Arizona Sales Tax Renewal Amendment, Proposition 204 (2012)
|Referred by:||Quality Education and Jobs Committee|
|Status:||On the ballot|
- 1 Text of the measure
- 2 Background
- 3 Support
- 4 Opposition
- 5 Media endorsements
- 6 Lawsuit
- 7 Path to the ballot
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 Additional reading
- 11 References
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 initiative is officially called the Quality Education and Jobs Initiative by supporters. The 2010 sales tax measure found on a May 18, 2010 special election ballot implemented an increase to the state sales tax by one percentage point, ending in 2013.
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.
Text of the measure
The short title of the measure reads as follows:
|“||The Quality Education and Jobs Act will strengthen Arizona's economy by equipping children to succeed in the classroom, ensuring an educated workforce and creating jobs. This act, which renews the one-cent sales tax, will provide dedicated funding linked to performance and accountability for students of all ages and prevent legislators from cutting K-12 funding. Scholarships will ensure that universities and community colleges remain affordable. Investment in vocational educational education will allow students to graduate ready to work. This act protects public safety by ensuring continued funding for DPS officers and creates jobs by funding road, rail, transit and other transportation projects.||”|
According to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the measure would use the projected $1 billion raised by revenue for the following: Proposed funding breakdown:
- $500 million: Quality Education and Performance Fund.
- $10 million: Education Learning and Accountability Fund.
- $90 million: Education Accountability and Improvement Fund.
- $100 million: State Infrastructure Fund.
- $25 million: Children’s Health Insurance Program Fund.
- $100 million: Family Stability and Self-Sufficiency Fund.
- $50 million: University, Scholarship, Operations and Infrastructure Fund.
- $125 million: Inflationary adjustment for K-12 funding formula.
- Ann-Eve Pedersen, president of the Arizona Education Parent Network and chair of the Quality Education and Jobs Committee, argued that the tax helps education in the state. Pedersen claimed, “Education is an economic driver and we’re going to ensure that by passing this initiative, we’re going to have good jobs for Arizonans and that we’re creating a healthy business climate so we can attract new employers and keep the ones we have."
- According to Dan Sullivan, communications director of the Arizona Students' Association, “When passed, [the proposition] will provide up to $300 million a year for universities, half of which, about $150 million, will go to students in the form of financial aid."
- According to State Representative Steve Farley, "We have to make up for things that this majority has decided to take away from our schools."
The following are arguments that were submitted to the Arizona Secretary of State for the state voter guide. You can read more arguments here:
- "Rarely do Arizonans have the opportunity -- with a single vote -- to create a better future for our state's 1 million schoolchildren, improve the state's economy and redirect Arizona down a more positive path. The Quality Education and Jobs citizens' initiative allows Arizonans to exercise our Constitutional right to determine exactly how we want our own tax dollars spent. Special-interest lobbyists and anti-education politicians fear this type of direct democracy. They worked hard to try to keep this initiative off the ballot. They would rather dole out favors with your tax dollars than actually fund core state needs, such as education. The Quality Education and Jobs initiative prevents legislators from using the one-cent sales tax renewal as they wish. Legislators' hands will be tied -- by you, the Arizona taxpayers. Every dollar must be spent as you designate, with 80 percent of the funding benefiting education across the spectrum: K-12, vocational education, community colleges, universities and GED programs. To protect your investment, the Legislature will be prohibited from cutting K-I2 funding. Arizona must invest in education, not only to protect schoolchildren but to protect the state's economy. When companies decide to relocate or remain in Arizona, they base that decision on whether Arizona has a highly skilled, well-educated workforce. By failing to invest in education, anti-education politicians have put a "Closed For Business" sign in front of our state, robbing us all of the opportunity for prosperity. In Arizona's 100th year, we have the opportunity to exercise the rights given to us by our state's founders. Let's exercise that constitutional right of direct democracy to benefit Arizona's children, Arizona's economy and Arizona's future. VOTE YES FOR PROP. 204.
Submitted by Ann-Eve Pedersen, Chair, Quality Education and Jobs Committee.
