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10/1/2012 6:00:00 AM
Prop 204 would make tax hike eternal
80 percent of funds from levy to be set aside for education
Prop. 204 supporters and opponents
Who's for it:

Arizona Child Care Association

Greater Phoenix Leadership

League of Women Voters

Southern Arizona Leadership Council

The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits

Arizona Chapter of Associated General Contractors

Friends of the Arizona School Boards Association

Sundt Construction

Arizona Education Network

Arizona Students' Association

Several university student governments

Chicanos Por La Causa

Protecting Arizona's Family Coalition Education Fund

Arizona Congress of Parents and Teachers

CDG Architects

Grand Canyon Institute

Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness

Physicians for Social Responsibility

The mayor of Tucson

The mayor of Phoenix

Valley of the Sun United Way

Valley Interfaith Project

Dignity Health Arizona

Association for Supportive Child Care

Maricopa Community College

Tucson Utility Contractors Association

Voices for Education

The Tempe Ariz. chapter of the National Association of Social Workers

Southwest Human Development of Phoenix

Empowerment Systems of Apache Junction

Arizona Hispanic Community Forum

Arizona PTA

National Utility Contractors Association of Arizona

American Council of Engineering Companies of Arizona

Associated Minority Contractors of America

Arizona School Retirees Association

Metropolitan Education Commission

Peoria United Parents Council

Support Our Schools-Arizona

The Navajo Nation

Arizona Community Action Association



Who's against it:

The Goldwater Institute

Gov. Jan Brewer

Arizona Tax Research Association

Arizona Farm Bureau Federation

Home Builders Association of Central Arizona

Steve Pierce, president of the Arizona State Senate

Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Arizona Cattlemen's Association

The League of Arizona Cities & Towns

Russell Pearce, former president of the Arizona State Senate

Arizonans for a Responsible Budget

Debbie Lesko, majority whip, Arizona House of Representatives,


Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter


One of the most controversial propositions voters will see on November's ballot would make the temporary one-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2010 permanent.

The tax went into effect June 1, 2010. It increased the state sales tax rate to 6.6 cents and raised more than $1 billion. It is supposed to end May 31, 2013.

Proposition 204, the Quality Education and Jobs Act, would not only make the tax permanent but if approved, it would prohibit the Legislature from cutting funding to education below a certain level and prevent the Legislature from diverting money from the Highway User Revenue Fund. The HURF fund is used to collect money to repair roadways across the state.

According to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, if approved, the propositions could take $971 million from taxpayers its first year.

One of the most controversial propositions voters will see on November's ballot would make the temporary one-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2010 permanent.

The tax went into effect June 1, 2010. It increased the state sales tax rate to 6.6 cents and raised more than $1 billion. It is supposed to end May 31, 2013.

Proposition 204, the Quality Education and Jobs Act, would not only make the tax permanent but if approved, it would prohibit the Legislature from cutting funding to education below a certain level and prevent the Legislature from diverting money from the Highway User Revenue Fund. The HURF fund is used to collect money to repair roadways across the state.

According to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, if approved, the propositions could take $971 million from taxpayers its first year.

The proposition would designate 80 percent of the first billion dollars collected for education. The remaining 20 percent would go to fixing roads, supporting public safety, and health care for children without health insurance.

The Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank that opposes the proposition, claims that proposition is essentially a blank check written to school districts. There are no requirements that the money be spent on hiring teachers, increasing teacher pay or money to classrooms and there is no way to determine if the money is being spent wisely.

The institute also claims that the 20 percent designated for roads, public safety and children's health care is designed to pay off special interest groups that supported the proposition.

The Quality Education and Jobs Committee, which proposed the proposition, disagrees.

On its website, it points to language in the proposition that details exactly how the money collected by the tax would be divided up.

According to the ballot language, $500 million is set aside for a "quality education and performance fund." Some of that money will go to make sure that schools meet the new "Common Core" standards that are taking the place of the Arizona Instrument for Measuring Standards tests.

