TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona education advocates have started collecting signatures to get Invest in Education on the 2020 ballot. Supporters collected more than 1,000 signatures during a campaign launch in Tucson on Saturday.
If approved, the measure would raise $940 million annually in education funding through an income tax on the highest earners.
Tucson Education Association President Margaret Chaney said there’s “a desperate need of funding” within Arizona schools.
“The buildings are falling apart, every year there's a fight over air conditioning in classrooms and buildings,” she said. “This money would help solve those problems."
Tucson parent, Rodrigo Gutierrez said he fully supports the ballot measure.
“As a parent, you have no choice but to think about what your kid's daily reality is like in school,” Gutierrez said.
He said money is needed for students to have better resources in the classroom.
“There's a push for technology, a good integration of technology, but they reuse textbooks, ancient textbooks,” he said “Classrooms don't even have the full sets."
The initiative would create a 3.5 percent tax increase on single individuals making more than $250,000 or married couples making more than $500,000.
Chaney said schools, teachers and students need more funding and she can't imagine someone not supporting the measure.
"How do you oppose public education?” she said. “All of these children who are our future, our future leaders and our future skilled workers."
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes the ballot measure and said, if approved, the tax increase would disproportionately harm small businesses.
“If this measure makes the ballot and were to become law, it is poised to do much more harm than good,” said Garrick Taylor, a spokesman for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.
Taylor said the proposal would put Arizona in a group of states with some of the highest income taxes in the country while currently Arizona has some of the most competitive rates.
Invest in Education needs more than 230,000 signatures by a July 2 deadline to appear on the 2020 ballot.