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Education Newsletter 4/27/2010

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Arizona Education Network Newsletter

Proposition 100 Under Attack: Check Out the Facts
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Proposition 100 Under Attack:

Check Out the Facts

With the start of early voting on April 22, opponents of Proposition 100--the temporary one-percent sales tax increase--have stepped up their attacks. The Arizona Education Network supports Proposition 100 not because we think it is the answer to the budget issues affecting our state, but because it is a bridge that buys us time to allow the Arizona economy to rebound and to begin the reform of the state's tax structure.

Some argue that the defeat of Proposition 100 would force the Arizona legislature to "do their job" and find a better way to close our budget deficit. We have been assured by those in the majority party that the defeat of Proposition 100, which dedicates two-thirds of revenues to education, would be viewed as a vote against education funding and would encourage further cuts to a system that already ranks last in the nation in per-child funding.

When you hear the following anti-Prop 100 arguments, we want you to be armed with the facts. So let's look at the arguments against Proposition 100 and see how they stack up.

"It's really an 18% increase in sales tax."
This is not only a scare tactic--it's bad math. Proposition 100 is a one-percent sales tax increase, or one-cent on each dollar spent--ONE PENNY! If you purchase a DVD player for $100 you would pay an additional $1 not an additional $18.

"Arizonans can't afford to pay any more taxes."
If Proposition 100 does not pass, Arizonans could pay more in permanent property taxes. Why is that? The Department of Corrections will shift prisoners to county jails which do not have the capacity right now to house them. Counties will have to increase property taxes in order to fund new jail cell construction. So what this really boils down to is: Do you want to pay a temporary, three-year tax to support school children, public safety and health and human services, or a permanent property tax to build more jail cells?

"The Legislature will just choose to extend the sales tax. No tax is temporary."
If voters pass Proposition 100, it will automatically repeal in three years. This language will be written into the state Constitution if it passes. It would take a two-thirds majority for legislators to extend the sales tax. The fact that Arizona has cut taxes in sixteen of the past eighteen years and the fact that legislators could not muster the two-thirds majority to increase the sales tax themselves, argue strongly against the possibility that legislators would have the votes or the inclination to reinstate this tax.

"Sales taxes are regressive." Rejecting the sales tax would put other options back on the table. We agree that sales taxes are regressive. However, at the moment, a sales tax increase is the only revenue option we've been given. Remember that it takes a two-thirds super-majority to raise revenue in Arizona. Our legislators couldn't even pass the sales tax increase themselves. They could barely agree to refer it to the voters. It would be unrealistic to believe that the current legislature would somehow see the fiscally responsible "light" and find a fairer way to raise revenue if Proposition 100 were defeated. What Proposition 100 does is buy us time to come up with more permanent solutions. Also, remember, all these legislators are up for election in the August 24, 2010 primary and November 2, 2010 general election.

"The amount from the sales tax apportioned to primary and secondary education is $600 million, but there is only $428 million in conditional cuts to K-12 education in the FY2011 budget if...

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