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Az Business leaders want major tax increase for teacher salaries

Arizona business leaders want big tax increase for teacher salaries and education

tax increase for teacher salaries

Some of Arizona’s most influential business leaders have a plan to significantly boost education funding, and they’re not waiting for Gov.

This week, they began a public campaign to convince fellow business leaders to raise the funds to put an expansion of Proposition 301 on the ballot — and sooner rather than later, although they haven’t disclosed exactly when they’d like to see it on the ballot.

They’re pushing to nearly triple the current 0.6 cent education sales tax to 1.5 cents, permanently.

That’s significantly higher than has been discussed by other groups so far, and would mean an additional $900 million a year for teachers and schools.

The additional revenue would go toward areas Ducey prioritized this year — teacher salaries, full-day kindergarten, school infrastructure, teacher training and workforce development.

Francis said the business community — which has benefited from Ducey’s annual tax cuts and the workforce the state’s education system produces — needs to lead the way.

“The business community can take some of the perceived heat that neither the governor nor the Legislature may be able to take” on a proposal to raise taxes, Francis said. “So we’re saying, ‘Business community, let’s get it on the ballot and then let the people decide. ‘ ”

Joining Francis in the push are Reginald Ballantyne, a health-care consultant and past president of the state Board of Education; Mike Brewer, CEO of Brewer Companies and Benjamin Franklin Plumbing; and John Whiteman, founder of Empire Southwest Co. and president of the Whiteman Foundation, which focuses on children and education.

“If we don’t take the lead in advancing this initiative, I”m not sure who else will,” Ballantyne said.

Without action, Prop. 301 expires in 2021 and schools lose the $600 million a year they’re getting now.

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