Prop 208 raises taxes by $1 billion and ignores students.

COVID-19 has left Arizonans reeling from unprecedented job losses and previously unimaginable disruption to our students’ education. But now, under the banner of the ironically named “Invest in Ed” tax increase, political activists have doubled down on their union-backed plan to further inflame the economic insecurity of Arizona families and small businesses, while ignoring the needs of the very group they claim to serve: our students.

Indeed, in a time when over 100,000 small businesses have permanently closed across the nation and Americans are looking to emerge from the economic devastation of COVID-19, tax increases on job creators are the last thing Arizona needs.

Prop 208 would make Arizona the 10th-highest taxing state in the nation.

If passed, the $1 billion price tag of Prop 208 will put Arizona on par with California and New York as one of the worst states in the country when it comes to taxes.  This will certainly launch Arizona to new heights—not by boosting academic outcomes, but rather by catapulting the state into the top 10 highest taxing states in the nation. With a near doubling of the state’s top tax rate, the weight of Invest in Ed will fall squarely on the backs of entrepreneurs and small businesses, while cutting the legs out from Arizona’s fragile economic recovery.

If passed, teachers will get little funds from this massive tax increase. Instead, Prop 208 benefits administrators who are not involved in the actual education of students.

While it purports to help our teachers, the reality is that very little of the taxpayer funds raised by this measure will end up in the pockets of educators.  Rather, the bulk of the funds go to administrators and new programs that have little to do with educating students.  In fact, there is literally nothing in the measure to ensure that the funds are spent in a way that actually improves education in our state.  Prop 208 does nothing to help struggling Arizona families dealing with school closures or unproven leaning methods.

Prop 208 will not implement any of the much-needed improvements our schools need.

In addition to the massive economic toll Prop 208 would impose on the state of Arizona, it would also further relegate our students to the backseat.  At a time when parents have been scrambling to find learning opportunities for their children—amid widespread campus closures this fall—Prop 208 would send Arizona’s economic resources not to the aid of students or their families, but to those on district payrolls.  Indeed, the Invest in Ed tax scheme would require no reform or improvement in our schools—simply higher costs.  In short, Prop 208 is an inefficient, economically destructive boondoggle that pays no attention to the needs of students.

Prop 208 is backed by out-of-state special interests who ignore the impact to Arizona’s economy.

The out-of-state union organizers behind Invest in Ed claim the tax hike will benefit students. Yet they themselves have spurned the massive spending increases our state has made to K-12 in recent years, calling the billions of new dollars  poured into K-12 nothing,” even as they demand Arizonans unquestioningly open their wallets to spend even more.   Arizona State General Fund revenues will fall by $120 million per year, resulting in cuts to other government services. The initiative requires any decrease in state revenue to be made up for entirely from other sources, such as cuts to child protective services, public safety, or higher education.

If the architects of Prop 208 truly want to support our students, they should be championing efforts that truly transform student learning, not simply make it more expensive. They should promote initiatives like Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program, which has lifted up thousands of the state’s most vulnerable students by directing funding directly to their families. Instead, the union organizers behind Prop 208 have crafted an economically and academically damaging plan, which—thanks to the laws governing Arizona’s initiative process—cannot be altered.

In other words, this massive tax increase — imposed on hard-working Arizonans — would be permanent.  And the havoc it would wreak on the state’s economy would be irreversible.

During these difficult times, our focus should be on building our economy back up and ensuring Arizona’s students get the best education possible.  The Prop 208 tax increase, designed and funded by people who don’t even live in our state, fails badly on both of those counts. Vote NO on Prop 208.

More information

Arizona Daily Independent: The Bad Math Behind Invest in Ed

Interview with James T Harris on Invest in Ed 

Invest in Ed is Dangerously Misleading to Voters

Why is Arizona’s Teachers Union Rooting for Another Great Recession?

Don’t Invest in Ed. Invest in Students

Arizona Tax Research Association (ATRA) Analysis

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