The Invest in Education Act (Proposition 208), has support from nearly half of the voters surveyed, according to The Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll conducted Sept. 28-30. (Photo: Getty Images)
Proposition 208, which would raise taxes for education spending in Arizona, has a solid lead among likely voters, according to a new poll.
The Suffolk University/USA TODAY Network poll found that the Invest in Education Act, which would add a 3.5% tax surcharge on the wealthiest earners in the state, has support from nearly half of the voters surveyed.
Among the likely voters polled, 47% said they supported the measure, 37% opposed and 15% were undecided. The support largely falls along party lines, with more Democrats supporting the measure than Republicans. Independents were evenly split.
The live-interview poll of 500 likely voters in Arizona was conducted between Saturday and Wednesday and has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points. There were even one-third shares of Democrats, Republicans and independents. Sixty percent of those polled live in Maricopa County. Seventy percent of respondents are white and 26% are Hispanic or Black.
The poll results show that Invest in Ed still needs support from undecided voters. Its fervent supporters and foes are both waging intense campaigns to persuade Arizonans before Election Day.
Invest in Education, the committee in support of the measure had raised more than $4 million, according to campaign finance records filed at the end of July. Most of that funding was from Stand for Children, an education advocacy nonprofit.
Arizonans for Great Schools and a Strong Economy, the committee opposing the measure, raised nearly $600,000 as of July. Most of that money came from large donations from individual donors and companies, including $100,000 from home builder Blandford Homes and $100,000 from Meritage Homes.
Where would the money go?
If passed, the measure would create a 3.5% tax surcharge for single individuals earning more than $250,000 or married couples earning more than $500,000.
The current income tax rate in Arizona for someone making $159,001 or more is 4.5%. Arizona’s average income tax rate is one of the lowest in the nation.
The money, according to Invest in Ed, would go to the following:
- 50% to K-12 public school teacher and classroom support staff salaries.
- 25% to schools for student support services staff.
- 10% to teacher mentoring and retention programs at the school level to keep teachers from leaving the state.
- 12% to career and technical education programs.
- 3% to the Arizona Teachers Academy, an initiative to stem Arizona’s teacher shortage by waiving college tuition and fees for future teachers who agree to work in Arizona schools.
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