Thursday night, Gov. Doug Ducey celebrated the passing of the ballot measure that will inject $3.5 billion into the state’s education system through an increase of state land trust withdrawals over the next 10 years without raising taxes.
The special election for Prop. 123 was a close one that was initially reported as too close to call. But now, with unofficial results from the Arizona Secretary of State showing that 520,425 voters approved of Prop. 123 compared with 503,659 no votes, state officials and teachers are celebrating.
“Schools will soon see a cash infusion, with billions of new dollars flowing in the years ahead. This will make the difference in the lives of kids and teachers all across this state,” Ducey said in a statement.
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) May 20, 2016
The ballot measure has been called an important first step by many, including Mayor Greg Stanton who expressed his support for the ballot measure during his State of the City speech earlier this year.
Not everyone in the state was supportive of the ballot measure, especially since it was a such a close race. State Treasurer Jeff Dewit has been the most vocal opposition leader, and he released a statement Wednesday expressing his concerns for Prop. 123.
Dewit said it was disturbing that the Secretary of State Michelle Reagan “violated the law” by not sending out legally required voter pamphlet information on the pros and cons of the proposition, calling into question the validity of the election results.
We are proud of the almost fifty percent of Arizona voters who stood with us, here is my official statement. pic.twitter.com/dMx8LcgZ0H
— Jeff DeWit (@AZTreasurer) May 18, 2016
The Arizona Republic also reported that a lawsuit has already been filed against the proposition while the votes were still being counted. Michael Pierce, who filed the lawsuit, cites that the proposition violates the Enabling Act, which created the rules for Arizona’s state land trust, according to the Republic.
Whether or not the courts will have an impact on the proposition remains to be seen, but at the moment the immediate impacts of Prop. 123 will add $299 million into the state education system for this fiscal year.
Education experts now say that it’s time to use this momentum from the Prop. 123 passage for further improvement of the state’s education.
“While this campaign is over, that spirit should live on in all we do, especially when it comes to education,” Ducey said.