Governor Brewer’s Record on Education: Jan 2009 through May 2009

NOTE TO READER:  THIS POST HAS NOT BEEN UPDATED TO INCLUDE GOVERNOR BREWER’S RECORD ON EDUCATION LEGISLATION PAST MAY 29, 2009.  SEE INDIVIDUAL ARTICLES UNDER THE GOVERNOR’S RECORD TAB FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON GOVERNOR BREWER’S RECORD ON EDUCATION

 

RECORD ON EDUCATION – BILLS SIGNED or VETOED

May 29, 2009 – Signed special session legislation (H2001) which allowed an additional $5 million in tax money to be applied to private school tuition.  The special session was called in response to the Supreme Court ruling on Cain v. Horne, which ruled that private school vouchers were unconstitutional.  Article IX, Section 10 of the Arizona Constitution reads:  “No tax shall be laid or appropriation of public money made in aid of any church, or private or sectarian school, or any public service corporation”.  The additional tax dollars allocated to private schools comes in addition to the $14.4 million in corporate private school tax credits and over $54 million in individual private school tax credits already in existence in our state.

May 15, 2009Signed legislation (H2028, H2029) postponing $400 million of 2009 state education payments ($100 million University, $300 million K-12) into the next fiscal year. Also signed legislation permitting the sweep of district education funds in excess of year end operating budgets.  These sweeps would reduce proportionately state funds due to districts.

January 31, 2009Signed budget legislation cutting $133 million in state aid to K-12 public schools, $141 million in university funding and $9 million to community colleges.

RECORD ON EDUCATION – PROPOSALS

May 4, 2009Governor releases a “Five Point Plan” to address state budget

Governor Brewer’s long-term economic recovery plan centers on five proposals:

1.  Structural Budget Reform

2.  Changes to Proposition 105 – the Voter Protection Act

3.  Additional spending cuts of up to $1 billion dollars by 2010

4.  State tax structural reform

5.  Temporary Tax Increase to add $1 billion/year to the state general fund.

Further details on Governor Brewer’s proposal can be found here.

RECORD ON EDUCATION – SPEECHES, ARTICLES, MEDIA RELEASES

The information below is not comprehensive by any means – we encourage people to send us any additional links to Governor Brewer’s speeches or related articles which detail her viewpoints on education.

We will only post information which can be sourced:  all of the items below are followed by a link that will connect you to the full article, speech or media release.

Governor Brewer – Education and Related Budget News Archive

June 16, 2009 – Arizona Republic:  Brewer to file suit to force Legislature to release bills

“…GOP legislative leaders would prefer to hold off on submitting their plan to Brewer, knowing they’re in a stronger position with a proposal in hand that was already cleared the House and Senate.  Gubernatorial staffers suspect that Burns and Adams would like to wait until the end of the month before submitting their budget to the governor, knowing that would put her in an untenable position:  Sign a plan she doesn’t like or shut down state government.  … Hoping to avoid that, Brewer gave Burns and Adams until 5pm Monday to send her their proposal.  They declined…(assuring Brewer) that the bills will be presented to her before the legislative session ends.”

Link (Benson, Pitzl)

June 15, 2009 – Arizona Daily Star:  Gov. Brewer:  Senate president holding state hostage

“Gov. Jan Brewer threatened today to sue Senate President Bob Burns and House Speaker Kirk Adams if they do not send her a package of GOP-approved budget bills by the end of the day – bills she says she probably won’t sign.  Brewer said the legal action was in response to Burns walking out on negotiations Sunday evening.  Brewer accused her fellow Republican during a press conference of holding “the entire state hostage”…

“…I will not decimate education nor will I ever let state government fail the most vulnerable of our society, children and the elderly,” she said during a press conference.”

Link (Scarpinato)

June 15, 2009 – Arizona Republic:  Brewer demands Legislature send budget to her

“…with just 15 days until the end of the fiscal year and a possible government shutdown, Brewer said she’s prepared to file a special action with the state Supreme Court.  She’d like the court to compel the Legislature to send the budget bills to her.”

“Despite the clear constitutional requirements to present me the bills, they have refused,” Brewer told reporters shortly before noon Monday.  “I will not allow the president (of the Senate) to hold the entire state hostage by holding all of the budget bills”… “It puts the state of Arizona and the people of Arizona at extreme risk.”

