NO on Prop 204 by Sarah Crawford

Sarah Crawford, Gilbert Watch Contributing Editor and Former Chairman of Families for Responsible Government

Less than three years ago I fought arm in arm with many Gilbert residents against an unnecessary sales tax increase, Prop 406, as well as the state sales tax increase, Prop 100. We prevailed in the case of Prop 406 but, unfortunately, our state sales tax increased by one percent.

It is believed that Prop 100 passed largely because it was portrayed as being temporary. Yet here we are again, fighting Prop 204, a billion dollar per year permanent sales tax increase! There is no budget crisis on which to blame this tax hike.  In fact, we have a budget surplus. There is no reason to further burden Arizona taxpayers.  Yet, special interests are combining to reach into the pockets of taxpayers again. 

This time, they are bolder, demanding a permanent tax increase to spend at their leisure. There are many problems with Prop 204.  The most distressing is that this money will not only be taken from us, but it will also be permanently locked away from our legislature, who we have elected to be the stewards of our tax dollars. The special interest groups divvy up the money amongst themselves, and the taxpayers can’t hold them accountable or expect any real education reform.

Less than 10 cents on the dollar of this tax burden is tied to performance measures in education, and there is no guarantee it will go into the classrooms.

Over the last 10 years, per pupil spending has increased at a much higher rate than population or inflation, and the amount of money that gets into the classroom is decreasing. Are you seeing the quality of your child’s education keeping up with the rate of taxing and spending? 

Don’t be fooled that this tax money is all “for the children,” because there are 12 different special interest groups in on this scam, including health care, transportation, welfare, and adult education groups. Not only is Prop 204 the wrong way to obtain and use tax dollars, but it also puts the sales tax burden on Arizona families at the second highest in the nation.

Is that a distinction we want? Is that business friendly? Has your family recovered from the recession enough that you can afford this? High sales tax rates are bad for businesses, families, and our economy.

This sales tax increase will make it more difficult for the legislature to balance the budget. Some of the cities in Arizona will be at a combined sales tax rate of over 10%.  Does that alarm anyone? When will these groups have enough money?  How many times do we have to stand up and say that we are taxed enough?

I have said it before and will say it again, No! No on Prop 204.