PHOENIX — Senate President Steve Yarbrough, the architect of an ever-increasing siphoning off of state tax revenues to help send students to private and parochial schools, says he’s now willing to consider a cap. What’s the change? He will no longer be the executive director and general counsel of the Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization (“ACSTO”) where millions of tax dollars have been diverted for his benefit and that of his wife.
The Internal Revenue Service filings by the ACSTO show that out of the $21.3 million the organization collected in the most recent year, Yarbrough was paid $98,241 in salary plus another $27,840 in what he said is the cost of fringe benefits and life insurance.
On top of that, the organization paid another $659,300 to HY Processing LLC, a firm owned by Yarbrough and his wife, Linda, to handle the accounting and paperwork for the scholarships.
ACSTO also currently rents space in a building owned by Yarbrough. The IRS form lists occupancy costs of $49,180.
It’s been a pretty sweet deal for the Yarbrough family at the expense of Arizona public schools, which remain among the worst in the nation. Since corporations can take the tax break, it’s also a great way for them to gain favortism in the legislature by directing funds to Yarbrough.
Even Republican legislators say this program “sticks out like a sore thumb.”
The only way to stop this is for Democrats to gain control of state government in 2018. Let’s get to work.