Since it’s Wednesday, I am wearing red, and today’s video about public education funding.
Yesterday, I was filling out an endorsement questionnaire, and one of the questions was: do you support raising sales taxes to pay for public education?￼
This question is so January 2020. When we were in session, there was much discussion about extending Prop 301 (Governor Jan Brewer’s “temporary sales tax to save public education”) and raising it to one cent.
This is April 29, 2020. The novel Coronavirus is running rampant throughout the United States and throughout the state of Arizona. We are seeing firsthand what a bad idea it is to balance the state budget on the backs of consumers. Arizona has high sales taxes and low corporate taxes compared to other states. With the shelter in place order and high unemployment, sales and sales taxes are down across the board. Consequently, state and local revenues are down across the board.￼
Arizona has one of the most volatile state budgets in the country because if it’s over reliance on sales tax– coupled with low corporate income taxes, billions of dollars in corporate tax giveaways, and lack of a state property tax.￼ When regular folks don’t have cash to spend, the whole state suffers because the government is relying on YOU to buy stuff and pay tax on those sales. Corporate Arizona… not so much… besides low corporate income taxes, they regularly ask for and get TPT (sales tax) breaks from the Arizona Legislature. Remember this story from the beginning of session: Microsoft Wants a Sales Tax Break Because ‘Electricity Is Too Expensive in Arizona’ (video).
Because of the revenue losses during the pandemic, the Legislature will be looking for money when we go back into session in January 2021. Too much of our revenue is tied up in the tax giveaways. We need 2/3 of the Legislature to stand up and say it’s time to review and eliminate some of those corporate tax loopholes. We can put those billions of dollars to better use elsewhere– like funding the People’s To-Do List: education, healthcare, infrastructure, and safety and security– instead of the corporate wish list.