Education advocates put a measure on the ballot in Arizona to raise taxes on the highest-income taxpayers to increase education funding. Voters passed the measure. But a judge struck it down because it exceeded the state constitution’s limit on taxation. This report comes from the Center on Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University.

AZ JUDGE INVALIDATES PROPOSITION THAT WOULD HAVE BOOSTED FUNDING FOR EDUCATION

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah has ended the nearly two-year controversy swirling around the constitutionality of Proposition 208, a measure recently adopted by the voters, by ruling last month that the measure is invalid. The Proposition would have boosted the income-tax rate for high income earners by 3.5%, with the money directed primarily to salary increases for teachers and school support personnel. But the judge ruled last month in Fann v. State, that the money the Proposition would raise would exceed the amount permitted by the state’s constitutional spending limit.

The Arizona Supreme Court had indicated that allocation of funds for education under Prop. 208 would likely contravene the Education Expenditure Clause of the state constitution, a constitutional cap that was adopted in 1980. The case had been remanded to the trial court to calculate whether, as most observers anticipated, the amount raised by the proposition would, in fact, exceed the cap.