Gov. Jane Hull has introduced a bill that would allow the voters to decide if better education funding is worth a .6 percent sales-tax increase.
The bill would increase our current sales tax from 5 percent to 5.6 percent and would raise $450 million annually for things like teacher pay raises, improving substandard schools, and higher education needs.
Today, Arizona ranks the lowest among all 50 states in education funding. This tax increase would move us up to number 48. It's time we start moving up and investing more in our children.
We support this bill and agree with Gov. Hull when she told a joint session of the House and Senate, "I am not asking you to raise taxes. I am asking you to let the people of Arizona vote."
And while asking for a vote seems like the obvious democratic solution, this bill, and similar ones, still face the obstacle of opposition from the top Republican leaders who control what legislation is considered.
One Republican sponsor, Rep. Tom Horne, R-Phoenix, summed up the conflict this way: "This is going to be a test of are we a representative republic or are we a dictatorship? If we're a representative republic, we should pass this because the public clearly wants the opportunity to vote on it."
If this is a test, you can help Arizona pass with flying colors. We urge our readers to contact their state legislators and tell them you want the opportunity to vote on Gov. Hull's bill.
Following is a list of e-mail addresses to state representatives and key players in the education debate:
State Representative Jake Flake: firstname.lastname@example.org
State Representative Debra Brimhall: email@example.com
State Representative Jack Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaker of the House Jeff Groscost: email@example.com
Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, John Huppenthall: firstname.lastname@example.org
To reach their offices on Capitol Hill, call 1-800-352-8404.
You can have a voice now, and on the November ballot.