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204 Video Transcript
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Proposition 204 - Video Transcript


MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: We are down to our final and last ballot measure, and I'd now like to ask Secretary Bennett to describe Prop 204.


A "yes" vote on Proposition 204 will permanently increase the state sales tax by one cent per dollar, effective June 1st, 2013, for the purpose of funding educational programs, public transportation infrastructure projects, and human services. It forbids reductions to the current K-12 and university funding levels and forbids reductions to the current state sales tax base.

A "no" vote shall have the effect of not increasing the state sales tax by one cent per dollar beginning June 1st of 2013.

MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: Thanks, again, Mr. Secretary.

"For" Arguments

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.

"Against" Arguments

MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: Speaking against Proposition 204 is Erik Twist, Headmaster of Archway Classical Academy. Once again, two minutes. Thank you.

MR. ERIK TWIST: Thank you. Like all public educators, I want Arizona to serve its children in the best way possible, from that first day of kindergarten to the last day of senior year, and this is exactly why I oppose Proposition 204.

While we can all agree that our state is in need of education reform, and while we can all agree that the proper funding of our schools is a key component of this reform, Prop 204 goes about it exactly the wrong way. A permanent, unexamined sequestering of revenue that ultimately throws $1 billion indiscriminately into an education system that we all know is broken, without tying those funds to what is actually working, to what is really serving our children, is as foolish as it is harmful. We need real education reform.

Prop 204 treats poorly-performing schools the same as successful schools by rewarding equal dollars to both. Less than 10 cents per dollar is tied directly to performance measures. Our children deserve better. Arizona needs a great school in every neighborhood, not more tax dollars thrown at the status quo.

And we all know that working families are still feeling the effects of the recession. We need relief, not further taxation. We need to encourage business growth and expansion in Arizona so that our economy continues to recover.

Prop 204 would lock Arizona in the second highest sales tax in the nation, leaving us nothing to show for it but a weaker economy and the same education woes. Let's grow success. Let's grow the promise that every Arizonan has access to a great education.

Let's fund the schools and the teachers that make that promise a reality day in and day out. Let's do all of this not with progressive tax hikes and failed solutions, but by rewarding entrepreneurship and academic excellence. Let's give something better to our kids. Please, vote "no" on Proposition 204. Thank you.

MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: Thank you very much and appreciate that.


MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: That wraps up our presentation on the propositions, the nine propositions, for this evening.

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© September 2012