Protesters rail against State Senate bill, saying it will take money away from Arizona schools

On March 17, parents and teachers held a drive-thru protest at the Arizona State Capitol in Downtown Phoenix, over a bill they say will take funds away from Arizona public schools.

Protesters believe there is now an attack on public education because of certain State Senate bills, and they are hoping to get the attention of lawmakers.

"A lot of the bills right now they are trying to push through are ones that will take more money out of public education, and our schools can't afford that," said teacher Hannah Williams.

The bill protesters are opposing is Senate Bill 1783, which they claim will cut education funding created by Proposition 208. The proposition, which was passed by voters In the November 2020 election, places a surcharge on individuals who make more than $250,000, or couples who make more than $500,000, to pay for education.

Related: Arizona approves Prop 207 recreational pot and Prop 208 schools tax hike

The plan could bring in $827 to $940 million a year for schools, but SB 1783 creates a new tax category to protect small business owners from the law.

"I pay nearly 50% in taxes right now. You throw on Prop 208, and I would be paying 54% in taxes that comes from my business. That is money that could go back into the business and fair pay for my employees," said Ann Siner, CEO of My Sister's Closet.

Siner says she worries about how Proposition 208 will impact her business and others like hers.

"Teachers deserve fair pay, but businesses should not be penalized," said Siner.

On top of SB 1783, protesters were also not happy because an Arizona State House committee has advanced an expansion of the voucher program at schools. Protesters say this takes even more money away from public schools.