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Prop 100 wins big

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Posted: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 3:35 pm

In a bi-partisan show, voters across the state overwhelming supported a temporary 1-cent sales tax hike Tuesday, with both Gov. Jan Brewer and her chief Democratic rival, Terry Goddard, endorsing Proposition 100.

Unofficial results show that it passed two to one, 693,580 to 388,915.

Support for education was often cited as the main reason.

"Because I have kids who go to school and I don't want 40 kids in a classroom," Tom Davis said as he walked out of the polling place at Esperanza Lutheran Church across from Kyrene Monte Vista Elementary School.

But helping public safety also played a part for some.

"Public safety has already been hacked enough. We need public safety and education if we're going to make it," Amanda Mercado said after dropping off a ballot at Mountain View Lutheran Church.

Despite the overwhelming victory, the election raised questions about political leadership in the state.

"We have no leadership," said Charles Free, who voted against Proposition 100. "They duck their responsibility." He said that it was the job of lawmakers to solve the budget problem, and not simply by asking voters for more money.

Jim Jochim also voted no, but respected the majority vote. He was concerned that the tax might become permanent.

"I just think it will be of interest in three years if it continues. Three years is a long time, for the memory cycle of most Americans," Jochim said.

The easy victory on Tuesday provided a boost to Brewer, who staked her political future on passage of Prop. 100.

Her three main gubernatorial rivals in the GOP primary, Dean Martin, Buz Mills and John Munger, had all campaigned in opposition to the sales tax hike.

"What I think this really does is give Jan Brewer clout for her re-election," Jochim said.

"I feel sorry for the guys who run against her," said Jochim, who before Tuesday was unsure who he would support in the August primary election, but who is now leaning towards Brewer.

The new sales tax, 6.5 cents per dollar, takes effect June 1 and runs for three years. It is estimated to bring in a little under $1 billion a year with two-thirds going to education and one-third divided between public safety and health and human services.

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