The state is more productive than ever too. Arizona now ranks third fastest growing GDP in the country; outpacing heavy weights such as California, Florida and Texas. Arizonans are enjoying a better standard of living as well with an over $61,000 median household income.
This tremendous boom is a direct result of lawmaker’s decisions to keep tax burdens low and to create an environment where businesses can thrive.
And yet the tax-and-spend lobby wants to squander this prosperity by reversing the very policies that got us here.
A group led by the Helios Foundation has unveiled a proposed measure that would impose a $1 Billion dollar property tax hike AND a $500 million dollar sales tax increase. It would be by far the largest property tax increase in Arizona history and be extremely punitive toward job creators in the state.
And just like its “Invest in Ed” predecessor, this tax hike is entirely unnecessary. Due to pro-growth polices and historic federal tax reform, Arizona has enjoyed record tax revenues and budget surpluses the last two fiscal years.
Most of this surplus has been put toward education. In the last 18 months the legislature and Governor Ducey have pumped nearly $1.5 Billion in new spending into K-12 education, most of which has gone toward the ‘20by2020’ teacher pay plan, the continued restoration of district additional assistance, new school construction and results-based funding. And even after all that spending there was enough left over to structurally balance the budget and leave $1 Billion in the rainy-day fund.
Not surprisingly, none of this additional K-12 funding has satisfied the education spending lobby, which is why we are back at square one talking about another tax hike. It doesn’t seem to matter that Arizona has been making tremendous gains in student performance over the last decade or that how you spend the money is far more important than how much is being spent.
Arizona is on the right path and changing course now would be a mistake. That’s why taxpayers should be wary of proponents peddling major tax hikes claiming our schools are in shambles. Instead, we should continue to grow and diversify our economy, invest in school choices that increase competition and improve educational outcomes, and demand higher standards. Afterall, you get far more juice out of the economy by growing it – not by squeezing it.