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Arizona Democrats Propose Extension, Expansion Of Sales Tax To Fund Education

Not willing to put it off until the last minute, Arizona’s Legislative Democrats proposed asking voters as soon as possible to extend and expand a special sales tax that funds education.

Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios said Democrats will prioritize reducing class sizes, dealing with the teacher shortage and coming up with a long-term plan to ensure schools have the funds they need.

Proposition 301, approved in 2000, raised the state sales tax by 0.6 percent.

Earmarked for education, the tax raises more than $600 million a year. But it also expires in 2021. Rios said she believes it should be raised--and put before voters sooner, rather than later.

"Democrats support the renewal of Prop 301 before 2021 and increasing the sales tax dedicated to a full 1 cent," Rios said. "This would result in an additional $430 million annually in funding for K-12 that can be used to recruit and retain teachers and fund our schools."

Incoming House Speaker J.D. Mesnard questioned whether voters are willing to tax themselves more for education, especially in light of last year’s passage of Proposition 123.

The proposition adds an additional $3.5 billion to education over the next decade.