Strong opinions on Prop 204 - sales tax increase - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Strong opinions on Prop 204 - sales tax increase

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PHOENIX -

Three years ago, Arizona voters approved a 1-cent sales tax to help dig the state out of a major budget mess.

That tax is set to expire in 2013, but in two weeks voters will have a chance to make that tax increase permanent.

This proposition has really divided the state. The state treasurer is against Prop 204. So is the former CEO of Intel. But the mayor of Phoenix supports the one-cent sales tax, and so does the Basha family and the United Way.

Our temporary one-cent sales tax could be permanent under Prop 204. Supporters say that one-cent tax would help students, schools, and teachers.

"All we're asking people to do is keep the penny for our kids," says Ann-Eve Pedersen, Arizona Education Network.

Ann-Eve Pedersen is president of the Arizona Education Network. She says Prop 204 would ensure $800-million is earmarked for education only.

"This is led by volunteer parents who stepped up because of what we saw happening in our children's classrooms."

Pedersen says Arizona leads the nation in cuts to education -- more than 21-percent. But not everyone that Prop 204 is the best way to help fund education.

"I think it would be devastating for our economy long term," says Doug Ducey, Arizona Treasurer.

State treasurer Doug Ducey says Arizona is already second in the nation for having the highest state and local tax combined. He says Prop 204 would discourage businesses from moving to Arizona. Ducey also says the proposition doesn't mandate the money to go towards classroom and students.

"I don't think it'll actually affect outcomes in the classroom and I don't think it'll benefit teachers."

Treasurer Ducey says the only thing Prop 204 does is mandate $100 million for roads. But Ann-Eve Pedersen says that's not true either.

"Mr. Ducey is engaging in a massive misinformation campaign," says Pedersen. "80-percent of the funds must go to education, there's no wiggle room for the legislature."

"You don't raise taxes on hardworking Arizonans when you have cash in the bank. If we have money use the money we have right now, don't raise taxes," says Ducey.

Governor Brewer was all for the temporary sales tax 3 years ago. Now that she's against it, supporters of Prop 204 say they feel like she turned her back on them.

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