Thursday, May 3rd, 2018, may prove to be an historic day for Arizona children and families.The Governor, under pressure from the #RedforEd educators and allies, signed a $400 million increase for public education, and Pima County Interfaith and allies held a press conference at the State Building in Tucson and pledged to gather 55,000 signatures for the INVEST IN EDUCATION ACT, which, if successful, will add $690 million to the education budget. Together, this will restore the $1.1 billion cut from education since 2008. It doesn’t make up for inflation or growth but it will start restoring our states investment in the education of our children.
Rev. Jim Wiltbank, Pastor of St. Francis in the Foothills UMC and a member of the PCI education team, told the press that “all children in private, parochial, charter and especially district public schools deserve a well-funded education because they are our community’s future.” He stood with over 30 clergy and community allies from 23 southern Arizona institutions. He asked them all to take petitions and get them signed and submitted by the July 5th deadline because “it’s the right thing to do.”
David Lujan, the Director of the Arizona Center for Economic Progress, said that funding education is a non-partisan issue that will attract support from Republicans, Democrats and Independents. The Invest in Education Act will be funded by an increase of between 3-5% in the income tax paid by those who earn over $250,000 a year. Due to recent increases in sales taxes, Lujan said, families earning $30,000/year will still be paying a larger percentage of their incomes in taxes than those who are wealthy.