacher salaries and protecting public safety."