Link (Benson, Pitzl)

June 10, 2009 – Governor’s press releaseGovernor Brewer Announces Approval of Education Stabilization Funds

“Governor Jan Brewer today announced Arizona’s application for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education. More than $681 million is now available for Arizona under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The remaining one-third ($335.5 million) will be eligible to apply for in the fall following a more detailed application.

“It is excellent news that the federal government has approved my application for education stimulus funding,” stated Governor Brewer. “While these funds obviously do not close the state budget deficit hole of $4 billion, they are an important tool in my mission to protect our K-12, university, and community college systems from crippling budget cuts. I remain very concerned and vigilant that our new FY 2010 state budget meets all of the federal government’s maintenance of effort requirements to receive and utilize these funds. I will not accept a new state budget that threatens the loss of these federal stimulus dollars.”

Link (Gov Brewer press office)

June 10, 2009 – Arizona Daily Sun: Brewer seeks input on budget

“Saying she wanted some public input, Gov. Jan Brewer brought in called educators, groups that deliver health and welfare benefits and state agency chiefs to tell her Tuesday what they don’t like about the $8.2 billion budget just adopted by the Legislature. “It appeared to be a trough-feeding event,” said Senate President Bob Burns, R-Peoria. He said the list of those called to speak at the meeting, which was not publicly announced until 6 p.m. Monday, consisted almost entirely of those are looking for more tax dollars.

“She set up a panel of essentially tax spenders to come in and whine and cry about how the legislative budget is going to cut their budget,” complained Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu. “I can assemble 10,000 tax payers to show up and testify how they think it would be great that we hold the line on taxes.”

Brewer acknowledged the meeting was designed to hear solely from those “stakeholders” who are most affected by a legislative budget that cuts their money. The governor said she wanted to know how they will be able to function — or not — with the money the GOP plan provides.

And Brewer said if Republican lawmakers think taxpayers need a voice, they should send her proposal for a tax hike to the ballot.

Let the taxpayers decide,” she said.”

Link (Fischer)

June 2, 2009 – Arizona Republic:  Gov. Brewer unveils her budget plan

“Gov. Jan Brewer upped the ante Monday in Arizona’s high-stakes budget battle, releasing a proposal that would increase taxes, cut spending, sell state assets and lean on the federal government for assistance in closing a shortfall that her office now estimates at $4 billion.” …

“…While legislators dug in their heels, Brewer did likewise. In a seven-page letter that accompanied her proposal, Brewer declared herself “more steadfast” than she was in early March when she first called for budget reform, including a tax increase.

I will not sign a budget that relies primarily on debt and federal economic-stimulus dollars,” Brewer wrote. “I will not sign a budget that incorporates unrealistic spending cuts, excessive gimmicks or phony revenue projections. I will not sign a budget that, in the interest of political expediency, dims Arizona’s future.” …

“..She also would spare the state’s university system from more severe cuts. Brewer’s plan calls for a lump-sum reduction of $43 million to the universities but doesn’t include tens of millions in additional higher-education fund sweeps proposed by GOP legislative leaders.

“We thank the governor for protecting the university system in her proposal,” Arizona Board of Regents President Fred Boice said in a statement. “We strongly urge all Arizonans, and our legislators, to support Governor Brewer’s budget proposal, which will get our state back on the path toward economic security and prosperity.”

Link (Benson)

June 2, 2009 – KYMA News Channel 11:  Yuma County reviews governor’s budget plan

“Arizona Governor Jan Brewer gave out her state budget proposal Monday. Yuma County officials are hard at work figuring out what it would mean to our communities…While local officials crunch the numbers on the governor’s plan, they’re very concerned about the senate’s.

“…Another proposed shift would require the county’s vehicle license tax to pay for k-12 education. Officials say the budget impact will most likely not be felt until the following fiscal year. “It’s a drain on our local resources for the upcoming year. It’s going to put us in a bad position to start following fiscal year. That is when we would have to start talking about what we are going to cut and where we are going to cut,” Pickels said.

Yuma Mayor, Larry Nelson, says the senate’s proposal does not solve the budget crisis. It just passes on the burden.