The proposition also requires students to be reading proficiently by third grade or be held back a year. It also creates a system to test and award high school students who show a readiness for college with diplomas from Grand Canyon University.

Another $10 million is slated for the Arizona Department of Education to install a system that tracks student achievement and school district financial data. According to Quality Education and Jobs, 12 percent of the funding will be tied to graduation rates, drop-out rates and SAT/ACT scores.

The proposition also designates $90 million for teacher training and technology. The funds would be doled out based on the performance record of schools. Teachers and principals will have one-third to one-half of their evaluations linked to student achievement. The Department of Education will be responsible for coming up with a system to judge a school's performance.

$100 million will be put into a state infrastructure fund for road and infrastructure improvements by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Another $25 million is designated for Kids Care, the state's child health insurance system for families with children under the age of 19 and who have an income of 200 percent below the federal poverty level.

Another $100 million is slated for the governor's office to use to match federal funds for programs that help provide for children and families that have income below the poverty level.

Fifty million dollars is designated for universities and colleges to use for scholarships and infrastructure expenses. According to the ballot language, at least half of this money has to be used for financial need or academic achievement scholarships.

The last $125 million of the first $1 billion collected will go to the state general fund to help offset the cost of inflation in the K-12 school system.

If more than a billion dollars is collected, the additional funds will be split in the following way:

• Thirty-three percent to schools to help children in the free lunch program succeed in school and for voluntary preschool programs.

• Twenty-two and one-half percent to community colleges for scholarships, career training and technical training programs.

• Nine percent to joint technical education districts.

• Two percent to the Department of Education for adult education programs.

• Twenty-two and one-half percent to universities for scholarships.

• Eleven percent for state infrastructure improvements.

The Quality Education and Jobs Committee also points out that the proposition requires an independent third-party audit every five years for all of the funds designated for education purposes.

State legislators and Gov. Jan Brewer also claim the proposition prevents the Legislature from budgeting funding as needed for state services by prohibiting state education funding from dropping below 2012 levels and prohibiting the state from diverting HURF funds to other needs.

It also prevents the Legislature from changing the tax base in such a way as to reduce funding to the programs created by the proposition.

The Quality Education and Jobs website points out that Arizona has led the nation in cuts to education funding since 2008. This proposition would provide the schools with a guaranteed level of funding.

Opponents also point out that making the tax permanent would give Arizona one of the highest sales taxes in the nation.

The Quality Education and Jobs website states that the proposition only protects the one-cent sales tax. The state can adjust the remaining 5.6 percent of the sales tax in any direction it wishes.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2012
Article comment by: Steven Johnson

Did you even attempt to contact the No on 204 side or present the opposition point of view? A quick search of the No on 204 website shows that their coalition is much broader than what you present above.

http://votenoon204.com/policy/who-opposes-prop-204-2/

Voting a resounding NO! This is horrible public policy making.


Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: how many others

When this temp tax came about I commented it would become permanent. Everyone knows once a tax is levied.

It NEVER GOES AWAY. Someway is found to make it permanent.


Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Article comment by: tj denton

yeah vote no to charter schools.

its funny to me that you say that about the academy, one they do NOT discriminate, they just simply dont have the room to have unlimited student, Two, their testing scores on percentage KILL north campus, they teachers ACTUALLY teach and they are strict on discipline. yeah...charter schools like the academy are horrible!!!!


Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012
Article comment by: Vote No As Long Charter Schools Drain Public Schools

I'm a big supporter of public education. I have taught in schools in several states, I still volunteer in the schools helping our children with the three r's.

I would love to vote for this proposition but I will not.

As long as our tax money goes to charter schools like KAOL that discriminates, creates duplicate administrative costs, pulls resources away from our public schools I will not support such measures.


Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Article comment by: Moderately Independent

If the State Legislature could be trusted to properly fund education and infrastructure as they should there would be no need for this proposition.

