The time has come to start the discussion on raising revenue. For 25 years we have methodically lowered taxes using as a promise that lowering taxes will boost the economy, employment will rise, the economy will boom and the increased economic activity will make up for the short term loss in revenue. But....after 25 years of this it is time for a reality check. Guess what? IT DOESN'T WORK!!!. Instead our state is in an endless cycle of fiscal crisis and, sadly, our greatest resource our kids have born the brunt.
We need to start, at least, to reversing this death spiral, yes we need to raise taxes.
Now consider our choices: Raise income and corporate taxes, raise the property tax or raise sales taxes.
Already our State sales tax is the 11th highest in the nation while our property and income taxes are 5th and 6th from the bottom. Sales tax is generally considered repressive in that it disproportionately impact the poor. So there you have the sad data, read it and weep. Yes we need to raise both income and property taxes. Time to start the discussion. David is right on.
Politicians, educators, economists and pundits alike can navel gaze and pontificate all day and night but the reality is:
1. Arizona has grossly underfunded education.
2. This issue is, pure and simple, a lack of resources at the State level because of 25 years worth of unsustainable and irresponsible tax cuts.
3. The only way out of this is to raise revenue, that means tax increases and the elimination of tax credits but these are not possible in the current political climate.
THERE I SAID IT: WE HAVE TO RAISE TAXES!!!
But we are robbing Peter to pay Paul. The Highway Trust Fund was established as a "trust fund" to prevent raids like this. Taking money from the already under-funded highway system will just assure continued deterioration of our State highways, especially the rural parts of the State. While I strongly support our public schools and have personally given tens of thousands of dollars to public school classrooms through www.adoptaclassroom.org, I cannot support robbing our road money. Remember, the annual fiscal crisis at the legislature has been brought on by over two decades of irresponsible tax cuts by a succession of administrations. Time to reverse course, methinks.
Very interesting opinion piece. I only with that David had listed his data sources so that a reader could research them.
On a different but related subject, after numerous trips to the Legislature advocating for education funding, I am absolutely convinced that data, results, facts mean absolutely noting to the ideology driven members of our legislature. "Cut taxes at all cost" seems to be the recurring mantra down there.
It's been 25 years since the gas tax has been raised. It certainly has not kept pace with inflation, meanwhile mileage has improved greatly and we have a huge pent up demand for more roads, better roads, more lanes and "wheninhell is ADOT going to fix SR whatever". To add insult to injury, our circumspect legislature has raided HURF dollars (money from the feds) to fund DPS. IMHO, we need to do two things; (1) increase the gas tax, the time has never been better, (2) pass legislation that will keep the legislators sticky fingers out of highway construction funds.
Let's quit with "No taxes at all cost mantra" and do what needs to be done.
I don't get all of the snarky comments on David's well researched report. He is not talking about TUSD, HT Sanchez, he is simply sharing data on the educational philosophy of our soon to be U.S. Secretary of Education. Betsey DeVos is not an educator, nor has she nor any of her family attended public schools. She is a wealthy heiress who married into wealth. So she has little first hand knowledge either of public schools or the struggles of people not born into wealth. Consequently she eschews our publicly run community schools in favor of for profit corporate run private schools. She has contributed a great deal of money towards supporting legislators in these United State, including here in Arizona, who will continue to dismantle our public schools. Vouchers for all!! Sadly this is a cruel joke particularly in the inner cities and in rural areas.
Our public schools have made our country great, turning education over to corporate interests will simply deny a thorough and efficient education to a large portion of our population.
David Safier: Please keep shining a light on this.
Interesting commentary David Safier, and with the billionaires our populist president elect has surrounded himself with right on target. Our soon to be Secy of Ed, is not an educator nor has she attended any public schools, nor has she saved on a school board by any measure, her only qualifications for the position is that she has been a shill for private schools.
As a side note, she has already influenced education here in Arizona. our newly elected freshman legislator from LD 1 (Prescott), David Stringer, was funded by DeVos. He greatly outspend his clean elections opponent and won the election. He too is for vouchers for all.
Keep shining a light on this David!!
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