June 11, 2012

Activists Fight to Extend Tax

With one-cent sales tax set to expire next year, some Arizonans petition to prolong it

In 2010, Arizona voters approved a temporary one-cent sales tax hike that would be used for education. Now that the three-year hike is set to expire in 2013, however, many residents are hoping for a second round.

Ann-Eve Pedersen is president of the Arizona Education Parent Network, formerly known as the Arizona Education Network, which is gathering signatures to bring this issue back to the ballot box in November.

Pedersen says the cash cushion needs to continue beyond next year because Arizona's legislature has been slashing education's share of the budget.

"Over the past four years, the state unfortunately cut about $1 billion in K-12 education alone, more than $550 million for our universities, and this has not helped our children," Pedersen says. "We need to bolster the state's education system so that we can thrive economically."

The network is working with a coalition of other groups, including the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, where Ron Shoopman is the president.

"If there's a topic that is a high priority of business, it's education," Shoopman says. "Student outcomes will drive the future of this region and, in fact, the nation."

Supporters of the Quality Education and Jobs initiative say they have gathered more than the required number of signatures to put this issue on the ballot, but they are going to collect extra names to cover their bases.

Election day is on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

MORE: Arizona, News, Tucson
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