Educators cry foul as Arizona lawmakers consider Prop 208 surcharge exemptions

Teachers are clashing with the Arizona State Legislature again after they say lawmakers are looking to gut the INVESTinED tax hike on the wealthy that was narrowly passed by voters in the November 2020 election.

The new tax revenue, estimated at more than $800 million, is supposed to go to schools, but a proposal currently being considered by the State Legislature could cut that revenue.

"It's much easier to deal with my kindergartners every day, much easier. They listen!" said kindergarten teacher Kelly Fisher, who gathered at the Arizona State Capitol on April 7.

Fisher collected signatures in 2020 for Prop 208.

Kelly Fisher

"We all put in hours upon hours in the heat, talking to voters, explaining exactly what INVESTinED was, what it would do for their schools, their students, and to have our legislature tell us they think they know better is very disrespectful," said Fisher.

The State Senate bill alters the tax code to allow some business owners to avoid the 3.5% surcharge from Prop 208. State Senator JD Mesnard says his bill protects small businesses.

State Senator JD Mesnard (R-Dist. 17)

State Senator JD Mesnard (R-Dist. 17)

"It is true that it has an impact on Prop 208, but only to the extent that Prop 208 is not delivering as to what they sold it as, which is not impact small businesses," said State Sen. Mesnard.

State Sen. Mesnard represents Arizona's 17th legislative district, which covers a portion of Chandler and Gilbert in the East Valley.

The bill has made its way through some Arizona House committees so far, but the legislature is a long way away from the final bill.

Joe Thomas, President of Arizona Education Association

Joe Thomas, President of Arizona Education Association

"We have to worry about the middle of the night budget and what the Governor will put into this," said Joe Thomas, President of the Arizona Education Association. "He’s made it clear he doesn’t care that voters passed this. He doesn’t care what they want. He wants to gut it."

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news

For the latest local news, download the FOX 10 News app

Sign up for FOX 10 email alerts, newsletters