PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- Supporters of Prop. 208, the education funding measure, are feeling confident it will pass, sending more dollars to Arizona classrooms. On Wednesday afternoon, the measure was at 52% approval. But opponents say this election is not over yet.
"It will be a win for students and schools in the state," says Joe Thomas, President of Arizona Education Association.
Prop 208, the Invest in Education Act, will be on the ballot in Arizona this November. How will this proposition affect Arizonans?
The Invest in Education Act could raise about $900 million dollars a year with half of the funds going to teacher jobs and pay raises. "It's also about the mentoring system and the scholarships for teachers if they'll teach in Arizona schools," says Thomas. "That again attracts quality young people to the profession and keeps them in the profession."
Opponents, like the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, argue the 3.5% tax surcharge will put a strain on businesses already hurting from the pandemic. "So many of our small business owners pay taxes for the individual income tax," says President Glenn Hamer. "We know that half of the filers impacted, 50%, are small businesses, entrepreneurs."
Hamer believes Prop. 208 could ultimately kill jobs. "We went from one of the 13 most-competitive states for small business in terms of taxation to one of the ten worst," says Hamer.
On the ballot next month, Proposition 208 presents yet another battle over the state's dire education funding and who should pay for it.
According to research from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, most Arizona taxpayers will not be affected by the tax surcharge. Individuals making more than $250,000 but less than $500,000 could end up paying an average $120 in extra taxes each year.