Arizona Supreme Court poised to hear challenge to Prop. 208, the education tax

Goldwater Institute

(Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents Ann Siner of My Sister’s Closet and Judge John Buttrick in their litigation efforts against 208.)

By Mary Jo Pitzl | Arizona Republic

The voter-approved measure to raise the income tax on high earners to pay for education goes before the state Supreme Court on April 20.

But is it too soon? That’s the argument of supporters of the funding measure, known as Proposition 208. They contend the objections raised by critics are premature, because there is no evidence the measure would create the harm critics claim. The tax won’t be collected until next year.

Opponents of Proposition 208, led by a handful of state Republican lawmakers, dismiss that argument. They want the measure blocked immediately, arguing it violates constitutional provisions on tax increases and spending limits.

The court’s decision could shape the future of school funding. Proposition 208 imposed a 3.5% tax increase on income earned above $250,000 by a single filer or $500,000 by a married couple. It passed with 51.7% of the vote.

The measure was controversial from the beginning: Opponents sued unsuccessfully to knock it off the November ballot. Weeks after voter approval, opponents went to court to block it from taking effect.

A decision by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to deny that request for an injunction laid the foundation for Tuesday’s challenge to the Supreme Court.

The argument to block Proposition 208

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