Diane Douglas wants tax hike for teacher raises

Posted at 10:39 AM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 13:39:16-04

Arizona's top education official wants to extend and increase a sales tax dedicated to K-12 schools to fund big teacher raises and building repair and construction.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said Thursday her proposal increases a current 6/10 of a percent sales tax to a full percent to generate an additional $400 million a year. Most of that money would fund an immediate 11 percent increase in teacher salaries, nearly $5,000 per year.

Arizona has among the lowest teacher pay in the nation and schools are finding it difficult to recruit and retain teachers.

The proposal requires voter approval to extend and expand a 2000 voter-approved initiative called Proposition 301 that expires in 2020.

Gov. Doug Ducey also wants Proposition 301 extended but opposes increasing the tax.