Feb. 2015

February 2015

1.  Governor’s Ducey’s budget proposal focuses on putting more money in the classroom.  His proposal increases K-12 classroom funding by $160 Million and reduces K-12 non-classroom funding by $113.5 Million, for a net increase in education funding. Unfortunately, communications from the school superintendents focus only on the cuts and don’t mention the proposed increases.  Telling parents about proposed cuts to non-classroom funding and then not telling the parents about the proposed increases to classroom funding is disingenuous.  Documentation from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee shows that both Peoria Unified School District and Dysart School District will have net increases in funding.  According to the latest AZ Auditor General Report,  Arizona schools spent 53.8% of their funding in the classroom, compared to the national average of 60.9%.  I’m a Peoria School District parent.   In a recent survey, Peoria Unified School District asked parents if they prefer a 4 day school week over cutting personnel such as school bus drivers and cafeteria workers. Perhaps a better question would be …do we prefer cutting administration costs over cutting school bus drivers and cafeteria workers?  I have a feeling the answer would be yes.

2.  My legislation, SB1446, was signed into law by Governor Ducey on February 24th.  This legislation, requested by contractors, and negotiated on with the cities and AZ Department of Revenue will dramatically simplify tax reporting for thousands of contractors across the state.  This legislation passed with both Republican and Democrat support.  In fact, only one legislator out of 90 voted no.   It is my intent to continue my work on this important reform in years to come, so that all contractors will be able to pay tax on materials only, just like contractors in 46 other states already do.

3.  SB1465, my consumer protection legislation, passed out of the Senate 26-2 with both Republican and Democratic support. This legislation requires common sense disclosure on roof-top solar leases and finance agreements.  Because of complaints, including THIS ONE from my constituents,  U.S. Congressmen from across the nation have notified federal regulators, the AZ Attorney General has investigated and filed judgements, and the AZ Corporation Commission has opened a docket to investigate.

4.  My “Protect the PTA Fundraiser” legislation, SB1267, passed out of the Senate 28-1.  This legislation requires the state to grant waivers to the Federal Smart Snack program, so that school PTAs can continue to sell items, such as sno-cones, after school to raise money for their schools.  Starting last fall, PTAs were no longer allowed to sell snacks after school that weren’t on the federal approved healthy snack list.  This legislation will fix that problem.

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact me at DLesko@azleg.gov or 602-926-5413.

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