PHOENIX – On Monday, the head of Arizona’s Republican Party, Kelli Ward, surprised the rank with the announcement that she is supporting a tax increase. Senate Education Chair Sylvia Allen and House Education Chair Michelle Udall have proposed legislation to increase Arizona’s sales tax.
“As the former Chair of the Senate Education Committee—and now Chairman of the Republican Party of Arizona—I stand with Senate Sen. Allen and Rep. Udall in urging the passing of SCR 1001 and HCR 2024,” said Ward in a press release. “Once more, the Republican Party can lead the way in championing new funding for Arizona’s schools.”
Years ago, Arizona voters passed Proposition 301, which created a 6/10 of a cent sales tax dedicated to Arizona’s public schools. Ward, Allen and Udall want to voters to approve their “penny proposal.”
“As chair of the Senate Education Committee, my vision is for a revenue stream that allows everyone to participate; supports local control; and provides long-term funding for Arizona’s classrooms, university students, and community colleges,” said Sen. Allen, whose family stands to benefit through an ownership in charter schools. “Most importantly, it is a revenue stream that is passed by Arizona voters at the ballot box.”
Conservative community leader, Jose Borrajero, who runs the popular Arizona People’s Lobbyist website, questioned Republican Party support for the proposal. “I have been a lifetime Republican, but cannot understand the recent infatuation of some Republicans with tax increases, which is totally anathema to the Republican Party platform. In fact, the following language is found on the Republican Party website (http://www.az.gop/): “You better believe tax cuts work! Republicans believe you should keep more of your own money.” Yet we find Kelli Ward, the AZ GOP chairman supporting and promoting a huge sales tax increase. Don’ be fooled by the “only a penny” language. The current state sales tax rate is 5.60%. The bills that Ward supports will add 1.00%, for a total rate of 6.6%. That is a 17.85% increase! But it gets worse. Most counties and municipalities have their own sales taxes, so realistically, if this scheme succeeds, most Arizonans will be paying 9.60%, among the highest in the nation.”