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Thu, Dec. 05

Governor urges voters to support one-cent sales tax increase

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer speaks March 5, 2009, at Prescott City Hall.<br>
File photo courtesy of Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer speaks March 5, 2009, at Prescott City Hall.<br> File photo courtesy of Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier

Gov. Jan Brewer says she is voting "yes" on Proposition 100, the temporary one-cent sales tax for education and public health and safety.

Brewer told the parents and students at the Prescott High School 4.0 Honors Banquet Thursday evening that in 28 years she has never voted to increase taxes, but that the success of kids like the junior and senior PHS students honored at the banquet could not continue without the voter approval of Prop. 100.

"Doing the right thing often means doing the hard thing. I will be voting 'yes' on May 18," the governor said.

Brewer said that without the revenue generated by the additional sales tax, the state would cut $1 billion immediately from education and public safety programs.

"This is a hard request to make, but it is the right one for our state and our future," she said.

Before the banquet, Brewer met with members of the media.

The Prop. 100 ballot measure specifies that proceeds of the three-year tax will go to education and public safety.

"That will become part of the Arizona Constitution," Brewer said, guaranteeing the money goes to those programs.

If voters do not approve Prop. 100, the governor said cuts to education would result in larger class sizes and an 18 percent to 20 percent increase in university fees.

"I have fought one-and-a-half years to protect education. I have vetoed bills that would have put the state below the 2006 funding level, below maintenance of effort. To protect that, I am asking people to vote for Prop. 100," Brewer said.

As Arizona continues to rank near the bottom in education spending, the governor said that to improve, the state must initiate education reform.

She noted that Yavapai College is a model for the nation for community colleges working with universities.

"K-12 education must be accountable in schools, and we must grade students in a manner that parents understand. We need to reward our teachers and support them. Everyone has to work together," Brewer said.

Brewer listens to and receives advice from educators in all avenues, including public, private, charter schools and vocational education.

However, she said, "Parents are my greatest source. They know what their children need."

Prop. 100 is not a cure-all, the governor said, but she believes it will help stop the bleeding.

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