Teachers protest following AZ Supreme Court ruling to throw Invest in Education measure off November ballot - SanTanValley.com

Teachers protest following AZ Supreme Court ruling to throw Invest in Education measure off November ballot

Teachers protest following AZ Supreme Court ruling to throw Invest in Education measure off November ballot
Teachers protest following AZ Supreme Court ruling to throw Invest in Education measure off November ballot

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Arizona Supreme Court Thursday to voice their disapproval of the court's recent ruling, that throws Prop. 207 off the November ballot.

The justices ruled that Invest in Education Prop. 207 was misleading and did not accurately represent the increased tax burden it would have placed on higher income taxpayers.

"We believe that the language we wrote was clear," said Josh Buckley, Invest in Ed initiative co-chair. "What we saw is that the court has joined politicians at the Capitol in protecting the status quo over the rights of voters and the needs of our students."

If approved, Invest in Education would have generated close to $700 million for public schools across the state.

Josselyn Berry is co-director of ProgressNowArizona, a grassroots group fighting to improve public education across the state education

"I think everyone loses out," said Berry. "I think our teachers lose out. I think our children lose out, parents, our classrooms. Voters lose out because of this decision and politicians win."

Invest in Education proposed an income tax increase on wealthier Arizonans, who make more than $250,000 a year.

The measure was expected to generate more than $690 million in additional funding for Arizona's public and charter schools.

However, the state's highest court decided that the wording on Prop. 207 was confusing and did not accurately represent the increased tax burden on voters.

Jaime Molera is chairman of "No on 207," a group of Arizona businesses that fought to get the issue off the November ballot.

Molera said they're all for more funding for public education, but this wasn't the way to go about it.

[RELATED: AZ Supreme Court bans education funding proposal from being on November ballot]

"It would have devastated small businesses," said Molera. "We were about to release an analysis that showed 40 percent of small businesses make over that threshold of what they were trying to tax, so it would have been devastating to a lot of taxpayers. We do need to have more money in our schools. I think everyone agrees with that, but the plan they designed was the wrong plan."

But supporters say that should have been left up to voters to decide.

"Ii feel really sorry for them that they have been denied, robbed really, the right to vote on this, and get precious dollars into our classrooms," said Joe Thomas, President of the Arizona Education Association.

Some supporters of Prop. 207 said that Governor Doug Ducey's decision to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court from five to seven is the reason the measure was kicked off the ballot.

Berry is hoping the court decision will inspire more voters to get out to the polls in November and elect more education friendly lawmakers.

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS