The recent measure to extend funding to Arizona education, Prop 204, was soundly defeated in the recent election by 65%. The proposition sought to implement a sales tax of 1-cent in effort to provide additional revenue to public schools in serious need around Arizona. Prop 204 was met with moderate controversy from the onset, dividing voters in the process.
Education groups around the state lobbied heavily for the temporary sales tax increase to become a permanent measure, providing stable revenue within the larger framework of public schools for years to come. Others argued it pushed Arizona’s already lofty sales tax, presently ranked second-highest in the nation, to impossible boundaries.
The news is difficult to swallow for many in the education field, Arizona finishing close to the bottom in national education rankings for several years running. There’s no question Arizona schools are ailing, but there seems to be serious question whether a move to raise state taxes will carry a significant impact. Arizona Governer, Jan Brewer, was relieved to see the proposition was voted out, stressing educational form will come in the form of increased accountability.
Proposition 204 critics maintained it would be difficult to ascertain where funding raised through increased sales tax would ultimately end up, a “blank check” of sorts that had harsh consequences to tax paying citizens everywhere. Arizona public schools will have to look elsewhere for educational reform.