Education tax bill gets first legislative test next week

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Lawmakers working to extend sales tax that benefits education in Arizona. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Lawmakers working to extend sales tax that benefits education in Arizona. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A legislative proposal to keep Arizona public schools from falling off what's described as a "financial cliff" will get its first test next week at the state Capitol.

HB 2158 extends a nearly 2-decade-old sales tax that raises about $600 million annually for schools. 

In 2000 voters approved a 0.6-cent sales tax, which is set to expire in 2021 unless lawmakers find a solution or voters approve another ballot measure. 

Rep. Doug Coleman, a Republican from Mesa, sponsored legislation in the House while Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, a Republican from Phoenix, is sponsoring an identical bill in the Senate. 

Under their proposal, the lawmakers want to dedicate all the money in the Classroom Site Fund for teacher pay. 

According to a press release, McGee says that amounts to $384 million for teacher salaries. 

A House committee will hear the bill on Monday. It currently has bipartisan support from over 50 co-sponsors in the state House and Senate.

[RELATED: Arizona education improving but seriously challenged]

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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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