Arizona government: Keep an eye out for the following

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 6.44.26 AM copyBy Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services/Your West Valley.com

With the new year upon us, there are a host of issues state leaders likely will face in 2015.

Here are 10 things to watch for in Arizona politics and government for the coming year.

School finance:

The Arizona Supreme Court already has ruled state lawmakers acted illegally beginning in 2010 when they ignored a 2000 voter-approved requirement to boost state aid to schools each year to account for inflation. That leaves only two things to be decided: How much they owe — and can the Legislature ignore the courts.

As to the first, a trial judge said just recomputing the aid formula to where it should have been requires an immediate $317 million infusion this fiscal year. That increases to $336 million next year and goes from there.

Lawmakers have appealed, arguing they can’t afford it and the courts can’t order it. And if nothing else, they say the reset should be just $87 million because they gave some larger-than-inflation increases in earlier years.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper is still looking at a separate demand for $1 billion in what was not paid to schools in the past.

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