Supreme Court considers education tax arguments

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

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services

The fate of a tax on the rich to help fund education could come down to whether the Arizona Supreme Court believes the money raised will provide “grants” to schools.

During a hour-long argument Tuesday, Andy Gaona, representing the organization that crafted Proposition 208, told the justices that the dollars the new tax would raise are earmarked for special purposes. These range from teacher salaries to funding career and technical education programs.

That, he said, makes it different from the basic aid given to schools each year by the state and any dollars they raise locally, all of which districts are free to allocate as they wish.

What makes that crucial is that the Arizona Constitution puts a cap on how much can be spent on education each year. And even Gaona admits that the $800 million or more that the tax will raise is likely to exceed that cap.


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