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Education groups consider measure to tax rich – and poor

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Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, speaks at a July 5, 2018, press conference to explain why teachers and their allies decided the best way to get new money into the classroom was a tax on the richest Arizonans. A court kicked the measure off the ballot and now education leaders are considering a measure that would include a sales tax hike.
/Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer

By Dillon Rosenblatt | Arizona Capitol Times

The activists behind last year’s Invest in Education Act are considering a comeback – they’re eyeing a sales tax hike, an idea they have routinely rejected in the past as regressive and detrimental to the poor.

After seeing their proposal thrown off the ballot last year, they’re making other major changes aimed at garnering broader support, maybe even from foes.

Several education groups familiar with the plan said the coalition shifted its focus to a hybrid of income and sales tax increases that would raise roughly $1.2 billion annually. Of that amount, $500 million would come from raising the state sales tax by four-tenths of a penny, bringing the sales tax dedicated to education to a full cent.

The 2018 effort, which collected more than enough signatures but failed to overcome a legal challenge, relied purely on raising the state income tax on the richest Arizonans to add more funding for education.

Also unlike last year, the coalition – which includes the Arizona Education Association, Stand for Children and the Arizona Center for Economic Progress, among others – will first ask legislators to approve the tax hike, instead of immediately gathering signatures to put the proposal on the ballot.


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  • Published: 7 months ago on November 8, 2019
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