Garcia: ‘Real’ plan would erase education deficit, raise teacher’s pay

(AP Photo/Bob Christie)

PHOENIX – Nearly a year after Arizona State professor David Garcia announced his intention to run in November’s gubernatorial election, he gained the support from one of the most powerful advocacy groups for teachers in the state.

The Arizona Education Association announced its endorsement of Garcia on Wednesday, electing not to back incumbent Doug Ducey in the upcoming election.

Garcia joined KTAR News 92.3 FM‘s Mac and Gaydos Wednesday afternoon to discuss his new found support, along with his plan to diminish the state’s $1.1 billion shortage in Arizona’s education system which would potentially give teachers up to a 20 percent raise.

“We have put out a real investment in Arizona schools plan,” Garcia said. “That plan involves a few things. We need to renew proposition 301.

“It was always meant to be a stopgap but it is not enough and it’s volatile.”

First passed in November of 2000, Prop 301 increased sales tax from five percent to 5.6 percent, giving the extra revenue to the public education system in Arizona.

A .6 percent tax credit was given to low-income families who endured tough times as a result of the tax increase. The credit, however, is set to expire in 2020.

Additionally, Garcia said asking the top one percent of Arizonans to pay a fair share of taxes and closing loopholes and exemptions for corporate sales tax would allow the extra funds to be put into schools.

A major portion of the extra funds, Garcia said, would come from Arizona corporations paying more property tax.

“We’ve got 74 percent of our corporations right now paying less than $50 in property tax, we’ve got to change that,” Garcia said.

“I believe that when corporations come to Arizona, that the teachers that are going to teach their students, the fire and police that are going to make sure their homes are safe should be apart of that deal which is why they need to be contributing to Arizona as well.”

Garcia’s plan to raise taxes goes against that of Ducey, who has repeatedly said that he would not raise taxes in the state.

However, with the measures laid out by Garcia in place, he remains confident that Arizona teachers could see a measurable pay increase within short order.

“We have been behind in this state for so long, we’ve got the ability to get that done, we’ve got the ability to put a real investment in Arizona teachers,” Garcia said.

“It’s what Arizonans want and it’s what teachers deserve.”