Why You and Your Employees Should Vote “No” on Prop 204
In November, Proposition 204 will ask voters to raise the sales tax in the City of Tucson by one-half cent to fund early childhood education. On its face, the notion of funding education seems worthy, but the authors of Prop 204 need to go back to school on how to write ballot measures. Because of its obvious flaws, the Tucson Metro Chamber recommends a “no” vote on Prop 204 and we encourage local businesses to urge their employees to vote “no” as well. Even Tucson City Council representatives are urging a “no” vote.
Let’s examine the failings of Prop 204.
- First and foremost, Prop 204 is a permanent sales tax. Many propositions of this nature are written as five-year trials with sunset clauses to relieve the voter of taxation if the program does not produce its intended results. Not so with Prop 204.
- There are few controls written into Prop 204. The measure is estimated to raise $50 million of your tax dollars a year with no accountability for how the money is used and does not identify outcomes or measures. There are no reporting requirements at all in the proposal.
- The program is written in a way that directs the money to be managed by the entity responsible for writing and promoting Prop 204. With an estimated 8% administrative fee going to that entity each year, we believe a no-bid award of $4 million per year is just wrong.
- Prop 204 does not identify which pre-schools would qualify for funding or what the standards for receiving funding will be.
- The measure says nothing about which children might qualify for pre-school funding.
- Prop 204 asks the Mayor and Council to create an educational oversight commission, but the City’s charter makes no mention of the City of Tucson having this authority.
The Tucson Metro Chamber has long championed the cause of increased funding for education, but the language of Prop 204 is seriously deficient and should be defeated in the November 7 election.