I strongly oppose Prop. 204. Placing a permanent tax on a state still under economic duress is not good public policy. While it may sound like a solution for funding education and creating jobs, it circumvents the mechanisms that the public relies on to ensure that their hard earned dollars are well spent.
This sales tax will hinder job creation. With the temporary tax in place, impact studies found that in the private sector, over 4,000 jobs were lost. Multiplier effects estimate a reduction of approximately 7,383 jobs. The unemployment rate in this state has not dropped significantly to demonstrate a strengthened economy. The rate has only decreased 2% in two years. That is hardly encouraging.
This proposed tax, coupled with freezing the current tax rate, is a job killer. The tax can never be lowered. Any effort to reduce it is virtually impossible. Consumer confidence has guided our recovery, and in my estimation, they are not buying it. We are not there yet.
Hiding behind its title, Prop. 204 creates new funds for infrastructure, healthcare and welfare. There is no spending flexibility whatsoever. While the proponents could have given excess revenue back to the citizens, they chose not to. That is simply offensive.
Funding education is a wise investment. However, when it goes unchecked, and there are schools that do not perform to a competitive standard, the people will have no input. Like the sales tax, funding is frozen in time. There can be no change in spending priorities.
You can’t be all things to all people. Prop. 204 attempts to do so by casting a large net to lure in more votes. It will fail the public by overreaching in its mission and not allowing any budgetary discretion. Please oppose Prop. 204.
Steve Pierce, President of the Arizona State Senate