Regardless of whether you rely on the data used by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy or by the Arizona Tax Research Association, the conclusion is the same: Arizona needs to invest an additional $1 billion in public education annually.
Raising that kind of revenue is not impossible, but it will require the collective imagination of our State Legislature. Passing Proposition 126, which amends the Arizona Constitution to prevent new taxes on any services, would severely restrict that imagination.
Moreover, as online sales, better gas mileage, and other structural changes to our economy reduce revenues to the State General Fund, it is time for a comprehensive review of our state's tax structure that draws from the collective imagination of all our elected state representatives.
Tax reform that includes a comprehensive implementation of a service tax could make it possible to reduce or eliminate taxes on both goods and services considered a necessity; those things that everyone needs to survive regardless of income: water, food, clothing, medicine, electricity, and, in today's world, communications.
A service tax would make the entire tax code a lot less regressive. More affluent consumers, in general, tend to purchase more services. They don't typically cut their lawns, paint their houses, and do their taxes. People who do these things themselves would avoid the tax entirely.
A comprehensive approach to tax reform that includes a service tax could not only provide an additional $1 billion annually for education, but if done right, it could help to align long-term funding for health care and public safety.
A future with no imagination is no future. Vote no on Prop. 126.