- "The backbone of Arizona's economic health is a strong education system. As the CEO s of some of Arizona's largest employers, we know that the quality of education affects our ability to keep and recruit excellent employees, as well as recruit new companies with good-paying jobs. We depend on our state's educators to graduate students with the skills necessary to succeed in our rapidly changing job market so that Arizona remains competitive nationally and internationally. The Quality Education and Jobs initiative provides the investment in education that Arizona needs to thrive economically. The initiative directs dollars to help teachers and students succeed as Arizona schools implement a series of reforms and accountability measures over the next two years. Arizona is one of 45 states that have adopted a new, more rigorous curriculum called the Common Core and a new test tied to the new standards that will replace AIMS . In addition, teachers and principals will have one-third to one-half of their evaluations tied directly to how well their students perform. Schools and districts will receive new A - F rankings that require them to move up their lowest performers or risk receiving a bad grade. And third-grade students must be reading at grade level or be held back a grade. We are raising the bar for our educators and students and we must invest in education at this critical time to ensure that our teachers in the classroom have the resources they need to help our state's 1 million schoolchildren succeed. The initiative also guarantees state investment in Arizona's transportation infrastructure, which also is critical to Arizona's economic health. Arizona must have safe and efficient highways, roads and transit for Arizona to keep the job-creating businesses it has and recruit new ones to the state.
Submitted by Greater Phoenix Leadership Board of Directors; J. Doug Pruitt, Chairman of the Board, Greater Phoenix Leadership; Thomas R. Franz, President & CEO, Greater Phoenix Leadership.
- "The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits supports the Quality & Education Jobs Initiative as a critical step to ensure the continuation of services that our communities rely upon. The funding for education, health and human services programs embedded in this Initiative are important sources of support for many nonprofit organizations in our communities. Without these funding sources, many nonprofits would be unable to sustain their work, leaving residents without critical services. The individuals, foundations and businesses which also support these programs cannot possibly raise their levels of contributions adequately to cover these lost public resources. Therefore, passage of the Quality & Education Jobs Initiative would renew the voters' commitment to these programs and ensure that our communities are well served."
Submitted by Rhonda Bannard, Chair, Board of Trustees, Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits; Pam Gaber, Treasurer, Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits.
- Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who was the main proponent of the 2010 sales tax increase that this initiative seeks to renew, is against the proposal. Brewer stated that potential increase would not give much room for the Arizona Legislature to decide how to balance the budget and set spending priorities.
- On June 7, 2012, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce’s public policy committee voted to recommend that the full chamber board oppose the measure.
- Kevin McCarthy, president of the Arizona Tax Research Association, stated that the measure does not plan enough for inflation and has provision that could be difficult to implement. McCarthy stated, "When you’re running an initiative a very small group of people get to draft legislation. Inevitably you are going to have not only policy problems but problems with how it is going to be written.”
- State Representative John Kavanagh stated, "So if we have another economic downturn, next year or in five years, we will have amply funded education and will be stopping other programs."
- Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, stated her group's concern is rooted in the provision of the measure that states that the initiative would set aside 10 percent of the first $1 billion raised for the a new "family stability and self-sufficiency fund," stating that this could mean that the money could be used for abortion services.
- The Arizona Daily Star did not give a particular stance in a March 18, 2012 editorial, writing during the initiative's circulation period: "We support public education, and we certainly supported the 1-cent-per-dollar increase in the sales tax to help Arizona's K-12 system. But on this new initiative, we're reserving judgment. We're going to need some persuading."
|2012 measure lawsuits|
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|By lawsuit type|
|Ballot text |
Motivation of sponsors
- See also: List of ballot measure lawsuits in 2012
Ann-Eve Pederson v. Secretary of State Ken Bennett
On June 28, 2012, 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.
On that same day, Oberbillig ruled that Ken Bennett should not have refused to process the petitions. The judge ruled that the measure be placed on the November ballot. 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.
According to reports, Secretary of State Ken Bennett filed an appeal of the ruling, insisting that proponents of the initiative did not comply with state law. Reports also say that Bennett hired an expert in elections law to spearhead the appeal. Bennett stated, "To leave the lower court ruling in place I think risks huge voter confusion, huge confusion with our offices and other filing offices as far as how we're supposed to process these initiatives."
