Sales tax initiative may not be on the ballot

| June 26 2012
Hannah Thoreson

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett has disqualified a ballot initiative that would involve an increase in the sales tax.  Over 290,000 signatures were submitted for the Quality Education & Jobs initiative, but there was one minor problem with them:

His action sets the stage for a legal battle as supporters of the Quality Education & Jobs initiative argue their measure should go before voters, while Bennett’s office will maintain that the supporters did not meet legal requirements.

In a letter to Ann-Eve Pedersen, chairwoman of the Quality Education measure, Bennett said the language on the initiative circulated to voters did not match the version pre-filed with his office.

His staff Monday night ran a random sample of 954 signature pages, or about 1 percent of those submitted, and found none of them matched the wording submitted to his office this spring.

Pedersen has called the argument “hyper technical” and has noted that her group later filed a proper copy of the proposed ballot language.

The measure seeks a permanent 1-cent-per-dollar increase in the state sales tax, with the proceeds flowing to education, construction projects and a children’s health program.

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