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Arizona's education funding bill, Prop 208, passes

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Arizona voters passed the Invest in Education Act, Proposition 208, Tuesday night, according to the Associated Press. 

The proposition will add funding to education by imposing an income tax increase on those in higher tax brackets.

According to the Voter Education Guide from the Arizona Clean Elections Commission, a 3.5% tax will be imposed on taxable annual income over $250,000 for single people and married people filing separately or $500,000 for married couples filing jointly.

The tax increase will increase funding for education.

The 3.5% tax increase imposed on those who make above $500,000 (jointly filing) in personal income will only apply to any income over $500,000. The taxes on the first $500,000 will not change.

Education funding is not a new issue in Arizona.

Thousands of Arizona teachers and their supporters staged protests, walkouts, and a strike over funding for education in 2018, resulting in closures of schools.

After a budget plan was passed in 2019 that included more funding for education, some teachers said it wasn't enough and it wasn't what they had in mind. The $11.9 billion plan laid out included $386 million in cuts to fees and taxes, which is the opposite of what teachers asked for when thousands of them protested 2018.

Those who supported Prop. 208
Proponents of the proposition, including U.S. Reps. Ruben Gallego and Greg Stanton, as well as Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, say this is funding that schools in Arizona have needed for a long time. Proponents also say that the tax will not affect small businesses. The tax will come from personal income and will not be a business tax.

"Invest in Ed will put $940 million in new funding into Arizona classrooms each year – and it's funding the Legislature can't touch! The revenue will be raised by increasing the state income taxes on the wealthiest 4% in Arizona," said Gallego.

Those who opposed Prop. 208
Opponents of the bill, who include Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee and Gov. Doug Ducey, say the tax will actually hurt small business owners who file their personal income tax in that bracket. They say the surcharge is much higher than the top corporate income tax rate, which they say will harm small business job creation and drive these jobs and capital investments to other states.

"Arizona's K-12 education needs more money. There is little debate about that," Ducey said. "The key is to ensure it is spent in ways that benefit children and teachers, and not bureaucracy and overhead. This ballot measure isn't the answer. It will do more harm than good to small businesses; will raise less money than promised; and will result in more waste in our education system, not less."

Who sponsored the bill?
According to the Voter Education Guide, the sponsor of the bill is Amber Gould, a high school teacher and state director of the National Education Association.

More information:
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Friday, 19 July 2024

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