Lawmaker wants sales tax hike to pay for teacher raises

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via PinalCentral

With a teacher pay plan eluding a deal and what he contends are unrealistic revenue estimates from Gov. Doug Ducey, a Prescott Republican lawmaker wants colleagues to consider a financial “bridge” to provide immediate dollars.

Rep. Noel Campbell/Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services

Rep. Noel Campbell says a three-year, one-cent sales tax, on top of the existing 0.6-cent levy dedicated to education, would provide about $1 billion a year, more than enough money not only for pay for teachers and support staff but also help restore some of the cuts that have been made over the years in state aid to education. It also would give schools enough to finance full-day kindergarten if they want to offer those programs, funding that was cut during the Great Recession.

If nothing else, it also would provide some breathing room while education advocates come up with a more permanent solution that could go to voters on the 2020 ballot. Campbell said he’s not buying the governor’s prediction a growing economy will produce $670 million by the 2020-2021 school year to fund a 19 percent pay hike and restore $371 million over five years in money taken from schools.

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