The winners and losers in Arizona’s $11.8 billion budget

Cronkite News reported that Arizona’s $11.8 billion budget for fiscal 2020, which was passed only after Republican lawmakers demanded changes to child sex-abuse laws, includes money for schools, infrastructure and health care.

The main source of the last-minute conflict was House Bill 2466, which allows survivors of child sex abuse an additional 10 years to sue their abusers. Under current law, survivors have until age 20 to file suit.

Ducey, a Republican, kept his promise to increase teacher pay 20% by 2020, with part of the raise included in the new budget. Teacher raises were a major demand of the Red for Ed movement last year. Median salaries for Arizona teachers are about $47,000, according to a 2017 analysis by the ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy. It said pay for high-school teachers ranks 49th in the U.S., slightly above elementary-school teachers, who rank 50th.

Arizona educators are still seeking improvements and staying attentive to government action. Leaders of organizations such as the Arizona Educators Association believe more funding is still needed to properly improve Arizona schools and point to the budget’s $325 million in tax cuts as a blow to public education.

As well, more than $225 million has been earmarked for upgrading bridges and roads across Arizona. The Maricopa Association of Governments tweeted its satisfaction with the budget and how it recognizes the importance of infrastructure in advancing state and regional goals on Interstates 10 and 17.

And a measure championed by Rep. Tony Rivero, R-Peoria, allotted $455,000 to bolster Arizona’s international trade presence. The money will create two trade offices in Mexico and one in Israel, with all three run by the Arizona Commerce Authority. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry applauded the funding, saying it made Arizona more competitive beyond its borders.

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