“They tried to sweep our impact fees and have us give them, for instance, to the schools. Well the city’s not responsible for the schools, the state’s responsible for the schools,” Nelson said.
Link (no author listed)

May 29, 2009 – Verde News:  Lawmakers OK on plan to divert tax dollars for private, parochial schools

“State lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to legislation to create yet another program to divert tax dollars to help some students pay the costs of going to private and parochial schools.”…

“…At the insistence of Gov. Jan Brewer, who supports the plan, backers of the plan limited the total credits that could be claimed to $5 million a year, the same amount the state was providing in vouchers.”

“But that is on top of two existing programs that already provide more than $60 million a year in tax credits. And sponsors said they see this new program as just another step to divert dollars that otherwise would wind up in the state treasury to help students opt out of public schools.”

Link (Fischer)

May 21, 2009 – Arizona Daily Star:   Brewer:  Education a priority

“Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer…promised to protect some basic government services, including health care and education, in an address to the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Wednesday.”

“…She said that a (sustainable budget) would take a “world-class education system from pre-K to graduate school.  To date, I have held the line on massive cuts to our K-12 education system.  And I intend to use my exclusive authority as governor to maximize the use of federal stimulus funds to best help maintain education funding.”

Link (Sorenson)

May 20, 2009 – ABC15.com:  Gov. Brewer pushes for private school tax credits

“Gov. Jan Brewer is calling Arizona legislators into special session so they can consider creating new state income tax credits to replace private school vouchers recently ruled unconstitutional.

Brewer issued the call Wednesday evening, setting the start of the special session for 1 p.m. Thursday.

The Republican governor, in a statement announcing the special session, said she was “heartbroken” by the Arizona Supreme Court’s March ruling that voucher programs for approximately 400 foster and disabled students violate the Arizona Constitution’s ban on state funding for private or religious education.

Legislative leaders and I have developed a proposal that will meet the legal requirements of the Arizona Constitution, does not add additional costs to the state budget and allows these parents to utilize the best educational programs for their disabled and foster children,” Brewer said.”

Link (AP)

May 15, 2009 – Phoenix Business Journal:  Arizona Gov. Brewer says budget fix must include more revenue, not just cuts

“…That idea faces opposition from conservative Republicans. But Brewer said Thursday that spending cuts and using federal stimulus money to close the state’s $3 billion fiscal 2010 deficit will not get her signature.

“Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer drew a line in the sand Thursday, saying she would veto a state budget that further guts education and university spending and does not include $1 billion in new revenue.”

Link (Sunnucks)

May 14, 2009 – Governor Brewer:  general press release following further FY09 budget cuts

“I have now signed both pieces of legislation. This latest update to the FY ’09 budget was not a simple exercise, as state revenues have continued to decline and very few weeks remain before the beginning of the new fiscal year. But let me repeat – spending reductions and federal stimulus dollars alone will not come close to fixing the FY ’10 budget or future budget deficits.

New revenues of roughly $1 billion will be necessary, as federal stimulus funding will only cover approximately $1 billion of the FY ’10 deficit. And I will not approve an FY ’10 budget that does not take into account FY ’11 needs and requirements, just as I was unwilling to overutilize federal stimulus funding to balance FY ’09 and leave our education system exposed to massive reductions in FY ’10.

Link

May 4, 2009 – State Press.com:   Regents endorse governor’s economic-recovery package

The Arizona Board of Regents voted unanimously on Friday to endorse Gov. Jan Brewer’s five-point plan for Arizona’s economic recovery. One day earlier, Brewer urged regents to reform the university system’s business model.

I firmly believe our economic future is incumbent upon your success,” Brewer told the regents, according to a statement released Thursday. “These incredible challenges we face today should be viewed as an opportunity to make the big changes we need for the future.”

Brewer left specifics out of her call to action but said she wants to see a new business plan by this fall that is accountable, predictable and affordable to students, parents and taxpayers.

While 82 percent of Arizona’s incoming federal stimulus dollars will go toward K-12 and higher education, Brewer warned that the money will only help — not solve — the university system’s budget problems.

I bring to you today my personal commitment as your governor to utilize and apply federal stimulus dollars … in a way that can best mitigate the impacts of today’s proposals to dramatically increase tuition,” she said. “But with that commitment, I require your commitment to the development of a long-term plan to reform your business model.”

