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State senator pushes two sales tax bills to fund Arizona education

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona Sen. Sylvia Allen is pushing two bills that she says would raise an extra $350 million yearly for education.

One bill, SB 1080, would change an Arizona law and allow schools to redirect a sales tax of 0.6 cents for student support systems like counselors, school safety, and teacher pay raises.

Allen said it’s contingent upon another bill, SCR 1001, to ask voters in November 2020 to raise the sales tax by 0.4 cents to fund kindergarten through 12th grade at 75 percent of those monies, universities at 20 percent and community colleges at 5 percent.

The group Invest In Ed said sales tax hikes are not permanent funding solutions.

“It would still leave us with a teacher shortage,” Dana Wolfe Naimark, president of the Children’s Action Alliance, said.

“It would still leave us with overcrowded classrooms.”

Naimark said sales tax hikes, no matter how small, punish lower earners.

“It’s their normal political sound bite,” Allen rebutted.

“If you make more, then you will pay more of that sales tax, and if you make less, you’ll pay less.”

Allen said her bills supplement Arizona teachers who are also getting 20 percent pay raises by next year.

Naimark said she wants lawmakers to craft a $1 billion yearly education budget, but offered them no guidance.

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