|PHOENIX (June 19) – Former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Jaime A. Molera will serve as chairman of Arizonans for Great Schools and a Strong Economy, a committee established by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry to oppose an initiative that would dramatically increase the state income tax.
Molera, a school finance expert, helped author Proposition 301, the ballot initiative voters adopted in 2000 that established a .6 percent sales tax for K-12 and higher education. That revenue source was extended for an additional 20 years in the 2018 legislative session.
“As a board member of the Arizona Chamber and as a representative of numerous business organizations, I am deeply disturbed by this income tax increase initiative that will have a severely negative impact on our economy and that will do little to nothing over the long-term to improve educational attainment throughout Arizona,” Molera said. “Arizona needs a comprehensive tax structure that will support our entire P-20 education system – this clearly isn’t it. Over the next several months, I look forward to sharing with Arizona voters why this risky income tax scheme won’t deliver the results its proponents claim.”
Were the initiative to secure a place on the November ballot and pass, the proposed income tax increase would double Arizona’s top income tax rate to 9 percent. At that rate, Arizona would go from having one of the country’s most competitive income tax rates to one of its worst, resulting in a rate higher than states like Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. In the region, only California would have a higher income tax rate.
Molera, who also chairs the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s Public Affairs Committee, serves as partner of Molera Alvarez, a government affairs organization, and CoNecs North America, a branding, marketing and public relations firm.
Molera will work with the Arizona Chamber’s Brandy Wells, who will serve as campaign director. Wells, who is vice president of external affairs for the Chamber, is also a former public schoolteacher.
“I am so thankful that Jaime Molera, one of Arizona’s foremost education advocates, has joined the campaign to defeat an initiative that would do such damage to our state,” Arizona Chamber President and CEO Glenn Hamer said. “A doubling of the state income tax would send exactly the wrong message to job creators, especially our small businesses, which would be disproportionately harmed by this wrongheaded proposal. There is no one better than Jaime Molera to help us make our case to Arizona voters.”
Petitions to secure a spot on the November ballot are due to the Secretary of State’s office by July 5.
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