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Arizona Democrats Want A 4-Percent Teacher Pay Increase

A Republican budget plan, set for its first vote Wednesday, would give Arizona teachers a pay hike more than double what was submitted by Gov. Doug Ducey.

But Democrats want to double those raises again, and may have the leverage this year to make it happen.

House minority leader Rebecca Rios said anything less than a 4 percent increase is unacceptable.

"They've already given 2 percent," Rios said. "So what's 2 more percent? It's about 34 million for each percent. But if they have money for all these other proposals, where there's a will, there's a way.”

Ducey had sought a state-funded pay hike of just 0.4 percent this year for teachers, with a promise of similar increases for the following four years.

But that was a non-starter, even for GOP leaders, who said that amount - about a dollar for each day in the school year, before taxes - was insufficient to deal with the teacher shortage.

The legislative budget proposes an 1 percent pay hike, with an identical teacher raise again next year.