Katie Hobbs calls for AEL to be “permanently” repealed

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs called Wednesday for the permanent repeal of the Aggregate Expenditure Limit (AEL).

Hobbs said during an interview with Arizona PBS that addressing the upcoming AEL deadline is “the most pressing education issue right now.” The AEL is an overall spending threshold that Arizona voters approved via constitutional amendment in 1980 in order to bring more accountability to public district schools.

“If we don’t lift that, schools are going to be faced with having to close early, end the school year early, or lay off teachers, and so we’re not doing anything to address the problem if we don’t get rid of that limit,” the Democrat argued. “Suspend it now, but look at how we repeal it permanently.”

Hobbs also claimed during the interview that she supports “increasing teacher salary to the national average,” despite having voted against a 20 percent raise for Arizona’s teachers while serving in the state legislature.

The governor-elect — who recently named longtime teachers union lobbyists Marisol Garcia and Stephanie Parra to her transition team — is an outspoken opponent of school choice and claimed Wednesday that continuing to provide funding for the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program would “bust our budget.”