The Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a ballot initiative that would have raised income taxes on Arizona's wealthiest residents to increase funding for schools across the state, a blow to many student and teachers' activists in the state.
The court ruled Thursday that language in the initiative, which would have raised income taxes by between 3 and 4 percent on individuals earning more than $250,000 per year in the state, was confusing to voters because it did not explain whether the totals would be adjusted for inflation, according to The New York Times.
Advocates of teacher strikes in Arizona, which shut down public schools in the state over demands for increased funding earlier this year, say that the court's decision invalidated the will of hundreds of thousands of Arizonans who fought for the measure to make it on the ballot in November.
“This is absolutely stunning, and it denies citizens and teachers what they fought so hard for — the opportunity to fund our students and schools,” teacher and strike organizer Noah Karvelis told the Times.
“This is not the end of our fight, by any means,” he continued.
A spokesman for the campaign of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R), who is running for reelection in November, said that the court's decision "closed" the issue over whether a tax increase would be on the ballot.
“[F]or Governor Ducey, his commitment to education funding will continue, after having already made historic investments totaling $2.7 billion,” but “the case is closed on this measure," his campaign manager told the Times.
Ducey signed a separate bill increasing teacher pay and education funding in the state in order to end teacher strikes in May.
Ducey's Democratic opponent released a statement on Twitter, calling on Democrats and supporters of education advocates in the state to vote for candidates with records of advocacy for public education.
“The stakes for the race for governor in Arizona just changed utterly and irrevocably," David Garcia wrote. "We must elect pro-public education candidates up and down the ballot.”
The stakes for the race for Governor in Arizona just changed utterly and irrevocably. We must elect pro-public education candidates up and down the ballot to prevent this kind of corruption in the future. I’m proud to stand with our educators, parents and kids. #RedforEd 2/2— David Garcia (@dg4az) August 30, 2018