The initiative for a permanent one-cent sales tax increase, known as Proposition 204, will be presented before voters this November on the ballot, causing a mixed bag of reactions among organizations and residents.

Prop. 204 is a citizen initiative that would make the temporary, one-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2010 permanent. The state’s sales tax rate was raised from 5.6 percent to 6.6 percent that year, which under Prop. 204 would remain the same.

If approved by voters, Prop. 204 would raise at least $1 billion annually. An estimated 80 percent of the sales tax would go to education.

In a recent public forum, the Kyrene School District said it would be getting $9.2 million from the sales tax increase, used to fund Quality Education and Performance at the district.

Corey Harris, candidate for Arizona representative for Legislative District 18, said he doesn’t think the initiative is a perfect solution, but said he wants to see voters support it.

“Our legislators couldn’t come together to make a workable solution,” he said. “The voters are going to have to do it for them and we’re going to have to vote on it.”

Another candidate for state representative in LD 18, Darin Fisher, said Prop. 204 is “probably the worst solution we could craft except for all the others.”

But still, Fischer said he is going to vote for the proposition, mentioning that there’s no alternative.

“We cannot keep gutting education in Arizona the way we have,” he added.

Garrick Taylor, of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, is strictly opposed to the initiative. According to Taylor, Prop. 204 will have unintended consequences because of its permanence.

On the fence about the issue, Ahwatukee resident Ernst McComish said he wants to see more arguments for both sides of the initiative.

“I’m concerned about the accountability,” he said. “How the funds are going to be directed and who is going to direct them.”

Early voting for the election begins Oct. 11. Election Day is Nov. 6.

Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dmartinez@ahwatukee.com

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