Sales Tax Increase Necessary

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Editor:

Like many states across the country, Arizona faces a massive budget shortfall. The governor and Legislature have already cut the state’s budget by $1 billion.

These historic cuts are larger than any cuts made by any other governor in the state’s history. However, even these massive cuts are not enough. Nobody likes to pay taxes, but the reality is that Arizonans pay some of the lowest taxes in the nation.

According to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research group based in Washington D.C., the residents of 40 states pay more in state and local taxes than Arizonans. Arizona’s state tax revenues have fallen drastically over the last few years. At the same time, Arizona has continued to grow — adding over 140,000 students to K-12 and the university system, over 11,000 new prisoners, and over 475,000 Medicaid enrollees since 2004.

Arizona’s per-pupil funding is already among the lowest in the nation — and Arizona schools have already absorbed several rounds of cuts in 2009. If the temporary sales tax increase does not pass, there is no question as to what will happen. The state Legislature has already passed a contingent budget that will automatically go into effect if Proposition 100 fails.

This contingent budget includes $428 million in additional cuts to K-12 education — cuts that will result in the additional loss of millions of dollars in federal matching funds. This would result in an additional $1.25 million dollar budget cut to the Payson Unified School District above and beyond the painful cuts that we have already endured.

A recent study by researchers at the Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona found that a yes vote on Proposition 100 would save more than 13,000 jobs and preserve more than $442 million in federal matching funds for Arizona. Please vote yes on Proposition 100.

Devin and Laurel Wala

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