However, that appeal failed as the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the measure be placed on the ballot. According to the high court, the text on the petition was enough that supporters of the initiative complied with state election law.
Path to the ballot
According to reports, petition drive organizers must have collected 172,809 valid signatures from registered voters by the July 5, 2012 petition drive deadline in order to make the ballot.
According to reports on June 6, 2012, supporters of the initiative stated that they had collected enough signatures to make the ballot. Reports stated that petition drive organizers had collected more than 175,000 signatures from state voters.
Although enough signatures were allegedly collected, supporters said at the time that they would keep collecting them leading up to the deadline in order to ensure that they had room for error.
Ballot language error
On June 19, 2012, it was reported that a mistake regarding the ballot language of the measure hindered initiative efforts, potentially keeping the measure off of the November ballot. Reports said that supporters pointed to a "clerical error" in which ballot language on circulating petitions was found to be different than official ballot language on record with the Arizona Secretary of State's office.
According to Secretary of State Ken Bennett after this finding, his office would not accept any petitions that have a different version of ballot language than what his office had on file. Bennett said, "We would reject anything that was collected, attached to something other than what they filed with us. Potentially it’s a huge issue, depending on whether they’ve been collecting the signatures for the version they have on their website or the version that was filed with our office. But we can only accept signatures collected, attached to the version that they’ve filed with us.”
On June 25, 2012, supporters of the initiative filed more than 290,000 signatures from registered voters with the Arizona Secretary of State's office. Supporters filed the signatures despite the controversy surrounding the ballot language. Reports say that Secretary Ken Bennett's office accepted the petitions for processing and would decide whether or not the signatures, and the ballot language on the petitions, are valid.
On June 26, 2012, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett stated, after signatures were submitted to his office days before, that the proposal did not have sufficient signatures to make the ballot. Signatures were disqualified because of the difference in the ballot language on the circulation petitions and the ballot language that the secretary's office had on file.
However, after litigation, the measure was placed back on the ballot.
- 2012 ballot measures
- Laws governing the initiative process in Arizona
- Arizona 2012 ballot measures
- Arizona Legislature
- List of Arizona ballot measures
- Arizona Secretary of State, "Ballot Measures", September 17, 2012
- Mohave Daily News, "Arizona voters to decide how education is to be funded", September 20, 2012
- Arizona Daily Wildcat, "Initiative seeks to extend tax increase", March 21, 2012
- Arizona Daily Wildcat, "ASA spreads awareness about Prop. 204, voting", September 10, 2012
- Ahwatukee Foothills News, "Arizona treasurer launches campaign to fight education sales tax initiative", August 15, 2012
- Arizona Capitol Times, "Brewer opposes proposed Arizona sales tax increase", July 10, 2012
- Arizona Capitol Times, "Vote of no confidence on two ballot measures", June 8, 2012
- Think Progress, "Anti-Abortion Group Opposes Tax Increases In Arizona Because The Funds Might Go To Planned Parenthood", October 11, 2012
- Arizona Daily Star, "Sales tax renewal for schools might not be the answer", March 18, 2012
- Prescott News, "Quality Education and Jobs Files Lawsuit Against Secretary of State Bennett", June 28, 2012
- CBS News, "Hearing set on proposal for Arizona sales tax hike", July 3, 2012
- Arizona Daily News, "Judge: 1-cent tax initiative to stay on Arizona ballot", July 18, 2012
- Arizona Daily Sun, "Bennett files appeal to keep sales tax off ballot", July 24, 2012
- KFYI.com, "The initiative proposes a penny-on-the-dollar increase to take effect in 2013 upon the expiration of a same-size temporary increase", Retrieved August 22, 2012
- Arizona Republic, "Backers: 2 Arizona ballot initiatives have enough signatures", June 6, 2012
- Arizona Capitol Times, "Ballot language troubles could sink sales-tax initiative", June 19, 2012
- Tucson Citizen, "Filing of petitions heightens Arizona sales-tax fight", June 25, 2012
- Business Journal, "1-cent sales tax extension won't make Arizona ballot", June 26, 2012