The below press release from the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is gratefully received. The number of organizations and individuals that oppose Proposition 204 is growing every day.
September 25th, 2012
The Tucson Hispanic Chamber Board of Directors has voted to oppose Prop 204 – the Quality Education and Jobs Initiative. The chamber’s Business Advocacy Committee which is composed of members of the Chamber from Southern Arizona recommended opposition of the controversial initiative to the Board of Directors after hearing the pro debate and the con debate from the opposing sides of the argument. Tannya Gaxiola, the Chairwoman of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber expressed that “Our decision was not made lightly. We are concerned about the quality of Arizona’s education, the importance of a highly educated and trained workforce, and the challenge southern Arizona particularly faces in attracting , retaining and growing businesses to our State. We realize that this issue is of upmost importance to our small business community.”The initiative would make permanent the one cent sales tax that was passed two years ago. The Tucson Hispanic Chamber supported the temporary sales tax in 2010. “However, our members were concerned about the elimination of the promise to the business community of a temporary tax, the further tying of the hands of our elected officials who we have voted to represent us, and the broad scope and complexity of the initiative which includes infrastructure and public health along with education. “stated Lea Marquez Peterson, the President/CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber.Prop 204 would further hamper our elected representatives and make it challenging to have any flexibility during a budget crisis like the State experienced over the last two years. In addition, the passing of Prop 204 would mean that nearly two-thirds of state spending will be mandated by voters and that Arizona would have the second highest sales tax in the U.S. further impeding our ability to attract business to our state.
The Tucson Hispanic Chamber applauds the goal of reforming education and finds it worrisome that Arizona ranks near the bottom of all states in spending per pupil – $7,848 versus $10,615 nationwide, however, the Chamber is concerned that the initiative provides a permanent funding stream, throwing money at the problems without addressing possible efficiencies in education, State spending priorities, or providing sufficient accountability for results. The Tucson Hispanic Chamber Board of Directors believes that in order to improve the level of education funding in Arizona, voters should elect legislators who take that priority into consideration with all of the State’s other pressing needs.