Phoenix, AZ – A new poll shows a majority of state voters want lawmakers to
avoid further cuts in education funding. And most are apparently willing to tax
themselves to do that.
Pollster Bruce Merrill asked registered voters to name one thing
they don't want cut to balance the budget. 69 percent said
education. Merrill, who conducted the poll for KAET-TV, the
Phoenix PBS affiliate, said that makes it not surprising that 60
percent of those asked said they would support a 1 cent hike in
the state sales tax to help offset the $3 billion deficit.
(People understand taxes lead to public services. And I think
they know things are tough. There's a lot of stuff in the media,
child protective services, health care, all of these kinds of
things. They know that those things don't come free.)
But Senate President Bob Burns, who is pushing the plan to cut
spending without a tax hike, said the survey results may be based
on ignorance and misinformation.
(How much does the public know about K-12 financing? When you've
got people going around constantly claiming that we're 49th in
the country, which is an absolute falsehood, and repeating it
over and over and over until they've got everybody believing that
we're 49th in the country, I think that's a disservice to
especially the taxpayers who pay the bill.)
But that claim doesn't come only from local education advocates.
The American Legislative Exchange Council, made up of lawmakers
from across the country, ranks this state as next to the bottom
in per pupil spending.