Arizona sales tax initiative gains 2012 ballot access after legal fight
By Al Ortiz
Add one more measure to the 2012 ballot in Arizona.
On July 18, Judge Robert Oberbillig ruled that Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett should not have refused to process the petitions for the proposed Quality Education and Jobs Act, a ballot initiative introduced by the Quality Education and Jobs Committee. The judge ruled that the measure be placed on the November ballot because according to Oberbillig, proponents of the initiative gave Bennett the correct version of the petition and that there was no evidence that those who signed the petition were misled.
On June 28, Quality Education and Jobs Committee filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court, claiming that their signatures were valid and that their proposal should be placed on the ballot. The initiative was previously disqualified by Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett because ballot language on circulating petitions was different from language that the secretary's office had on file. According to supporters of the initiative, differences between the circulated text and the official text was a "hyper-technicality." Supporters argued that the circulated text was "substantially" the same.
The proposal would renew a 2010 voter-approved one-cent sales tax to provide funding for education for students in the state who meet certain requirements, scholarships for college students and reinvestment in vocational education and new jobs, according to reports.
The constitutional amendment, which won with 64.3% of the vote, was supported by Gov. Jan Brewer, who wanted the Arizona State Legislature to vote to refer the proposal to the ballot as a means to alleviate the state's budget strain.
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