PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Voters passed a tax hike in November to boost funding for K-12 schools. But Gov. Doug Ducey is still trying to sink Proposition 208 because the bulk of the money raised will be paid for by Arizona's wealthiest.
The governor, who opposed the ballot measure during the campaign, recently outlined his two-pronged strategy to a group of local business leaders. The first approach includes a legal challenge in front of the Arizona Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear the case next month.
According to HireAHelper, the Phoenix area is 48 out of 50 in teacher pay in metropolitan cities with median annual earnings of just under $48,000, not including special education teacher pay.
It's worth noting that Ducey appointed most of the justices, five out of the seven who currently sit on the state's high court, during his time in office.
And his second approach involves efforts to off-set the economic hit on high-income earners with potential tax cuts working their way through the GOP-led legislature.
"I'm working with legislative leaders in both chambers on these ideas, and you should see resolution on this and clarity on this issue sometime in the coming months, but it will be this session," the governor told the Valley Partnership business group on Friday.
It's estimated Prop. 208 will raise an estimated $800+ million for education by imposing a sure charge on people making more than $250,000 a year.
But according to an economic analysis conducted by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee last year, most of the money will come from about the 9,000 taxpayers making over $1 million a year.
"Prop 208 promised additional dollars to K-12 education. I have no problem with that, at all. But what it also did was it took our top-tier tax rate from 4.5% to 8%. It was a 77% increase. That I have real issues with," Ducey said.
The governor's tactics and statement are, predictably, not sitting well with organizers of the ballot measure.
"I was pretty shocked to hear Gov. Ducey to so publicly and cavalierly vow to reverse the will of the voters," said Beth Lewis, a teacher and co-founder of Save our Schools Arizona, which helped place the measure on the ballot.