Unfortunately the majority of the fools elected to the State House and Senate cannot keep their filthy paws off the funds that are supposed to go to these departments so this proposition is necessary to tie their hands and stop the theft of these funds.

Vote YES on prop 204, make it law, and THEN contact your representatives and convince them to lower the general sales tax by 1% and we'll have a win-win situation. Of course with less general revenue available the fools in the legislature will need to tighten the belts on spending for their pet projects like private prisons, the Governor's trips to Paris, etc, etc...


Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Article comment by: KO TAY

Geez I thought the lottery money was to help support schools. Wait then it was the cigarette tax that was supposed to help schools. Then both were put into general fund. So just another cry for help and another tax that sounds good but taste like......another general fund tax.

Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Article comment by: tj denton

because anson, we are the richest country on the planet and for some reason all of the kids coming out of high school these days are simply dumb. Why is that anson? because they have no discipline. because people are more concerned if a child prays in school than with learning. more concerned with bullying than with studying. no, putting more money into some union pension where the teachers only care about tenior is rediculous. and maaany people never went to a university and are a whooole lot more successful than you

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: Allan Gleason

In most states education is funded by property taxes, but here in Arizona the patr'on rules and the serfs do the work.

Even with prop 13, my taxes in California were twice what I pay here on an equivalent property. Sales taxes are broader based, but are much harder on the poor than the rich.

I have one grand child and two great grand children who will benefit by an improved education system here in Arizona! Granted, parents are the primary source of motivation for a child, but there is little that a state can do about parental neglect. What the state CAN do is provide the best teachers and facilities that money can buy!


Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“More money doesnt raise education levels.”

Interesting concept. So let’s just defund schools completely and shut them down.

It is rather odd however that my investing (along with the taxpayers) money in attending university certainly raised my education level and allowed me to have a very successful career. Must be an anomaly – yeah, let’s just shut down the schools.



Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: DV s

This will only mean more wasted money... Everybody's (almost) hearts are in the right place...'for the kids'....BUT! It hasn't happened yet....what makes you think more taxes, more money is going to change anything....it hasn't !!!!...................What the state, counties, cities really should do is look at the Charter schools to see how to improve.....they seem to be doing very well on a whole lot less money, and the kids are doing very well.......WHY ARE YOU ALL NOT PAYING ATTENTION...?????

VOTE NO ON 204..


Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: Think Tank

I read these comments and the problem is apparent. Because we have dumbed down the population for so long we no longer value education as a society. While all of the other nations who are passing us keep investing more in educating their youth and teaching them to think for themselves we keep cutting teachers and their salary. You know, all those conspiracy theorists who seem to think Obama is a communist dictator are missing one key fact. He wants to increase education funding while all the conservatives want to lower it. What is one of the first things a dictator does? Why they cut education so the people cant think for themselves and just follow the lies force fed to them. Hmm, which party does that sound like?

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: L J

Why doesn't the Miner ask Doris Goodale position regarding this issue? Don't we the voters have a right to know where she stands? After all she Chair of the educational committee in the house.

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: Kingman Citizen

Education needs to be funded locally - not state-wide. By voting 'yes' all you're doing is supporting another level of state bureaucracy. This one is 'no' for me. Give me a vote on the local KUSD level and I'll give you a 'yes' for education with local control.

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: Doesn't Make Any Sense

@ victorious opposition

How can you make any sense of a raise for teachers when over the last 4+ years there have been nothing but budget cuts and lay offs? How many more people should be layed off so you can get a pay raise. If anything they need to make cuts in the front office where they seem to retire someone and then rehire them as consultants.


Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: victorious opposition

@Fred Beverage being a teacher at KUSD, I can't believe that you wouldn't support this. Teachers in the district haven't had a raise in 6 years. There is no serious hope of a raise without this passing. Even workers at McDonald's get a raise, but you'd rather have larger class sizes and run our great teachers off to other states that actually pay teachers. I know you haven't been here long, but when your pay goes up it's easier to pay your bills.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Matt Cline

I am in support of the tax for several reasons. First it is a continuation of what we are paying now. Nothing will change, the sales tax we pay today will be the same after the approval of the proposition. Secondly it will lock the funds into being used for education only. The state has raided Education and Hurf enough, we need to take these funds from them as they have been irresponsible. Lastly while many of us feel taxed too much, this is an opportunity to guarantee funds for education that our local school boards will have control over and therefore we their electors will have control over the funds

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Well one thing for sure anyone whining over a 1 cent tax is surely not in that 2% can anyone seriously think someone in that category worries about a 1 cent tax, price of gasoline, food etc.? They might worry about a purchase price on that 2nd or 3rd mansion, their private planes fuel costs, how much fuel costs for their yacht, and am sure the fellow who drives their limo pumps the gas and they do not even see the cost except on their monthly billing! No 2% folks here a few 2% wanna-bes maybe!

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Ward Cleaver

It is truly unfortunate that these groups had to go to the initiative to fund education. The bottom line is the Arizona legislature cannot be trusted on educational funding. Cut, cut, and cut some more, but make sure the private prison industry is properly funded, after all they are the ones who control Brewer and the legislature. If Doris Goodale would listen to the schools and not the private prison industry, or the for profit charter school industries , this initiative would not be necessary.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Tj Denton

More money doesnt raise education levels. parents raising their children to learn for themselves, to research, problem solve and be disciplined is what builds a bright future for our children. Not some penny tax that is going straight into the pension plan of some teachers union.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: V Stokes

@ David Gaither
"basing teacher's pay on their performance IS THE ANSWER!"

I agree with you to a large extent...as long as you don't mean how well a teachers kids do on the standard tests. Class performance on standard tests always seems to become teaching to the test...not a well rounded education. Lets look at how many move on and do well in other grades and classes and how many graduate.

Even then there can be abuse in a performance type pay scale.

I truly believe most teachers start their career motivated and enthusiastic...until they encounter the bureaucracy and administration...then the majority put in their years til they can retire.

My favorite teachers were those who were passionate about their subjects, would spend extra time with those who didn't get it, and often worked in industry during the summer. My Chemistry and Physics teacher in HS worked for DOW during the summer since he just couldn't stand being away from it for 3 months. My biology teacher (The Bald Eagle) also worked in a related field during summer break. I wrote them both letters of appreciation 4 yrs later and received very nice replies. I'm sure that meant more than a pay raise to them


Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Better Move

@Lynn Crane

That is where the deception lies Lynn. It's for the children... The issue is more about the irresponsibility of the spending in the first place. They use the children card to guilt you into giving them more money. They need to learn to live within their means just like everyone else has to do. The numbers for this are staggering, sit back and look at them. Who has this kind of money to throw around? Not to mention they are now going back on their word "temporary". You can't trust it. There are some awesome administrators in our school systems, unfortunately you aren't handing them or your district the money. It's going to some state employee who gets to decide how it's doled out. Don't be fooled by this!! .01 cent hike is a slow death....


Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Did You Really Think

Did you really think that the 1 cent hike was ever meant to be temporary? Get real folks, they say it's temporary to get to vote for it "and" to get you use to it for when they make it permanent! Then you look at the percentages of how it is sliced up, do you really think those numbers are correct?I think not and the reason I say that is all the money that was cut from education in the past has "Never" been replaced.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

I will vote for this tax, feel that our children are the only thing really worthwhile for us older folks to see as wothwhile since to many childless, dead beat parents like the one in congress who won on the tea party ticket talk a good game but come push to shove they are empty hats!

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: David Gaither

Lynn Crane wrote:

"Yes on 204. It is an investment in our children who ARE our future."

This kind of statement makes my blood boil! Every time a tax prop comes up, this statement is rolled out! But just look at our education ranking in the country. Throwing more money at the education fund isn't the answer...basing teacher's pay on their performance IS THE ANSWER!


Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Vote yes. The state has screwed over education long enough, now it's time to start thinking about the kids.


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