State Treasurers Oppose Ducey's Plan To Fund Education With State Land Trust

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - 6:04pm
Updated: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - 6:40pm

Current and former state treasurers are opposing the governor’s proposal to use money from the state’s land trust account to increase funding to K-12 education. Governor Doug Ducey’s plan would have given the schools $1.8 billion between 2017 and 2022.

The permanent land trust account currently pays $80 million to schools each year.

Former State Treasurer Dean Martin is concerned about paying out that much trust money in a short period of time.

“It’s not our money. We can’t just come in and grab it like the rainy day fund to fill this year’s budget hole,” he said. “It’s designed as a trust so that we can’t raid it.”

Martin and current treasurer Jeff DeWit share the same concern that the proposal could face years of litigation and have questionable outcomes.

“This proposal also does nothing to alleviate the current lawsuit from the schools or the Legislature’s appropriation responsibilities to fund education," DeWit wrote in a letter to the lawmakers.

He also wrote that he’s concerned the proposal would land Arizona in another costly and public court battle.

“I have attempted to work with the Governor’s office on alternatives that are financially and legally sound and provide more money to our schools, but those efforts have been unsuccessful," DeWit continued in the letter. "I ask each of you that we jointly seek an alternative method to increase the funding of our schools.”

DeWit suggests a better option would be selling more Trust land.

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