Link (Sneed)

May 1, 2009 – Arizona Daily Star:   Arizonans still getting to know their surprise governor, 100 days in

“The 2009 budget fix that Jan Brewer signed into law 10 days after taking office made $133 million in cuts to K-12 education — about a 2 percent cut to state aid for schools.

Brewer has said there will be more cuts to balance the 2010 budget, but she wants to minimize them. She also has been protective of state funding for popular all-day kindergarten programs. And while some legislative leaders fretted about a requirement in the federal stimulus package to backfill cuts to universities, Brewer welcomed it.

We cannot afford to eat the seed corn of our future,” Brewer said. I don’t want to see us go in and decimate education. They have taken some big hits, and they will take more hits. . . . But we have to be very, very cautious.”

Link (Scarpinato)

March 18, 2009 – KNAUGovernor Brewer warns of more education cuts

Lawmakers approved – and Brewer signed – legislation to cut $133 million this year from K-12 education and $150 million from higher ed.  But the state faces a potential $3 billion deficit for next year.  Brewer has proposed fixing that with further cuts, federal stimulus dollars and a temporary tax increase, traveling around the state pitching her plan.  A group of business leaders listened to her latest talk but asked for assurance that there would be no futher cuts, especially to universities, because that’s where they get their qualified employees.  Brewer refused.

“Assurance is one thing.  And doing what is necessary is another thing.  Unfortunately, we probably are going to see some more reductions in K thru 12 and higher education in the state of Arizona.”

Link (Fischer)

March 4, 2009 – Governor Brewer speech:   Building a Better Arizona

“Our structural budget reforms should also be designed to restrict and limit routine raids on fee-based funds also called “Fund Sweeps”. Occasionally, some sweeps may be justified and perfectly legal, but when users are required to pay fees for required government services they should have the confidence to know that if they have paid the fee they will receive the service. I have heard of fund sweeps described as a homeowner who writes a check for the utility bill only to have the government intercept the check in the mail before it reaches the power company. Guess what happens, the power gets shut off. This cannot continue. That tool must be restricted just as we restrict the use of rainy day funds.

And now my fourth proposal: reform and modernize our state tax structure. Study after study has been conducted only to sit on a bookshelf and collect dust. Our tax structure must not hold back job creation and capital formation…Therefore, I call for a tax reduction that will begin in 2012, and we need to progressively build a more friendly tax code that attracts investment capital and helps create high wage, sustainable jobs. Give me a tax cut that equips us with the tools to build a better Arizona…

… we must be willing to consider the passage of a temporary tax increase – approved by you and signed by me – or approved by the voters at a special election, of roughly $1 billion dollars per year.

This temporary increase should be dedicated to preserving our education systems, our critical public safety commitments, and our essential public health services necessary for the survival of our state’s most at-risk citizens…


We cannot balance this budget on cuts alone, nor on taxes alone, nor on Federal Stimulus dollars alone. We cannot place all of the burden on our children and their schools. We cannot place all of the burden on the parents that need day care so they can go to work and stay off welfare. We cannot leave the sick on the streets alone to fend for themselves only to overload our hospitals and our jails. We cannot be penny wise and pound-foolish….

…To my friends and respected colleagues on the right I will not accept a budget that eats the seed corn that must be sown in the fields of our future. We all work hard for our children, and for their children. They must be safe in their neighborhoods and communities, and we cannot settle for an education system that merely prepares them to get a job. We must ensure that our education system prepares them to excel ; in work, in business, in service to their community, and to our country. Let me make this point abundantly clear -I will not sign a budget that relies primarily on debt and federal stimulus dollars, and I will not sign a budget that relies primarily on unrealistic spending cuts…”

Link

Feb 18, 2009 – KNAU Arizona Public Radio:  Governor Brewer talks budget, education in Flagstaff, (Interview with Gillian Ferris Kohl)

Question (Gillian Ferris Kohl):  “…a few weeks ago Republican legislative leaders laid out some budget options for next fiscal year, and they could include a $900 million cut to state aid and public schools and up to a $500 million cut to universities. Do you feel that puts too much of the deficit solution on cutting education?”

