Lawmaker proposes penny sales tax for AZ education funding

Posted: Updated:
Rep. Noel Campbell has proposed a 1-cent sales tax for three years to fund teacher salaries and lower tuition at Arizona's three state universities. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Rep. Noel Campbell has proposed a 1-cent sales tax for three years to fund teacher salaries and lower tuition at Arizona's three state universities. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A state lawmaker is shopping a sales tax increase to boost education funding, but so far no one is buying. 

Rep. Noel Campbell presented his idea to his colleagues in the house Tuesday.  It calls for a temporary 1-cent sales tax that would last three years and boost K-12 funding by $880 million.

“Fund teacher salaries, give money to education for the schools, the things they need in the schools, it would fund education for the construction industry,” says Campbell. 

The District 1 Republican says extra revenue would be sent to state universities to lower tuition rates.

[POLL: Would you support a tax increase to fund teacher salaries?]

After Campbell pitched his proposal, Democrats argued the sales tax would be a burden on low-income families, particularly those in rural areas.

“The teachers will end up paying for their own raise, and that's my worry,” says Rep. Charlene Fernandez. 

House Democrats sent a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday suggesting a mixed bag of funding sources, including getting rid of tax cuts for the wealthy, a sales tax on some services, and sending more school tax credit dollars to public schools rather than private ones.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona schools in crisis]

[RELATED: Arizona school districts release plans for teacher walk out]

“In the past 10 years we've spent over a billion dollars in tax credits for private schools and we owe our schools over a billion dollars,” says Fernandez.  “You kind of think if you stop one the other will benefit.”

Campbell’s proposal would require a two-thirds majority vote from the Legislature.

Ducey has vowed to increase education funding without raising taxes. In response to Campbell’s sales tax proposal, a spokesman for the governor’s office said, “We have available revenue to invest” that is “sustainable” and “ongoing.” 

[RELATED: Gov. Ducey pushes for teacher pay deal as strike looms]


Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.