GUEST EDITORIAL – Tucson Metro Chamber: “No on Proposition 208”

Arizona’s education system is falling behind other states and it is hard to argue otherwise. For years, we have been near the bottom for funding, classroom size, as well as the ratio of students to nurses, counselors, and other integral support staff. This may be best exemplified by the continued turnover of teachers, and the yearly shortfall of certified teachers that districts throughout Arizona experience year after year.

Education is a top priority for the Tucson Metro Chamber and our member businesses – it must be. Today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce. We have supported numerous attempts to put more funding into the classroom, where it belongs. We have partnered with our universities and community colleges to address funding issues and support their efforts to evolve into the institutions our economy needs. We have found ourselves in the “sane middle” taking shots from both sides for our education policy positions. However, Prop 208 will do more harm than good.

Prop 208 will increase our top income tax bracket by a staggering 78%, raising it to 8%. This would make it a Top 10 income tax rate, a list states generally try to avoid. This is class warfare at its worst, placing a need we all have on a small segment of our society. What is worse is that those who find themselves in the top bracket are our job creators – our small business owners, our investors and our dreamers. How would you react to a 78% increase in your income taxes? I know I’d start looking for a new place to pay taxes.

And that is the rub.

Will everyone in the top bracket move? No. But, many will be taking their wealth and their ability to create new jobs with them. This will slow our growth, which until now has resulted in substantially higher tax revenues for Arizona – that have been invested in K-12 education.

We need a better plan than Prop 208, one that is a broad source of revenue, one where everyone in the state has skin in the game to improve our education system. Can more be done? Absolutely. The Tucson Metro Chamber will be at that table for the conversation.

Please vote “NO” on Proposition 208

Graphic: Courtesy Tucson Metro Chamber
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