Small Businesses Know We Must #InvestinEd
Dear Fellow Arizonans,
A high quality public education system is key to a strong, sustainable community and economy. Given the widespread devastation of COVID-19, that resilience is more important than ever. Currently, Arizona’s per pupil education funding ranks 48th in the nation, putting us at a massive disadvantage in our recovery due to years of underfunding and a refusal to prioritize kids over corporate tax cuts.
Now, with the Invest in Education Act, we have an opportunity to restore millions in funding and improve our schools which benefits us not only as small business owners, but as Arizonans who have built our lives and raise our kids here.
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce has come out in full force against the initiative, suing to block access to the ballot and claiming that it would “clobber small businesses” by “raising the top individual tax rate from 4.5% to 8%.”
We want it to be clear that the Chamber does not speak for us as small business owners.
First and foremost, we would never intentionally mislead Arizonans. The Invest in Education Act is not a 77% tax increase, it simply creates a 3.5% surcharge on taxable income over $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for joint filers. In other words, a married couple making $501,000 in taxable income would be taxed an additional $35 annually. That’s it.
Furthermore, despite the Chamber’s insinuation that small business owners would intentionally forego $1,000 in personal income to avoid paying a $35 surcharge for schools, we can assure you no right-minded person would do that.
Second, we own small businesses, not large corporations. According to the United States Small Business Association, in 2016, the average income for Arizona small business owners was $48,698. While the Chamber claims that over 200 of their members are “small businesses,” they largely represent the interests of large corporate entities.
Finally — for those of us who own small businesses and are fortunate enough to make enough to be affected by this surcharge — we would be glad to pay it. We’d be proud to earn $501,000 and pay $35 for public education.
Respectfully, we ask that you, as chamber board members join us in acknowledging that a high-quality public education system strengthens our workforce, increases buying power, and makes Arizona a more desirable place to grow roots.
We ask that you immediately end this litigation against the initiative, respect direct democracy, and let voters decide the future of education funding in November.
And most importantly, we ask that you acknowledge that you, the majority of whom are executives at Arizona’s largest corporations, are not the voice of small business owners. Please stop purporting to be.