There is no Plan B

Glenn Hamer

May 13, 2016

Next Tuesday is Election Day. Voters will be presented with one of the most consequential education propositions ever to appear on an Arizona ballot. 

If you haven’t already turned in your ballot, I urge you to vote yes on Proposition 123.

If you are a regular reader of my columns and blog, you know that the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a strong supporter of Proposition 123.

You know that Proposition 123 injects $3.5 billion into K-12 education over the next decade by increasing the currently paltry distribution from the state land trust.

You know that if Proposition 123 passes it means an additional $454 million for education in the next year alone.

You know that Proposition 123 makes this major investment in education without raising taxes.

But if I haven’t convinced you that Proposition 123 is an absolute must-pass measure, then maybe the case made by former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl is more compelling.

I highly recommend you read the senator’s entire argument for Proposition 123, where he writes:

Prop. 123 does not mandate the sale of any part of the land being held in trust for K-12. That asset will continue to be managed in the best manner possible to provide for this generation of students as well as future generations.

Prop. 123 does put appropriate pressure on the state to ensure it performs its role in producing a quality revenue stream to support the intended beneficiaries of the trust, including our K-12 system.

Here is my question. From what do we get greater value: sitting on the assets in the trust (earning a bit), or investing $3.5 billion to better educate millions of Arizona kids today?

Or maybe you will find Republic columnist Bob Robb’s several columns in favor of the proposition’s passing more convincing. His latest piece is an excellent culmination of his arguments in favor of the proposition: 

If Prop. 123 passes, schools will receive an additional $3.5 billion over 10 years. Of that amount, $2.2 billion would come from the additional distribution from the trust. The state general fund would be responsible for $1.3 billion.

And if Prop. 123 fails?

Here’s what we know for certain. The additional state land distribution will not occur.

Both columns are absolute must-reads if you want to understand why passage of Proposition 123 is so critical and if you want to understand why its critics are so wildly off base. 

If Proposition 123 does not pass on Tuesday, it’s back to court. Schools that have based budgets on its passage will have to hit the delete button on those spreadsheets. Teachers won’t get raises. The narrative about Arizona’s commitment to education won’t change for the better. 

The choice is clear. Vote yes on Proposition 123. 

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry