The Arizona Chamber has long championed the development of an education system that prepares our state’s workforce for tomorrow’s economy. Such a system may require increased funding, but it also needs greater accountability, more tools to help struggling schools and students, and clear, measurable goals. Unfortunately, Proposition 204 fails in this regard.
In recent years, the Chamber supported reforms that help get more science, technology, engineering and mathematics educators into the classroom; increase accountability measures to ensure better school performance; assign easy-to-understand letter grade assessments of schools; increase school choice; increase funding to ensure third graders can read; and allow high achieving students to get a jump start on their college careers.
The Chamber recognizes that a high-performing education system requires the financial resources necessary to produce a highly qualified workforce. To that end, the Chamber strongly supported Proposition 100 in 2010, which established a temporary one cent per dollar sales tax that, among other things, helped prevent deep cuts to the K-12 system during the economic downturn.
Despite what proponents of Proposition 204 might say, it is not an extension of the current sales tax that is set to expire on May 31, 2013. This is an entirely new permanent tax with new implications for policymakers and our state.
This new permanent tax does not increase accountability nor does it demand increased achievement from our education system. Arizona voters, who will commit around one billion dollars annually, deserve more.
We urge voters to oppose Proposition 204.
Glenn Hamer, President & CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Phoenix
Doug Yonko, Chairman, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Phoenix