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Arizona Supreme Court removes education tax proposal from November ballot

The "Invest in Education" proposal would have brought in $690 million in additional funding for schools.

The Arizona Supreme Court has ordered a $690 million education income tax proposal removed from the November ballot.

The Arizona Republic reports that the judges ruled that the Invest in Education measure "did not accurately represent the increased tax burden on the affected classes of taxpayers."

The proposal, also called Proposition 207, was expected to bring in $690 million in additional funding for district and charter schools in Arizona.

It would have raised income tax rates by 3.46 percentage points to 8 percent on individuals who earn more than $250,000 or households that earn more than $500,000. It also would have raised individual rates by 4.46 percentage points to 9 percent for individuals who earn more than $500,000 and households that earn more than $1 million.

Those challenging the proposal argued that the petitions were misleading because they referred to the proposed tax-rate increase as a "percent" increase and not the more accurate "percentage point" increase. 

Opponents of the measure have contended that the proposed income-tax hike would have been catastrophic for Arizona's economy and small-business owners. Opponents did not offer alternative funding proposals.

The Proposition 207 campaign gathered 270,000 signatures within 10 weeks to secure a place on the ballot.

Thousands of volunteers — many of them spurred on by the #RedForEd teacher-activism movement that erupted in early March and culminated in a six-day statewide teacher walkout — mounted a grassroots effort to help gather the needed signatures.

David Lujan, treasurer for the Prop. 207 campaign, says the measure's disqualification is "completely unprecedented" and is "reversing the work of thousands of people in Arizona who collected signatures to put it on the ballot."

Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, said, "Voters have been cheated out of this opportunity."

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