Proponents of Proposition 204 – the so-called Quality Education and Jobs Initiative – have hit the television airwaves with an ad that hides the measure’s wasteful spending and the special interests that back it.
In fact, a large portion of the funds will never see the classroom, but will be redirected to other projects unrelated to education spending.
With the usual appeal to helping the children, the ad hammers the point that the $1 billion a year permanent sales tax hike will put increased education funding out of the reach of state legislators. That is the fatal flaw in the measure. The peoples’ elected representatives will have nothing to say about how the money is spent.
If you read the measure, there is no accountability or oversight on how they money is to be spent either. The legislature will be “exempted” from meaningfully guarding against wasteful spending.
The direct appeal to voter emotions says that Proposition 204 will create a stable and permanent source of funding for K-12 classrooms. What it fails to say is that few of the dollars will actually reach the classroom and millions will go to programs that have nothing to do with education.
Glaringly absent from the ad is any mention of the $100 million a year subsidy that will go directly to road building and public transit. Including the construction industry in the taxpayer-funded payout is a clever way to get contractors to help finance the pro 204 campaign.
Also missing is any mention of funds sent to social service programs. Absent too is mention of the millions that will go to databases and monitoring that bypass the classroom.
Arizona needs real education reform. But Arizona has continued to invest in education, as Arizona’s education funding has increased over time. We have suffered two recessions since 2001 and consequently local and state tax revenue has changed.
Arizona needs transformative education reform and not higher taxes for special interest groups. Proposition 204 is too taxing on Arizona families, please Vote No on Prop 204.
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