Prop 123 demands that all the money raised will be “appropriated for basic state aid.” That’s a euphemism for the “general fund.” We went down this road before with Brewer’s 1% sales tax. We were told that it was dedicated for education and public safety. However those taxes also went to the general fund and, since money is fungible, we could not find out how many, if any, of those “dedicated” tax dollars went for education or public safety.

There is not one provision in Prop 123 that demands the monies raised (1) be spent on education; and (2) specifically for the classroom and the teachers. It does not even identify any major areas of concern in education where the funds should be focused for allocation. In short, the text of Prop 123 has nothing to do with education. If the intended purpose of this proposition were truly for education it would provide that the funds be dedicated to a specific fund in the Department of Education and not the untraceable general fund (for “basic state aid”). 

There is a misguided notion that taking revenue from public assets is not a tax. That such a misleading incorrect fundamental accounting concept should be coming from a former state treasurer is even more curious. As the IRS will tell you, revenue “from whatever source derived” is taxable and these funds are tax revenues. In this case these revenues are derived from the income from our assets and used as a substitute for our tax revenues. We have decided to self-impose a tax (dedicated to education) on these state revenues. Unfortunately, under Prop123 these funds will no longer be dedicated to education.  Prop123 authorizes the removal of (according to the Legislative Council estimate) $3.5b of funding from education over 10 years. Why would any school district support this?

Prop123 is a mislabeled indirect tax designed to sweep the litigation for education funding under the political carpet for 10 years – just long enough to procrastinate for some to leave office. It creates a political slush fund for paying government debts including the educational- corporate cartel and data mining companies. It avoids addressing the difficult measures necessary to actually improve education in Arizona or secure our unalienable parental rights. (Corporate political donors are particularly opposed to parent rights.) These unaccountable funds can be used to fund data mining companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Pearson Publishing etc. that donate to political campaigns. It is wrong to finance the political campaign donors for the data mining of our children instead of funding our teachers and the classroom.  That’s called political quid-pro-quo. Prop123 money should have been drafted to make a specific commitment to go to teachers and their classrooms.

Virtually (if not literally) every politician running for office promises to hold our government accountable and to be transparent. Every politician that supports Prop 123 has broken that campaign pledge. Prop123 is not transparent because it uses the fiscal cloaking devise of the general fund to avoid accountability.  It does not identify mandatory/ necessary requirements to improve education. If anyone really wanted to know, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education and our teachers could identify the specific requirements that are in need of funding.

The Procrastination 123 Prop. is an obvious political device to get the court opinion off the administration’s back without addressing (or resolving) the fundamental issues in education. If history is an example, our children, teachers and classrooms will get the short end of this financial stick . . . again. Why would any rational court accept a measure that has no commitment to provide any money for education as a funding alternative to settle the education funding litigation?

Without requiring a specific separate accounting fund for education and dedicating all the money to education, Prop123 (as it is proposed) is a scam to fund the general fund.  The governor’s administration, state agencies, departments etc. already get approximately $18b in annual federal funding for which he is not accountable to the Legislature or the JLBC. We need more fiscal accountability not less.

Vote NO on Prop123.  

 

Bill Sandry

Mesa, Arizona

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