MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: And our first speaker is on the pro side of 204, Ann Eve Pederson, Chair of the Prop 204- Quality Education and Jobs Committee, and President of the Arizona Education Parent Network. Once again, two minutes.
MS. ANN EVE PEDERSON: Thank you. Thank you. Arizona led the nation in the depth of cuts to education, and this is hurting not just our school children, but also our state's economy. If Arizona wants to recruit good jobs that pay well, we must have quality and strong schools in Arizona. That's why Arizona's top CEO organizations support Prop 204, the Quality Education and Jobs Initiative.
Prop 204 will provide a permanent, dedicated revenue source for education. It will benefit K-12, district and charter schools, vocational education, community colleges, universities, and GED programs, and it prevents the Legislature from making any more cuts to our K-12 district and charter schools in Arizona.
Prop 204 will renew the one cent sales tax that voters overwhelmingly passed in 2010, and it will not increase your taxes. I repeat, you will pay the same amount in taxes that you are paying now, but those funds will be better protected from legislative raids, and they will more directly benefit our children and their classrooms.
This investment comes at a critical time for education in Arizona. Our -- our schools are about to implement a sweeping set of reforms and new accountability measures, but we must ensure that there are resources there so that our students can achieve at these much higher levels of expectations. We have to have funding for basics, like books and classrooms. That's something the Legislature refuses to fund.
The Legislature cut $1 billion from K-12 education over the past four years. And when they were asked this past session, as revenues were increasing, to make a modest investment in education, they initially refused to provide one more dime. We cannot rely on the Legislature. We must rely on the voters of Arizona to pass Prop 204 to protect our students and their classrooms from any further cuts and to invest in our state's education system. Thank you.
MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: Thank you very much. Right on time.