Budget Recap

First, A Budget Recap

Wrong Priorities & Missed Opportunities

Business leaders, parents, grandparents, and others across Arizona are demanding that our state invest in education. The way to build a strong economy is to make sure we have a strong, educated workforce. Yet, the Arizona legislature’s on-going failure to adequately fund our public schools has left us ranked 49th in the nation in per pupil funding, resulting in crumbling school buildings, inadequate resources, and a severe teacher shortage. It’s criminal.

At a time when children in over 2,000 Arizona classrooms have no permanent, qualified teacher, the Republican majority’s response this year was to ram through tax cuts for the wealthiest Arizonans, thus shrinking the pie of revenue needed to invest in schools, infrastructure, care for our most vulnerable citizens, and other state responsibilities.

Non-partisan fiscal experts figure that 72% of state residents will see a benefit of less than $45. More than half will see a net benefit of no more than $17. In the meantime, the wealthiest Arizonans will reap a benefit of over $350,000.

Then just for good measure, they also pushed through SB1783 a work-around which violates the will of voters who approved Prop 208 to increase public school funding. It creates a loophole for the wealthiest Arizonans to avoid the Prop 208 surcharge, a loophole that experts predict will reduce that voter-approved school funding increase $300M annually.

So we’re giving away billions to the wealthiest Arizonans, when we COULD HAVE INVESTED

  • $14.3M in the AZ Early Intervention Program that provides vital services to families with newborn children and toddlers with disabilities

  • $12M to expand Kids Care that would help ensure health care for children in lower and middle income families

  • $7.5M in Preschool Development Grants for low income children. Our state loses out on millions of federal matching dollars each year because AZ refuses to make any investment in a program that experts say is vital for student success and lifelong learning. Reps Sierra, Lieberman and Supt Hoffman have been the leaders working to get this into the budget for years

  • The full $50M needed for the AZ Promise Program scholarship for low-income students instead of the $7.5M in the budget

  • The full $10M needed for students in Career and Technical Education programs instead of the $5M in the budget that ALSO postpones payment until students complete two years of training. (CTED students should be funded the same way as district and charter schools!)

  • The full $100M increase needed to educate Special Education students instead of the $50M in the budget.

  • The full $2.8M needed to pay for students’ AP test fees instead of the $1.3M in the budget

  • Fulfilling our promise to provide Arizona public schools with hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue lost during the pandemic due to distance learning requirements and attendance drops.

The GOOD NEWS – How you can help!


But that’s not the end of the story! People are already gathering signatures to put these tax loopholes on the 2022 ballot so Arizonans can have their say. INVEST in AZ NOW, a coalition of non-partisan education groups including Stand for Children, Children’s Action Alliance, Save Our Schools, AZ Interfaith Network, AZ Center for Economic Progress, Friends of the AZ School Boards Association and AEA, is banding together to stop the 47 Republican legislators and one Republican governor from overturning the will of 1.7 million voters.

But they need your help NOW to gather the signatures needed to refer these otherwise permanent tax cuts to the voters. YOU ARE THE ONE WHO CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE!

Sign up here to volunteer, donate, or host an event to gather signatures.

Attacks on AZ Elections

Defending Your Sacred Right to Vote

As your representative, I’m committed to the sacredness of every vote in safe, fair elections. The truth is that Arizona has long been a leader in conducting well-run, secure elections, and two legitimate audits by credible nationally-recognized firms confirmed that 2020 was no exception.

Still, the Republican majority in the Senate pursued an embarrassing audit by a company that revealed their incompetence at every turn and then legislators used their one vote majority in the State House and Senate to ram through a series of voter suppression bills grounded in baseless claims of fraud including

  • SB 1485 which renames the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) to the Active Early Voting list. If a voter does not vote an early ballot in elections (primary, general and municipal) for two election cycles, county recorders will notify the voter, who then has to sign and return the notice AND ALSO confirm their intent to remain on the list.
  • SB 2569 which prohibits State and County Election Departments from receiving grants to help run elections, including doing voter registration, like the drop boxes received on Navajo Nation in 2020
  • SB 1819 which was rushed through at the end and contains a number of provisions. The most concerning requires a specific type of ink and paper to be used for ballot and requires barcodes and QR codes on ballots, which could imperil the constitutional requirement for ballot secrecy

The majority also pushed through bills that attack our Constitutionally protected right to the initiative process that ensures all power ultimately rests with the people.

YOU can help defeat these when they appear on the 2022 ballot (with different numbers).

  • HCR 2001 restricted initiatives to a single subject

  • HCR 2016 requires a supermajority of 55% for an initiative to pass

  • SCR1024 increases the percentage of votes needed to prevent the governor or legislature from overriding the will of the voters

The GOOD NEWS – How you can help!

Arizona Deserves Better

Once again, the good news is that Arizona Deserves Better is collecting signatures NOW to let voters decide about whether to approve this extremist legislation that would 1) throw hundreds of thousands of infrequent voters off the Permanent Early Voter List (SB1485), 2) prohibit private grants for State & County Elections Departments need to help inform voters and run elections (SB2569), and 3) require specific ink, paper, and barcodes that could imperil the secrecy of our ballots (SB1819).

But they need your help to gather 118,000 signatures in the next 90 days to put these measures on the 2022 ballot so we can stop these attacks on our sacred right to vote.

Sign up NOW to donate, volunteer, or attend an event at their website.

MORE GOOD NEWS – you can help here, too!

Stop Dark Money!

A big reason for dysfunction and bad policy in our government comes from the impact of dark money, political spending on election advertising by anonymous sources. While ordinary citizens’ contributions to a campaign are capped and their names and addresses must be disclosed publicly, dark money sources are hidden and the amounts they can spend are unlimited.

Stop Dark Money is supporting a ballot initiative that if placed on the 2022 ballot and passed by voters, would require ALL major contributors to clearly identify themselves if they invest more than $5,000 to a campaign or candidate.

Help stop the buying of elections and politicians who serve their donors instead of their Arizona communities by signing the petition and volunteering here.

Get Your Free COVID Shot!

Have you gotten your COVID shot(s) yet? The more Arizonans who get vaccinated, the more we can all safely get back to the things we love. If you aren’t yet fully vaccinated, contact your local healthcare provider, or go to https://noahhelps.org/covid-vaccine/ to schedule a vaccine appointment at a Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health (NOAH) center.

You can also book appointments online at any state health department site at http://podvaccine.azdhs.gov or by calling 844-542-8201. A video tutorial on online appointment scheduling is available here.

How Can We Help?

Constituent Services

As your representative, I’m here to listen and work for you. In addition to lawmaking, my office will make every effort to assist you with issues in which a state agency might help.

Even before officially taking office I was able to work with our Arizona Legislative staff to help people who contacted me about the difficulty they were having receiving long-delayed unemployment benefits.

Whatever the issue, we will do our best to help. Please contact my office at 602-926-3390 or jschwiebert@azleg.gov.

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Feel free to email me at jschwiebert@azleg.gov or call me at 602-926-3390