Further analysis has confirmed that the Senate GOP tax plan would be incredibly harmful to Arizona’s teachers.
According to data compiled by the National Education Association, the latest data shows that the average Arizona teacher salary in 2016 was $47,218 (Table C-5 in this report: http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/2017_Rankings_and_Estimates_Report-FINAL-SECURED.pdf). In 2017, it is estimated to be $47,403 (Table I-12 in the same report).
Given the fact that the latest Senate bill makes the corporate tax cuts permanent while allowing the individual tax cuts to expire, this means bad news for teachers. Using data produced by the Joint Committee on Taxation, this means Arizona teachers will face an average tax increase of nearly $300 by 2027 (Figure 2 and Table 2 in this report: https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/jct-estimates-amended-senate-tax-bill-skewed-to-top-hurts-many-low-and-middle).
“I just don’t see how this is going to help any teacher out,” said Christy Gaona-Pacheco who teaches in the Tolleson Union High School District. “We finally got a small bonus this past year here in Arizona, and now DC politicians want to wipe it out. I’m not sure how many teachers can keep teaching if this continues.”
Furthermore, the National Education Association estimates the Senate tax plan will reduce state and local revenues by as much as $370 billion over the next decade. Due to the elimination of itemization and deduction of state and local income, sales, or property taxes, pressure will be put on local governments to either raise revenue through local taxes or make significant slashes to spending. As this link shows (http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/NEA%20Impact%20of%20Senate%20Tax%20Bill%20on%20Support%20for%20Public%20Education%20by%20State.pdf), that could result in a cut to education spending in Arizona of up to $355 million annually and the elimination of up to 4,798 teaching positions. Over a 10-year period this would mean $3.5 billion taken from Arizona’s schools.
“In a state where education is already underfunded but so vital to building a strong workforce, this plan is a direct attack on our schools and teachers,” stated David Lujan, Director of The Arizona Center for Economic Progress. “Arizona voters have continually said education should be a top priority for our state, so I hope our elected officials in Washington, D.C. are listening to them and will reject this plan.”
The Arizona Center for Economic Progress
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