Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Legislative Newsletter: April 27, 2010

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Arizona Education Network Newsletter

Proposition 100 Under Attack: Check Out the Facts
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Proposition 100 Under Attack:

Check Out the Facts

With the start of early voting on April 22, opponents of Proposition 100 - the temporary one-percent sales tax increase - have stepped up their attacks. The Arizona Education Network supports Proposition 100 not because we think it is the answer to the budget issues affecting our state, but because it is a bridge that buys us time to allow the Arizona economy to rebound and to begin the reform of the state's tax structure.
Some argue that the defeat of Proposition 100 would force the Arizona legislature to "do their job" and find a better way to close our budget deficit. We have been assured by those in the majority party that the defeat of Proposition 100, which dedicates two-thirds of revenues to education, would be viewed as a vote against education funding and would encourage further cuts to a system that already ranks last in the nation in per-child funding.
When you hear the following anti-Prop 100 arguments, we want you to be armed with the facts. So let's look at the arguments against Proposition 100 and see how they stack up.
It's really an 18% increase in sales tax. This is not only a scare tactic - it's bad math. Proposition 100 is a one-percent sales tax increase or one-cent on each dollar spent - ONE PENNY! If you purchase a DVD player for $100 you would pay an additional $1 not an additional $18.
Arizonans can't afford to pay any more taxes. If Proposition 100 does not pass, Arizonans could pay more in permanent property taxes. Why is that? The Department of Corrections will shift prisoners to county jails which do not have the capacity right now to house them. Counties will have to increase property taxes in order to fund new jail cell construction. So what this really boils down to is: Do you want to pay a temporary, three-year tax to support school children, public safety and health and human services or a permanent property tax to build more jail cells?
The Legislature will just choose to extend the sales tax. No tax is temporary. If voters pass Proposition 100, it will automatically repeal in three years. This language will be written into the state Constitution if it passes. It would take a two-thirds majority for legislators to extend the sales tax. The fact that Arizona has cut taxes in sixteen of the past eighteen years and the fact that legislators could not muster the two-thirds majority to increase the sales tax themselves, argue strongly against the possibility that legislators would have the votes or the inclination to reinstate this tax.
Sales taxes are regressive. Rejecting the sales tax would put other options back on the table. We agree that sales taxes are regressive. However at the moment a sales tax increase is the only revenue option we've been given. Remember that it takes a two-thirds super-majority to raise revenue in Arizona. Our legislators couldn't even pass the sales tax increase themselves. They could barely agree to refer it to the voters. It would be unrealistic to believe that the current legislature would somehow see the fiscally responsible "light" and find a fairer way to raise revenue if Proposition 100 were defeated. What Proposition 100 does is buy us time to come up with more permanent solutions. Also, remember, all these legislators are up for election in the August 24, 2010 primary and November 2, 2010 general election.

The amount from the sales tax apportioned to primary and secondary education is $600 million but there is only $428 million in conditional cuts to K-12 education in the FY2011 budget if Proposition 100 is defeated. This is not some kind of bait-and-switch tactic as suggested by opponents of Proposition 100. It is simply the result of the choices made from where to cut in the conditional budget - the budget that was prepared and passed in case Proposition 100 fails on May 18. The initial estimate in cuts to K-12 was closer to $600 million. However when the state's conditional budget was drafted there was such an outcry from constituents and stakeholders over the cuts to K-12 that the Legislature responded by lessening the cuts to K-12.
Instead they apportioned an additional cut of $107 million to universities, $15 million to community colleges and the balance of $50 million to health and human services. Keep in mind that the contingent budget that would be put in place if Proposition 100 fails includes cuts so drastic that the state would lose millions of dollars in federal matching funds.
This loss of federal funds would far outweigh the savings to the state from the cuts. If Proposition 100 fails, the legislature will likely return to address these issues regardless of the conditional budget. If Proposition 100 is approved the beneficiaries will be education, public safety and health and human services.

Money raised by Proposition 100 will be shifted to pay for corporate tax cuts. Money raised by the one-cent sales tax increase is mandated to go to education, health and human services and public safety. While a corporate tax cut is being discussed, the latest information we have is that it has been significantly reduced in scope and the governor is threatening to veto the corporate tax cut if it overlaps with the period of the sales tax increase (i.e. it cannot begin until after May 31, 2013).

Proposition 100 is the bridge we need to give our state the opportunity to recover economically and formulate a long term plan to reform our tax structure. The passage of the temporary one-percent sales tax is vital to keep our public education, health and human services and public safety from being decimated.
It is vital that we generate this revenue during these dire economic times. We urge you to VOTE YES for the economic future of Arizona.

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The Arizona Education Network
4728 East Sunrise Drive, #210
Tucson, AZ 85718

Thank you for your support!



"The Current Budget Crisis in Education and How it will Impact Your Family"
Sponsored by the Arizona Education Network and the Marana Foundation for Educational Excellence

with keynote speaker Dr. Doug Wilson, Superintendent of Marana Unified School District

Wednesday, April 28, 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Mountain View High School
3901 West Linda Vista Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85742
Map here.


May 18, 2010
Special Election for Proposition 100 - Temporary 1% Sales Tax

Proposition 100 Facts

  • Without the temporary sales tax, as much as one-quarter of all public education funding could be cut. This could mean 1.5 to 2 out of every 10 teacher positions may be eliminated.
  • Proposition 100 will devote two-thirds of revenues generated to education funding and one-third to health and human services and public safety.
  • The tax will automatically repeal on May 31, 2013. It would take a two-thirds vote of the legislature or another voter proposition to keep the tax increase in place.
For more information see Proposition 100: The 1% Temporary Sales Tax Increase-Your Questions Answered

Last Day to Request an Early Ballot is May 7, 2010


Early Voting Has Started

Early voting for Proposition 100 began on April 22, 2010. If you received a ballot by mail, please remember to vote YES and send it back. You can request an early ballot to be sent to your home until May 7, 2010. To find out how to request an early ballot, click here.
You can vote at your polling place on Tuesday, May 18, 2010. Because this is a special election, polling locations will be limited, and you may not be voting at your usual location. To contact your county election board to find your polling location for the May 18, 2010 Proposition 100 election, click here.

Community Leaders Discuss Proposition 100
On Thursday, April 22, 2010 the Arizona Education Network sponsored a community-wide forum on Proposition 100. Seven distinguished panelists from vital sectors in Pima County spoke of the fiscal, human and educational impact of Proposition 100 at the community level in Southern Arizona.
The panelists included:

Dr. Nic Clement, Flowing Wells Superintendent, Co-Chair of the Tucson School Superintendents' Collaborative

Rainer W.G. Gruessner, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Surgery, University of Arizona

Chuck Huckelberry, Pima County Administrator
Penelope Jacks,Children's Action Alliance, Southern Arizona Director
Sue Krahe, Our Family Services Director
Stephen MacCarthy, University of Arizona, Vice President for External Relations
Ron Shoopman, President of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council
Each of the panelists' presentations echoed a similar theme: Proposition 100 is a temporary band-aid that will protect public education, public safety, and health and human services - programs that are vital to Arizona's economic future.
To read a summary and/or watch the forum, click here.

Three steps you can take to support public education in Arizona: Vote,Vote,Vote
  • Vote YES on Prop. 100, the sales tax referendum, Tuesday, May 18th.
  • Vote for pro-education candidates in the primary election, Tuesday, August 24th.
  • Vote for pro-education candidates in the general election, Tuesday, November 2nd.
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The Arizona Education Network is a non-partisan, all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that provides factual information and advocates for public education.

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