Response (Gov. Brewer): “Well, first and foremost let me tell you that we are in the biggest crisis that Arizona has ever seen in my lifetime and it is very, very critical.  So, our options out there on dealing with the general budget are very narrow.  I just currently addressed the 2009 budget by making $1.6 billion cuts  into that based on some (hopefully) stimulus dollars that we might receive from the federal government – we aren’t even sure of that – now we are going in to the 2010 budget looking at a three point plus budget deficit.  Now we made some very severe cuts in the 2009 budget which made everyone feel pain. But as our revenues drop, the services that we are providing are going to have to drop too because it just…it doesn’t match – I mean you cannot spend more than you make.  And the bottom line is that if we don’t come up with a solution there are going to be more dreadful cuts.

Question (Kohl):  “Do you think that there is a correlation between funding and success in school, because Arizona consistently ranks about 49th in the nation as far as spending per student?”

Response (Brewer):  “I believe that everybody supports education.  I believe everybody supports higher education – that it is important – certainly the educators support education – so, and I think that is something that government and our constitution says that we provide to people, and people need to be able to take advantage of that but the bottom line is that we need the education community, the citizens of the state of Arizona, the business community to come together – and I’ve always said that all options are on the table.  We need to collectively, together, solve the crisis that we’re in and education is going to be a big part of that.

Link (Ferris Kohl)

Feb 10, 2009 – East Valley Tribune:  Brewer noncommittal on school vouchers

“…Brewer boasted of having voted for the first “choice” programs when she was a legislator in 1994. That included allowing private companies to run charter schools which get state funding as well as permitting “open enrollment,” allowing students to go to any public school which has the space.

“Supporting school choice is not contradictory to supporting our public schools,” Brewer said. “I support the education of our children no matter where the location or the context.”
Link (Fischer)

February 7, 2009 – Arizona Republic:  Gov Brewer blames Napolitano for budget crisis

“…Brewer was noncommittal on the future of certain state programs as Arizona tries to close a shortfall as large as $3 billion for fiscal 2010.

Tax increases remain a possibility, she said. But so, too, does the permanent elimination of a property tax that has been suspended for the past few years but is slated to return soon.

Brewer called all-day kindergarten “a very popular program” but said she has not decided whether the state will continue to fund it…”
Link (Benson)

February 2, 2009 – ABC 15.com:  AZ’s newest budget cuts trim millions from K-12 education

“Gov. Jan Brewer gave final approval to budget plan Saturday.  It includes roughly $580 million in spending cuts, removes another $580 million from several special funds, and factors in $500 million in anticipated federal stimulus money coming to Arizona. … Of the most notable reductions, more that $142 million was pulled from state universities and $133 million from K-12 education.”

Link (Biscobing)

Jan 30, 2009 – East Valley Tribune: Brewer signs budget with $580 million in cuts

“Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation Saturday to fix the current budget, paving the way for lawmakers to start dealing with an even bigger deficit expected next year.

Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said Brewer, who has been governor for less than two weeks, recognizes the hardship that the $580 million in spending cuts will create. Hardest hit is education, with a $142 million hit to the university system, $9 million taken from community colleges and $133 million less in state aid to public schools.

The governor is very concerned about the effect and impact of this budget,” Senseman said. He said, though, the cuts had to be made because of the $1.6 billion deficit in the $9.9 billion spending plan, a deficit Senseman said Brewer inherited from former Gov. Janet Napolitano.

Link (Fischer)

Jan 21, 2009 – Governor Brewer’s Inaugural Address

“My fellow Arizonans, it is important to remember that we cannot budget our way to prosperity, and still less, we will not attain prosperity by taxing our way there either. Our first calling at this
capitol is to generate capital — to call forth the creativity, determination and entrepreneurial spirit that made these United States the most prosperous great power in the history of the world.

I’m therefore pleased to report that the legislative leadership, my transition team and I are not sitting idle while the new government in Washington plans another trillion dollars in deficit spending. No, we are planning a massive stimulus package of our own, to make Arizona the most economically
vibrant place in the world. And just like the clever folks in Washington, we have a catchy name for it: It’s called freedom.

Free to choose the schools their children will attend, and to find a safe and sound learning environment in every public institution…Free to pursue an authentic higher education in our great research universities and our community colleges, at a cost that will not leave them under a crushing debt.”
Link

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