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Legislative Update April 29, 2021

Federal Stimulus for Arizona

With the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Arizona is slated to receive $12.3 billion – a sum larger than the entire state budget and 3 times more than the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) from last year. There are many ways this money could find its way into capital/construction budgets especially for state and local governments, school districts and health care.

It promises to deliver a direct $1,400 stimulus payment to people making $75,000 or less annually, which is the remaining amount from the second stimulus package ($600) already distributed by the Trump Administration in December. It extends the unemployment compensation, continues eviction and foreclosure moratorium. As for state and local government aid, the plan also provides funds to help compensate for lost tax revenues, fund schools for grades K-8 to safely reopen during the pandemic.

About $1.7 billion of Arizona’s share will go to healthcare and $4.8 billion will go to the state’s coronavirus relief fund and could be used to respond to most Covid related issues but cannot be used to pay down pension debt or “reduce taxes directly or indirectly.” This federal aid may impede Republicans’ attempts to cut up to $1 billion in taxes.

Arizona cities would receive a total of $2.6 billion and its businesses would receive another $1.2 billion. An additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits would be extended through Sept. 6th. Arizona district and charter schools will directly get 90% of the $3.2 billion for education. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman will directly oversee more than $300 million, which includes the $129 million to address learning loss and a combined $54 million for afterschool and summer programs for disadvantaged students. If you want more detail, here is a more detailed breakdown of the Arizona specific funding:

State Budget Update

The Senate met last week on the budget, but members weren’t allowed to keep the copies. They say the copies showed the Senate framework was very similar to what has been in place since January. As for the tax plan, the House is much further along than the Senate, but it isn’t clear what the Senate’s appetite is for the House’s version. As for spending, Senator Boyer has a very aggressive budget ask of roughly $180M for firefighters with cancer, education and other issues that he’s willing to go to the battlefield for. It is also unclear if Republicans will give in to all or just a portion of his budget requests.

Bills still on the Move

Our most important bill this year is SB1179 CTEDs; fourth-year funding. Since the bill costs money this must be included in the final budget blueprint if it is to become law. To reach that goal we are speaking with members of the House and Senate to ask for them to support including SB1179 in the budget. As a reminder, here is what the bill would accomplish:

  • Expands work-based learning opportunities by restoring funding for CTE internships.

  • Restores funding to CTED students in grade 9th, only for targeted programs included on the in-demand regional education list and if the student persists and remains enrolled in an approved CTED program through the 40th day their 10th

  • Restores funding for students in the year immediately following HS graduation (13th grade) only if they participate in a program included on the in-demand regional education list.

  • Requires Office of Economic Opportunity in collaboration with ADE and business & industry to compile an annual in-demand regional education list of CTED programs that lead to a career path in high demand with median-to-high wage jobs in that region.

  • Explicitly limits a student to a maximum of four years of CTED funding.

Another important issue that just came up a few weeks ago is H2760 contractors; qualifying party. Recall that as a result of a mistake in the ROC omnibus bill from two years ago, qualifying parties can be held personally liable for ROC violations by a licensee. We worked with the AGC to educate members and round up votes in committee and on the Senate floor. It passed the Senate on Tuesday; it faces one final vote in the House and then will be sent to the governor for his signature.

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