TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Supporters have rallied and collected signatures to get Invest in Ed, or Prop 208, on the 2020 ballot after it was kicked off in 2018. Now the final decision is up to voters.
If passed, Invest in Ed would raise $940 million for education in Arizona. Margaret Chaney, president of the Tucson Education Association, said the funding is overdue.
“I can’t understand how anyone can say that money shouldn’t go toward public education because when you say that, you’re basically saying that the future citizens, the folks that will be voting in the future shouldn’t get a decent education,” Chaney said.
The measure would tack on a 3.5 percent tax surcharge. Only taxable income above $250,000 for single person and $500,000 for a household is subject to the charge. It’s a tax increase President & CEO Glenn Hamer of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry said will hurt small businesses.
“It doesn’t effect out of state or multinational companies but for the entrepreneur companies that are the lifeblood for Arizona’s economy, it wallops them,” he said. “And oh by the way, we’re still in a pandemic.”
He said the Arizona Chamber supports putting money towards education but doesn’t believe Prop 208 is the way to go.
“We are going to continue to advocate for putting more resources towards our K-12 system but we are going to do that much more effectively if we aren’t going to do something that will hurt our economy,” Hamer said.
Money raised by Invest in Ed would be divided in several ways. Half of the money would go towards hiring teachers and increasing wages, a quarter to support service personnel and the rest is broken down between teacher mentor-retention programs, career training and the Arizona Teacher’s Academy.
Chaney said the measure will help motivate teachers to work in Arizona which in turn will help students.
“We have fewer and fewer going into education and staying in Arizona and part of that is the wages which means you increase the class sizes,” she said.