By Associated Press
Arizonans could see recreational marijuana get legalized in November as well as a 77.7% increase in state income tax for high-earners.
Prop 207, formally the Smart and Safe Arizona Act initiative, would legalize cannabis in Arizona for people 21 and over. It would add a 16% excise tax on sales on top of regular sales taxes, with the excise tax funding the government’s cost of administering the program, then community colleges, infrastructure, roads and highways, public safety and public health. The measure would also allow people who have been arrested or convicted of some marijuana offenses, such as possessing, consuming or transporting 2.5 ounces or less, to petition to have their records expunged.
Prop 208, formerly the Invest in Education Act initiative, would impose a 3.5% tax surcharge on income above $250,000 for an individual or above $500,000 for couples, making the tax rate jump from 4.5% to 8% annually, a 77.7% increase.
If Prop 208 is approved by a majority of Arizona voters in November, half of the new tax will be used for raises for credentialed teachers, 25% to boosting wages for cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other support staff, and the rest for teacher training, vocational education and other initiatives.
The Invest in Education Act initiative was the latest outgrowth from the “Red for Ed” teachers strike two years ago in Arizona that highlighted low wages for educators and a slow rebound from budget cuts enacted during the Great Recession. The walkout secured higher wages for teachers, but many education interest groups said it fell short.