Joint Legislative Budget Committee Report: ESA Expansion Would Increase State Costs

Published: Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 8:09am
Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 12:45pm

A new report suggests the bill seeking to expand the voucher system in Arizona would actually increase state costs. The analysis from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee contradicts the argument the bill’s sponsor, Debbie Lesko, has been using to defend the legislation.

The JLBC estimates the state will spend an additional $13.9 million by 2020 if 2.6 percent of students switch from public to private schools.

Lesko argues it takes about $9,500 to educate a child in Arizona public schools, making the $5,600 voucher an overall savings for a taxpayer.

However, the report points out the figure Lesko cites includes what schools get in both federal dollars and local tax payments. When just state costs are considered, vouchers are more expensive.

Lesko said she wants to take a closer look at the report.

"The report just came out from JLBC and so I'm having my assistant right now request a meeting with JLBC so they can go over the fiscal note with me so that I have a better understanding," Lesko said.

The report comes as the senate bill awaits a full vote.


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