It’s a gamble on a tight deadline. An advocacy group has filed an initiative with the Secretary of State called the “Invest in Education Act” that would go on the ballot in November if 150,642 signatures are raised between now and July 5. That’s a lot of signatures! The Dark Money ballot intiative has been working for months to get signatures and is still working but that’s an initiative for a constitutional amendment so it requires even more signatures. But remember that Save Our Schools did it with the anti-voucher initiative (which will be on the ballot). This can be done!
The initiative would increase income taxes on income above $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples filing jointly), raising money for teacher salaries, school support salaries, general operations. There would be two new tax brackets: $250,000/$500,000 and $500,000/$1M. Those making less than $250,000/$500,000 in taxable income (so after deductions and exemptions) would pay no more under this law.
The short description on the Secretary of State site says:
The Invest in Education Act increases the classroom site fund by raising the income tax rate by 3.46% on individual incomes over a quarter million dollars (or household incomes over half a million dollars), and by 4.46% on individual incomes over half a million dollars (or household incomes over a million dollars); designates 60% of new funds for teacher salaries and 40% for operations; adds full day kindergarten and pay raises for student support services personnel as permitted fund uses; requires governing boards seek teacher and personnel input on fund use plans; defines teacher and student support services personnel.
You can read the full petition at this site: http://apps.azsos.gov/election/2018/general/ballotmeasuretext/I-16-2018.pdf
The Arizona Center for Economic Progress put the initiative together. The Center is a state-wide advocacy group organized about a year ago with support from Children’s Action Alliance and most of the public education advocacy groups. The center is headed by David Lujan, Director, and Karen McLaughlin, Director of Budget and Research. Lujan is an attorney who served in the Legislature for many years (law degree from the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor school). McLaughlin (MPA from ASU School of Public Administration), is an experienced budget analyst who has studied Arizona budgets for the Children’s Action Alliance for years. The Arizona Education Association is working hard to get signatures, continuing the #RedforEd Movement.
This seems like a much better plan than the Republican proposal to increase the already too high sales tax — Arizona is known not only for poor education funding but also as one of the most regressive taxation states. Let’s not make it worse.
Ignore Ducey and go for a dedicated school funding tax, Arizona Daily Sun editorial.