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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: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Warren AO

Yes, I can see why so many people would want to save one penny on sales tax, because who needs schools or drivable roads? We do just fine with chip seal and graders, don't we?

And hey, all a kid needs to succeed in life is knowing know how to say, 'Thank you for choosing McDonald's, how may I help you?', right?

Also ... 'eternal' is a very, very long time, and probably not the correct word.


Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Lynn Crane

Yes on 204. It is an investment in our children who ARE our future. Our legislature for the most part, does not want to invest in our education system. I mean, the nerve of these people wanting to better our children's lives through education! HUH?

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Not Good Enough

Our Governor continuously proves herself as a one-woman "cowboy"in driving business and tourism tax dollars away from this state. This Wicked Witch of the West needs to be replaced by someone with brains!

BTW: SOME of the advantages of Prop 204 sound good, but not enough to make the tax a permanent one.


Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: nnp .....

the state of Arizona will never catch up with the Fed in depleting the money of hard-working citizens, but at least they're trying.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: justanobody sr

when will it stop?
I say vote NO on this,
you know they will just add another penney tax as soon as this is permanent!
then another, and another!!!!!
stop it NOW!!
did we (the public) get any kind of raise?
Heck NO!


Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Fred Beverage

The tax hike was promised to be TEMPORARY in order to get the budget, which had been severely overspent by the Napolitano Administrations, back into a balanced state. NOW, people want it to be permanent. So, instead of continuing to trim the budget and reallocate the resources we have, they just think, "Oh, everyone is used to the tax now, let us just make it permanent." The commercials say, "For education." But a careful look reveals transportation infrastructure, read light rail and other valley costs. I think our legislature needs to stop depending on taxes, encourage job growth and let this tax expire. With all the new costs proposed from this tax to a hike in our water and sewer rates, I simply cannot afford to live in Kingman much longer. Each new tax is taking more money from our pockets and if you read or heard the news last week, our REAL income has NOT increased in over 15 YEARS. I am a teacher and I am NOT voting for this. Let's continue to trim the deadwood and do more with less.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: JUST SAY NO

Could not believe the first time around that people were dupped into voting for this tax which was promised to be temporary. Don't be fooled again. Education does NOT need more money, it needs to tighten it's belt. Remember, there will NEVER be enough money for politicians to spread around and once this is voted in as a PERMANENT tax it will be... well...PERMANENT!!!!! Don't fall for it

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: No Such Thing

In this state there is no such thing as "temporary" once the government gets in your pocket!!! We all knew that when it was voted in as a temporary measure they would find an exuse to make it permanent. Of course they are going to use our children as the weapon of choice to get in your wallet. They will get the money and then give themselves raises and what not and then come back in a year or two and ask for more using the same excuse. I say NO WAY they already get enough from me!!! They already clip the parents of students with enough charges for this and that. The only thing they don't pay for is use of the bathrooms and soon they will probably install pay toilets to get more!!! I say enough is enough!!! They need to take what they have and make it work. I for one am tired of the empty promises and straight out lies from those running our state. If they are so worried about our schools they can all take a 10% pay cut and put it in a fund for education.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: victorious oppoistion

Isn't this the very nature of a biased article, it cites the Goldwater Institute against Prop. 204 without a source in favor?


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